Croft and Chapple lift Lancashire
Steven Croft and Glen Chapple, who have shared the Lancashire captaincy this year, led from the front with bat and ball respectively on a pulsating opening day against Worcestershire at Blackpool.
Six points behind LV= County Championship Division One leaders Durham going into this game, Lancashire were first indebted to Croft’s superb counter-attacking century either side of alarming collapses.
He struck 107 off just 111 balls on the ground where he played his club cricket, carrying Lancashire from 79 for four to 282 all out - despite the last five wickets tumbling for 26 runs.
Club captain Chapple then claimed three wickets in the space of five deliveries as Worcestershire careered to 21 for five, with Kyle Hogg picking up the other two. The visitors had recovered to 77 without further loss by the close of day one.
Fellow title chasers Somerset, who sit eight points behind Lancashire in third place, struggled in the eight overs possible against Nottinghamshire at Taunton.
They lost Arul Suppiah and captain Marcus Trescothick - both lbw in the same Luke Fletcher over - before rain forced the players off at 11.30am, with Somerset 20 for two.
Centuries for Michael Yardy and Ben Brown helped Sussex recover from a poor start to move into a strong position over Yorkshire at Scarborough.
Skipper Yardy, who came to the crease with the visitors 27 for three, made an unbeaten 126, adding a record 198 for the fifth wicket with wicketkeeper Brown, whose contribution was 108.
Ryan Sidebottom was responsible for four wickets as Sussex ended the day on 333 for five.
Division Two leaders Northamptonshire were limited by Derbyshire seamer Mark Footitt’s five-wicket haul at Chesterfield.
Footitt’s third and fourth wickets came in the same over and left Northants 85 for five. However, Alex Wakely and captain Andrew Hall responded with a 116-run stand.
Hall fell for 45 but Wakely went on to 88 when he became Tim Groenewald’s third victim. Footitt finished the innings for figures of 5-53.
Martin Guptill led third-placed Derbyshire’s response with 55. His departure came at 108 and for four and the hosts added eight without further loss.
Corey Collymore took 4-69 and affected a run-out as second-placed Middlesex, six points behind Northants, dominated Kent at Canterbury.
Home openers Joe Denly and Rob Key made a reasonable start, putting on 61. However, when Denly went for 55 Kent were 87 for four.
Collymore nipped Darren Stevens and Geraint Jones’ riposte in the bud by trapping the former in front and running out Azhar Mahmood next ball.
James Tredwell and Matt Coles prospered to the tune of 57 for the ninth wicket, but their team’s total of 242 seemed insufficient as Middlesex closed on 55 without loss.
Adam Wheater and Ryan ten Doeschate shared a double-century partnership at Colchester to haul Essex out of trouble against Gloucestershire.
Two Jon Lewis wickets, including Billy Godleman to the first ball of the match, put the hosts on the back foot at 55 for five.
Wheater and ten Doeschate bailed the top order out by adding 204 before the former departed for 135. Graham Napier and ten Doeschate then put on 82, of which Napier contributed 45.
Ten Doeschate remained unbeaten, though, on 120 in total of 359 for nine when bad light ended proceedings early.
Fifties from opener Gareth Rees, Jim Allenby and Mark Wallace put Glamorgan on course for a decent score versus bottom side Leicestershire at Colwyn Bay.
The hosts slipped to 34 for two, but Rees and Stewart Walters combined for a 67-run alliance. Rees went on to post 71.
Nick James, like Walters, made a decent contribution, which Allenby and Wallace followed up with 55 each. James Harris also chipped in to a score of 328 for eight at stumps.
Visiting skipper Matthew Hoggard put in a typically disciplined display with the ball, his 20 overs costing 39 and featuring two wickets.