Durham shine again
Durham continued their excellent LV= County Championship form by edging ahead of Worcestershire on an opening day in which 19 wickets fell at the Emirates Durham ICG.
The hosts were brimming with confidence heading into the fixture, having allayed their Division One relegation fears with three successive victories.
After opting to bowl, they made a fine start as Chris Rushworth claimed 5-44 and Graham Onions 3-27 to dismiss Worcestershire for just 120.
Ben Stokes’ 78 looked set to give Durham a significant first-innings advantage, though they eventually closed on 215 for nine - a lead of 95 - after Gareth Andrew took 5-74.
Neil Dexter’s century could not stop leaders Warwickshire enjoying the better of the opening day against Middlesex at Edgbaston.
Opener Sam Robson hit 60 before Dexter took centre stage in compiling an impressive 142-ball 101 after the visitors had been asked to bat.
Ian Blackwell, on loan from Durham, showed his class with the ball in taking 4-47, while Boyd Rankin also chipped in with three wickets as Middlesex were dismissed for 287.
Warwickshire subsequently reached 21 without loss in the 5.1 overs possible before heavy rain heralded stumps.
Marcus Trescothick moved towards three figures as Somerset made solid progress against in-form Sussex at Taunton.
Trescothick’s decision to bat looked questionable in the sixth over when Steve Magoffin bowled Arul Suppiah.
However, Chris Jones put on 61 with his captain for the second wicket and James Hildreth 56 - though both eventually fell to left-arm spinner Monty Panesar.
Trescothick, however, was unbeaten on 89 in Somerset’s 175 for three when rain brought an end to the day's play
Rob Newton hit a hundred as Northamptonshire impressed on the opening day of their clash with Division Two leaders Derbyshire.
Northants, who won the toss, initially looked in trouble as David Wainwright’s double strike followed up Tony Palladino getting rid of Kyle Coetzer.
However, well supported by Alex Wakely’s 37, Newton struck 115 before James Middlebrook continued his fine form with an unbeaten 50 in a total of 311 for six.
Josh Cobb, Shiv Thakor and Wayne White hit fifties to put bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire on course for a good first-innings total against promotion-chasing Hampshire at Grace Road.
After Leicestershire were put in and reduced to 43 for four, Cobb combined impressively with Ramnaresh Sarwan; the duo hit 82 and 36 respectively.
The resistance did not end with those two, though, as Thakor struck an outstanding 71 not out and White chipped in with 54 to leave the hosts 334 for eight.