• Specsavers County Championship 2m

    Newton & Wakely tons inspire Northants

    Rob Newton and Alex Wakely made centuries for Northamptonshire.

    Rob Newton and Alex Wakely made centuries for Northamptonshire but Gloucestershire came back smartly after tea to leave the home side 322 for 6 by the close on the opening day at Wantage Road.

    Newton, out of contract at the end of the season, was never especially fluent but played a chanceless innings for his third century of the summer. He was productive backward of point and steered his side through the majority of the opening day, raising a hundred in 173 balls with his 14th four - cutting Jack Taylor past extra-cover.

    His stand of 196 with Northants captain Wakely put the hosts in control of the day shortly before tea. Wakely looked in excellent touch throughout his 179-ball century.

    In the morning he twice rocked back to pull Matt Taylor through midwicket and after lunch skipped down the wicket in Jack Taylor’s first over of off spin to strike four down the ground. Next over he lifted him over mid-on for six and drove another boundary past extra-cover. 

    He clipped Matt Taylor down the ground for his 17th four, a first century of the summer and fifth in first-class cricket. But trying to sweep Jack Taylor, fell lbw three overs before tea and Northants never regained their commanding position.

    Having leaked 129 runs in 34 overs between lunch and tea, Gloucestershire produced a smart fightback in the final session. The game Liam Norwell - who nibbled a ball away from Ben Duckett for the opening wicket in the sixth over of the morning - returned to have Richard Levi splendidly caught by Gareth Roderick running to his right and diving full length from mid-on. Two balls later, one left Newton to take an edge behind.

    Norwell, fair-haired and running in with purpose, and David Payne, who has markedly improved his red-ball bowling this season, were excellent for the visitors throughout the day.

    Craig Miles responded from a poor opening spell to provide good support - he picked up the wicket of Rob Keogh after tea and in the penultimate over of the day, a good length ball squared Adam Rossington up and straightened to take an outside edge and provide a fourth catch of the day for wicketkeeper Phil Mustard. 

    With the second new ball, Gloucestershire took 53 for 3 to leave the opening day’s play fairly even.

    Wakely said: " It was a pretty good day seeing as we’ve been stuck in and the conditions, we’ve batted quite nicely and are in a good position. If we can get 400 plus that would be a great number.

    "I’ve felt really good the last couple of months and I‘ve done okay in what’s been a good season for the club."

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