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  • Specsavers County Championship 8m

    Div Two reports: Durham dominate with two centuries

    Cameron Steel and Tom Latham hit centuries for Durham as Sussex, Notts and Northamptonshire got off to solid starts on day one

    Durham put themselves well on top at Grace Road while there were other impressive batting and bowling displays in Division Two on day one.

    Derbyshire 220 v Nottinghamshire 93/2
    Leicestershire v Durham 324/4
    Northamptonshire 343 v Gloucestershire
    Worcestershire v Sussex 342/7

    DERBYSHIRE v NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

    Brett Hutton took the spotlight away from Mark Footitt with a five wicket haul that put Nottinghamshire in control of the match against Derbyshire at Derby.

    Hutton full vindicated Chris Read’s decision to bowl first by returning his best figures of the season – 5 for 52 – as Derbyshire were dismissed for 220 with Alex Hughes top scoring with an unbeaten 55.

    Footitt claimed 2 for 49 in his first game back with Nottinghamshire on his return to Derby and Jake Ball took three wickets before the Division Two leaders replied with 93 for 2 before bad light ended play early.

    All the attention at the start of play was on Footitt who enjoyed his best years with Derbyshire before he moved to Surrey at the end of the 2015 season.

    The fast bowler had taken 7 for 71 and 10 wickets in his last game at the County Ground but he had to wait until after lunch for his first success as Derbyshire fought hard in testing conditions in the morning.

    Ball struggled for a consistent line and was driven for three fours by Ben Slater before the opener became Hutton’s first victim when he edged low to second slip.

    The England paceman did better when he switched to the City End, finding some late movement to uproot Billy Godleman’s off stump before Wayne Madsen was caught behind down the legside.

    Luis Reece had done well to come through the first session but he fell to Footitt in the third over of the afternoon playing across a full length ball which opened the door for Hutton to demolish the lower order.

    He was twice on a hat-trick as Derbyshire slumped to 172 for 9 before Hughes and Ben Cotton added 48 in eight overs to secure a batting point before Footitt bowled Cotton for 32.

    With conditions favouring the bowlers, Derbyshire had a chance of getting back in the match but they did not help their cause by conceding 26 extras, 28 per cent of Nottinghamshire’s runs.

    Hardus Viljoen claimed his first Championship wicket by having Jake Libby caught behind down the leg-side and Tony Palladino trapped Brendan Taylor lbw but Steven Mullaney and Samit Patel showed good judgement to survive before play was called off with 14 overs still remaining.

    LEICESTERSHIRE v DURHAM

    Openers Cameron Steel and Tom Latham both scored centuries as Durham took full advantage of batting first on a good wicket against a severely depleted Leicestershire attack.

    New Zealand international Latham became the sixth Durham batsman to score a century for the county on debut against another county.

    The 25-year-old left-hander gave one chance, on 69, steering a short delivery from Neil Dexter high to backward point, where Gavin Griffiths could not hold the ball two-handed above his head, but having survived Latham made no further mistakes before bringing up his century off 144 balls with a six pulled over midwicket, courtesy of a long-hop from occasional off-spinner Colin Ackermann.

    By that stage Latham and Steel, who was himself dropped on 50, by Harry Dearden low to his right at second slip off Ajmal Shahzad, had already brought up Durham's highest partnership of the season, as well as setting a new opening partnership record for their county against Leicestershire.

    Latham also brought up the Durham 200 with a six, again pulled off Ackermann, but on 124 feathered a catch behind off Dexter, who on his return from injury was comfortably the pick of the Foxes bowlers.

    At the close of play, Tom Latham said: "My Durham debut has been a long time coming, nearly six weeks, so it was nice to finally be in a position to make a contribution.

    "It's been a frustrating time, but injury is one of those things you have to deal with as a sportsman, and at least it gave me a break and a chance to freshen up for the rest of the season, which I'm really looking forward to now," he added.

    With seamers Clint McKay, Matt Pillans, Ben Raine, Zak Chappell and Richard Jones , as well as top run-scorer Mark Cosgrove, all unavailable, the Foxes drafted triallist Shahzad into the eleven, but the former Yorkshire, Notts and Sussex paceman did little to convince those watching he might be worthy of a long-term playing contract.

    Having been put down by Dearden, Steel went on to bring up his century off 242 balls, hitting ten fours in a hard-working effort, but having looked distinctly ragged during the afternoon, Leicestershire fought back well after tea.

    Latham's dismissal was the first of three wickets to fall in the space of 19 runs: Jack Burnham gave left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson the charge, heaved, missed and was stumped by several yards, and then Graham Clark top-edged a Dieter Klein bouncer to Shahzad at long leg.

    Steel and Paul Collingwood then added 56 for the fourth wicket, though Steel was again fortunate to be dropped by Aadil Ali on 129, at backward point off the unfortunate Shahzad. Shortly before the close Collingwood unaccountably padded up to a Klein delivery that would have hit middle stump.

    Steel, however, remained unbeaten, and at the close of play had left his previous first-class score, 128 against Northamptonshire earlier this season, well behind him.

    NORTHAMPTONSHIRE 300/7 v GLOUCESTERSHIRE

    Fifties for Rob Newton, Richard Levi and Ben Duckett helped Northamptonshire enjoy the better of the opening day against Gloucestershire at Wantage Road as they were bowled out for 343 but they should have been in a more dominant position.

    It was a solid day for the hosts but the top six all got set only to fall in series of poor dismissals with several catches in front of the bat. Having been 153 for 1 and 269 for 4 four overs before the second new ball, they slid to 315 for 9 before debutant Simon Kerrigan made an unbeaten 26.

    Gloucestershire picked themselves up after a very poor morning session and could have faced a far more punishing day in the field. But their three seamers, David Payne, Liam Norwell and Craig Miles, made a smart comeback sharing seven wickets.

    Duckett was the first of the half-centurions. Making the quick transition from Saturday’s T20 where he made a career-best unbeaten 92, he made a 46-ball fifty here. He flicked two boundaries through square leg off David Payne before imperiously driving him through extra-cover.

    Another leg-side flick, this off Craig Miles, brought his side's 50 up in just the ninth over of the morning. Duckett helped himself to 10 boundaries before lifting a drive from Miles to extra-cover to fall for 52. But his bright start saw Northants rattle to lunch 153 for 1. 

    Duckett’s opening partner Newton was badly dropped at point on 30 off Jack Taylor shelled an easy chance but went on to drive the off spin of 18-year-old debutant George Drissell through the covers for his eighth boundary to raise fifty in 80 balls. Newton went to lunch 70 not out but was caught at short-midwicket second over into the afternoon.

    Alex Wakely, who was also badly dropped by Iain Cockbain at mid-off on 45, added four more before pushing at a ball from left-armer Payne that slid across him and he got a thin edge to wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick. Wakely fell just after the first hour after lunch where 16 runs came in 16 overs.

    A stand of 68 between Levi and Rob Keogh put Northants into a good position after tea at 269 for 4 in fairly benign conditions against the older ball. Keogh played a perfectly-timed flick through midwicket to bring up the second batting bonus but when he lazily chipped the part-time off-spin of Taylor to short-midwicket, the innings fell away.

    Levi was the third half-centurion of the day, playing very smartly for his 59-ball fifty including a cover-drive that was perhaps the shot of the day. But he was well caught at slip trying to run Payne to third man, Adam Rossington pulled Liam Norwell straight to midwicket for just 5 and Rory Kleinveldt and Richard Gleeson were both caught at the wicket driving loosely outside off stump.

    Just when Northants were about to be rolled over Kerrigan slapped Kieran Noema-Barnett down the ground and over midwicket for boundaries and smashed Payne over long-on to almost deliver a fourth batting bonus point.

    WORCESTERSHIRE v SUSSEX

    Chris Nash rediscovered his form after a dismal season in the Specsavers County Championship as his century helped to revive Sussex on the opening day against Worcestershire at New Road.

    Nash, who is in his benefit year at Hove, had previously mustered only 205 Championship runs during 2017 at an average of 17.08.

    Some encouraging performances in the NatWest T20 Blast were in sharp contrast to his contributions in the long format of the game

    But the 34-year-old was back to his best as he rescued his County from a sticky position at 49-3 after they had elected to bat.

    He shared in partnerships of 97 in 32 overs with Luke Wells (85) and 118 in 25 overs with Chris Jordan as Sussex closed on 342-7 off 96 overs.

    Nash brought up his first hundred of the season with a pull for four against paceman Pat Brown who was making his Championship debut, coming off 175 balls and contained 14 boundaries.

    When Nash was eventually dismissed for 118 - lbw to home skipper Joe Leach in the second over with the second new ball - he had steered Sussex to within two runs of 300.

    Sussex's decision to bat first initially looked to have back-fired against their second placed opponents who were attempting to bounce back from a disappointing T20 Blast campaign.

    Angus Robson (0) was handed a debut by the visitors but lasted only three deliveries before being edging Joe Leach to keeper Ben Cox who pulled off a superb low catch in front of first slip.

    It became 7-2 as Harry Finch also failed to trouble the scorers in nicking England Under-19 paceman Josh Tongue through to Cox.

    Ed Barnard's second delivery accounted for Stiaan van Zyl (24) and this time George Rhodes reacted sharply at first slip. But that led to the arrival in the middle of Nash who joined Wells for the first of two crucial stands.

    Wells had a let off on 32 when Daryl Mitchell spilled the chance at second slip off John Hastings with the total on 71. It proved to be a costly miss as the fourth wicket pair flourished.

    Wells, who had scored 155 in the game between the counties at Hove this season, looked set for another hundred as he cashed in on his moment of good fortune.

    But on 85 the left hander went for an expansive drive in Rhodes first over and this time Mitchell clung onto the chance. Nash was then accompanied by Jordan in further cementing Sussex's recovery.

    Worcestershire claimed the second new ball and Mitchell spilled what could have been another costly chance offered by Nash on 118 off Tongue.

    But his fine knock ended in the next over as he was trapped lbw by Leach without addition to his score. Nash batted in total for 202 balls and struck 16 fours.

    Jordan (57 not out) went to his half century off 98 balls but there was time for the persevering Barnard to claim his third wicket as David Wiese (22) gave Cox his fourth catch.

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