The County Championship season got underway with all 18 counties in action; James Vince led the way with a sparkling hundred for Hampshire against Leicestershire and there were also tons for Middlesex’s Sam Robson and Sussex opener Tom Haines
Last Updated: 08/04/21 7:26pm
Contrasting centuries from James Vince and Tom Alsop saw Hampshire establish a dominant position of 431-4 in their LV= Insurance County Championship match against Leicestershire at the UptonSteel County Ground, Grace Road.
Hampshire skipper Vince was all power and timing as he took full advantage of some wayward bowling from Leicestershire’s inexperienced seam attack, hitting 17 fours and two sixes in racing to three figures off just 81 balls.
Alsop, who had just reached his half-century when Vince came to the crease on the dismissal of Sam Northeast, was less fluent, but while his century came off 153 deliveries (and included 17 fours), it was no less valuable to his side.
Together the pair added 224 for the fourth wicket before Alsop got a leading edge trying to turn a delivery from Alex Evans into the legside and was caught at point. Vince, however, remained unbeaten, reaching his 150 off 140 deliveries before closing on 168 not out.
Sam Robson survived two early chances to post his highest red-ball score in five years as Middlesex made a solid start to their County Championship opener against Somerset at Lord’s.
James Hildreth and Craig Overton both spilled slip catches before the opener had passed his half-century and he took advantage to accumulate 165, with Middlesex reaching 293-8 at stumps.
Robson’s majestic knock, which included 25 fours, was his best performance since registering a career-best double hundred in the opening match of the 2016 season against Warwickshire.
Sussex opener Tom Haines made Lancashire pay for three dropped catches by making a career-best 155 as the visitors recovered from 40-4 to reach 291-9 on the first day at Emirates Old Trafford.
Haines’ hundred, the third of his first-class career, came off 177 balls. It helped Sussex to recover from a grim morning when their decision to bat first appeared ill-advised.
Lancashire were still dominant when they reduced Sussex to 127-6 but Haines and Ollie Robinson had come within one run of doubling that score when Robinson was caught behind off Saqib Mahmood for 59.
Haines was finally dismissed when his tired swish edged a catch to Alex Davies and that wicket gave Tom Bailey his third success of the day.
Dan Lawrence returned from his England adventures with a well-made 46 as Essex began their defence of the County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy against Worcestershire.
Lawrence made his Test debut over the off-season with appearances in Sri Lanka and India, and recalibrated himself to English conditions quickly at the Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford.
He put on 73 for the third wicket with captain Tom Westley, who starred with an unbeaten 84, as Essex totted up 207-3 before bad light stopped play, with almost 15 overs lost in the day.
Rory Burns made just four on his first competitive appearance since being dropped by England as Surrey slipped to 220-9 against Gloucestershire.
The opener will be hoping to use the domestic season to boost his chances of a recall but he faced just 16 balls before becoming the first man to fall at Bristol in Group 2.
Josh Shaw recorded figures of 4-48 and Ryan Higgins contributed 3-35 to ensure the home side did not squander winning the toss on a green-tinged pitch before they were denied the chance to finish Surrey off inside the day by late rain.
Former South Africa captain Hashim Amla top-scored for Surrey with 56.
A five-for from Liam Norwell powered Warwickshire into control against Derbyshire on the first day of their opening match of the season at Edgbaston.
Norwell launched the campaign in the most spectacular style with two wickets in his first over and bowled with sustained hostility for figures of 18-7-32-5 as Derbyshire were bowled out for 189.
Luis Reece (63) and Matt Critchley (64) offered defiance for the visitors but they came in under par on a decent batting pitch before Warwickshire reached by 13-1 at the close.
Ollie Robinson led the assault with a blistering 84 as Kent‘s batsmen took the attack to Northamptonshire on day one at Northampton.
Jordan Cox and Ollie Robinson also made half-centuries as the visitors recovered from the loss of three early wickets to post 309-7 at stumps.
Veteran seamer Gareth Berg had made the most of favourable conditions early on to account for England internationals Zak Crawley and Joe Denly in successive overs.
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Fifties for Kiran Carlson, Dan Douthwaite and Timm van der Gugten fashioned a superb Glamorgan fightback against Yorkshire on day one at Emerald Headingley.
Billy Root also contributed a steadfast 43 at the start of the second professional meeting between himself and older brother Joe.
That battle provides an intriguing subplot to an opening-round Group 3 fixture which started with the Welshmen slipping to 29-3 and 132-7 before recovering to close on 310-8 from 96 overs.
Durham were left to rue wickets lost at key moments as they battled to 241-7 on the opening day of their County Championship season at Nottinghamshire.
The visitors might have fancied their chances of making a positive start to the campaign against an opponent without a win in this competition in 27 attempts, but they struggled to get going and were grateful for a late fightback from eighth-wicket pair Brydon Carse and Ben Raine.