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County Championship round-up: Sam Robson, James Vince, Tom Alsop and Tom Haines all hit first-day tons

County Championship round-up: Sam Robson, James Vince, Tom Alsop and Tom Haines all hit first-day tons

It’s not quite right to say that normal service was resumed as the County Championship returned to the English cricketing menu for the first time in 18 months – as no spectators were allowed in to watch it.

And the 2021 campaign started in style too, with four centurions – two of them, James Vince, and Tom Alsop, helping Hampshire to pile up 431-4 on the road against Leicestershire.

Vince carried on his victorious form with Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash down under, at more than a run a ball.

He was still there at the close on 168 off 167 deliveries, after sharing a 224-run fourth-wicket stand with Alsop, who made a comparatively more leisurely 119.

Another Tom in form was Sussex’s Tom Haines, with a superb career-best 155 to help his side recover from 127-6 to reach 293-9 in Manchester against Lancashire.

But the first centurion of the four first-day musketeers was Middlesex’s Sam Robson, with 165 out of 293-8 against successive red-ball runners-up Somerset.

Essex's Tom Westley ended the day just 16 short of his century

And there looks likely to be a fifth centurion early on day two, yet another Tom, if Essex’s Tom Westley, 84 overnight, can go on to reach three figures against Worcestershire.

He might already be there, in fact, if it had not been for a bit of bad weather at Chelmsford – and an early finish.

The Tom Tom Toms were hardly beating too loudly when six of the nine captains chose to field after winning the toss.

Only Essex, Hampshire and Sussex won the toss and chose to bat – but all three had no cause to regret that by the end of a busy first day.

James Vince and Tom Alsop both made first-day centuries for Hampshire at Leicester

Group One

Although Essex lost former England captain Alastair Cook cheaply, Dan Lawrence returned from his winter England adventures in the sub-continent with 46 to help Westley steer the hosts to 207-3 against labouring Worcestershire.

Durham were aided by half-centuries from opener Alex Lees (58) and new boy David Bedingham (57) as they batted out the day at Trent Bridge to make a dogged 241-7 against Nottinghamshire.

In the other Group One opener, Liam Norwell starred with 5-32 as much-fancied Warwickshire bowled out Derbyshire for 189.

Group Two

While Hampshire dominated in Group Two against hapless Leicestershire, scoring at four and a half an over, Somerset battled back well at Lord’s against Middlesex.

The hosts looked well set at 218-4, but Lewis Gregory took three of his four wickets to help stem the tide, backed by Josh Davey (2-62), one for Craig Overton and one for England spinner Jack Leach.

Robson survived two early chances to post his highest red-ball score in five years – since a career-best double hundred in the 2016 season opener against Warwickshire.

In the other Group Two game, despite being deprived of a meeting between West Indies team-mates Kraigg Brathwaite and Kemar Roach by Covid quarantine protocol, there was plenty to admire.

In the 70 overs possible, Gloucestershire seamers Josh Shaw (4-48), Ryan Higgins (3-35) and David Payne (2-49) helped limit Surrey to 220-9, of which Hashim Amla made 56.

Group Three

Centurion Haines made Lancashire pay for three dropped catches to post the third ton of his first-class career as Sussex rallied from 40-4 to reach 291-9.

Across the Pennines in Leeds, Yorkshire were also on the wrong end of a fightback as half-centuries by Timm van der Gugten (80 not out), Dan Douthwaite (57) and Kiran Carlson (55) helped Glamorgan fight back from 132-7 to close on 310-8.

In only the second professional meeting between himself and elder brother Joe, Billy Root contributed a steadfast 43, while Michael Hogan weighed in with a breezy unbeaten 40 off 41 balls late in the day.

Source: BBC

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