County Championship round-up: Derby's Redfern claims first blood

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The Independent Online

With all respect to Derbyshire, they may not make many headlines this season. Savour the moment, then, Dan Redfern, who will retain the distinction for posterity of the first century of the 2012 County Championship.

It was a first for the left-hander from Shrewsbury, who is not 22 until later this month but was playing his 46th first-class match against Northamptonshire at Derby, having made his debut as a 17-year-old. His closest previous effort came last summer, when he fell for 99 against Glamorgan.

For Derbyshire it came at a timely moment, as Northants had reduced them to 50 for 4. Redfern and another young left-hander, 23-year-old Ross Whitely, then put on 170 before Redfern, who had been dropped on 59 and 88, was bowled by David Willey for 110, having pipped Essex's Billy Godleman to be first into three figures.

More headlines can be expected from Surrey, back in the First Division and dark horses for the title with a depth of exciting young batting talent. Only Tom Maynard revealed much of it yesterday, though, as Sussex bowled them out for 284 at The Oval.

Left-arm seamer Naved Arif claimed his third wicket with the dismissal of captain Rory Hamilton-Brown, caught down the leg side, to have Surrey 124 for 5 before Maynard and wicketkeeper Rory Burns added 82 in 16 overs. Then Amjad Khan made short work of the tail to finish with five for 57, leaving Maynard stranded on 86 not out.

Amazingly, given there was a covering of snow on Wednesday at Headingley, where Kent made serene progress in fine weather, only Somerset suffered any loss of playing time, their start against Middlesex at Taunton delayed until 2.45. Vernon Philander, the South African quick who had previously played Championship cricket for Middlesex, then struck with his third delivery as a Somerset player.

Philander's first spell conceded only eight runs in seven overs. Somerset will need to make the most of him. His form since making his Test debut in November – 51 wickets in seven matches – has won him a place in this summer's South African tour party here, so he will be off at the end of May.