Newman on form again for Surrey

Scott Newman defied miserable conditions to make an unbeaten 90 and ensure that Surrey made a strong start to their County Championship match against Northamptonshire at The Oval yesterday.

Rain disrupted play across the country and delayed Surrey but the hosts still had time to reach 163 for 2 by the close, having lost Mark Ramprakash to the final ball of the day.

After scores of 86 in both the season's opening games, the left-handed Newman will be hoping to go on to complete his first century of the year. Newman and his fellow opener, Jon Batty, showed commendable concentration to put on 93 before the captain (28) was caught by David Sales off Johan Louw. Ramprakash then joined Newman and had made 34 before Sales took another catch, this time off the bowling of paceman Steffan Jones.

Sussex, who began their defence of the Championship title with a frustrating rain-affected draw away to Surrey, were forced to twiddle their thumbs again as the first day of their match against Worcestershire at New Road was washed out. There was no play possible either at Edgbaston, where Warwickshire were waiting to take on Gloucestershire.

Leicestershire will be wishing that their Second Division match against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl had fallen victim to the weather, too. The visitors, who chose to bat first after winning the toss, were dismissed for only 139 and Hampshire's batsmen then made swift inroads on that paltry score.

Leicestershire's disappointing total was due largely to a middle-order collapse that saw four wickets tumble for the addition of one run. They went from 69 for 4 to 70 for 7 and were thankful for a fightback from the tail, with the former England all-rounder Phil DeFreitas (24) and the South African spinner Claude Henderson (31) taking them into three figures.

John Maunders was the only recognised batsman to make a contribution of any note. He batted patiently but was finally bowled for 34 by the Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne, who finished with 2 for 17. Dimitri Mascarenhas took 3 for 23.

The home side then reached 93 for 1 at the close with Michael Brown unbeaten on 30 and Will Kendall on 32.

Somerset eventually made a good start against Essex at Chelmsford, after having to wait until until 4pm for play to start. The visitors had reached 87 for 1 by the close with the opener Peter Bowler still at the crease just one short of his half-century.

There was no play at Trent Bridge where Nottinghamshire were due to entertain Yorkshire and Derbyshire were unable to start their first innings having won the toss at home against Durham.

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