Weston flourishes on the right track

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The Independent Online

After 20 wickets fell on the first day at Worcester, the pitch was routinely reported to the ECB. But two batsmen managed to score centuries, and yesterday Philip Weston followed suit as the hosts put paid to any hopes that Notting-hamshire had of recording their first victory of the season in the Second Division.

Wickets continued to fall yesterday but Weston was undeterred as he moved to 124 not out off 241 balls with 20 boundaries, helping his side to reach 257 for 7, a lead of 345.

Hampshire's batsmen were guilty of not giving their overseas star Shane Warne enough runs to bowl at last year, and they were duly relegated. But it is as if their new headquar-ters at West End has given them a fresh start this season.

Having won the toss against a bottom-placed Derbyshire side, they were precariously placed on 207 for 7 but the tail wagged effectively as they went on to post 383. Adrian Aymes, with 73, put on 130 with Shaun Udal, who made 81, before the Derbyshire captain, Tim Munton, picked up two more wickets with his seamers, returning 5 for 85.

Hampshire beat Derbyshire by nine wickets in May after making their hosts follow on, and here they welcomed back Alan Mullally from England duty. The left-armer took four wickets to leave Derbyshire's weak batting line-up in disarray in their quest for 233 to make Hampshire bat again, collapsing to 89 for 6.

Melvyn Betts, the former Durham paceman, took 5 for 22 for Warwickshire against his former county in May, and his insider knowledge brought him three more wickets at Chester-le-Street as the home side reached 181 for 4.

Among his victims was the prolific Australian Martin Love, who made 66, and one of England's hottest batting prospects, Nicky Peng, whom he trapped lbw first ball. But Paul Collingwood, who after a poor NatWest series has seen Mark Ramprakash called up for the Ashes ahead of him as cover for Graham Thorpe, remained unbeaten on 60. Danny Law earlier took three quick wickets to wrap up the visitors' innings at 310.

In the first match of the Legends Weekend, in aid of the Trent Bridge pavilion appeal, Sir Garfield Sobers' XI managed 166 for 6 off 45 overs, with former West Indies captain Jimmy Adams making 47 not out. Sir Richard Hadlee's XI reached 167 for 3 by the 29th over, with the South African opener Gary Kirsten unbeaten on 74. Today's match, contested by Ashes veterans, should be a little more spicey.