County Championship First Day Round-Up: Vince's quick ton steals the show
James Vince salutes the team balcony as he celebrates passing 150.

The first day of the new season was dominated by big hundreds from James Vince, Sam Robson and Tom Haines as the first day of the season was an unusually positive one for batsmen.

All counties were in action across the three group system, retained for this year after its first use in last years lockdown affected season.

  • Group 1

Essex had a relatively solid first day of 2021 reaching 207-3 when bad light stopped play. Their efforts were led by 84* from skipper Tom Westley who was ably supported by Dan Lawrence who fell just short of his half-century, he was trapped LBW by Ed Barnard for 46.

Barnard was the pick of the bowlers for the visitors as he took 2-38 with Charlie Morris picking up the vital wicket of Sir Alastair Cook for 15.

At Trent Bridge, Durham got off to a rocky start as Jake Ball removed Michael Jones and Scott Borthwick for ducks. Durham’s fightback was led by battling fifties from Alex Lees and David Bedingham and 42 from Jack Burnham.

The wickets were shared among the Notts bowlers with Ball and Luke Fletcher picking up two wickets with Steven Mullaney and Lyndon James also picking up scalps as they reduced Durham to 241-7 at stumps.

Scores of 63 and 64 from Luis Reece and Matt Critchley respectively were all that spared Derbyshire’s blushes as the Warwickshire bowling attack tore through their batting line up. Liam Norwell led the attack as he picked up 5-32 as Derbyshire struggled to 189 all out.

Warwickshire’s innings got off to a rocky start as Will Rhodes was removed for a duck as they reached 13-1.

  • Group 2

The first action at Lords this summer was dominated by former England opener Sam Robson, he made 165 and despite no real support of any note led Middlesex to 293-8 at stumps.

Lewis Gregory made good use of the second new ball for Somerset to end the day with four wickets.

It was James Vince’s day at Grace Road as he raced to 168* having brought up his hundred off just 81 balls. He was backed up by a more sedate 119 from Tom Alsop as the pair added 224 together and a quick fifty from Liam Dawson as they racked up 431-4 at stumps.

It was a tough day for the Leicestershire bowlers but Chris Wright did end with respectable figures of 2-79.

At The Oval, the day ended with both sides still feeling the game was in the balance. Hashim Amla top-scored with 56 while Jamie Overton reaching 40 with Surrey 220-9 when rain intervened.

Josh Shaw was the most dangerous bowler for Gloucestershire as he took 4-48 with Ryan Higgins claiming three wickets and David Payne taking two.

  • Group 3

Emilio Gay picked up his maiden first-class wicket, but it was otherwise a strong day for Kent with fifties for Jordan Cox, 62 and Jack Leaning, 79 and Ollie Robinson top-scoring with 84 as they reached 309-7.

Darren Stevens will resume tomorrow on 34* looking to push Kent to a big score while Nathan Buck will be after the two wickets he needs to claim a five-fer.

Tom Haines was the star of the show at Old Trafford as his 155 helped Sussex recover from 14-3 to reach 291-9 at the close of play, with Ollie Robinson also aiding with 59 runs.

For Lancashire, Tom Bailey took 3 wickets including the valuable scalp of Haines while Saqib Mahmoud, Luke Wood and Danny Lamb took 2 wickets each.

Both Root brothers took to the field at Headingley and it was Billy Root who was in the thick of the action as he spent three hours at the crease for his 42 while Kiran Carlson scored more freely as he made 55.

Lower order runs including a 122 run partnership between Dan Douthwaite, 57, and Timm Van Der Gugten, 80*, pushed Glamorgan to 310-8.