County make progress despite Newton injury

Rob Newton suffered a fractured bone just above his left wrist as Northamptonshire were made to fight hard on day one of their County Championship clash with Kent at Canterbury.

David Sales and James Middlebrook added an unbroken 157 for the fifth wicket to boost Northants after they had slipped from 69-1 to 87-4 in the first hour after lunch, with Sales reaching a superb 104 not out by the close.

Middlebrook is still there on a battling 57, and in the end Kent’s bowling attack was made to toil on a slow surface.

But the injury to Newton overshadowed the day for Northants, who now fear he will miss the start of the Friends Life t20 in early June.

The fracture is expected to sideline him for between four and five weeks and he will play no further part in this game.

Newton retired hurt on 23, after initially facing two more balls from Matt Coles following the blow from the England Lions fast bowler.

He had needed five minutes of treatment on the field before deciding to bat on, but when he clipped the second ball after the resumption wide of mid on he signalled hat the pain in his arm was too great to continue.

Northants were 46 without loss when Newton went off, having won the toss and decided to take use of a slow St Lawrence Ground pitch.

Stephen Peters also batted well in that opening stand, but had lost Newton’s replacement at the crease, Kyle Coetzer, before lunch.

Coetzer was bowled by Mark Davies, aiming to drive the former Durham seamer, and when Peters fell to the second ball after the lunch interval, lbw for 34 to a nip-backer from Darren Stevens, it triggered a mini-collapse which left Kent well on top.

Charlie Shreck did the further damage, having Northants skipper Andrew Hall well held at long leg by Davies as he skied an attempted pull and then bowling left-hander Niall O’Brien through the gate as he pushed defensively at a ball that swung back into him and clipped the top of the stumps.

But that was the last Kent success of the day as Sales, with his first Championship century for almost two years, and Middlebrook built their fine partnership. Former Northants captain Sales reached his hundred from 196 balls, with 11 fours, and at stumps he had batted for almost four-and-a-half hours.

Middlebrook completed his fifty from 158 balls, with just three fours, but he proved to be the perfect foil for Sales, who played some lovely early strokes against James Tredwell’s off spin and then took successive legside boundaries off Shreck, armed with the second new ball, to go swiftly into the 90s.