Essex v Hampshire, Chelmsford, 1st day April 9, 2010

Godleman stars on Essex debut

Essex 325 for 7 v Hampshire

Billy Godleman just failed to mark his Essex debut with a century as Hampshire were made to work hard for wickets after putting in their rivals on the opening day of their County Championship match at Chelmsford.

The 21-year-old left-handed opener made 92 as Essex closed on 325 for 7, with Matt Walker and James Foster also posting half centuries. Signed on a three-year contract after leaving Middlesex, Godleman was denied his 100 when he was bowled by left-arm spinner Danny Briggs while attempting to turn the ball away on the leg side.

But long before then, he had underlined his potential with a variety of attacking strokes while collecting 13 boundaries during his 146-ball stay. However, he did need one slice of luck. When on 45 he edged a simple catch to Jimmy Adams at first slip only for the fielder to spurn the opportunity.

Although a green-looking pitch suggested it would help the bowlers, Godleman and John Maunders found it held no terrors as they launched the innings on a firm foundation. And it was only a misunderstanding between the openers that led to the stand being broken on 68. maunders had made 33 of those when he was run out at the non-striker's end when turning and failing to regain his ground after setting off for a single.

Tom Westley managed only a single before he was caught behind by Nic Pothas off paceman David Griffiths, and soon after Godleman's demise, Mark Pettini also became a victim of Briggs. Pettini reached double figures with an onside six, the first of the innings, only to be dismissed next ball when he snicked to Pothas when cutting. The Essex skipper's departure paved the way for an entertaining partnership of 75 involving Walker and Foster.

A pulled muscle resulted in Walker batting with a runner as he neared his half-century but it proved no real handicap as he reached that landmark with a couple of leg-side fours at the expense of Briggs. But on 57, his innings was brought to an end when he gloved a simple catch to Pothas when sweeping. In all, he hit nine boundaries while receiving 178 deliveries.

Foster was quick to seize upon any opportunity to drive as he completed a superb 50 from 62 deliveries, 10 of which he despatched to the boundary. And he continued to attack confidently, adding another eight fours until he fell victim to the second new ball when he was caught at second slip to provide Griffiths with his second success of the innings. Foster had made 88 and Griffiths was to claim another victim before the close when he had Ryan ten Doeschate caught by a leaping Adams in the slips. Griffiths has so far claimed three for 73 while Briggs has been rewarded with three for 61.