Northants struggle on rain-ruined first day
Stumps Northamptonshire 96 for 3 v Worcestershire
Worcestershire seamer Alan Richardson took two wickets against Northamptonshire on a rain-affected first day of the County Championship Division Two clash at Wantage Road. Only 34 overs were possible due to the persistent rain that was sweeping the country in the afternoon, with Northamptonshire closing on 96 for 3 and Alex Wakely top-scoring with 48.
Richardson took the wickets of Ben Howgego and Wakely in claiming figures of 2 for 21, with the home side losing two quick wickets after lunch before the heavens opened. Northamptonshire won the toss and chose to bat in overcast conditions and they survived an early scare when Worcestershire wicketkeeper Ben Cox thought he had caught Howgego off Richardson in the first over - but his appeal was turned down.
It was slow going for the hosts at the start with only 21 runs being scored in the first 13 overs. Howgego in particular found it hard to get going and he made just four off 35 balls before his frustration got the better of him when he slapped Richardson straight to Gareth Andrew at gully.
The arrival of Alex Wakely allowed Northamptonshire to free themselves from their early malaise and the runs began to flow more freely with Wakely not taking long to get into his stride. He and Stephen Peters added 70 runs together in the morning as the home side recovered from their shaky start to make it to 91 for 1 at lunch.
Peters had batted sensibly all morning and showed more poise than his fellow opener Howgego - and knew when to play his shots or defend. But Wakely, who was just two short of a half-century, perished in the second over of the afternoon session when he edged Richardson to former Worcestershire captain Vikram Solanki at first slip.
Solanki then took a second catch in the following over when he snared David Sales in the same position off the bowling of Jack Shantry. Rob Newton came out to replace Sales but he did not get the chance to score before rain stopped play midway through the 35th over, soon after 2pm.
Eventually the umpires, Mark Benson and Nick Cook, made the decision to abandon play for the day an hour and a half later, meaning 61 overs were lost. Peters and 20-year-old Newton will resume at the crease tomorrow, weather permitting, with Peters looking to push on from 38 not out and Newton looking to get off the mark.