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April 16, 2001
Against all the predictions of the weather forecasters and amid a chilling wind, the English cricket season began with a famous name earning the headlines.
Ben Hutton: First century of season
Photo © CricInfo
Ben Hutton, grandson of the great Sir Len, and son of Test player Richard, struck the first first-class century of the season.
It was 24-year-old Hutton's debut first-class ton, and contained 17 boundaries. After they were languishing on 15-3, Middlesex will be very grateful for Hutton's counter-attack after 19-year-old Thomas Mees had bowled both openers, Strauss and Roseberry, before trapping New Zealand Test captain Stephen Fleming lbw in a dramatic opening few minutes.
Hutton eventually departed for 133, another wicket for Mees, who finished with 6-64 as Middlesex were dismissed for 269 with just three of their players making more than 10. In reply Oxford UCCE were 32 without loss at the close.
Elsewhere Durham UCCE have endured a tough start against Durham. Having won the toss Durham UCCE were soon struggling and were dismissed for 67. Durham soon overtook the total for the loss of only one wicket and finished the day on 134-1, with Lewis 61 not out.
It's been plain sailing for most of the counties on the opening day of the domestic season, though Leicestershire's new overseas player, Daniel Marsh, made an unhappy start, bowled by Fraser Watts for a duck. Quick-fire half-centuries for Wells, Habib and Dakin ensured that the county side were able to declare on 376-9 after 90 overs however, allowing just enough time for Jimmy Ormond to take an early wicket as Loughborough UCCE struggled in response.
Further centuries have followed for Michael Di Venuto as Derbyshire (340-9) have made good progress against Bradford/Leeds UCCE, and for David Fulton for Kent (299-7)against Cambridge UCCE, although Di Venuto's innings will not be recorded as first-class. Only the games involving Cambridge, Oxford and Durham have first-class status.
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