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James Vince shines, even if the sun does not

Wet outfields prevented play in four of the six games on the opening day.

England batsman James Vince started the 2018 Specsavers County Championship campaign with a stylish half-century – but the weather was the real winner on day one of the new season.

Play was possible in only two of the six games, with fewer than 143 overs bowled around the country.

Most of the action came at the Ageas Bowl as Vince made 75 from 74 balls in Hampshire’s 290 all out against Worcestershire.

Vince scored 346 runs for England in six Tests during tours of Australia and New Zealand, with questions still lingering over his application at international level.

But he managed to cope with a typical April green-top wicket and thick grey clouds ready to assist the seamers.

Vince had solid support from Jimmy Adams (33) and South African star Hashim Amla (36) as Hampshire posted a decent total in the conditions.

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Start of the County Championship Package

Gareth Berg made an unbeaten 75 down the order, with Worcestershire captain Joe Leach the pick of the visitors’ bowling attack with four for 42.

Worcestershire closed on 40 for two with Brett D’Oliveira (one) and Tom Fell (16) falling to the pace of Fidel Edwards and Kyle Abbott.

The only other game to see play was the Division Two clash between Middlesex and Northamptonshire at Lord’s.

Middlesex – with club captain Dawid Malan and Eoin Morgan both unavailable – slumped to 63 for four before lunch after being invited to bat on a greenish wicket.

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Middlesex v Northamptonshire – Specsavers County Championship – Division Two – Lord’s

Seamers Ben Sanderson and Brett Hutton did the damage by picking up two wickets apiece, but Middlesex rallied to reach 136 for four on a day when only 48.5 overs were possible.

Max Holden, who spent a successful loan period at Northamptonshire last season, fell for eight before debutant Robbie White lost his off stump to Sanderson (two for 30) first ball.

Hutton got in on the act by bowling Hilton Cartwright after the Australian Test batsman had made a brisk 30, while Sam Robson was trapped leg before for 14.

But Middlesex recovered after lunch with John Simpson (31 not out) and Paul Stirling (40 not out) sharing an unbroken stand of 73.

The pair seemed well set when bad light halted play – despite the Lord’s floodlights being in use for the first time in a Championship fixture.

No play was possible in the Division One games between Lancashire and Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire and Essex.

Wet outfields also prevented any play in the Division Two games between Kent and Gloucestershire and Warwickshire and Sussex.

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