Day to forget for openers as County Championship season begins and conditions take their toll

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Will Macpherson
·1-min read
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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

As six of the nine toss-winning captains chose to bowl and 26 wickets fell in the opening session of the county season, the reminders were everywhere that April 8 is no date to be an opening batsman.

They dropped like flies, with the openers’ tally of single-figure scores reaching double-figures.

Derbyshire’s Billy Godleman was the first man to go, for nought. Rory Burns, back with Surrey after a tough winter, was soon on his way too, edging four through the cordon, then being caught there off Gloucestershire’s David Payne.

Burns’ partner Mark Stoneman, more experienced still, was soon pinned in front by Ryan Higgins’ challenging medium pace. Even Alastair Cook only managed 15. Zak Crawley, down in his preferred No3 spot for Kent, did not last long either.

There were two openers who will remember this day fondly at least. At Lord’s, Sam Robson was in spectacular form, gliding to the first fifty, then hundred of the season. And at Old Trafford, the unheralded Tom Haines held Sussex together with 155 from the imperilled position of 14 for three.

Derbyshire were the only team to actually be bowled out on the opening day, proving that it does get easier as the day wears on, even in April. Safely ensconced at No5, James Vince - one of the only captains to choose to bat – cashed in handsomely, smashing Leicestershire’s generous attack to all parts.

He will continue today, as will another opener, Dom Sibley, having made it to stumps at Edgbaston on three. Naturally, though, he watched his opening partner and captain, Will Rhodes, pinned lbw second ball by Derbyshire’s Sam Conners.

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