Northants v Warwickshire: Rob Newton century holds up Bears
LV= County Championship Division One, Wantage Road
Close, day one: Northants 297-8 v Warwickshire
Northants 2 pts, Warwickshire 2 pts
Rob Newton hit his first century of the season to save bottom club Northants from collapse on day one against Warwickshire at Wantage Road.
Newton made an unbeaten 108, including 18 fours, and shared a sixth-wicket stand of 129 with Andrew Hall (45).
The home side's batting frailties prompted them to give a Championship debut to T20 import Richard Levi.
Happy hunting ground for Bears
Warwickshire are unbeaten on their last 10 County Championship trips to Wantage Road, having won seven and drawn three.
He batted sensibly for 43 before being caught behind off Chris Woakes, who took 3-74 as Northants closed on 297-8.
Beaten in their last five matches, the home side have not passed 300 in a Championship innings since scoring 378 against Durham in the opening game of the summer, but Newton's effort, before bad light ended play, has given them every chance of doing so this time.
However, their problems were again clear to see against a Warwickshire side, led by fit-again skipper Jim Troughton for the first time this season and including Jeetan Patel, whose off-spin always commanded respect.
At 66-1, Northants lost two wickets in the same Rikki Clarke over and later slumped to 115-5 as Matt Spriegel was lbw to Chris Wright and Levi followed four balls later.
Newton and Hall finally halted the slide and although Hall was bowled by Woakes, Newton brought up his hundred off 164 balls with a boundary off Wright, the 17th of his innings.
From BBC Northampton's Chris Egerton:
"This was a much better, if not perfect day for Northants.
"They won the toss on a pitch which immediately offered the odd bit of variable bounce and when they were reduced to 141-6, the home crowd feared a repeat of recent collapses.
"But Rob Newton and Andrew Hall showed discipline and application to create Northants' second century partnership of the Championship season. Newton's mixture of aggression and caution was exemplary, and it was his first ton in nearly two years, having missed most of 2013 with an ankle problem.
"Unlike previous Wantage Road pitches, the home side believe this pitch will get better for the bowlers and not the batsmen, so as many first innings runs will be required as possible."
BBC Radio WM's Mike Taylor:
"Both teams had things to be pleased about from the first day. For Warwickshire, simply seeing club captain Jim Troughton back on the field for the first team was a plus, after recovering from persistent back problems.
"With Chris Woakes to the fore, the bowlers kept the pressure up, but the pitch appeared to offer less as the day went on.
"They were also held up by some very fine batting in the second half of the day, especially from Rob Newton."