|LV County Championship Division Two, Wantage Road|
|Close of play, first day: Northants 145-3 v Middlesex|
Young Northants opener Robert Newton top scored with an unbeaten 66 on a rain-truncated first day against Middlesex at Wantage Road.
After the start was delayed for over three hours, only 40 overs were possible in the battle of the Division Two top two as Northants made 145-3.
Newton was supported by David Sales (26no) and Kyle Coetzer (22), Steven Crook weighing in with two wickets.
Northants are 22 points in front at the top - and 44 clear of the chasing pack.
And victory would all but clinch promotion for David Capel's men.
Crook took two wickets against his former county and Northants could have lost more, if it had not been for two catches being taken off no-balls delivered by Toby Roland-Jones.
CLOSE OF PLAY SUMMARY
BBC London 94.9's Kevin Hand:
"With no play before lunch, Middlesex understandably decided to field first and the decision was backed up by the key wicket of Steven Peters.
"But, with only two down heading to tea, it looked like Northants' session until Alex Wakely offered a soft catch at cover.
"The pitch did seem to offer some inconsistent bounce. The four seamers all found additional bounce on occasions, while there were also signs of a couple keeping a tad low outside the off stump."