Dan Redfern hit his maiden First Class century as Derbyshire came back strongly on the opening day at The County Ground.
The County Ground faithful had witnessed a nervous start after David Sales had won the toss for the visitors and elected to bowl on an overcast morning in Derby.
Any nerves, however, were gradually eroded as heroics from youngsters Redfern and Ross Whiteley brought Derbyshire back into the game – the hosts recovering from 50-4 to 286 all out - before a flurry of Northants wickets in the evening session ensured a great opening day of the 2012 campaign.
Redfern, who had entered the crease with Derbyshire in some trouble after the early dismissals of Martin Guptill (15), Paul Borrington (1) and Wayne Madsen (1), carried on where he left off against Warwickshire in the final pre-season friendly with a typically fluent knock that saw the left hander 52 unbeaten at Lunch; with the only further wicket to fall that of Wes Durston for 17.
The 40 minute interval did little to stem the fluidity and confidence of Redfern’s innings and – along with Whiteley – the young pair turned Derbyshire’s innings from precarious to a position of strength.
Mid-session, Redfern delivered what his talent has promised for some time, flicking the ball through square leg for three to bring up his century; bringing the milestone up from 127 balls, including 12 fours.
Redfern was out shortly before the Tea interval for 110 from 127 deliveries - bowled David Willey - ending a dominant 160 run stand with Whiteley, which equalled the Derbyshire record for the fifth wicket against Northants, previously held by Ian Buxton and Derek Morgan back in 1968.
David Wainwright – making his First Class debut for the county – had reached 11 before succumbing lbw to James Middlebrook, however Whiteley (81*) and Tom Poynton (6*) survived the remainder of the afternoon session as Derbyshire reached 248-6 at Tea.
With the second batting point secured early in the final session of the day, Whiteley – who had played a mature and well-paced knock throughout – fell to the talented Jack Brooks, courtesy of an Alex Wakeley catch, for an invaluable 83, which included no less than 13 boundaries; two of which were maximums.
Tony Palladino (8), Poynton (20)and Tim Groenewald (6) all departed in fairly quick succession – the latter giving Brooks his fifth wicket as he returned figures of 5-61 - to see the hosts dismissed for 286; a score that had seemed implausible after the first hour of play.
In reply, the opening pair of Stephen Peters and Rob Newton had a tricky 13 over spell to negotiate before the close and neither were successful as Palladino first claimed the latter, caught Guptill for a duck, before Groenewald claimed his first of the campaign, dismissing Peters for four thanks to a Wainwright catch; Northants 13-2.
Derbyshire would have been happy with the position of the match given the shaky start, however the situation became even better moments later when Kyle Coetzer – making his first appearance for Northants since his loan move from Durham became permanent in the close season – became Groenewald’s second victim; caught and bowled for 10.
At the close, Northamptonshire were 28-3 with Sales (8*) and Wakeley (2*) the not out batsmen, the visitors 258 runs behind with seven first innings wickets remaining.
Play resumes in the morning at 11am with all members welcome to bring unlimited guests to the match free of charge simply by showing their card at the gate.
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