Bob Willis Trophy begins with Heino Kuhn and Nick Gubbins hitting hundreds

Kent’s Heino Kuhn scored the first century in the Bob Willis Trophy on a tough day for County Championship winners Essex.

Tom Westley’s first day as captain since replacing Ryan Ten Doeschate during the winter proved tricky, with the visitors ending on 344-6 – Kuhn’s innings of 140 not out was the bedrock of a superb total for Kent, who were also indebted to Ollie Robinson’s 78.

  • Bob WIllis Trophy scorecards

Jamie Porter and Sam Cook combined for five wickets and had reduced the away side to 23-3 in the morning session, but it was downhill from there.

Before the start of play in each of the nine fixtures, squads from all 18 counties observed a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for those affected by coronavirus and decided to take a knee to promote racial equality.

Kuhn was not the only man to hit a hundred in the South Group, with Nick Gubbins unbeaten 150 guiding Middlesex to 264-4 against Surrey at the Kia Oval – it was only Gubbins’ second first-class century in three years.

Wickets tumbled in the other South Group fixture, where Hampshire dismissed Sussex for 176 at Hove after Mason Crane and debutant Ajeet Dale claimed three wickets apiece.

Phil Salt top scored for the home side with an 83-ball innings of 68 and they fought back late in the day to reduce the visitors to 77-4, with Ollie Robinson the pick of the bowlers with 2-29.

England bowler Olly Stone showed his class with a four-wicket haul for Warwickshire at home to Northamptonshire in the Central Group.

Only 29 not out from Luke Procter enabled the visitors to reach 142 before they were all out at Edgbaston and Robert Yates’ unbeaten half-century had the hosts just 13 runs away from a lead going into the second day with six wickets in hand.

Elsewhere in the Central Group, Charlie Morris inspired a late Worcestershire fightback at Gloucestershire with three wickets in 18 balls – a 127-run partnership between Chris Dent (92) and Graeme Van Buuren had Gloucestershire well placed on 205-2 but they lost six wickets for 41 runs to leave the match finely poised.

Wicketkeeper Steven Davies and Jack Brooks frustrated Glamorgan with a 107-run 10th-wicket partnership at Taunton to help Somerset post 296 all out.

Ruaidhri Smith’s three for 41 had the 2019 County Championship runners-up in all sorts of trouble on 149-8 but Davies stuck around to score 81 not out and Brooks smashed two maximums and nine fours in a sparkling 72 off only 58 balls.

Rain affected Yorkshire’s efforts at Durham in the North Group but they still put down an early marker.

A disrupted first session failed to stop Ben Coad picking up four wickets after lunch to ensure the hosts were dismissed for 103 inside 59 overs at Chester-le-Street.

Yorkshire had almost reduced the deficit by the close but the wicket of Tom Kohler-Cadmore after a run-a-ball 41 briefly halted their momentum as they finished on 84-4.

Lancashire captain Dane Vilas fell 10 short of a century after he helped his side fight back from a poor start at their temporary base of New Road.

With Emirates Old Trafford being used by England for their Test series with Pakistan, the Red Rose are without a home, but ended an encouraging day one against Leicestershire on 265-6 after Steven Croft added 63.

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