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County Championship: Rain frustration for promotion-chasing Northants

Andrew Hall: Northants all-rounder dismissed Kent opener Sam Northeast

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Northamptonshire's hopes of sealing promotion to Division One suffered a setback as rain washed out most of the first day of their County Championship match with Kent at Wantage road.

Only 17.1 overs were possible after Kent, who have just pride to play for, had been put in to bat with former South Africa all-rounder Andrew Hall taking the only wicket to fall as the visitors closed on 60-1.

Northamptonshire went into this contest 21 points ahead of third-placed Essex in the Division Two table with the prospect of a return to the top flight for the first time since 2004 very much in their own hands. It would complete an already a memorable season for them, having already won the Friends Life t20.

The hosts won the toss and, unsurprisingly given the gloomy conditions, elected to field but only 15 minutes play, in which four overs were bowled, was possible before rain forced the players off.

There had been enough time for Rob Key to be given a scare when Muhammad Azharullah had an appeal for having him caught behind turned down, although the initial delay lasted just half an hour.

Breakthrough

Just when it looked as if Kent were about to see off the new ball, the hosts made a much-needed breakthrough given the poor forecast at the start of the 14th over.

Northamptonshire wicketkeeper David Murphy had just begun to stand up to the wicket and the tactic paid off immediately as he took a sharp catch to dismiss Sam Northeast (14) off the bowling of Hall.

Unfortunately, bad light stopped play after Lee Daggett had bowled just one ball of the 18th over leading to an early lunch being taken.

Persistent rain began to fall just after midday and it became clear that no further play was going to be possible.

The umpires, Nigel Cowley and Neil Bainton, eventually bowed to the inevitable conclusion that it would not be possible to get proceedings back under way at 4:25pm. The weather is predicted to be more favourable on Wednesday.

For the visitors, former England batsman Key will be resuming on 17 with Daniel Bell-Drummond alongside him on seven.