Nottinghamshire v Sussex - Day One; Close.
A maiden century from Luke Wood rescued Nottinghamshire from a perilous position on the opening day of their LV= County Championship match against Sussex at Trent Bridge.
The 19-year-old left-hander, playing just his fifth first class match, made exactly 100 from 96 balls as the home side reached 255 before being bowled out in 55.3 overs.
At one stage Notts had been reduced to 55-6 before they mounted their resistance against an attack that was led by Steve Magoffin, who finished with figures of 6-109. When Sussex batted they also ran into early difficulties and closed on 39-3.
With a greenish tinge on the wicket, plus helpful overhead conditions, the onus was on the bowlers to justify Chris Nash’s decision to insert the home side and Magoffin and Chris Jordan responded to the call by grabbing two wickets apiece as the home side slumped to 30-4 in the opening hour.
Magoffin began his haul of wickets with two successful lbw shouts, removing Brendan Taylor for 9 – his sixth straight dismissal in that manner – and James Taylor for nought.
Jordan showed his remarkable athleticism by springing to his left to take a sharp one-handed caught and bowled offering from Steven Mullaney, before nipping one back to uproot two of Alex Hales’ stumps.
After a 25-minute rain delay Magoffin struck twice more, finding the edge to have Riki Wessels caught behind for seven and Samit Patel taken at slip for 17.
Will Gidman inspired the fightback, making his first 50 for Notts since his winter move from Gloucestershire, reaching his half century from 59 balls via a leg side tickle for four off Robinson, his ninth boundary of the day.
The fall of Greg Smith, bowled by Ollie Robinson for 14, brought Wood to the crease in the 33rd over and the youngster immediately went on the counter-attack.
The first of his six maximums, over point from the bowling of Matt Hobden, took him beyond his previous highest score of 26 and it was a taste of what was to come.
His second six, a mighty leg side blow off Magoffin, was from the first ball after tea but he lost Gidman, for 57, later in the same over.
Jake Ball supported Wood in an entertaining stand of 46 in just six overs, with both men clearing the ropes on a couple of occasions.
When Harry Gurney walked to the crease as last man Wood was on 72 but some creative farming of the strike, which twice included a bye from the final ball of an over, enabled the in-form man to face every ball of their 27-ball stand.
With the batsman two runs short of his century Nash turned to the leg spin of Luke Wells and pushed his men out to protect the boundary. A gentle drop on the leg side enabled the two batsmen to sprint through for the couple of runs needed, to scenes of great jubilation on the home dressing room balcony.
Wood had reached the landmark from 95 deliveries, having hit ten fours and six sixes but he’d barely let the applause die down before he’d nicked the next ball through to the wicketkeeper.
Sussex lost three wickets before the close, with Wells, Michael Yardy and Matt Machan all falling – two of them to the man of the day, Luke Wood.