Tons of fun for Essex batsmen

PUBLISHED: 18:54 31 March 2016 | UPDATED: 18:54 31 March 2016

The 2016 first-class cricket season is underway (pic: Jonathan Brady/PA)

The 2016 first-class cricket season is underway (pic: Jonathan Brady/PA)

PA/Press Association Images

Duo hit hundreds on opening day at Cambridge

Essex piled up the runs against Cambridge Universtiy on the first day of the new first-class season at Fenner’s.

Jaik Mickleburgh and Tom Westley hit centuries, while South Woodford’s Nick Browne fell 13 runs short of his own hundred as the county declared on a commanding 416-4.

And former Oaks Park pupil Jamie Porter made the breakthrough with the ball before the close, as the students reached 24-1 from 10 overs.

After being put into bat, Essex saw Browne and Mickleburgh bring up their 50 in the 14th over, as Browne hit his fifth boundary of the morning session.

And the century opening stand was reached in the 25th over, as Browne reached his own fifty from 85 balls with nine fours.

Mickleburgh reached his fifty off 81 balls with seven fours, with Browne upping the scoring pace to go to lunch unbeaten on 87 with Essex 168 without loss.

But the left-hander fell after the restart without addition, edging behind, and Westley then helped Mickleburgh put on 133 for the second wicket.

Mickleburgh reached his first century since 2013 from 169 balls and hit successive sixes off leg-spinner Avish Patel before also being caught behind for 125, with the Essex total of 301.

Westley had reached his half-century off 73 balls, but Ravi Bopara fell cheaply when mistiming a drive to cover in the last over before tea.

Having reached 110 from 124 balls, with 17 boundaries, Westley retired out on 110 and former Trinity High School pupil Dan Lawrence (35 not out) put on an unbroken 59 with captain Ryan ten Doeschate before the declaration came after 85 overs.

That left the students to negotiate 40 minutes before the close of play and they lost Jamie Abbott in the seventh over as he edged Porter behind to Wanstead old boy James Foster.

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