Emilio Gay’s maiden first-class century put Northamptonshire in control after Day One of their LV= Insurance County Championship match at Canterbury.

Gay struck 15 boundaries and a six on his way to 101, while Luke Procter made 81 and Ricardo Vasconcelos 66 as Northamptonshire dominated the majority of the opening day. 

The new ball helped bring Kent back into the Group Three game in the evening session, Darren Stevens taking two for 52 and Matt Quinn two for 77.

Kent lost the toss for the seventh time out of eight this season and they were once again left to rue their luck as the visitors chose to bat, Vasconcelos and Gay exploiting a benign surface to put on 135 for the first wicket. 

Kent bowled with some hostility but no real menace and the only breakthrough came in the 26th over when Quinn, having switched to the Nackington Road end, had Vasconcelos caught behind. 

The visitors reached 141 for one at lunch and Gay continued to play with measured aggression after the break, passing his previous highest first-class score of 77 by hitting Marcus O’Riordan for six over long on. He reached three figures when he glanced Jack Leaning to square leg for two, but he was subsequently out to the same bowler without adding to his score, caught behind after driving hard at a wide delivery. 

Northamptonshire were 246 for two at tea and they eased to 314 without further loss before the new ball helped Quinn trap Procter lbw in the 82nd over. Stevens too made use of the new Dukes when he struck twice, luring Rob Keogh into an edge to first slip, where he was caught by Jordan Cox for 38, before sending Adam Rossington’s off stump flying in his next over, bowling him for four. 

When Stevens was replaced at the Nackington Road end the pressure eased and Saif Zaib and Tom Taylor batted through the final half hour, reaching 17 and 19 not out respectively at the close. 

Northamptonshire 362/5. (Gay 101, Procter 88)