The weather dominated 2023’s opening day as Northamptonshire’s batsmen endured tough conditions in Canterbury.

After losing the first session entirely to a soggy outfield, the hosts were quick to put Northamptonshire in to bat after winning the toss. Northamptonshire handed caps to Hassan Azad, Chris Tremain and Sam White – the first time three players made their debuts in the same fixture for Northamptonshire since 2006.

Ricardo Vasconcelos got his season off to the ideal start as he gracefully drove the opening ball of the match to the cover boundary. The scoreboard moved freely in the opening five overs before two quick wickets fell, Azad given out LBW and Whiteman beaten by sharp movement off the pitch to see Northamptonshire 27 for 2.

Things settled before a fruitful change in the Kent attack saw Procter and Keogh both dismissed to the first delivery of Evison and Stewart’s spells. Cobb too departed for single figures courtesy of an excellent return catch and when McManus feathered behind Northamptonshire walked off 77 for 6 at tea.

In tough conditions for batting Vasconcelos proved a positive constant. The opener looked composed and confident as he unfurled trademark cover drives and dismissive pull shots. He’d reached 39 before conditions got the best of the left-hander, a Hogan delivery keeping very low off the pitch to trap him LBW in light the umpires decided was unfit for play two balls later.

Sales and Berg wouldn’t make it back out to the middle with light worsening and rain closing in. Just 26 overs possible on the opening day, Northamptonshire 89 for 7 at the close.