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Page last updated at 17:30 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 18:30 UK

Billy Godleman hits form on Essex Championship debut

CLOSE OF PLAY, DAY ONE: Essex 325-7 v Hampshire
Essex 3pts, Hampshire 2pts
Match scorecard

Billy Godleman
Billy Godleman hit two first-class centuries in his time with Middlesex

Billy Godleman went just eight short of a hundred on his Essex debut as the Division One newcomers piled up the runs against Hampshire at Chelmsford.

The winter signing from Middlesex hit 13 fours in his 92 out of 325-7, backed up by half centuries from James Foster (88) and Matthew Walker (57).

Hampshire paceman David Griffiths and spinner Danny Briggs each took three wickets as Essex batted out the day.

But new signing Kabir Ali ended up wicketless on his Hampshire debut.

Although a green-looking pitch suggested it would help the bowlers, Hampshire were made to work hard for wickets after putting their hosts in.

Godleman, signed on a three-year contract after leaving Middlesex, was denied his 100 when he was bowled by left-arm spinner Briggs while attempting to turn the ball away on the leg side.

But, long before then, he had underlined his potential with a variety of attacking strokes, collecting 13 boundaries during his 146-ball stay.

And it was only a misunderstanding between the openers that led to his opening stand with John Maunders being broken on 68.

Maunders had made 33 of those when he was run out at the non-striker's end by Griffiths' direct hit after he turned and failed to regain his ground having set off for a single.

Godleman aside, the other highlight of the day was an entertaining partnership of 75 involving Walker and Foster.

A pulled muscle resulted in Walker batting with a runner as he neared his half century.

It proved no real handicap as he reached that landmark with a couple of leg-side fours at the expense of Briggs. But, on 57, his innings was brought to an end when he gloved a simple catch behind sweeping.

Foster was quick to seize upon any opportunity to drive as he completed a superb 50 from 62 deliveries. And he continued to attack confidently, hitting 18 fours before falling victim to the second new ball when caught at second slip.

Essex batsman Billy Godleman told BBC Essex:
"It was nice to strike a few well and get a few runs.

"We are in a decent position after the first day's play and it was nice to get out there and finally play cricket.

"It wasn't the easiest of wickets, but it didn't really swing in the morning and that helps as a batsman.

"There was a little passage of play just before lunch and just after where the ball swung a bit.

"It became difficult but I just tried to take one ball at a time and do as good as I could."

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see also
Essex players face police probe
09 Apr 10 |  Essex

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