Ben Duckett scored 216 and Ben Slater made 130 as Notts reached 527 for seven after skipper Steven Mullaney won the toss and opted to bat.

Duckett made his runs from 180 deliveries and hit 34 fours and four huge sixes. Slater faced 239 balls and reached the ropes on 20 occasions.

The Nottinghamshire team included two debutants in Joe Clarke, who joined during the close season from Worcestershire, plus Paul Coughlin, now happily recovered from the shoulder injury which deprived him of so much cricket last year.

The two left-handed Bens, Slater and Duckett, made the most of some early width and punished the students’ opening bowlers with a brisk 50 inside the opening eight overs.

There was no letting up as the board began to accelerate and Duckett led the way, skilfully manoeuvring the ball to all parts as he brought up his 50 from 62 balls.

He reached the landmark with a reverse sweep for four off Luke Chapman, the spinner who took six wickets when Notts played at Fenner’s in 2017.

Duckett celebrated with a slog-sweep for six at the start of a sequence which saw him score all 39 of the runs added between 81 and 120.

Scoring 58 out of the next 67 runs took him to his 15th first class hundred from only 95 balls, with 18 fours and the one maximum.

His only scare in the morning session came on 136 when he went to pull the left-armer Sam Rippington. The ‘keeper couldn’t get under the high swirler, leaving the batsman ruefully looking at the bottom of his bat after taking the single.

Slater’s 50 came from 87 balls with nine fours and the pair walked off at lunch having added 222 together, surely the most ever compiled by the county on the opening morning of a first-class match.

The early afternoon saw a number of records tumble as the openers passed previous partnership bests against all previous University or MCCU opposition.

Duckett cleared the ropes three more times to move towards his 15th first class ton, becoming only the second county player after Walter Keeton to hit a double-hundred at Fenner’s.

Slater had played a chanceless knock and reached an unbeaten 90 when his partner fell. Callum Guest, the Light Blues’ captain, had been the pick of the home attack and gained just reward when Duckett went for one mighty blow too many and was bowled.

A ‘stuck scoreboard’ meant Slater’s hundred was achieved in the most low-key manner imaginable.

The board had him on 95 but didn’t move for a number of scoring shots until a cry from the scorers heralded a belated round of applause and a raised bat.

His fifth career ton – and third for Notts – had come from 187 balls, with 17 fours.

Given that his partner had been rattling along in fifth gear most of the day, Slater’s calmness and willingness to rotate the strike was as commendable as his impeccable shot selection.

A clip to midwicket gave Guest a second victim and ended Slater’s occupation of the crease - and two more wickets fell in quick succession.

Clarke was given out lbw for just two and Chris Nash chopped on for 25, giving Rippington some late reward.

The fifth wicket pair of Mullaney and Samit Patel got Notts going again, with 84 added in 15 overs.

Mullaney reached his 50 from 58 balls but then hoisted Chapman into the deep and was caught for 51 three balls later.

The closing moments of the day saw three more milestones reached.

Patel went past 12,000 first class runs – and 11,000 of them for Nottinghamshire. He celebrated the achievement by launching the ball over the midwicket ropes to take the side past the 508 they scored here on the opening day of the 2016 match – the most ever scored on the first day of a match.

Cantrell picked up the wicket of 46, getting Patel caught in the deep and then Tom Moores fell to Chapman for five.

In the final over – the 108th of the day – Coughlin was able to open his run-account for Notts when given four overthrows.


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