David Bedingham marked his 27th birthday with his ninth first-class century, guiding Durham into a strong position on day one of their LV= Insurance County Championship match against Derbyshire Sam Conners had put the hosts on the back foot with successive strikes to reduce them to seven for two. Bedingham arrived at the crease and produced century stands with Alex Lees and Jack Burnham to turn the day in the favour of the north-east outfit.The South African displayed an attractive array of strokes on his way to his second hundred of the season, remaining 170 unbeaten at the close with his team on 307 for four well placed to post a substantial first-innings score.After opting to bat on a newly-laid square at Emirates Riverside, Durham were rocked by an impressive new-ball spell from Conners, who struck with back-to-back deliveries. Will Young scored only a single before he knicked off to second slip. Scott Borthwick endured an unhappy homecoming in his first home game since his return when he was pinned lbw.Bedingham survived Conners' hat-trick ball, but the Derbyshire seamer maintained the pressure. Lees was dropped at second slip, while Bedingham put in a desperate dive to avoid being run out for one by Fynn Hudson-Prentice. The two players stemmed the tide, bringing up a stand of fifty before lunch courtesy of successive Bedingham boundaries.Their partnership was only broken by Conners with a peach of a delivery to remove Lees' off-stump, only after the pair had passed their century stand. Derbyshire failed to receive the rub of the green in the afternoon session. Luis Reece found Bedingham's outside edge on 76, but the right-hander found the gap between wicketkeeper and first slip before Burnham inside-edged a turning Matt Critchley delivery millimetres past his stumps.Bedingham made the most of his reprieve, notching his second century of the term from 143 deliveries with a push past mid-on. Burnham then ended a drought without a first-class half-century dating back to August 2019. The duo secured Durham's first batting bonus point in a partnership worth 134.Critchley eventually dismissed an ailing Burnham when he was caught behind on 75 after struggling with a back problem. Bedingham continued to press towards the close and posted his second score of over 150 in the County Championship, drilling George Scrimshaw straight to the fence for his 21st boundary. Durham notched their third bonus point before the close passing the 300-run mark with Bedingham and Ned Eckersley returning on day two.
Derbyshire's Sam Conners said: "We were not too sure what the wicket was going to be like. As the day went on you could see it become flatter almost and it was starting to go up and down. We have to be on it from ball one tomorrow.
"The start of the season has not been too bad for me. I had a bad spell towards the end of the day that ruined my figures. It's always great to contribute to the team. Hopefully we can crack on as a team tomorrow and knock them over cheaply."