Will Smith's half-century helped early season leaders Hampshire to 231 for five on a weather-affected first day against Derbyshire at the County Ground today.

Smith made 70 before losing his wicket late in the day as Derbyshire's bowlers were made to work hard for their rewards in their first home LV= County Championship match of the season.

Opener Michael Carberry's 45 had got Hants going while Liam Dawson contributed 39.

The start of play was delayed by morning rain in Derby, leading the hosts to put Hampshire in to bat after winning the toss.

Carberry was unaffected by any lingering damp as he found the boundary repeatedly while Jimmy Adams largely kept watch at the other end.

With 43 runs on the board, Adams had contributed only five when he offered a chance, flicking Tim Groenwald's delivery just short of Mark Footitt at square leg.

He went moments later, adding only two further runs before he was caught down the leg side by Richard Johnson to bring a sliding celebration from bowler Mark Turner.

Carberry then edged Turner through the slips while on 45, and he had not added to the score before being trapped lbw by Tony Palladino, leaving the visitors on 57 for two.

James Vince and Dawson steered them through to lunch at 64 for two, but the weather drew in once again after the interval and more time was lost to bad light.

They resumed just before 3pm with the score on 80 for two, and now it was Vince who took the initiative, hitting six boundaries before being trapped lbw by Groenwald for 30, leaving with the score on 100 for three.

That brought Smith to the crease and he soon offered a chance, hitting the ball straight to Footitt who immediately aimed for the stumps. A direct hit would have removed Smith but the ball whistled past.

Smith quickly settled down and Hampshire coped with the introduction of Wesley Durston's spin to reach tea at 145 for three.

Smith was lucky again on 33 when a bottom edge off Footitt just missed the stumps and again a wicket immediately followed a chance, but this time it was Dawson who went, bowled by a fine delivery from Footitt to leave the visitors on 164 for four.

Smith soon brought up his half century, reaching 51 off 106 balls, but there were still signs of encouragement for Derbyshire.

Most came at the other end where Joe Gatting was living dangerously, put down by the diving Durston in the slips on 14, and then flicking a Groenwald delivery just wide of Shivnarine Chanderpaul on 19.

There was just time for Derbyshire to claim the big wicket, with Smith pulling Chesney Hughes to short midwicket, and almost immediately play was brought to an end by further bad light.