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Only decided to go to this the evening before – a real last minute thing.  The 2nds don’t visit the south much, and with enough new players on the teamsheet to make the game of ‘guess the player’ worth the trip.  With the possibility of Mark Davies bowling, and not a cheerleader or mascot in sight – Result!

Fenners; a ground where you were dead glad you printed out a google map before you went – there are no signs to it, plus the one on the gate is not obvious when the gate is open.  I walked right past it in the wrong direction…  .  The ground has Housemartins that like the outfield, that’s all I can say.

Second eleven cricket; where you can be your teams top supporter.  Mainly by being the only team supporter there!  Now if only I had brought a dog.

There was a tannoy that you could hear and an announcer – but he gave up during the second semi due to lack of crowd and the Foxes scorer not telling him which player was which.  In the 2nds lots of players have unnamed clothes or are wearing clothes borrowed from other team members, we had two Brathwaites and two Richardsons.  One of the Richardsons was threatening to wear a headband!  From the colours you would never guess he was an Aussie?

I didn’t intend to write a report so I took no notes.    The scoreboard was quite often wrong too.  My recollection of any match is largely rubbish as I spend too much time faffing about with my camera and talking to people and or eating.  You have to pay extra attention if you want to really report what is going on at these matches!  As you can see I didn’t.

Bob and Joe Coyne opened the bowling; the other bowlers were Paul Muchall, Andrew Tye, Ruel Brathwait and Ben Raine.  I was surprised how well Paul and Ben Raine Bowled, Ruel was Ruel and Joe and Andrew were more hit and miss.  But I think they all got at least one wicket apiece in both the matches.  Costa and Ben Harmison did not bowl.

Braithwait took some really nice skied catches, Our fielding was good in both matches.  And there was some big hitting by all the teams involved in the day.  Some nice stuff from us in our Semi but unfortunately not as much by us in the final match.  Pringle was 12 man.

It was really nice to see Mark Davies back in action. The Gloucestershire openers took a liking to him at first but he pulled it back to take 3 wickets in his 4 overs.  It was a shame he only got to bowl two overs in the final as he was bowling really well by that stage.  It’s a shame we don’t see him play much in T20, as he looks like he could be good in it.  And if he finds physically he is not cut out for further Championship cricket I’m sure he has lots of valuable work to do for us in the shortest form.

We batted well against Gloustershire and passed their 142 easily with 3 or so overs to spare, with the loss of only 3 wickets.  In the other semi the Leicester fielding was poor and Sussex hit them all over the place.  Even so Ben Brown had a glove throwing fit on returning to the benches when out – strops are obviously the in thing in the Sussex dressing room.

Although rain was forecast for most of the afternoon it only interfered with the Sussex v Leicestershire match where I think the state of the foxes warmup and one day kit was just to much for the Angels, they could not hold the tears of hilarity back any more.  The umpires were of the sort you would want on a possibly rainy day as they pressed on to get the play done, the final started nearly an hour early – I think lessons could be learned here and no play was lost to rain at all.

We started the Finals match startlingly well with Davies causing so many problems in the first over that he claimed a wicket and there was a run out off of his bowling.  It all unravelled somewhat near the end of the 3rd over when Davies went for a caught and bowled which did not come off, instead he left the field to play the ‘is there a broken bone in my hand’ game with the Fenners physio.

From there on in Sussex hit the odd boundary and the odd mighty six regularly – enough to get them up to 161

And by the time it was our turn to bat we found that Sussex’s bowling had tightened up since the semi, they bowled more like an attack with Amjad Khan, Will Beer and Ollie Rayner should.  It didn’t look good for us when the in form Rocky got stranded mid way down the pitch early on.  The rest of our top order got out to catches, apart from Ben Harmison who was run out, and I think Paul was bowled.  You know that it has probably slipped away when two of your ‘no name on jumper’ bowlers are at the crease, with a good way to go to the finishing line.  [update; for proof that I wasn’t paying proper attention here is the scorecard…most of them seemed to get bowled!]

Bob did threaten to go out to bat at the end, but he wasn’t needed, so perhaps his hand was just bruised, rather than anything more serious.  We failed to get the 24 runs needed.

They got a big bottle of bubbly, we got a smaller one.  They sung their horrendous team song loudly once back in the dressing room.  I left, I had a pina collada to drink on the train .  Cambridge is easy to navigate around so making the half eight was no problem. But Cambridge is a town where free range morris dancers roam the streets….be afraid, be very afraid…

There are more pictures from the days play here.

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Coming in on a shaky 2 for 22, Gordon Muchall more than steadied the ship with a fine 175.

Well done Much!

At New Road our Championship match against Worcestershire was played until 19.53.  There was a late start due to rain, there were intervals in play due to rain.  But at a quarter to eight the seamers were still bowling.  Competitive red ball cricket into the evening is possible even in Mid May.

We are in a temperate country, our summer days are long, we could play championship matches into the summer evenings, we would not even have to resort to a pink ball.

There are evening T20’s and evening one day matches.  We play those in the evening so more people can attend.

So tell me again… just why are there no evening Championship matches in June and July?

Marcus must be beginning to think what does he need to do to beat us.  Even a big century from him this time was not enough.  Durham once again pulled off another great escape, with his team no doubt feeling slightly robbed yet again.  This happened at the same venue last year, that time denying Somerset the Championship title.

Nick Compton must feel a little like that too.  He scored his personal best of 254 not out in this match.

Nick’s last personal best was in 2006, when he played against us for Middlesex at Lord’s.  Again a match that ended in a draw.

And so the great escape again, again with no rain!  And on Friday the 13th too!

Rack up as many big centuries as you like against us….but you need to take 20 wickets to win!

An emotional day in a lot of ways.  Not only was Graham Onions back on the competitive field for the first time in 14 months.  He took 5 for 53, nice, as he seems to have come back where he left off; taking plenty of wickets.

But it also saw our whole attack looking like the attack of old, the attack of Championship winning form.  Demolishing Yorkshire for 149 in 60 overs.  After us not getting any bowling points in this fixture this time last year it was just the best to see the attack back to how we know it can be.  I wish had been there.

Well my wheels came off when I couldn’t find my camera battery recharger for most of the start of the season…but Thorpy kind of sums up our season so far.  Battered and looking a bit sorry for himself.

Callum is exhibiting a mere flesh wound, picked up in a clash of heads with Plunkett during warmup footie, good enough for a trip to hospital to have stitches, but in the scheme of things, a scratch.

People wonder why we are playing so differently to the team that was so dominant last year.  It’s simple really – we are not that team.  We have got through the last couple of seasons with a stable squad of relatively few players.  You cannot take players out of a line up and expect business as usual.  Injuries to most of our key players have forced substantial changes to the first team, and a loss of form has plagued one or two who have remained fit.

We have had a summer gap in the Championship schedule.  Any other year and I would be bemoaning this bitterly.  This year we badly need the time out in the hopes that some of our key players can rehabilitate to full playing fitness.

We have a Championship match starting tomorrow.   We will see which of or 14 injured players make it back to the pitch.  We’ll see what the walking, non wounded make of the Bears.  As for the battery recharger, well at least I have found that!

We are being sponsored for 6 years.  This is good – Emirates are giving us money.  They had a competition – the winner got a trip to the Ashes this winter.   The ground is now to be known officially as Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground, trips nicely of the tongue doesn’t it.  I racked my brains for a catchy name  – but was obviously on the wrong track.

I shall drop dead when people I know start referring to the ground as anything other than the county ground or the Riverside.  After all – the river has not moved.

It surprised us all, but Phil is now Captain.  So, all the very best to him, and good luck!

It is never too cold at the Riverside to indulge in a blue ice lolly, what better way to watch Thorpy running in?

So not the most timely post ever.  Updating a blog and watching cricket are mutually exclusive, well they are for me anyway.   So I have been doing the watching the cricket.  The outcome of that will filter out slowly as and when.  There has been quite a lot of outcome from our first matches….

And the season is well under way when the ice cream van turns up – this is the rather plain one, [there is more than one].  Now this is a decent selection of ice lollies…

Our season hasn’t quite started but we have just finished a two day warm up match against Lancashire.

Having already got some overs in in the desert, we did quite well – getting 349 runs in 90 overs on the first day, Diva making 103*,  Stokes 70* and Benks 57* before retiring.  Anderson, Mahmood and Hogg were all in the Lanks seam attack [of whom only Mahmood took a wicket].   Keedy bowled 21 overs and took 1 for 74, but broke his collarbone while fielding.  We hope it mends soon.

Durham demolished Lanks in just 66 overs for 181.  Evans posted the best figures, 3 for 34 off of 10 overs, removing both openers,  Plunkett picked up 3 wickets and Thorpy 2.

The second XI have also recorded two one day victories against a Durham University Centre of Cricketing Excellence side.