Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Tykes First in Title Defence; Your Guide to Next Season's Cricket Action

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Tykes First in Title Defence; Your Guide to Next Season's Cricket Action

Article excerpt

CHAMPIONS Durham must deal with the pressure of being the team to beat, admits chief executive David Harker.

The 2008 County Champions will begin the defence of their title against neighbours Yorkshire at the Riverside on April 22, but the season will already be almost two weeks old by then.

The current stature of Durham is such that their season starts on April 9, when they take on an MCC XI in the traditional English curtain raiser at Lord's.

It's a far cry from the days not so long ago when the club were county cricket's whipping boys.

"A couple of years ago we held on to our first division status by about half a point," said Harker. "We've had some success since then and this time I think we're going to be the side to beat. It's a different sort of pressure."

Looking ahead to the opening fixture at cricket's headquarters, he added:

"Lord's is the traditional home of cricket and to appear there under any circumstances is always an honour. …

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