Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Crucial Day for Derby Rivals; COUNTY CRICKET

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Crucial Day for Derby Rivals; COUNTY CRICKET

Article excerpt

YORKSHIRE and Durham head into tomorrow's County Championship derby knowing the outcome could have major implications for the remainder of their campaigns.

Durham are flying high at the top of Division One after recording four successive championship wins.

Yorkshire, by contrast, are in a horrendous slump. A verbal broadside from skipper Anthony McGrath ahead of the match against Somerset last week didn't stop the county from suffering an embarrassing last day defeat as the West Country side scored 479-6 - the second biggest winning total in County Championship history.

Coach Martyn Moxon will be desperate to record a win against his former club, not least to keep the Tykes out of the relegation zone.

Life's much sweater for leaders Durham at the moment and Liam Plunkett, who recorded outstanding match figures of 11 for 119 against Worcestershire last week, admits he's enjoying life back in the team after a frustrating groin injury sidelined him earlier in the season.

"It was nice to actually contribute and feel part of the team again," he said. "I just wanted to take a few wickets and I made a cheeky 29 with the bat."

Such an impressive display will lead to calls for an international recall for Plunkett.

The 24-year-old from Middlesbrough would welcome more England action, but is, in the meantime, happy to help Durham retain their County Championship title.

"I want to play for England as much as possible but I want to keep playing for Durham," he added. "I missed out over the last couple of years so I just want to bowl plenty of overs, play some games and a year or two down the line see how things progress."

Durham's impressive bowling resources has allowed the club to compete at the top of the championship once again, despite the likes of Graham Onions and Steve Harmison playing for England Lions and pushing for a place in the Ashes starting XI. …

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