Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Durham Will Look Back on a Season of Failures

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Durham Will Look Back on a Season of Failures

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards

DURHAM have failed, not just against Essex - where they will go into the fourth day today batting to save themselves from an embarrassing defeat - but in everything they set out to achieve this season.

They have failed in their main objective, which was to win the LV Championship for a third successive year and they have failed to make any significant improvement in limited overs cricket, whether they have 40 or 20 to play with.

When the meetings are held at the end of the year, when chief executive David Harker and chairman Clive Leech sit down with head coach Geoff Cook, there can be no attempt to hide from that fact.

There is a sense of deflation surrounding the team and growing concern this disappointing season could be the start of a steeper, sharper, more painful decline as the senior players grow older and less reliable and less effective with it.

Yet, we must always try and retain a sense of perspective. Emotions are raw at the moment and it is difficult to see clearly when the red mist descends. There is no disguising a dreadful Twenty20 campaign or another distinctly average one day effort, but things are not as bad as they seem in the Championship.

While we can worry about the affects of the ageing process on the cornerstones of Durham's four-day success, Michael Di Venuto and Dale Benkenstein, and we can moan about the constant injury setbacks of Steve Harmison, Graham Onions, Callum Thorp and Mark Davies, there is enough to suggest this summer has been a blip not a breakdown.

That may seem like too strange a thing to say when Durham have been out-played for two of the three days in Chelmsford by a side which has already been relegated to the Second Division, but even as Essex set Durham a near impossible 459 to win there were positives. Scott Borthwick bowled beautifully at times in the afternoon session and deserved more than the two wickets he picked up before tea as none of the batsmen looked happy trying to read his leg spin. …

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