Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bystanders on a Thrilling Day; Durham Left out of the Picture

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bystanders on a Thrilling Day; Durham Left out of the Picture

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

BEFORE the advertising hoardings now an obligatory part of almost any sporting celebration had been set up, they came down. It was the sort of unpredictable day which makes sport so beautiful. Durham's disappointment was that they were unaffected.

The last day of County Championship cricket in 2010 started with a three-way title race. An epic batting collapse saw Yorkshire fall at the first but Nottinghamshire and Somerset needed a photo finish.

With two-and-a-half overs to spare, Nottinghamshire drew level on points, denying Somerset a first title by having lost less matches. "Amazing eh, amazing," said Durham coach Geoff Cook, while Somerset, their work done, sweated on events at Old Trafford. Nottinghamshire went into the final week with a reputation as "bottlers", but Marcus Trescothick's side could be the ultimate nearly men. Runners-up in the Twenty20 Cup and Championship, the players who flew to London last night for tomorrow's CB40 final will fear an unwanted hat-trick.

"It's terrible and something that will live with us for a long, long time to know we were so close - touching distance to the trophy - but so far away," said Trescothick. Durham were much further away.

Cook is not one for dramatic outbursts but in its own way, his assessment of the disparity between Durham and the top two was scathing.

Talent is God-given and Durham have plenty. It is the responsibility of every professional cricketer to make the most of his, and Cook does not think his players have this season. The Riversiders have shown fight when backed into a corner but have too often been pushed there in the first place.

In stark contrast to Somerset's ageing but hardy attack, Durham's bowlers have dropped like flies. "I think they're generally fit guys, leaner guys than ours," said Cook.

Stephen Harmison's bowling led the way in two title-winning seasons. His fitness while coming to terms with the end of his international career perhaps set 2010's tone. The 31-year-old is currently recovering from a torn foot muscle. "Then he's going to have to do some serious work to get his general conditioning right," warned Cook. …

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