Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pre-Season". Was Short but Sweet; Cook Believes Durham Are in Good Shape for Opener

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pre-Season". Was Short but Sweet; Cook Believes Durham Are in Good Shape for Opener

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART RAYNER

DURHAM start their 2013 County Championship campaign brimming with positivity this morning after a successful "micropre-season".

But coach Geoff Cook has warned they will have to be on top of their game against perennial challengers Somerset.

The Riversiders have had just three days of cricket to prepare for today's game, but Cook was pleased with how much they were able to squeeze out of it.

And the batsmen have lifted the pressure off their shoulders with their performances against Durham University.

"It was a fantastic few days," he told the Chronicle.

"You can do marvellously in pre-season and terribly in the first game, but it takes a bit of pressure off a few of the batsmen to be able to go into the Somerset match with runs already under their belts.

"Last week was almost a micro-pre-season but I think it's left us in as good a shape as anybody in the country ready for the start of the County Championship programme.

"You can talk as much as you like about playing outside and things like that, but the practice we had in five or six days has made everybody feel positive about the start of the new season.

"We just need to get off to a good start now, hope the ball rolls for us and take it from there."

All the batsmen expected to play today spent a decent amount of time at the crease, and all but Mark Stoneman and the experienced Dale Benkenstein got half-centuries under their belt.

Keaton Jennings was one of three Durham batsmen to reach three figures in the drawn game. In the 20-yearold's case it was his first in First-Class cricket.

The Chester-le-Street game was a good exercise for the bowlers too with all taking wickets, leg-spinner Scott Borthwick leading the way with six.

Cook said: "Those are the standards they set themselves last season. …

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