Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Durham in the Fight of Their Lives after Defeat; Riversiders Staring Relegation in Face, but Collingwood's Staying Positive

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Durham in the Fight of Their Lives after Defeat; Riversiders Staring Relegation in Face, but Collingwood's Staying Positive

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner Sports Writer stuart.rayner@ncjmedia.co.uk

DURHAM showed they have plenty of fight at Old Trafford - just as well because they are in a scrap for their Division One lives.

No county has been in the top-flight longer than the Riversiders' nine seasons.

Yetthey are in real danger of being the fourth champions relegated after a tense one-wicket defeat to Lancashire.

That it was a tense win, secured with just two balls left, rather than the stroll to victory it should have been, gave Durham skipper Paul Collingwood confi-dence for the games to come.

He said: "I guess the closer you get, the more emotions are involved.

"It is heart-breaking when you get so close and do not win. It was a monumental finish, and gut-wrenching to lose.

"I am very proud of the guys and how they fought in that last innings. It was an unbelievable game of cricket.

"I think you can always take positives out of any game. We showed we will keep fighting no matter what.

"If you look at Calum MacLeod's debut innings, that was a big positive for us and we nearly pulled off an unexpected victory. We were so close."

Durham set their hosts just 107 to win in 36 overs after Collingwood was stranded on 45 not out.

It ought to have been a doddle but four wickets for John Hastings and three for Ben Stokes pushed things right to the very limit.

In the end, 35 not out from Tom Smith was enough to see Lancashire to victory.

Durham have four games left this season to Lancashire's three.

The gap between the pair is six points after the Red Rose leapfrogged them with only their second win of the season.

Durham play Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire at home and Middlesex and Warwickshire away.

With injuries starting to pile up and Ben Stokes missing the Notts game because he is in England's one-day squad, survival will have to be achieved the hard way. …

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