Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Trophies Are the Target for Colly

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Trophies Are the Target for Colly

Article excerpt

The new County Championship is up and running and the region's two clubs are aiming to repeat their trophy-winning feats of 2014. Durham lifted the Royal London Cup in September while Yorkshire are the reigning county champions. But how will they fare this year? In a special Gazette feature, skippers Paul Collingwood and Andrew Gale outline their ambitions for the current campaign.

AS a veteran cricketer in his 39th year, Durham captain Paul Collingwood has seen it all.

A one club player, he's endured the hard times and celebrated the good times.

Durham, for the first half of his career, were county cricket's struggling new boys, regularly finishing at or near the bottom of the pile.

For the past decade, however, Durham have been one of English cricket's powerhouse teams, winning three county titles and two one day trophies.

The result is there are high expectations of further successes, despite money being tight these days at the Emirates International Cricket Ground, or in old money, the Riverside.

"I think the way the last seven or eight years have gone, and the amount of silverware we've won, it would be silly of us not to hope for more silverware this year," said 38-year-old Collingwood.

"I guess the exciting thing is you're not quite sure what form of the game that could be in.

"Who'd have said that after losing the first three one-day games last year, that we'd go on to win the one-day form of the game at Lord's? "That's the exciting thing about this squad, we're pretty versatile and quite dynamic.

"If we get on a roll, we know we're quite a formidable team to beat.

"It could be anything. We just have to go into every single game trying to win, and see where that takes us."

Durham have a mix of seasoned campaigners and talented youngsters and their fortunes could hang on the availability of their internationals.

All-rounder Ben Stokes and fast bowler Mark Wood are currently in the West Indies with the England Test squad.

If things go well for the duo, a packed Test schedule could mean Durham don't see them again for quite a while.

Still, there's plenty of talent in the team including flamboyant keeper Phil Mustard, giant Australian paceman John Hastings, experienced bowler Chris Rushworth, spinner/batsman Scott Borthwick and run machine Mark Stoneman, as well as allrounder Collingwood. "If you get a bit of momentum going and you get the ball rolling, you never quite know (what can happen)," said the skipper.

"We've got the skill levels in the dressing room. Okay, it's a young squad, but being a young squad, I think we've got the physical side of it and the agility, the way the modern game is going.

"I think these youngsters will help us with the modern way of playing cricket. …

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