Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Flexibility Crucial in Trophy Defence; Stoneman's Message for Durham

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Flexibility Crucial in Trophy Defence; Stoneman's Message for Durham

Article excerpt

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

LONG bus journeys are an occupational hazard for Durham cricketers, but they put last week's to good use, plotting the defence of their Royal London Cup.

Nothing, though, has been set in stone.

The talk on the way to Southampton last week was of strategies and roles, but at Northamptonshire today, captain Mark Stoneman is determined not to be too rigid.

"We had seven or eight hours on the bus to Hampshire so that was a good opportunity to get around the table and put some ideas down," he told the Chronicle.

"It's a fine line because on any given day you need to be flexible.

"In the Lord's final, for example, the way the conditions were having Scott (Borthwick) who over the last few years has played really for us batting at three in the Championship, it was good to get him up the order to tackle the conditions with the ball nipping around.

"So although you like to have roles and a clear idea of what people are going to do you can't have it set in stone. You still need to be flexible on the day in case conditions require that.

"It takes some planning but you still have some flexibility."

With trips to Bristol, Taunton and Leicestershire to come, this will be another Royal London campaign to test Durham's stamina.

"It's not great," said Stoneman. "We're going to spend a lot of time on the bus! It kind of works to our advantage.

"We spend a lot of time together and we're a close unit.

"We know it's going to be tough but we've done it before. Last year wasn't easy but we got through it.

"You get on that roll and if you're winning games seven hours doesn't seem so bad. Everyone's having a laugh and enjoying it.

"As long as we're winning, you're happy."

One player who will not have featured in the plans was Ben Stokes, who powered them to last season's final, and was at the crease when Gareth Breese hit the winning runs to beat Warwickshire and claim the trophy. …

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