Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ex-Star Predicts Stronger Durham; County Will Bounce Back from Shock of Relegation, Says Former Bowler Harmison DURHAM WILL BOUNCE BACK

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ex-Star Predicts Stronger Durham; County Will Bounce Back from Shock of Relegation, Says Former Bowler Harmison DURHAM WILL BOUNCE BACK

Article excerpt

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

STEPHEN Harmison has promised Durham will come back stronger after being relegated from cricket's County Championship Division One and handicapped by a draconian punishment for next season.

The Riversiders will start the 2017 campaign on -48 points in return from a financial bailout from the game's governing body, the England and Wales Cricket Board. They have been docked four Twenty20 points and two in the One-Day Cup. The Riverside, which was built as a condition of Durham winning First-Class status in 1992, will no longer be able to hold Test cricket, though it can host other internationals.

The county will also be forced to observe a stricter salary cap than their rivals, and the club will not receive prize money until the their borrowing from the ECB has been settled. But the ECB have not cleared Durham's PS7.5m debts, only writing off PS2m of debt to them and handing them a package worth around PS3.8m. The Riversiders still owe Durham County Council around PS3.7m. Harmison, who won 62 Test caps for England, struck a defiant note.

"The one thing I can guarantee is that Durham will still be a successful team which produces talented players," said the former fast bowler. "They will come back from this.

"When they do it will taste a hell of a lot sweeter.

"I've had my disagreements with (captain) Paul Collingwood in the past but he and Jon Lewis (the coach) are really important now and they will get Durham out of this. I'm delighted Paul has signed a new contract for next season.

"They've lost Scott Borthwick and Mark Stoneman (who announced they were joining Surrey during the season) but it just provides more opportunities for local lads to come in. This area's very good at fighting Turn to Page 51 FROM BACK PAGE and that's what we'll do now. …

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