Head Coach Jon Lewis presents David Ellis with a Durham club tie (photo:Ian Horrocks)
Although Durham's bowlers were made to toil in the field on Sunday, one man enjoyed the day - thanks to a surprise gift from his family.
David Ellis, who represented Durham when the club were a Minor County outfit, celebrated his 80th birthday last month and he was given a special present to mark the occasion.
His son Mike arranged for the family to enjoy the first day's play between Durham and Yorkshire from the comfort of the David Graveney Hospitality Suite.
"It's been a wonderful present" David told durhamccc.co.uk "My family organised this and I had no idea that it was going to happen - I knew we were coming to Durham but not about the things that have happened"
After being presented with a club tie by Head Coach Jon Lewis, David was given a behind-the-scenes tour around the ground and enjoyed food and drink throughout the day.
The retired Metallurgist, who now lives in Whitby, played for Yorkshire's second team prior to his spell with Durham and he was delighted to bump into one his former teammates during the morning session.
"I had a good chat with Dickie Bird, who I played with many years ago for Yorkshire Seconds"
"It was in the late fifties, we opened the batting together - we played Cumberland at Harrogate, we put one hundred on for the first wicket and we went on to play Durham at Darlington too, and put another hundred on for the first wicket!"
"Dickie got his second team cap on that particular day" he added.
An opening batsman during the 1960's, David also received a second team cap, but his was a Durham one.
This ranks as one of his proudest achievements in the game.
"Getting my Durham Minor County cap at Darlington and scoring a century against the Pakistan tourists (scorecard here) were personal highlights" said David.
"Also, playing for the England Minor Counties against Frank Worrell's West Indies in 1963 was another great moment"
A regular scorer in club cricket for Middlesborough, David remains an avid fan of the sport and has seen some incredible changes at his former club.
Durham attained first class status in 1991 and have blossomed since then, as success on the field has been matched by progress off it.
Three Championship titles in the last six years have established the county as a major force, and the major redevelopments at Chester-le-Street means the North East can now boast an outstanding International venue.
"It's unbelievable. You look at the ground now and it was just a pasture all those years ago."
"Arthur Austin and Don Robson were the fellas who really got it off the ground, and the success of it since means they must be congratulated for such a fine effort"
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