Durham in the field against Kent at Canterbury (picture courtesy of Kent CCC)
Durham enjoyed mixed fortunes in three limited-overs matches against Kent, picking up two T20 victories on Tuesday but losing a 50 over match the day before.
The scenic Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence was the venue for all three matches and the hosts sealed a three wicket victory in the opening game after Durham had posted 276-9 from their 50 overs. New limited-overs skipper Mark Stoneman opened with Phil Mustard and the pair started brightly as both batsmen reached half-centuries in a stand of 132 for the first wicket. Former Durham seamer Mitchell Claydon picked up three wickets and spinner Adam Riley also claimed a trio of scalps as Kent were set 277 to win.
The home side, who endured a disappointing campaign last year, lost a wicket in the opening 10 overs as Jamie Harrison drew Sam Northeast out of his crease and Mustard completed the stumping. But Daniel Bell-Drummond, who scored a half-century for MCC against Durham last week, passed the 50 mark again. Bell-Drummond and Fabian Cowdrey, grandson of Lord Colin Cowdrey, amassed 118 for the second wicket to give Kent a platform to chase down the target. Although Stoneman's side broke that partnership and then picked up two more quick wickets, Alex Blake and Sam Billings put on 80 runs in less than 10 overs to drag the game back towards Kent. Paul Coughlin was the pick of the Durham attack as he picked up 2-36 from eight overs but Billings and Sam Joseph saw their side home with two overs to spare.
On Tuesday, the sides played two T20 games and Durham emerged victorious in both matches. In the opening clash, Mark Stoneman won the toss and elected to bat first, with the opener smashing 62 from just 30 balls. The evergreen Gareth Breese also made a brisk half-century, before Michael Richardson (29*) and Gordon Muchall (33*) helped Durham post an impressive 197 for 4 from their 20 overs.
The home side's reply never really got going and three early wickets from 19 year old Gavin Main helped reduce Kent to 35-4. Breese, Jamie Harrison and Scott Borthwick all chipped in with two wickets apiece as Kent stuttered to 107 all out, giving Durham a comprehensive 91 run victory.
The second T20 game then got underway in beautiful sunny conditions, with the home team this time batting first. Daniel Bell-Drummond (30) top-scored for Kent, whilst Jamie Harrison was the star man for Durham with 3-32. Recent signing Stuart Poynter also kept well and managed two stumpings as Kent closed on 148-8 from their 20 overs.
Having scored nearly 200 in the first T20 game, Durham looked favourites to win and they eased to victory with seven balls to spare. Michael Richardson opened the batting and the Port Elizabeth born batsman struck an unbeaten 73 from just 52 balls. He, along with Gordon Muchall (30*) saw Durham through to a comfortable seven wicket victory.
Durham are next in action on Monday when they host Durham UCCE in a three day game at Emirates ICG. Entry is free.