Captain Toasts Cool And Dry Rushworth

Captain Toasts Cool And Dry Rushworth

Paul Collingwood led his side to victory over Lancashire (photo: Ian Horrocks)

Captain Paul Collingwood praised an alcohol-free Chris Rushworth after he helped Durham pick up a first victory of the season

Sipping a chilled beer in the warm early evening sunshine on the steps of the Don Robson Pavillion, an elated Durham captain toasted his ever-reliable opening bowler.

Paul Collingwood heaped praise on Chris Rushworth, whose four second innings wickets helped the reigning champions secure a first victory of the 2014 County Championship season.

The Sunderland-born seamer was unable to celebrate with his captain though, instead opting for a bottle of water as he spoke to the media after the game.

Rushworth is taking part in a 'Dry 2014 Challenge', which means he has given up alcohol for a year, all in aid of Save The Children UK and the PCA Benevolent Fund.

It's clearly not had a detrimental effect on his performances, as Rushworth has been an ever-present this season and is the team's leading wicket taker with 26 victims.

"Incredible - Rushy is obviously on a full year of not drinking alcohol for charity and he's been exceptional for us this year" Collingwood told durhamccc.co.uk

"He says he's a lot fitter for it and he keeps pulling up from games a lot better"

Whilst Durham have had to contend with a number of injuries to their seam attack, Rushworth has managed to stay fit.

The 27 year old has played in all eight of the side's LV=County Championship games and he hasn't missed any NatWest T20 Blast matches either.

"Whether it be T20 cricket or the four day stuff, he's been fantastic"

"He hasn't really got the rewards that he's deserved to be honest because he's been bowling some superb spells without getting the wicket returns, but thankfully he got four today" added Collingwood.

Rushworth's four second innings wickets contributed to a win that has been a long time coming.

Since the season started in mid-April, the team have drawn six games and suffered a solitary defeat at Taunton against Somerset.

So when Lancashire's Simon Kerrigan was struck on the pad and the umpire's finger was raised, emotions were running high for the experienced Durham skipper.

"Just huge relief" Collingwood smiled.

"To get it so close, the emotions and all that kind of stuff, it certainly pushes you right to the limit"

"It's been a hard day's cricket trying to prize out batsmen on a slow pitch. Trying to figure out what tactics to go to, what bowlers to go to and understanding that the bowlers were getting more and more tired"

"But I'd been confident that the first win was just around the corner and thankfully it's come today"

When Durham were wobbling on 184-8 in their first innings on Sunday, a first victory seemed a long way off.

But a 21 year old debutant called Paul Coughlin, allied with the experienced Phil Mustard, helped the hosts post a creditable 338.

Coughlin's innings of 85 was a record breaking feat, as it was the highest score by a number 10 in Durham's first class history.

"He could be a really good all-rounder" said Collingwood.

"I'm just delighted with how he approached the game. He didn't shy away from anything, he was really confident that he was going to do it out there and he wanted the ball all the time"

"He looks a good one for the future"

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