We take a look back on the season that was, when Durham claimed their third County Championship in six years:
Durham opened the season hosting Somerset at home and started in the best way possible winning by 48 runs. Making 250 in the first innings, Ben Stokes top scored with 49 before Chris Rushworth (6-52) and Graham Onions (4-41) tore through the Somerset line-up, bowling them out for 132. Durham were then bowled out for just 116 in their second innings leaving Somerset 234 to chase down. A solid team bowling performance with Stokes and Onions claiming 3 wickets and Rushworth and Thorp 2 each, ensured a Durham victory however as Somerset fell 48 runs short, all out for 186.
In their second game Durham travelled to Edgbaston but suffered a loss at the hands of Warwickshire. The Bears batted first making 345 with Onions the pick of the Durham bowlers taking 4-46. Durham suffered a top order collapse in their first dig however a century for Scott Borthwick and 74 from skipper Paul Collingwood resurrected the innings but the visitors still found themselves behind after making 284. Warwickshire again piled the runs on in the second innings making 351, Stokes with 3 wickets. A poor second innings from Durham with Mustard’s 28 the top score meant Durham were bowled out for just 94 as Chris Wright’s 6-31 ensured a 318 run win for the Bears.
Back home the following week and Durham suffered back to back losses at the hands of Yorkshire after a superb individual effort from Yorkshire’s Joe Root. Batting first Durham made 237 with Mustard top scoring with 70 as Tim Bresnan took 4-41. Graham Onions showed his quality taking 5-63 and Stokes 3-26 in the Yorkshire reply which ended on 177. In the Durham second innings opener Mark Stoneman made his first century of the season with 109, Stokes contributing 61no and Jennings 48 as Durham declared on 275-4 setting Yorkshire a record run chase of 339. At 46-2 Durham started well and were in the box seat until Joe Root came to the crease making 182 and Rashid 50no to give Yorkshire an unlikely victory and handing Durham a frustrating loss after a dominant 3 days at home.
Durham then rebounded in the best way possible with a win on the road against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in one of the most memorable victories of the season. Notts made 320 in their first innings with Stokes 3 wickets and Onions, Wood and Rushworth taking 2 each. Durham replied with a dominant batting performance, Will Smith 153, Collingwood 64, Breese 44 and Mark Wood 58 at number 10 as the visitors amassed 471. Notts compiled 333 in their second innings, Borthwick taking 4-87 which set up a thrilling run chase late on Day 4. T20 openers Phil Mustard and Mark Stoneman then stole the show in the final hours as Durham chased down an incredible 184 off just 20 overs with Mustard making 72 from 54 and Stoneman 69 from 38 for a remarkable win.
Durham’s next match was against Surrey at The Oval and fresh off the success at Trent Bridge, recorded back to back wins on the road with a 5 wicket win. Young spinner Ryan Buckley made his debut and took 5-86 whilst Thorp took 2-29 as Surrey made 237 in their first innings. Durham replied with 286, Mark Stoneman the best with the bat making 77 and Dale Benkenstein next best with 74no. Scott Borthwick then took career best figures of 6-70 in Surrey’s second innings which ended on 229. Needing 181 for the win, Stoneman was again amongst the runs making 67 whilst Borthwick showed his all-rounder status with 42 as Ben Stokes guided Durham to victory with 35no.
Durham were back home next round hosting Middlesex in a drawn match. Batting first Durham made 259 with Phil Mustard making 62 and Scott Borthwick 52. Graham Onions took another 5 wicket haul in Middelsex’s first innings as they were bowled out for 196. In Durham’s second innings Scott Borthwick again showed his class with the bat making 82 as Durham declared on 240-6 setting Middlesex 303 to chase down. Despite the best efforts of Mark Wood 3-36 and Onions 2-44, Middlesex denied Durham the win on the final afternoon, hanging on for a draw at 165-6.
Durham had another drawn match the following game against Somerset at Taunton in a batting point frenzy. Batting first Somerset made 458 courtesy of a solid innings from Nick Compton who made 166. Durham replied in style, surpassing the Somerset first innings with a mammoth 493. Mark Stoneman made another century (122) whilst Collingwood and Richardson both made 70 and Stokes 57 and Borthwick 56 also contributed. Somerset made 266 in their second innings before the match ended in a draw as time got the better of both teams.
Durham then returned home to face Warwickshire again but this time turned the tables after losing to them earlier in the season. Making 267 in their first innings Durham’s best contributors were Stokes 61 and Smith 45. Stokes backed up his efforts with the bat to take 4-49 and Rushworth 3-38 as Warwickshire found themselves 58 runs behind. Durham made 198 in their second innings, Stoneman’s 83 at the top of the order the highlight whilst Richardson added 55 in the lower order. With Warwickshire needing 256 for the win Graham Onions and Ben Stokes led the way for Durham with the ball. Onions took 5 wickets and Stokes the 3, bowling well in a thrilling finish with the all-rounder taking the final wicket as Warwickshire were left 11 runs short much to the delight of the Durham side and parochial home-crowd.
Durham then faced Derbyshire in the middle of t20 season and had a comprehensive 279 run victory. Jennings made 93 and Mustard 52 in the first innings as Durham compiled a total of 253. Chris Rushworth then ripped through the Derbyshire line-up taking 6-64 as the visitors were bowled out for 113. Durham went back to the crease and made a further 331 dec with Jennings backing up his efforts from the first innings with 123 and Borthwick also registering a century (117). With a 471 run lead Durham again performed well with the ball ,Rushworth taking another 4 wickets to give him 10 for the match (on his birthday!) with Stokes also taking 4 as Derby were bowled out for 192.
After the t20 season had finished it was a trip to Lords for the in-form Durham side. Their winning streak was to be halted at the hands of Middlesex however in an early-finishing wicket-fest. Durham made just 143 in their first innings with Steve Finn taking 4-46. Whilst the third Ashes Test was going on, Graham Onions then showed England selectors his worth taking 7-62 in the Middlesex innings which ended on 168. The low-scoring trend continued in Durham’s second innings with Ben Stokes’ 51 the best as Durham were bowled out for 171. Needing 147 for the win, Eoin Morgan 39no ensured Middlesex took the points as they reached the target just 4 wickets down, giving Durham a long trip back home from London.
Durham got back on the winners list in the best possible way when they returned home for their next match against Surrey coming away winners by an innings and 144 runs. Durham compiled a total of 421 in their first innings with Scott Borthwick making his highest score, 135 whilst Will Smith made 87. Surrey could only manage 108 as the returning Jamie Harrison took 5-31. Durham enforced the follow on and Harrison’s young pace partner Mark Wood this time took 5 wickets as Surrey were bowled out for 169 to give Durham a confidence boosting win.
After being on a high from the Surrey match, Durham next faced the match of the season, 1 vs 2 as they travelled to the seaside, taking on Yorkshire at Scarborough. Over 16,000 people went through the gates at Scarborough Cricket Club for the four days and witnessed a classic match as Durham clinched a truly remarkable victory to sky-rocket to the top of the table. Batting first Durham made 573 with Stokes 127, Stoneman 122 and Richardson 102 (at number 8) all making centuries with Collingwood also contributing 81. In reply Yorkshire made 274 with a team bowling effort on show as Harrison, Wood, Stokes and Borthwick all took two wickets. Yorkshire followed on making 419 in their second innings courtesy of 152 from Phil Jaques. For Durham, 3 wickets to Stokes, Borthwick and Rushworth meant Durham needed 120 on the final afternoon to get the top spot. Despite losing Stoneman first ball, Borthwick and Jennings remained composed in the early stages of the chase with Borthwick (65) getting the bulk of the runs before Will Smith 27no and Ben Stokes 11no sealed a season-defining victory and one which will be remembered in the club’s 21st year.
After the high of the Scarborough game Durham did not take their eye off their game and next faced Sussex at home in what was another dominant display despite injuries to Harrison,Wood and losing Stokes to International duties. Making 245 in their first innings, Mark Stoneman top scored with 96. Another superb bowling display by Graham Onions (4-50) set the tone with the returning Mitch Claydon taking 3-25 whilst Usman Arshad eased perfectly into Stokes’ place taking 3-16 as Sussex were bowled out for 112. Durham then batted again making 268, Mustard’s 73 and Collingwood’s 45 the best for the home-side who had a 401 lead when Sussex got back to the crease. Onions, Claydon and Arshad did the damage again in the second innings, Sussex only making 116 in their second dig giving Durham a huge win.
Durham then faced Derbyshire in Derby and again showed their quality and class, winning a match on the final afternoon which looked destined for a draw. After a slow game for the first three days an eventful final day saw Durham victorious and had them with one hand on the County Championship. Derbyshire made 298 in their first innings with the two regular culprits Chris Rushworth 5-47 and Graham Onions 4-62 doing the damage with the ball. Durham made 325 in their first innings with Scott Borthwick making 89 and Will Smith 81. The match was then turned on its head on the final day when the duo of Onions (5-23) and Rushworth (3-31) did it again, Derbyshire bowled out for just 63. That total meant Durham required just 37 runs to win, which they did with ease and in the process extended their lead at the top of the Championship table with just two games to go. The win also meant that a victory against Nottinghamshire in the next match at home would hand Durham the 2013 LV=County Championship.
With everything up for grabs and knowing victory would seal the title, Durham looked unphased and without nerves in a remarkable match which saw wickets tumble early. Onions 3-30, Rushworth 3-24 and Harrison 3-4 ripped through Nottinghamshire to have them all out for 78 on the first day. The Durham reply also started a little shaky, losing early wickets before the experience of Collingwood (88) and Mustard (77) shone through to steady and give Durham control before they were all out for 256 giving them a 178 run lead. Nottinghamshire put up a better fight in their second innings making 246 but the deficit was too much as Onions and Stokes took 3 wickets each and Durham could smell victory. Needing just 68 runs to win the match and the Championship it was left to local lad Mark Stoneman (35no) to cap off a memorable season to hit the winning runs, a boundary to bring the applauding home crowd to their feet and celebrate a 3rd County Championship win in just six years.
There was one match to play in the season and despite already claiming the title Durham made the long journey to Hove to take on Sussex. Durham made 164 in their first innings with Borthwick’s 32 the best as James Anyone took 5-44. Sussex piled on the runs in their first innings making 328, Onions taking three wickets. When it looked like Durham could be in for an early defeat in their second innings and final innings of the year, Keaton Jennings (127) and Michael Richardson (129) ensured Durham’s fighting qualities were still in tack. The young duo put on a record breaking 7th wicket, 218-run stand and Usman Arshad also registered his maiden first class half century, making 83no as Durham made 458 in their second innings leaving Sussex 297 to win. Despite the best efforts to get back in the match, the Sussex batsman outplayed the Durham bowlers as they put on a a 163-run opening stand which had them looking at a victory. Sussex lost just 4 wickets to reach the total with Nash making 109 and Joyce 65no as the home-side denied Durham a final match victory despite winning the title.
It was a remarkable year for Durham who showed their fighting spirit all season. They won the LV=County Championship with 10 victories and finished on 245.5 points. They had three more wins than their nearest rival Yorkshire and finished 23.5 points ahead of them. The signs for the future are also bright with young local stars all putting their hand up when required this season alongside the experienced campaigners.
Despite not winning silverware in the shorter formats the side also had a successful season in these competitions after making the Friends Life t20 quarter finals and narrowly missing out on a semi-final spot in the Yorkshire Bank 40.
See you in 2014 for what will hopefully be another successful season for the club.