BBC BLOGS - Test Match Special
« Previous | Main | Next »

Durham success a cricketing fairy tale

Oliver Brett | 16:30 UK time, Saturday, 27 September 2008

History will probably never relate exactly how many alcoholic beverages were consumed by the Durham players and coaches on their triumphant 320-mile coach trip from Canterbury back to Chester-le-Street on Saturday.

But the story of how this county went from perennial whipping-boys to County Champions just 16 years after being granted first-class status is one of the most romantic tales English sport has to offer.

And this year nobody can say they have not deserved the first of what could be a number of Championship pennants. In recording six superb victories this summer - while loaning their best players Steve Harmison and Paul Collingwood to England for significant chunks of it - Durham have served notice of their immense quality.

Durham celebrating at Kent on Saturday

Thirteen months after lifting their first domestic Cup at Lord's (the Friends Provident Trophy) - the men from Chester-le-Street set the early pace in the Championship this season, winning five of their first 10 matches.

Some strong late summer form from Nottinghamshire and Somerset left them third and 10 points behind Notts going into the last round of matches. But Harmison and Callum Thorp showed a deadly zeal that eluded the bowlers from those other two counties, and realistically the glory was Durham's long before Notts' desperate run chase against Hampshire had run out of steam on Saturday.

So, where did it all start? In the 1970s and 80s Durham created a name for themselves as regular winners of the Minor Counties title capable of springing the odd surprise against first-class opposition in the one-day knockout competitions.

As a reward for those achievements, the Test and County Cricket Board made them the 18th first-class county in 1992, some 71 years after Glamorgan had become the 17th.

The early days at Durham were marked by the arrival of two players in the final stages of distinguished careers - national hero Ian Botham and Australia star Dean Jones.

There were also various county stalwarts like Paul Parker, Wayne Larkins, Simon Hughes, Phil Bainbridge and David Graveney - yes that David Graveney - who propped up an otherwise young squad made up of the most promising club cricketers on the local circuit.

It was not easy at first - they particularly struggled with the ball - but little by little the green shoots of something promising could be seen.

Now that process has come to its stunning climax, although in many ways the two trophies the county has garnered are adornments to something more significant.

Collingwood, Harmison, Liam Plunkett and Phil Mustard - all proper "locals" - have gone all the way to play in the England side. In so doing, they have provided ample proof that the decision to bring first-class cricket to the north-east was justified.

One of the elated Durham fans e-mailing into us on Saturday was Alan Wright, chief executive at the club from 1993 to 1995.

In his time, most of Durham's prominent matches took place at the Racecourse Ground, and outgrounds at places like Hartlepool and Stockton were in regular use.

The Riverside - now elevated to the Test match roster - was merely "a pitch and a portakabin", in the words of Wright.

Paul Collingwood as a young recruit

He said "tears were running down our cheeks" when he and his colleagues saw the Riverside open for business against Warwickshire in 1995. At about the same time, a prominent individual from another sport also had a big role to play.

"One guy that deserves a lot of credit is Kevin Keegan," explained Wright. "He was one of the first people to ring in and say 'if I can help give me a shout' and I can remember vividly a few times when I was close to negotiating a sponsorship deal I asked if I could bring along a colleague, and the colleague was Kevin. When he walked in the contract was signed immediately.

"There are hundreds, thousands of people, many of them unsung heroes, who have busted a gut somewhere along the line and Kevin was typical of that."

Wright and others can cite how local schools and club cricket has developed at an astonishing rate in and around Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland and Hartlepool.

As it should do everywhere, all that youthful enthusiasm eventually makes its way to the top. Even today, the numbers of locally-produced players in and around Durham's first team dwarves what certain other counties are able to achieve.

And after a season marred by the endless conveyor belt of Kolpak mercenaries, it's refreshing to see that a county which genuinely believes in homegrown talent can outshine the rest.

(While we are on a controversial subject, it should be added that Durham have also used the Kolpak loophole - their captain Dale Benkenstein is signed on those terms - but they are a long way from offending on the grand scale of certain others).

Certainly, a little bit of luck fell Durham's way when Harmison - thrown out of the England squad at the start of the season - forced himself back into the selectors' minds with some accurate hostility - and an overall return of 60 wickets from 12 matches.

The re-emergence of Stockton-born Mark Davies, after several injury-plagued seasons, has been another huge plus. Will Smith (nickname Posh Kid) has been a beacon of consistency with the bat, and guess what? Though born in Luton, he's a graduate of Durham University.

But if we're going to start naming individuals the one person who can be proudest of all on this happy day for Durham County Cricket Club is Geoff Cook.

A summer after ending his successful career as an opening batsman with Northamptonshire in 1990 he was named director of cricket at Durham.

Never tempted to jump ship when times were tough at the beginning, he has instead carefully nurtured every one of those local players the club has brought through the system.

One can only hope that many of the plaudits that come Durham's way this weekend will acknowledge Cook's role, as well as the more obvious and immediate input of Thorp and Harmison.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Mark Davies for England!

  • Comment number 2.

    Fantastic.
    Well done Durham, deserved winners.
    Pushed us all the way last year and have got Steve Harmison firing this.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well done to the lads, proud to be a Durham Lad today, the whole season has been brilliant to follow.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    I don't know where the 'homegrown' talent where. Of the side playing Kent the following were not 'English Qualified':
    Di Venuto Benkenstein Chanderpaul Breese Wiseman Thorp

    The comment that Durham have not gone down the Kolpak route seems to be in some doubt. If only Benkenstein is a 'Kolpak' under what contractual regulations were the other 5 employed?

    If Oliver Brett does thinks that Durham have not used the Kolpak route 'on the grand scale of certain others' I would like to know how he considers 6 non-English players acceptable. For my money Durham have certainly overused the system.

  • Comment number 6.

    both thorp (english parents) and breese (welsh mother) are england qualified players, where as diva is on an italian passport

    dont try and take that way from the fact that we have played the best and most consistent cricket all summer and have deserved to win this title

  • Comment number 7.

    maniccric

    Actually, Durham's model is highly regarded among many counties. Yes, they use the Kolpak rules, but nothing like as much as Northants and Leicestershire. And where they don't use Kolpak players the ones in the side are almost always homegrown.

    In the side at Canterbury, four are pure locals, while Will Smith went to Durham University so is as good as.

    Of the other six, Chanderpaul is the registered overseas player, Di Venuto has an EU passport (Italian), Thorp has an Aussie accent but BOTH PARENTS are British, Breese has a UK passport and Wiseman has an EU one.

    That leaves ONE Kolpak player in the side, the skipper Benkenstein.

  • Comment number 8.

    maniccric...you are an idiot who failed to do your research before making a comment.

    Whilst not repeating what has already been said, it is also the case that neither thorpe, breese or wiseman have been regulars in our county line ups.

    Durhams success has been built on having such a fantastic squad (Onions, Plunkers, Stoneman and Coetzer inc) and this has enabled us to compete in all one day competitions at the 'business end' and we have been unlucky not to win a trophy.

    given how poor shiv/mcKenzie were as overseas players, we could even be better next year especally if a decent spinner can be unearthed.

    durham fully deserving champions and fingers crossed this is first of many.

  • Comment number 9.

    Absolutely thrilled for Durham, thoroughly deserved. Proud to be from Durham.

    I was there right at the beginning in '92 against Lancashire and it seems like yesterday.

    After last season's success this is now the pinnacle and I hope we can finally get some recognition from the southern based press.

    Many, many congratulations to all involved at the club.

  • Comment number 10.

    Well done Durham, but as well as those mentioned, they have also had Morkel and Pollock this season. They may not have been Kolpakers, but are definitely not home-grown much like Di Venuto, Benkenstein, Thorpe, Wiseman, Chanderpaul and Breese.

    This has gone alongside exceptional local talent to produce the best side in the country - not a bad recipe for success. They haven't let the others prevent local players getting the chance unlike at other counties.

  • Comment number 11.

    At last, a North East team to make everyone proud! I've followed Durham since the very early days and this Championship title means more to me than any premiership title. I watched Newcastle get beat at home 2-1 by Blackburn but my thoughts were all with Durham.
    I travelled to Lords to watch Durham win the FPT final in 2007 with my five year old son and thought that was special-but boy are we going to have a party tonight in County Durham!

    Well done to Geoff Cook and all the team!

  • Comment number 12.

    There were two GREAT things about Durham's title triumph. Firstly, that they won the title, which is fan-flipping-tastic. Secondly, that I found out about it just as Newcastle were losing to Blackburn, which changed by bad mood into a lovely happy one...

  • Comment number 13.

    Oops. MY bad mood, obviously. Unless I just had a cold while I was typing that.

  • Comment number 14.

    What a fabulous finish. Durham were definitely the romantics' pick for the title. And Steve Harmison has played a huge part in their success. If he had played every game he would have not been far short of one hundred wickets for the season.

    Durham may have some players who are not locals, but Collingwood, Harmison, Plunkett and Mustard most definitely are and have been a big part of the side's rise to prominence.

  • Comment number 15.

    So the rules are pick four local guys and then get the other seven from every other continent on the planet.

    Leicestershire and Northants acheived very little with thaie mashed up sides. Durham have won the main prize with their collection of random passports and recent holiday destinations.

    Loving the comment about Will Smith as well Mr Brett. I drove through Newcastle once on my way to Scotland, do I get a contract next season?

  • Comment number 16.

    YAMS - I sense some sour grapes somewhere here - who do you support? ;-)

    First up, ajm050 makes some excellent comments at no. 8 which you should read.

    If this had been an early-season pitch then at least one of Plunkett and Onions (both locals) would have played over Breese and Wiseman. And of course Colly would have played if the ECB had let him. It was a bit of a freak that this team had as many non-locals as they did.

    Finally, Will Smith represented Durham Uni and then the Durham UCCE side, hardly "passing through" the county as you suggest.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    "Of the other six, Chanderpaul is the registered overseas player, Di Venuto has an EU passport (Italian), Thorp has an Aussie accent but BOTH PARENTS are British, Breese has a UK passport and Wiseman has an EU one.

    That leaves ONE Kolpak player in the side, the skipper Benkenstein."

    What's your point? Just because Di Venuto and Wiseman are exploiting a different loophole to the one Benkenstein is doing, doesn't make them any different. The only difference is the buzz word KOLPAK can be applied to only Benkenstein - merely a question of labelling.

    "If this had been an early-season pitch then at least one of Plunkett and Onions (both locals) would have played over Breese and Wiseman."

    Are you sure about that? Considering Wiseman has played in every game this season, that seems unlikely. He's definitely a regular, despite what ajm050 might claim; as is Thorp, who's played 12 out of the 15.

    The importance of non-homegrown players to Durham's campaign can be aptly demonstrated by a look at the batting averages - only Will Smith of the 'local' players averaged over 28.

    Take away the overseas players, and Durham would have been in trouble. This is the case for so many county teams - of which I mostly have little problem. They improve the quality of the league immensely - would you rather watch a Muchall bat, or a Di Venuto?

    But to claim that Durham are somehow a bastion of numerous homegrown English talent? That's just plain false.

  • Comment number 19.

    I think YAMS should go and have a nice cold drink. He's getting very agitated and I feel a hint of sour grapes as his county Notts threw it all away against Hampshire.

    Durham have always built there team around the local players and if you include Mark Davies who hasn't been able to get into the side lately because of the form of Harmison, Onions etc it is not just four local players.

    And by the way, your username suggests another Man Utd supporter who isn't from Manchester. Or did you just drive past Old Trafford and decide to call yourself a supporter?!

    Happy days here in Durham upsetting all the southerners!!

  • Comment number 20.

    Wakers........ Good evening.

    Utd supporter all my life as a Notts fan all my life. By Mr Bretts rules I could quite easilt drive by OT and get a game, maybe I will.

    As for sour grapes well i would have to see the whole thing as an injustice to claim that right wouldn't I?

    I've allready congratualted Durham on the title and have no problem with them winning it whatsoever. I've been down Trent Bridge the last few days and after our collapse in the first innings we had nothing left in the tank whatsoever.

    What I have issue with is the article on Durham and their lack of 'Kolpaks' and use of home grown talent. It simply isn't true.

  • Comment number 21.

    At last some good news on the sporting front for the north east! - I follow NUFC and have done for many years

    Well done to Durham for proving that you don't need to sell your local sporting soul to be a success. 16 years on from the year my home county was granted first class status and I could abandon Lancashire with a clear conscience we're champions of the FIRST division of English cricket!

  • Comment number 22.

    I fail to see why having non-uk players filling some places in the team makes a difference, i'm sure if any of the Premiership teams took out there non-uk players then then would struggle to field 5 or 6 players.

    We won and i'm so proud of that and every player regrdless of nationality.

  • Comment number 23.

    Well we'll agree to differ then YAMS. I just feel that people are not giving the team the credit they deserve and because it's little old Durham from up north people can have a go.

    I think we should just wish the team congratulations and be done with it.

    I appreciate you have however and your argument was with Mr Brett and his comments about Kolpak players, which is fair enough but I don't feel Durham have been any worse than any other county.

    Durham won the league because they won more games than anyone else. Simple as.

  • Comment number 24.

    We aren't differeing Wakers. You are agreeing with me!

    I repeat - I congratulate Durham on winning the title, they fully deserve it.

    What I have problems with is the BBC chief writer spewing stuff about the formulae' of Durham's team.

    Every county is the same, every county will continue to trade off a few home grown players with various random signings.

    Cricket is changing and only the most powerful teams will survive. Leicestershire and Northants had little option than to bring in all the Kolpaks.

    For Mr Brett to insinuate that Durham are a different breed is a ludricous statement.

    Have a nice evening Wakers, enjoy your celebrations.

  • Comment number 25.

    Great, effort, well deserved Durham. Their rise from minor county to champion county in a relatively short period should be one of the great county cricket stories for decades to come.

    Hard luck to Read and Notts for creditable 2nd, and all of Division One a thrilling final few days of the season.

    Also good to see plenty of English-qaulified players making important runs and taking important wickets.

  • Comment number 26.

    We all know there is only one team that really produces and uses local talent: Yorkshire.

    It doesn't make us successful anymore, but we wouldn't have it any other way.

    At least the 5 in the Durham side that could/would play for England are from the local area, although actually Plunkett is one of ours (Middlesbrough).

  • Comment number 27.

    re: 26

    It's true; how many other teams fielded 9 players born in their county this week? It'd be nice if all the local talent brought a few good results though, eh?

  • Comment number 28.

    The days when you played an XI all born within the county boundaries are long dead: cricket is now a business. Come to think of it, how many local players are there in the current Manchester United or Arsenal starting 11? Some Premiership teams have put out sides without a single England-qualified player and much less local lads, but I don't see problems of people identifying with them.

    It is a pity that cricket has taken the travelling mercenary route, but it was inevitable. Not to many sides have a strong local nucleus, but the northern sides (Yorkshire, Lancashire and Durham) are the ones that are most strongly locally recruited. Few cricket fans will resent Durham's success.

  • Comment number 29.

    Whilst I have some sympathy with the views expressed by YAMS and co, there is no denying that Durham's strategy is the best that was available to them. When we were getting thrashed every week, there was a groundswell of opinion that they were weakening the standard of the Championship by playing all these kids. Well the kids have now become proper pro's and gone on to be a conveyor belt of talent for England in the last few years. Plunkett and Onions are both likely to tour with England this winter but can't even get in the Durham team.

    Also, the Notts fans who have pointed out that Thorp is not a local have seemingly overlooked that Darren Pattison isn't Notts through and through. I know he has played for England, but so could Thorp!!!

    Durham have put a model in place that succeeds with a realistic budget within the framework of the rules. Once the rules change, I'm sure Durham will adapt. I would have no problem if all the Counties could only play players who came up through their own Academies, with one overseas. The Durham team would then probably be:-


    Stoneman
    Harmison B
    Smith*
    Collingwood
    Chanderpaul
    Coetzer/Muchall
    Mustard
    Plunkett
    Harmison S
    Onions
    Davies

    If all Counties were playing by these rules, then it would be between Durham and Yorkshire for the championship next year. Obviously, when England rob our entire seam attack we'll have to rely on Killeen (local) and probs get Simon Brown back or something!!

    The next wave of talent is already emerging:- Scott Borthwick (LS) Luke Evans (F) are two to watch. I think Durham won the 2nd XI championship also, with a side of almost exclusively locals.

    I'll probably be savaged for this, but I think the piece was spot on. Whilst there is no doubt that Durham have played the system, I think the writer was trying to indicate that their youth structure is fantastic and one all counties should be trying to emulate, which I feel is correct.

    I'm off to the Annual Awards dinner tomorrow, think DCCC might have to order a reinforced table to hold the county championship trophy on though!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    Morning Onionsforengland, nice post mate.

    Durham do have a youth structure that is bringing players through. They are one of the cricketing powerhouses if you like and are able to the better quality overseas player to their club.

    Your support of the article is wrong in my opinion. The article implies that Durham have not gone down the 'Kolpak' route. They have though but by different means.

    If county cricket continues this development then in 5 years time certain counties will not exsist in the first class games. It will become a case of the strongest survive.

    There are 4-5 counties that are and will remain permanantly in div 2 of the county Championship. These counties will have little option than to go down the cheaper kolpak route to make themselves competitive.

    2 counties stand out this year as majorly going down that route. The writer mentions this in his piece..... he can only be reffering to Leics and Northants, these two counties are light years behind Durham in revenue and will remain so.

    If any county can claim to be home grown then Yorkshire should take that mantle. Even they have Rudolph on a loophole given that he has jacked in international cricket because a county are prepared to pay him silly money.

    The whole article makes Durham sound like the exception to the rule which they certainly are not.

    Congrats on the title though. Best team in the country certainly. Hope you have a good bash tonight.

  • Comment number 31.

    Even though it's in makem county, it is nice to see and hear some good news in this region, for a change.

  • Comment number 32.



    Sorry Durham fans but the 'homegrown' aspect is pretty laughable. Will Smith has been great this year and he should at least be with England A over the winter but many of the others haven't performed. Mustard hasn't enhanced his chances of reappearing at international level, Plunkett is in and out, I don't think Onions has been as good as last season, Stoneman, Coetzer and Muchall haven't contributed much... if you're going to claim that Durham are a homegrown side then Somerset get extra points for having more England-qualified players in their team than Durham (Somerste had 6 plus 1 possible in Kieswetter if he qualifies in the future, Durham had 5). Notts had 9 England-qualified players in their side, and that's without playing Sidebottom or Broad.

    Durham's success has coincided with international matches at the Riverside. Without those funds coming in, would you have been able to sign the like of Pollock and Morkel, Chanderpaul, McKenzie etc? I suspect maybe not. With that in mind, perhaps Glamorgan, provided they sort out their executive level issues, will go the same way. After all, they have a lot of promising young players, they want to host international matches and they suffer badly through rain...



  • Comment number 33.

    Congratulations Durham!

    As a teenager I went along to a very cold Oxford University Parks to see Durham's first ball and match in First Class Cricket. How many jumpers did Dean Jones have on???

    It was certainly hard going at first; I remember the sheer astonishment of making the cut for the 1st year of two divisions. But now we've made it.

    Sri Lanka have only been a Test team for 20/30 years, were very weak for years but look what a contribution they now make to international cricket. It might take some time to adjust to the level, but once your there you can certainly hold your own.

    As long as the system continues to develop and bring through talent from the local area then its fine by me.

  • Comment number 34.

    I understand the frustration (jealousy?) of some people but the 'facts' some people are spouting are laughable.

    Yes we have played Pollock, Morkel, Chanderpaul and McKenzie this year but their contribution to the title has been negligible.

    Pollock never played a game for us, Morkel played one (and scored 37) and both McKenzie and Chanderpaul have been in awful form in the CC.

    As for saying it all coincided with internationals coming to the Riverside, yes it has helped but (a) what about all the other teams that have international sat their ground (and bear in mind we tend to get only the weakest teams up here, our Tests have been Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and the Winides) (b) I would say the title is more due to a strong crop of young player coming through at the same time.

    As I said we are not perfect but please do not try to belittle our fantastic achievement.

  • Comment number 35.

    It's not a case of jealousy or belittlement. I'm not complaining that Durham have achieved victory in the CC. People like me are complaining about the actual article, not Durham itself. Take this paragraph:

    "And after a season marred by the endless conveyor belt of Kolpak mercenaries, it's refreshing to see that a county which genuinely believes in homegrown talent can outshine the rest."

    When only half your final side were England qualified, it is grossly contentious for Oliver Brett to push the 'homegrown talent' ticket. Leicestershire and Northants have been criticised for their Kolpak players but I was counting six England-qualified player sin the last Leics XI and eight in the Northants team (although it's clear a couple of the SA contingent were being rested/dropped).

    I'm not contending that Pollock and Morkel played parts in the CC title. The point I was making was that, prior to the international money coming in, it is debatable whether Durham would have been able to sign such players. It's an advantage they have over some other sides.

    Now this 'strong crop of young players coming through'... is there> Will Smith looks great and is an obvious target but, as I said earlier, a lot of the young players haven't done much. Kyle Coetzer is a huge disappointment as he looked good last year. Stoneman, Ben Harmison, Plunkett, Mustard, Muchall... have these guys really done that much this season?

    It's been a mental Championship this year because of the weather. I can't remember another team when a team could be challenging for the title during the penultimate game and then tastting relegation with the final game.

  • Comment number 36.

    At least Durham cannot be accused of going along the route used by the likes of Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire. Yes they may have more 'English qualified' players but neither county are exactly renowned for bringing through their own talent. Look at the Nottinghamshire team in their last match:

    Jefferson, Wagh, Swann, Ealham-all experienced players capped with other counties

    Prince-overseas player

    Adams-overseas player in anything but name

    Pattison-sorry Darren, you're an Aussie and Notts had nothing to do with your development

    Shafayat-Previously left Notts because he couldn't get a game, so gained most of his experience in spell with Northants

    Read-originally on books at Gloucestershire

    Shreck-originally played minor county cricket for Cornwall

    Patel-At last, some home produced talent!

    This has been Nottinghamshire's policy over a number of years (back to the David Collier days). Out of Durham and Notts I know who is doing more to develop future English cricketers, and it ain't Notts!!

  • Comment number 37.


    There's difference ways of developing cricketers. A county can specialise in a youth development programme and try to bring players through that way. I don't see the counties as having to provide players for England. A county is there to produce players who are as good as possible for their county side. It should then be the job of the ECB development programmes at Loughborough, the England A side etc to develop those skills further. So Durham do have a fine programme designed to bring through young cricketers. Aside from Collingwood and Harmison, there's nobody else who'd demand to be in the England side. Smith has talent, Plunkett has regressed, Onions is good but hasn't made the step I'd have liked this season, Davies might make it.

    The other sort of county is the county like Notts who bring players in and improve them. Swann has improved a great deal since he went to Notts. They took a chance on Charlie Shreck and have been well rewarded. Sidebottom is a great example. He left Yorkshire, a county with a good youth development programme, because he didn't feel he could get to the higher tier of international cricket whilst he played at Headingley. Undoubtedly he has been vindicated in that decision. So I do feel there are two different ways of developing cricketers who could play for England. Durham may well be better at finding the raw talent but perhaps Notts are a little better at finetuning that talent. Having both counties performing so well is ultimately the best thing for the English game because it provides for intense competition.

  • Comment number 38.

    I doubt any Notts fan will dispute your claims Davymozza.

    There is general disharmony amongst the Notts faithful that some of the youth players aren't getting a chance.

    Saxelby has recently signed for Gloucester because Newell gave him no encouragement. Young seamer Fletcher has a chance but I doubt he will get it at Notts. Footitt is another who has had injury problems but may have to look elsewhere.

    Notts have gone down a certain route and it has brought some success. We are providing lots of Engalnd players though.

    Sidebottoms career was rejuvinated at Trent Bridge, Swann has developed as well. Broad we will never see but he only joined Leicestershire in the first place because the excellent Oakham cricketing academy is in thier catchment area.

    You mention Read and Shreck but no one else thought to sign them from obscurity.

    And finally on Shafayat...... he originally joined Northants because Newell couldn't gaurantee him a game ahead of Pietersen. That was the only reason he left. A fortnyt later when KP left Shaf was rather keen to return.

    So Notts dont provide youth players, they do provide England players though by rescuing many a lost player in the county structure.

  • Comment number 39.

    YAMS, Andy Plowright

    Notts have had some successes but a lot of their signings are hardly rescuing potential test players lost from the fold.

    Will Jefferson-aged 28, Matthew Wood-aged 27, Mark Ealham-aged 35, Mark Wagh- aged 31 (ages when signed)

    Going further back, I suppose Jason Gallian, Andy Harris, Darren Bicknell, Russell Warren etc are all ' rescued test players'?

    Perhaps the cynic (realist) in me believes players like Ryan Sidebottom and Graeme Swann joined because they believed they had had their chance at top level and weren't quite good enough, so moved to a county that offered them more money!!

    Don't worry, I hate what Ashley Giles is doing at Warwickshire even more than what Notts are doing

  • Comment number 40.

    Is there any difference between Durham playing the likes of Di Venuto and Wiseman and other counties fielding players like Ealham or Gallian?
    None of them are going to represent England in the future, so perhaps we should be looking to exclude English veterans from the county scene.

  • Comment number 41.

    Oh dear - there are clearly some sour grapes amongst the posters here.

    All one needs to do is say "Well done Durham you are deserved winners".

    Have a go southern friends - you'll feel better, trust me.

    In my case (Yorkshireman) Durham bested us in our match and I'm happy to wish them congratulations.

    Now from which part of the UK did the two relegated teams come from? There may be link between the answer to this question and the plenitude of bitter posters.

    Up the north! - including Lancashire - though it pains me to say so ;-)

  • Comment number 42.


    DavyMozza:

    Now Davy, to paraphrase you, Durham has had some success but a lot of their signings are hardly rescuing potential Test players from the fold! Wiseman, Breese, Di Venuto, Benkenstein...

    Going further back, I suppose Ian Botham, Wayne Larkins, Paul Parker, David Graveney etc were all 'rescued Test players'?!

    Yes I am being facetious.

    You say Durham are providing lots of England players. I'm seeing two in Collingwood and Harmison who can call themselves England players. Plunkett and Mustard weren't good enough. Neither have shown enough this year to demand their place back. Onions hasn't done enough for me to suggest he's going to challenge for an England squad place. Davies might have a chance but I think there will always be worries over his fitness. Will Smith is the jewel in the crown. I like him a lot and I hope he scores a lot of England A runs this winter.

    You compare that to Notts who can offer Broad and Patel as international tourists this winter, certainly both in the ODI squad and maybe both in the Test squad (let's drop Ian Bell for Patel in Tests! It'd be great!). Swann has shown good ODI performances. Sidebottom may well reclaim his international place. Charlie Shreck is challenging Onions and Plunkett for England recognition. Chris Read could make a claim ahead of Phil Mustard for England keeper. I think both teams are pretty equal in terms of supplying current and future England players.

    In Swann and Sidebottom, you have two guys who wanted to get back in the England side having been dropped. Swann was thought of as a loose cannon and Sidebottom wasn't getting picked by Yorkshire. Both took the chance elsewhere and both have reaped the rewards. Noots clearly have an environment there which produces good players. Although he had his falling out with the side, I don't think KP would deny that playing for Notts helped develop him.

    The cynic in you is very much wrong over Sidebottom's movement from Yorkshire to Notts. That wasn't about money.

    Both Durham and Notts have used experienced non-England qualified players to strengthen their side. I have no problem with that at all because I believe it provides a competitive environment which means the best young players will get through. Players like Samit Patel and Will Smith. Notts and Durham provide different approaches to development. Good! Diversity!

    As for the geography of the two relegated sides... I can categorically state that I hate Surrey more than any other county side :)

  • Comment number 43.

    English cricket needs more home grown players coming into the game as otherwise the County game will be a lucrative haven and bolt-hole for players developed overseas. Clearly Durham are doing just that and they should be congratulated rather than making nit-picking comments on the perceived shortcomings on some of the younger players. Notts are perhaps recycling and improving some of the older players - but that is a temporary fix and is not the long term model needed- an example of "short-termism" is of course Pattinson.
    The Durham model is the way ahead, making sure of success in the short-term to build up resource and sustainability and in parallel creating a supply of good County players, hopefully some of Test standard.

  • Comment number 44.


    All teams have short term and long term policies. Signing Darren Pattinson is as short term as signing Michael Di Venuto. What's the difference? Both counties saw a quality player they could sign for their side. Both have performed admirably for their side.

    England doesn't need more homegrown players coming through. It needs more homegrown players who are genuinely talented and good enough to play for their country. Things will change. I don't know how many people saw the Cricinfo report on a Telegraph article but here we go:

    http://content-www.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/370829.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

    So if the Kolpak numbers drop by 60% in 2009, who's going to fill the gaps? Will sides go for young unproven players or will the recycling of older players continue? It'll be interesting to watch because I suspect there will be a lot of teams suddenly suffering through enforced changes.

    I'm not saying the Durham model is bad. It clearly isn't. But neither is the Notts model. You look in football at the amount of players who come up through the youth ranks of a team, get dumped and end up making their name elsewhere. Perhaps we need more of that in county cricket. We've seen Swann and Sidebottom come back to good effect when many thought their international days were numbered. If you have a better ryclcing of players that improves them at some counties, and other counties going with a model like Durham's, that can only be good for the game as a whole.

  • Comment number 45.

    You seem to be missing the point, we do need more English players of at least county standard coming into the game - we need volume and quality in order to create competition and local enthusiasm for the game or the county game will continue spiralling downwards in terms of interest. NE interest in cricket has taken off - local players are heros - and not just the test players, kids are increasingly playing the game. Recycling is of course good but it is of paramount importance that more kids play and watch the game. More homegrown players coached well and nutured in well run academies is a very good model and , IMO, of significantly more benefit to English cricket than the Notts model.

  • Comment number 46.

    I have been reading your comments and feel that the Notts fans need to realise they did not win the county championship this year and finished 2nd (nobody ever remembers who finished 2nd by the way). Durham did win the county championship and are therefore the best side..well done Durham. They won not because of kolpak or non kolpak but because they were the best team. Did Manchester United win the leauge last year...how many foreigners...who cares. If you want to limit certain players you have to change the rules..the rules are there to be used and abused. Durham have a great youth policy and the first team proves this and will keep proving this. Don't slag off Plunkett, Onions and Mustard they are good county players and still young...not a bad squad to have Plunkett and Onions as reserves pushing for a place keeping the other players on their toes...they would walk into most other county sides!! Notts will be making offers for these 2 this Winter as they did for other Durham players last Winter
    Lets accept that Durham won and stop analysing why and congratulate them on a great achievement. If you want to change the English game you wont do it here.
    WELL DONE DURHAM

  • Comment number 47.

    Familydavo:

    Nobody has 'slagged off' Mustard, Plunkett and Onions. Saying that all three of them haven't really enhanced their chances of returning to international level this season isn't slagging them off: it's stating the truth! It is possible to criticise a player you like. For example, I'd love to see Phil Mustard in the ODI line-up but he hasn't scored the weight of runs in either form of the game to demand a place. Likewise, nobody is saying Kolpak players is the reason why Durham won and nobody is saying Durham's youth system is bad. The argument has been that the article writer's notion that it was a very homegrown talent is stretching credibility somewhat. Everyone accepts Durham won and I don't see anyone who is unhappy that Durham won so I can't see your point.

    Finkler:

    I'm not missing any point at all. Where do I say that we don't need more English players? Where do I espouse the notion that we need more overseas players? Answer: I don't. We do need volume and quality. Once the Kolpak rules change, this will influence the sides and the teams with a greater youth capacity will be the ones challenging for honours.

    Of the two models, neither one is better than the other: they each serve different purposes.

  • Comment number 48.

    ss

  • Comment number 49.

    apologies for the above. here's my comment:

    OK, let's really explain the so called 'Durham model' and why it's so good for the game.

    Basically, a block of overseas players allows the county to play a block of locally produced (mainly) players. If these players are good enough, they go on to become part of the infrastructure of the club over a number of seasons: Collingwood, Harmison, Killeen. If not, they drop out of the game. That's the beauty of it. Rather than allowing utterly mediocre players the opportunity to plod through 17 seasons + benefit year, this method filters out those players who are just not good enough. The local players can't ask for better mentors than the likes of Benkenstein, Di Venuto, Gibson et al.

    Finally short term contracts of overseas players allow the team to plug a gap while waiting for the right young player to come along. That role is played by the Wiseman's and Breese's, whilst the local lads such as Borthwick come of age.

    The system is backed up by linking the players and the academy with the local premier league. There is also a shed load of work that goes on with the schools.

    It's a very very healthy model indeed. Far better than poaching the players produced by other clubs because you can't be bothered to produce your own...

    Fantastic work Durham, you deserve it.

  • Comment number 50.

    Congrats to Durham. this represents all the hard work of all those involved in the County since the late 1980s.

    Who'd have thought in 16 years we'd be County Champions!

    Durham should be applauded for the structures they have put in place, an international Ground, a great acamdemy and the financial machine that makes the most out of their resources.

    I take it the poor summer has made the grapes a little sour down in the South. ;-)

    I would also like to thank Hampshire for their approach to the game at Trent Bridge.

    Now perhaps the County's Premiership football team, Sunderland, can take a lead from them.

  • Comment number 51.

    SJM:

    I'm not criticising the Durham model at all. It's a very good model. One advantage Durham have had over other counties is that they have been able to start from scratch and build up a plan with no historical ties/outdated practices to hinder it. Durham are a great example of a modern forward-thinking county. So, for all the Durham fans jabbering back at me, I am praising them!

    However, I do think it's premature to say it's producing a lot of Test-quality players when the reality is that Durham have produced two genuine international quality players in Harmison and Collingwood. It's also wrong to say that other counties are doing things 'wrong'. You can't run all counties in the same way. It's impossible for Middlesex to be run the same way as Durham because of the MCC connections, and that's why I say Durham have an advantage because they don't have the old ties to elements that may hold them back.

    Each club has to find a method that works for them. Most clubs have academies and good structures in place but Durham are a little ahead of them.

    Have Notts poached anyone? They didn't poach Swann and Sidebottom. Both players were not moving forward at their counties at the time and made the move because they felt it would improve them as players and push them back into the international fold. Both have been vindicated in their choice. There's a bit of difference between that and the admittedly more hardline methods employed by Warwickshire in the last year, who seem to be the first club linked to signing anyone at the drop of a hat.

  • Comment number 52.

    CollingwoodFTM:

    For the last time, there is no bitterness down South. I'm happy Durham won, mainly because it meant Harmison was bowling well, and a top form Harmison for Durham means a top form Harmison for England.

    And dude! Kent and Surrey went down! That's a major celebration down here in Wiltshire for me!

  • Comment number 53.

    AndyP

    I am normally fairly happy to take the flak but I do not accept it is "grossly contentious [of me] to push the 'homegrown talent' ticket". You seem to miss the point by a massively wide mark. My observation - as understood by a quiet majority on this thread (despite the attempts to silence them by the noisier minority) is that Durham, ever since becoming a first-class county, have been loyal to the local clubs in the north-east - and done everything they can to get the best local kids playing at the top of the game.

    In order to challenge for silverware, and ultimately get the best out of those locals, you do need one or two experienced pros. And Durham, instead of signing up old English lags from other counties, often bring in a little bit of overseas blood.

    Perhaps, after reading sjm_5000 at comment no. 49 you have begun to see the light, because you then say: "I'm not criticising the Durham model at all". Well that is a conversion after some of your earlier comments!

    And to sum it up, I like CollingwoodFTM (No. 50) - "I take it the poor summer has made the grapes a little sour down in the South"

    I hope everyone involved enjoys tonight's big party at the Riverside

  • Comment number 54.

    AndyP

    I was being slighly sarcastic. I live in Hants and so have had a succession of people congratulating me at work today.

    I was very sorry to see Kent go down, as I saw my first 1st game there in the 70s. Also sorrows to Surrey's fans, though not their Commercial Department, who thought it was OK to charge me £8 to watch one ball at the Oval, it went for 4 wides (Durham were bowling), before they called it a day.

  • Comment number 55.

    Andy: Yes, it's true that Durham have only produced two top line test players, but they're continuing to produce near misses (Plunkett, Mustard, Onions). Who knows when the next hit will come along, but the system they have means it will be easier for it to happen.

    It is also true that some counties might find it hard to adapt, but many wouldn't. The point is the link between the county and its premier league and schools and the generation of interest and participation in an area. Durham have shown how we in England as a whole can squeeze a lot lot more out of the population we have.

    Only 2 real test players, but what if the other counties were matching their development. We'd have a test team that would really be very very competitive.

    There was a massively influential lobby around a couple of years back whose only game plan involved turning their back on the wider roots of the game, setting up a few super teams, and presumably a few posts with some really decent salaries for the chosen few. (Willis, Atherton et al) If that had happened you can be sure that neither Collingwood or Harmison would ever have found themselves playing even first class cricket.

    What Durham have shown us is that the optimum solution can be found in the completely opposite direction. Other counties should be encouraged to follow their direction.

  • Comment number 56.

    On the subject of Kent, it shows that relegation is not the best solution.

    A better sytem would be two conferences of 9 team and then some play-offs. It would also mean less games. A system of 8 in the group stage + mini leagues of five more games in the second part of the season would work well.

    For example, the top two in each conference would form a league of four in which they'd play 5 more games (the other two home and away and the other team from their conference a second time. You could repeat this down the tables...

    Let's hope the national team has a good winter and is on the up for next summer...

  • Comment number 57.

    Andy P - your comment in 47:

    "You say I'm not missing any point at all. Where do I say that we don't need more English players?"

    Look at your your comment in 44:

    "England doesn't need more homegrown players coming through. It needs more homegrown players who are genuinely talented and good enough to play for their country."

    You seem to be backtracking in 47 - it is obvious to anyone that you cannot just look for test standard cricketers amongst potential candidates - a solid cadre of good quality english players has to be built up to ensure the continuation of the county game and give a pool of players to select the best from for international duty.

  • Comment number 58.

    Oliver,

    I love you, man. Debating with you is fun.

    I’m quite well aware of the way Durham been loyal to the local clubs. They have done an awful lot. I have not slated their model at all. What I have done is criticise your article and the notion that Durham’s success is founded on homegrown talent when it quite clearly is not founded on homegrown talent simply by looking at the averages and time line-ups. When the overseas players outnumber the homegrown players as they did in the final match 6 to 5, how is that side founded on homegrown talent? The top six slots in the batting averages for the CC for Durham show one English player out of six. Is that a batting unit founded on homegrown talent? Not to my mind.

    So let’s see this from you:

    “And Durham, instead of signing up old English lags from other countries, often bring in a little bit of overseas blood”

    Two points come to mind. Firstly, that the Durham side when they first started as a professional outfit was the ultimate old English lags county team. At times it looked like the PCA Masters XI’s do now. Secondly, the time line-ups suggest a bit more than ‘a little bit of overseas blood’.

    What Durham have done with the playing team is not that much different from other sides. They have their experienced professionals and they’ve bought in other players, often Kolpak players, when they’ve needed to. In the 20-20 Cup, they went for Morkel and Pollock to come in where some sides previously had gone with a greater youth element. Their spin department consists of two overseas guys. Most sides are the same.

    The advantage Durham have over other sides is a better infrastructure reaching out into the communities and that is awesome and all their own creation. It’s so awesome, I’ll write it in big capital letters. AWESOME. That is beyond argument and I haven’t argued with that. The riches of this programme have not been seen really so I think it’s premature to say it’s the right model for everyone.

    What I have disputed are the claims of Durham having a homegrown core when the composition of the side and the averages suggest otherwise. It’s like Liverpool saying they have an English core because of Carragher and Gerrard when just about everyone else comes from overseas. So now do you see the distinction between criticising those saying Durham are a homegrown outfit and criticising their development programmes? There is a difference there.

    And dude, you accusing me of having Southern bitterness is way too funny. Given that I’m a West Country boy, I’m not sure how I can be accused of that. I don’t have bitterness. Supporting Somerset means you’re stripped of all natural reserves of jealousy and rivalry and instead you resign yourself to the fact that you’re good but never going to be that good. We consol ourselves with the knowledge that we produced Marcus Trescothick, Ian Botham and, in Andy Caddick, one of the finest pairs of ginormous lugholes to ever open the bowling for England. The grapes aren’t sour down my end because I am not sophisticated enough to understand this whole ‘grapes to wine’ concept, what with being a cider-quaffing handler of farmyard animals and wearer of cheapo wellingtons.

  • Comment number 59.


    Finkler:

    I stand by what I say. England doesn’t need more homegrown players coming through. Increasing the numbers alone doesn’t increase the quality. They need more homegrown players coming through who are genuinely good enough to succeed at score runs or take wickets against the best international sides. You say we need greater numbers of English players to come through as we can see the best of the talent: nonsense. We had that in the 1980’s and 1990’s and the pre-Kolpak days and look where it got us. We’d have county sides featuring two overseas players (generally some of the best ones) and nine English qualified players, often featuring overbowled test bowlers and tired test batsmen and we consistently produced rubbish cricketers who couldn’t make the step up. The greatest example is India. Who plays as an overseas player in the Indian first-class side? The standards are low, the competition isn’t that fierce and we’ve seen many Indian batsmen with superlative first-class averages fail dismally when they hit international cricket. Vikram Rathour is a fine example of a guy who cruised through junior cricket, got runs at state level but looked totally at sea in the international game. The Indian model does see special talent like Dravid and Tendulkar reach the top but they come through an awful lot of dross, and a lot of that dross ends up playing with them at international level because their state game doesn’t weed out the dross or improve it. When you do increase competition, as has happened with the MRF pace bowling school and Lillee’s contributions, we’ve seen India have perhaps their best pace attack of all time develop. If the batting got the same level of competition and development, they truly could beat Australia and become the best nation on the planet. Let’s face it, when people talk about England underachieving, India, with a population as large as it has, have underachieved to a far worse level than England ever have!


    I agree with Justin Langer when he says that the CC is the best it has ever been for many a decade in terms of the strength of competition. The Kolpak numbers do need to be watched but we also need to guard against letting too many mediocre players into the county side because that would be a backwards regressive step toward the Championship as it was in the mid 1990’s. A side with one overseas player, maybe or three Kolpak players, and seven English qualified players works for me. The Test players will come in and out, the young players will get exposed to the best and things will continue to improve as they have been doing so over the last decade.

    The system needs to produce more England players so I’ll admit that I could have worded a couple of things better. Producing English players and England players are vastly different things, which is why I’ll say again that having different models of development, be it Durham’s community-led youth policy or Nottinghamshire’s development of players with county experience, is essential. ‘One size fits all’ never works in the real world.

  • Comment number 60.

    SJM:

    Totally agree with you on that lobby a few years back. The Atherton-Willis revolution was one that stank of idiocy for the most part. I remember they wittered on about club players being able to take time off from work to play cricket. Absolute garbage! I know my local minor county of Wiltshire have immense trouble getting the same time to play Sunday through to Tuesday for the three-day games so the Atherton notion that club players could take time off was totally idiotic and reflective of a guy who hadn’t had a typical working life (Cambridge Uni to professional cricket to England captain to pundit hardly gives you an idea of the realities of the average working lifestyle). It was a horrible plan and I hated it with a passion. I’m glad they lost. I like Atherton as a person but Willis is another matter.

    Being down here in sunny Wiltshire, I’ve seen how much the coaching has improved in even this minor county. I went through the county youth system some 15 years ago and it’s so much better now than it was. The league structures have improved, there are greater links between counties and league clubs, and most people can see that. Durham have set the yardstick and that is something to be applauded. Other clubs do find it more difficult. With Somerset, I get the feeling that geography doesn’t help, as Taunton is a bit out of the way. Gloucestershire really need to develop a new stadium if they are to challenge and improve. The links are definitely there but no other county could approach the Grand Plans as Durham did from a position of zero and build everything up exactly how they wanted it. Middlesex won’t be able to do that whilst they still have the MCC ties. Glamorgan might be able to do that if the internal fighting that seems to be going on settles down. Surrey should be doing more with the resources available to them but you get the impression that they’re more interested in corporate affairs than cricket affairs.




  • Comment number 61.


    Now, because I'll probably get more stuff written, I want to say this: Durham are good side who play good cricket. In ten years, I really think we'll be able to judge how good their development schemes are. We're never going to see an all-English player county side again in my opinion. I'm glad of that. Like most things in life, greater diversity makes for a better place. So I shall praise Durham with a pint of cider rather than anything involving the grape as some have suggested. I will however save the champagne for toasting Surrey's new life in Division 2.

  • Comment number 62.

    Andy,

    I would actually do away with the minor counties and combine them into some new counties. You could do that if you had a conference system rather than divisional cricket. If you based it on a local premier league of 10 - 12 clubs, maybe Devon, Wiltshire and Cornwall could build up a side of their own?

    That way any player who was half decent could climb onto the road to becoming a test cricketer no matter where they grow up.

    Remember that the Durham model also includes Northumberland, a county which is largely full of sheep and defunct coalmines - which is exactly where the Harmisons come from!

    Sure the population of the NE is bigger than yours, but it's actually surprisingly small - less than 3 million from Berwick to Middlesborough. We too are always aware that we don't really fit on the radar of the established circuit or have the financial clout to defnd ourselves if things get really tough. We never get offered test matches against the best teams. But you have to keep going.

    In the 120 years or so before Durham, only two people who grew up in the NE played for England (Milburn and Willey) - a couple more were born there. In the 17 since Durham became first class four have played tests. Why? Because the players have been given the opportunity. Get yourselves organised and join the fun! And watch Bob Willis's face when you turn over the Bears...

  • Comment number 63.

    Well played Durham - a well deserved victory.

    As a Sussex fan I am of course very pleased to see Kent and 'The Surrey Swagger' relegated - nothing like seeing your local rivals fail :)

    On the subject of home grown players, somebody said that if it we're only English qualified players in the Championship it would be between Durham and Yorkshire. I'd like to add this:

    Sussex team versus Yorkshire

    Yardy - Sussex lad
    Nash - Sussex lad
    Adams – Yorkshireman
    Goodwin – Zimbabwean Koplak
    Hopkinson – Sussex lad
    Wright - Leicestershire lad
    Prior – Sussex lad
    Lewry - Sussex lad
    Martin Jenkins - Sussex lad
    Rayner - Sussex lad
    Sami - Pakistani overseas player

    So, we have 7 players who have come through the Sussex structure, plus another 2 English qualified players (both of whom actually have done so).

    Of the 9 English players, other than Adams, all are still young enough to play for England, so no Ealhams there!

    Plus, Sussex have other former youth players waiting in the wings, in the form of Andy Hodd who is a great wicket keeper and batsman (has pushed Matt Prior all the way domestically), Chris Liddle (a promising Left arm swing bowler), James Kirtley (mainly used in 1 day cricket), Rory Hamilton-Brown (not one of ours but English), plus Will Beer and Tom Smith, who are talented spin bowlers / batsmen, who have featured in 1 day cricket this year.

    So, my point is, Durham are deserved champions, this season has been the most exciting for years, domestic cricket is healthy in England and all counties that produce and play England qualified players should be proud of themselves.


  • Comment number 64.

    Andy P

    Please, please try to be more pithy! I am afraid that my attention span, as apparently it is with the rest of the population, limited to about 10 lines. Anyway, I note with admiration your ability to move from position to position with consumate ease and I do detect a subtle change in your views if I am not correct!

  • Comment number 65.

    Finkler:

    The only version of pithy I do involves textspeak so I wil c u l8r.

    I don't think I've moved from position to position at all. I still don't think Durham are as homegrown as certain people think. I've never said their development system was bad and been an advocate of different development systems for different counties. Close-minded? Moi?

    Anyhow, i know you lie about your attention span as any changes from position to position by me tend to occur over 125 lines, not 10 :)


    SJM:

    My thought for the Minor Counties was to scrap the three-day cricket and try to incorporate one-day second XI and Minor County cricket. That way, the Minor County players get to face some good up and coming players as well as older professionals and professionals who are coming back from injury, and the counties get to see some of the MC talent. As I said earlier, Wiltshire have had a struggle getting a side out sometimes for three-day cricket and I don’t believe the current working climate makes it any easier. The regional idea is a good one for the logner format of the game.

    Wiltshire’s population is apparently larger than that of Durham. What we don’t have is the same level of a) desire to create anything new here and b) any other major sporting teams that would help. We haven’t got a Kevin Keegan figure who can help deals land in place. A Wiltshire and Dorset combined team would work but that would involve the dissolution of old ideas, and that never happens around here. Gloucestershire haven’t got the cash to stretch further out and Somerset haven’t yet got enough money to incorporate Wiltshire more fully. When they have Millfield School so close to Taunton, there’s perhaps no reason to do so. Hampshire takes notice of some places in Wiltshire, mostly due to South Wilts CC playing in the Southern League. Most of the best sides in Wiltshire play in the West of England Premier League that takes in the like of Bath, the Bristol clubs and stretching up into Gloucestershire and Worcestershire on occasion. It’s a pretty well-spread league really.

    I'd prefer to see Bob Willis turned over by a bear. Preferably one who's just been woken earlier from his winter hibernation period by Bob delving into a cave and complaining about the standard of caves nowdays compared to when he was younger...

  • Comment number 66.

    I am a Kentish Man, and my side sadly went down as Durham won the Championship.

    But WELL DONE DURHAM - it is well deserved. You can teach our county a few things, and I hope they learn them.

    I can remember Durham as the Minor Counties champions - look at you now!

    Good stuff. I am very happy for you.

  • Comment number 67.

    What many of your responders fail to realise - probably because they don't live in the north-east - is that despite its known love of football the area has had a lively and healthy cricket scene for over 40 years.
    Its no surprise to us that Durham have a rich harvetst of local playeres to choose from. I played league cricket up here in the 1970's and 1980's and the there are thriving cricket leagues in both Northumberland and Durham - at all levels.
    Indeed in the 1960's and 1970's overseas players such as Bishan Bedi and Rohan Khani gained their registration playing for Durham senior league teams. There is even a pub in Ashinton named after Rohan Khani.
    Given our lack of success on the football field it has given us a great lift to see Durham do so well.

  • Comment number 68.

    It's true, but in the first decade of being 1st class, Durham failed to get the balance right between young and old, and the old generally did not guid the young as well as the current crop of international players have done.

    Let's hope they can build on the success next year with another strong performance...

  • Comment number 69.

    As a Lancastrian, I'd like to add my congratulations to Durham.
    I spent 5 years up there playing club cricket in the 80s and know how passionate the people are about cricket and sport in general - their success is richly deserved.
    Now if only Lancs could find some home grown batting talent ...

  • Comment number 70.

    well done durham as a notts fan i was disapointed in my own side twice we had a chance to win a title after being in the box seat and both times we bottled it durham kept going to the end and deserved it notts are the arsenal off cricket good to watch but lack the killer instinct

  • Comment number 71.

    as to the kolpak argument, the like od diva and benks are great for our club as they are world class players giving their experience to the younger players from durham and helping them develop, and i feel that is more important in developing young english players than playing young cricketers just as they are english qualified, but arent good enough to compete at the top level

  • Comment number 72.

    Blimey! It took me about half an hour to read through that little lot! I think everyone is happy that Durham are County Champions. I think everyone considers Durham to have been the best side this summer. I think everyone accepts that DCCC support local talent and have a fabulous academy. I think everyone supports the Riverside and it's role in hosting international matches. An awful lot of arguing about what is essentially...agreement!

    Well done Durham. Oh and it was nice that Durham won the county championship quickly enough to allow Don Robson (the man who fought for first class status and brought it to us) the opportunity to see it happen in his lifetime. Thanks Don!

 

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.