Cricket, the Brilliant Game!

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English County Cricket Clubs: Durham

Posted by wildkiwi25 on January 19, 2009

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Durham County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English domestic cricket structure, representing the historic county of Durham. Its limited overs team is called the Durham Dynamos. Their kit colours are blue with yellow trim and the shirt sponsor is Northern Rock.

The club is based at the Riverside Ground in Chester-le-Street.

Granted first-class status in 1991, Durham is English cricket’s newest first-class county. The County Ground at the Riverside is also the newest addition to the English Test match circuit; hosting its first match, England v Zimbabwe in the second Test, from 5 June to 7 June 2003.

Durham CCC is playing in Division One of the LV County Championship and division one of the NatWest Pro40 League in 2008. Durham won the County Championship in 2008 for the first time.

Records:
For Durham County Cricket Club’s first-class records, see List of Durham first-class cricket records. For Durham County Cricket Club’s List A records, see List of Durham List A cricket records.

Earliest cricket:
Cricket probably did not reach Durham until the 18th century. The earliest reference is a game at Raby Castle on or soon after 5 August 1751 between the Earl of Northumberland’s XI and the Duke of Cleveland’s XI. The game was commemorated by a ballad which starts:

“Durham City has been dull so long,
No bustle at all to show;
But now the rage of all the throng
Is at cricketing to go.”

As it happens, there was a return game soon afterwards at Stanwick, near Richmond, and that is the earliest reference to cricket in Yorkshire.

The first recorded match of representative cricket in the county took place in 1848 at Sunderland, between an All England XII and a Bishopwearmouth 22. Despite their extra numbers the cricketers of Bishopwearmouth were comprehensively outplayed as All England’s scores of 129 and 143 dwarfed their own 56 and 59.

The first team to carry the name of ‘Durham County’ played an MCC team in 1876 and went on to take on the touring Australians in 1878, winning by 71 runs, and again in 1880, losing by an innings and 38 with the great Fred Spofforth taking 17 wickets for 66.

Origin of club:
Durham CCC was founded as an official entity on 23 May 1882, and the nascent club played its first competitive match on June 12 of that year, beating Northumberland by 4 wickets at the Ashbrooke Ground, Sunderland. The club established an enviable record as a minor county: becoming the first minor county to beat a first-class county in the Gillette Cup; winning the Minor Counties Championship a record-equalling seven times between 1901 and 1984; and putting together a record of 65 matches without defeat between 1976 and 1982 that remains unbroken to the present day.

Durham as a first-class county:
Early in 1989, the Club began the process of applying to become a first-class cricketing county and join the County Championship. First-class status was awarded on 6 December 1991, with Durham becoming the first new first-class county for 70 years. Their first season in the County Championship was the 1992 season.

Durham have not been distinguished by marked success as a first-class county. In the 2004 season they finished bottom of the two-division County Championship, sixth out of ten teams in the one-day National Cricket League and fifth out of six teams in the Northern Division of the Twenty20 Cup.

However in 2005 under the captaincy of Australian Mike Hussey Durham finished second and achieved promotion in both the County Championship and the one-day National Cricket League. Hussey was prevented from returning to the Riverside in 2006 as he is contracted to the Australian international team; and with vice-captain Paul Collingwood away on English international team duty Dale Benkenstein was captain for 2006.

Durham had mixed success in the 2006 season, finishing second in the North Division of the C&G Trophy. However, Durham were poor in the Twenty20 cup, finishing last in the North Division and only managing 2 victories, both against Lancashire. The Pro40 campaign started fairly well, with Durham taking 4 points from the first 4 games with a win, a loss, a tie and a no result. However, several defeats left them needing a win against the champions elect, Essex, in the final game of the season. They managed the victory, but other results did not go their way and they ended up being relegated in 8th place. The Championship season also began with success, but mediocre results in the middle of the season left Durham hanging above the relegation zone by just half a point going into the last game of the season. Durham needed more points than their rivals Yorkshire, but looked in trouble when Darren Lehmann hit a career-best 339 in the first innings. Achieving just one bowling bonus point meant that Durham needed to score 400 without losing more than 5 wickets and then draw the game.

However, one other team could also be relegated. Nottinghamshire needed just 3 points to avoid the drop at the start of the matches, but only managed 1 point as they were soundly beaten by Sussex. This meant that Durham needed only to score 400 (for maximum batting points) and force a draw. At 191-6 this looked unlikely. But a record-breaking stand of 315 between Benkenstein and Ottis Gibson made it possible. Gibson was out for 155, the highest first-class score in his career. Durham then collapsed again to 518 all out, needing work to be done in the second innings. This was provided by Garry Park, who hit a maiden first-class century (100*) as Durham played out a draw, leaving themselves and Yorkshire in the first division.

In recent times, Durham has seen a number of their top players make an impact on the England side. Collingwood (who is the first Durham CCC player to hit a Test century and double century), Steve Harmison and Liam Plunkett have all established themselves in the national squad with Phil Mustard the most recent inclusion. The recent addition of Graham Onions may be a sign that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future and is an indication of Durham’s admirable youth system.

On August 19th 2007 Durham won their first trophy in First Class County Cricket when they beat Hampshire County Cricket Club in the Final of the Friends Provident Trophy at Lords, which Durham won by 125 runs. Durham broke the record for most runs scored in the final of a 50 overs tournament by scoring 312-5. Hampshire replied with 187 and were bowled out in 41 overs ensuring that Durham won the tie.

Links to more information on Durham County Cricket Club:

  • Official Durham County Cricket Club website
  • BBC Wear – Riverside Cricket Ground interactive 360° Panorama
  • BBC Wear – DCCC celebrate with the County Championship Trophy 2008
  • Scorecard from the 2007 Friends Provident Trophy Final
  • Durham County Cricket Club

    *Acknowledgements to Wikipedia.org and owners of pictures and videos used.

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