It’s been a tough start to Durham’s 50-over campaign, with three defeats in our first four Royal London Cup matches.
Whenever you lose games the last thing you want to do is find excuses.
With four teams from our group qualifying for the knockout stages all is not lost yet, but it’s clear we have a lot of work to do in the coming week to rescue the situation.
We have found ourselves in winning positions in each of our opening four games, but for one reason or another we haven’t been able to finish the opposition off in three of them. To lose to Sussex, who needed 97 from 16 overs with numbers seven and eight at the crease, was hard to take, especially as the game was live on television.
With the games coming thick and fast in this format you have to be at your best in every game, and in the matches we have lost so far we just haven’t had that killer instinct.
We’ve been especially unlucky with our draw as the amount of travel and time between games has been a massive pain, I’m not going to lie. In this year’s inaugural Royal London Cup each team plays four teams at home and four away.
Somerset, Kent, Sussex and Glamorgan – who we face tomorrow – are four of the longest journeys we could be asked to make and it’s been tough.
Spending so much time on the bus then having to play and travel straight away is becoming a little hard. With the size of our squad, and the few injuries we’ve had, the lads are starting to tire a little. But we need to stick together and stay a strong unit.
Mark Wood and Jamie Harrison are making their comeback from injury in the Second XI Championship game against Nottinghamshire at South Northumberland at the moment, so hopefully they will be back soon to lend us a hand. Last year the key to our success was how well we stuck together and the amazing team spirit and fight we showed to win the County Championship when plenty of people were tipping us for relegation from Division One.
We need to get back to our best and get a run of wins to have any chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Fortunately, our last three games are all at Chester-le-Street – against Middlesex (on Sunday), Nottinghamshire (on Tuesday) and Surrey (on Thursday). As soon as the Surrey game is over we’ll be straight back on the team bus heading for Manchester, where our Championship campaign resumes the next morning!
The lads would really appreciate your support if you can get to some or all of those games. Entry to Sunday’s is free for kids!
It’s going to be tough, but we have to hit this next ten days hard and give it everything.
The lads are hurting in the changing room and we know the only way to improve that feeling is by winning games of cricket.