Chris Rushworth: Why I'm not struggling to take my mind off title run-in

With three games left to win the County Championship it can be difficult to switch off and not get carried away. But not for me

Stu Forster/Getty Images Durham bowler Chris Rushworth in action

Today sees the start of the first of three very big games in the recent history of Durham County Cricket Club.

Fourteen and a half points clear at the top of County Championship Division One, our destiny is in our own hands.

We go into today’s game at Derbyshire in great shape having won our last three matches on the trot, the last two against title rivals, to take top spot from Yorkshire.

So the pressure is on, and when that happens it is important you try not to think too far ahead or get carried away with the way things have gone so far.

For me that is pretty easy.

I have a very busy start to the winter so I shouldn’t get too excited and distracted by the possibility of winning my first major trophy for Durham.

Everyone at the club obviously wants to win the title – that’s why you play the game – but you can’t let yourself get too carried away thinking about it.

Inbetween games I’m concentrating on something else quite important. My wedding.

Me and my fiancee Joanne are due to be married in November so now I’m starting to get my mind away from cricket by stressing myself out with wedding plans!

Ideally I’d like not to be stressed out at all but at least it will help me in the next three weeks to make sure I’m relaxed in the important games against Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Sussex.

It’s not quite the same preparation as cricket but organising guest-lists and deciding which flowers to pick and colour schemes is hard work in its own way.

Being a man I don’t really have the “final say” but apparently my opinion is important.

I think the only thing I’m actually allowed to decide on is my speech, which at the minute is a work in progress.

I’m hoping to have that finished by the time we play Sussex in Hove a fortnight yesterday. That’s how I’m spending my days off at the minute. So it’s fair to say that when 10.30 comes around in Derby this morning, I will be chomping at the bit to get on that field and have the ball in my hand rather than a pen or a flower sample.

This game will be tougher than most people expect.

In the reverse fixture at the ICG we ran away comfortable winners by 279 runs but Derby have been playing decent cricket since and have picked up vital victories over Middlesex, Sussex and Somerset to slowly creep off the bottom of the table.

They looked doomed to return to Division Two at the earliest opportunity after failing to win any of their first ten games, but have now managed to get out of the relegation zone.

It should be a good game for the cricket-lovers as we are chasing silverware and they are fighting for their lives to stay in Division One.

We were in that situation last year so we know how hard every Derby player will be fighting. We will need to make sure we turn up and play the best cricket we can to come away with a win.

Then after that I can get back to looking at flower samples and worrying about one-liners for my speech!


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