posted by John Winn
There are times when the pieces fall in to place to make a near perfect picture. On Tuesday an enquiry at the office at The Riverside about a game between Durham and Lancs U16s provisionally scheduled for yesterday and today and possibly to be played at Consett CC revealed that the game had been brought forward to Monday and Tuesday but by way of solace I was told that there was a two day game at Darlington starting on Wednesday between Durham U15 and Cumbria.
An email to Darlington's webmaster Tim Dobson, revealed that he was unaware of this fixture but in short time he had confirmed its existence and posted notice of it on the club's website. Thanks to Tim for that but frustrating that neither the Durham website nor Cumbria's has any reference to it. Durham, like so many counties, seem to take the position that nobody would want to watch such games so no point in publicising them. I think it is called the self fulfilling prophecy. Buoyed by Tim's assurance that the fixture was being played I took an early train from York and shortly after ten I arrived at Feethams, which was bathed in sunshine, to receive confirmation from the umpires that the game was nicely balanced and best of all, on seeking out a cup of tea that lunch was in the hands on the wonderful Sue. Win, win, win.
Durham began the day with a lead of seventy and with seven wickets in hand and thanks to steady batting by Nathan Marshall from Sacriston were in a position to declare at lunch and set Cumbria a little over 150 to win, a very reasonable target, but the forecast was for showers later and there was the possibility that the game might be curtailed. The outstanding feature of the morning's play was the bowling of Jake Hall from Penrith who had 6 of the 8 Durham wickets down when the declaration came. The highlight of the lunch for me was the sausage casserole, Sue confided in me that the secret lay in the addition of Branston pickle, and having enjoyed a modest helping I enjoyed conversation with the grandparents of Max Williamson, one of two spinners in the Durham team from the Benwell Hill club in Newcastle.
The weather did change during the afternoon becoming cloudy and cooler, but by tea Cumbria had passed the halfway point in their run chase with only two wickets down and looked likely to go on and win.
By Saturday the result had been posted on the Cumbria play cricket website showing a win for Durham by 21 runs. Cumbria had collapsed from 112/3 to 136 all out with MaxWilliamson taking 7 for 30.
Yesterday evening John Gawthrope texted me an article from cricinfo by David Hopps stating that the proposed city-based T20 tournament has been put on hold until at least after the current Sky deal ends in 2019. The delay it seems is attributable to two factors, resistance from the counties, especially those whose grounds were likely to have been excluded from the slim line tournament, and a rise in attendances for this season's tournament. There was even a protest at Hove on Wednesday evening when a banner saying 'Say No To City Franchises' was displayed. Protest at Hove? Blimey, if that doesn't shake the ECB nothing will.