Durham climb out of relegation zone
Durham 310 (Benkenstein 69, Collingwood 78,
Mustard 46; Dernbach 3-88) beat Surrey 129 (Rushworth 3-36, Stokes 4-40) and 143 by an innings and 38 runs
Surrey will be reminded of their outstanding finish to last season when Chris Adams, their director of cricket, provides the analysis on a humiliating defeat to Durham. The heavy loss, completed before lunch on the third day, leaves them hovering above the relegation zone in Division One while Durham have leapfrogged over them and moved away from the bottom spot.
Needing a miracle to avoid defeat after resuming on 69 for 5, still trailing by 112 runs, their fate was sealed in just 30.2 overs when they were dismissed for 143. To cap a desperate few days in the North East, they were also docked one of the three points they gained from the match for a slow over rate. "It's been a difficult few days," Adams admitted.
Yet as one-sided a defeat as it became, Adams believes there are certain similarities between their situation now and last season. Twelve months ago a heavy defeat at Canterbury put their promotion hopes in doubt only for them to reel off successive victories over Leicestershire, Essex and Derbyshire and pip Northamptonshire by a point.
"If you think back to last year we got an absolute drubbing at Kent in similar circumstances and we sat down and looked at the table and knew we had to win at least three of the last few games, to win promotion and we did," Adams said. "Many players thrive with short term targets and that's what we gave ourselves last year, win three out of four in the championship and keep winning every game in the 40-over competition and this is very similar."
Indeed Adams and Geoff Cook, his counterpart at Durham, are both of the same view that each side must win at least two of their last four matches to avoid relegation. Durham appear in the happier place having just secured successive wins from nowhere, which has moved them to fourth bottom, one place and eight points clear of Surrey.
They can be forgiven, however, if they remain conservative in their celebrations. At the halfway stage of the summer they had lost four out of their eight matches, were rooted to the bottom of division one and Phil Mustard stood down as captain to be replaced by Paul Collingwood. Their resurgence has been dramatic, but the job is yet to be completed.
"They suffered through the first half of the year through lots of reasons and it's nice to see them enjoying each other's success, but its early days yet," Cook said. "We've had two positive results, but the signs were good before that. It's good to see the team playing in a much more confident way, with some excellent direction."
Any unlikely hopes of Surrey avoiding defeat were all but ended by the loss of two wickets inside the first 10 overs of the day. Tim Linley fell lbw to the sixth ball of the day from Chris Rushworth and Rory Burns ended 191 minutes of defiance for his 39 by flashing at a lifting ball from Graham Onions and edging behind.
Callum Thorp, irritated by having an appeal for a catch behind dismissed by umpire Jeff Evans from the previous delivery, ended another stubborn innings by removing Matt Spriegel with his next ball, a quicker bouncer that flew off the top of his bat over the slip cordon. He was unlucky in that Ben Stokes' athleticism was enough to make the ground and take a diving catch.
Scott Borthwick finished off the innings to claim the only two wickets with spin on the stroke of lunch and leave Adams with some confidence to rebuild before Surrey are next in Championship action, against Middlesex at The Oval next week. By then he is hopeful that Rory Hamilton-Brown, their captain, may be available for selection for his first Championship match since the tragic death of his team-mate and flat-mate, Tom Maynard, two months ago.
"He wasn't quite ready for this game because of match fitness, but he's been away with the seconds and it's another step forward for him," Adams added. "He is close and it will be a big boost to the side having him back, but he has to be ready and right and I will take my lead a little bit from him."