Rushworth answers Durham's call
Durham 82 for 2 trail Derbyshire 298 (Borrington 75, Chanderpaul 53, Rushworth 5-47) by 216 runs
Chris Rushworth was released by Durham in 2006, after which he took a series of jobs, selling satellite dishes and answering phones in a call centre, while playing club cricket for Sunderland. Yet never did he lose the belief that he could play first-class cricket. That belief might yet help Durham to win the Championship.
Until Tony Palladino removed the dangerous Mark Stoneman and then extended Keaton Jennings' run of low scores, this had promised to turn into Durham's day, not least because Rushworth continued the best season of his career so far with his third five-wicket haul.
Rushworth, an academy product who was released but given a second chance after proving himself again in club cricket, joined Graham Onions as the joint architects of a Derbyshire collapse against the new ball as the home side largely wasted a dominant position they had built for themselves in their quest to retain their First Division status. His central part in a Championship challenge must have been more than he could ever imagine after trials with Northants and Sussex came to nothing.
"It was difficult to find jobs that allowed you time off to play cricket so I took anything that was going," he said. "The time away made me realised I wanted to play cricket and be part of a first-class side and to get a second chance with my home club and to do well makes me very proud. I don't think I can bowl any better than I have the last four or five months."
This match, so important to the way the season looks for both sides, is in the balance after Palladino's two late wickets refreshed Derbyshire's prospects of establishing a first-innings lead, although with two days gone on a slow pitch with no involvement yet by a spinner, the tempo of the contest may need to change if there is to be a positive result.
Having begun the day at 99-1, they were 206-2 some 40 minutes into the afternoon but allowed this platform to give way beneath them, losing their last eight wickets for 92.
This was a disappointment in particular for Paul Borrington, a batsman of quite limited experience who responded well to the pressure of the moment by batting for almost five and a half hours in making 75.
Borrington was not given an opportunity in Derbyshire's Championship side this season until last month and showed a willingness to apply himself and an ability to maintain his composure even after Wayne Madsen, so often the key figure in Derbyshire's batting performances this season, was out to the fourth ball of the day, leg before to Onions.
It was a situation about which Borrington might have panicked. Instead, he responded well in the company of an ally of proven solidity in Shivnarine Chanderpaul, with whom he added 106 for the third wicket. Chanderpaul, facing his former county, escaped on 22 when Scott Borthwick spilled a chance at second slip and added 31 more before he edged a ball from Usman Arshad that Paul Collingwood held at first slip.
The balance shifted after Durham took the new ball as soon as it became due, Borrington himself falling 10 balls later as Borthwick made amends for his earlier error, Onions again the successful bowler.
It sparked a collapse from 242 for 3 to 246 for 7 in which Onions and Rushworth both found some swing, Rushworth striking a second important blow when Richard Johnson, who had begun fluently, gave another catch to Borthwick, before Tom Poynton and Alex Hughes came and went quickly.
Derbyshire recovered somewhat, David Wainwright and Tony Palladino adding 42 for the eighth wicket, but were wasteful again when, for the second game in a row, they missed out on a third batting bonus point by two runs. Mark Footitt, who had been last out in the first innings in the victory over Somerset at Taunton last week, chipped a tame return catch to Rushworth, who finished with 5 for 47, increasing his tally for the summer to 45 in first-class games.
Footitt hardly made amends with the ball, bowling five overs for 32, conceding three fours to Stoneman and bowling two no-balls in the same over before skipper Madsen despatched him for a spell of contemplation in the outfield. But Palladino had Stoneman caught behind for 30 and bowled Jennings for 16 to give Derbyshire a late fillip.