DURHAM bowler Chris Rushworth delivered yet again to boost his title-chasing side’s chances of a vital LV County Championship victory.
With hosts Derbyshire – battling to maintain their Division One status – looking to dig in, Rushworth came to the party with 5-47 yesterday.
It was the former Hylton Colliery CC man’s third five-wicket haul of the season, and could hardly have been more timely, with the visitors sitting top of the table and chasing a third championship crown.
The Sunderland-born star came through the academy ranks at Durham, but was released in 2006.
Success in club cricket saw him handed a second chance, and the seamer continues to grab the opportunity with both hands.
And Rushworth admits he’s hungrier for success than ever before.
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.”
Having lost the majority of day one to rain, both sides could have been forgiven if they had tried to rush things when play resumed yesterday.
But hosts Derbyshire appeared to take a considered approach.
They restarted on 99-1, and some 40 minutes after lunch were looking well set on 206-2.
But a collapse saw them lose their last eight wickets for 92 runs, as the new ball brought dividends for Durham.
Rushworth added: “With the old ball, it looked quite easy to bat on, but once (Shivnarine) Chanderpaul got out things seemed to happen a lot quicker.
“Then the new ball came and Bunny (Graham Onions) is a quality performer.
“We managed to get a couple of quick wickets with the new ball and that just seemed to turn the game completely.”
Chanderpaul (53), who was dropped by Scott Borthwick on 22, and Paul Borrington (75) shared an 106-run partnership, but the hosts never really increased the run-rate enough to threaten to take the game away from Durham.
And Rushworth felt that was key to the visitors’ success yesterday, just as much as the new ball.
He added: “Maybe on the first day people came out and tried to hard to get wickets. Yesterday we just came out and did what we do.
“We kept the pressure on, and didn’t allow them to get anywhere, and if the scoreboard’s not going anywhere that’s when you are more likely to take wickets.”
The hosts were all out for 298, with Onions weighing in with 4-62 – youngster Usman Arshad took the other wicket, claiming the scalp of West Indian international and former Durham man Chanderpaul.
In reply, Durham made a fairly positive start to their innings.
Opener Mark Stoneman quickly made his way to 30, hitting six fours in 44 balls, before being caught by Tom Poynton off the bowling of Tony Palladino.
Palladino also bowled opener Keaton Jennings for 16 as Durham finished on 82-2 at stumps.
Losing the two wickets was not ideal for the visitors , but Rushworth feels his side are still on the up.
He added: “We obviously wouldn’t have wanted to lose Rocky (Stoneman) or Keaton, but I still think we are in a good place.
“Now we need to build on our start and get as many runs on the board as we can.
“There’s a fair way to go in this game yet, but I think we can be fairly pleased with where we are, although we know we have to keep working hard.”