IT’S a big few days for us at Durham as we look to end our season with a flourish.
I’ll come to the cup semi-final in a minute, but just as important – if not more so – is our fight against relegation in the County Champiosnhip.
It’s been a tough season, and a strange one at times.
We haven’t dominated in any particular department this year, but nor have we really seemed to have struggled either. It’s just the results that haven’t been there.
We had a decent start and won a few games playing some positive cricket, but also got into winning positions in a couple too and couldn’t finish them off.
I’m hoping that isn’t the case from today’s game against Nottinghamshire either. Captain Dependable Paul Collingwood has put us into a fantastic position and I’m hoping if you’re reading this at tea-time today, it’s with Durham having picked up the last six Notts wickets.
Colly has epitomised the fighting spirit in the team, no more so than with his performance in this game and his century. It was a great way to celebrate signing a new contract and showed how important he is to Durham.
The rest of the lads have shown they are up for the fight too. Even in defeat against Lancashire, the bowlers produced a great effort.
It’s hard to pinpoint where it’s gone wrong this season after last year’s title-winning exploits, but we’ve certainly got a young squad and have suffered a few blows with injuries.
If you consider the amount of games that Graham Onions and Mark Wood have played, it isn’t many, and they are the spearheads of the bowling attack, while lads like Jamie Harrison have also missed a lot of cricket.
Last year, the young lads were at the top of their game but it hasn’t quite happened for some of them this time around. It’s a learning curve.
Regardless of how the game turns out today, though, everyone at the club is confident we can avoid relegation. Since Durham were promoted, we’re the only county not to have been relegated and we don’t want to lose that statistic.
But it’s not just the only focus this week, with Saturday’s big Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final on the horizon.
The whole club is looking forward to it, and it would be great to see a big crowd at the Emirates cheering us on.
To get a home draw was a huge advantage. Hopefully it will help make the difference against Notts.
Whoever we had played, it was going to be tough, but Notts and ourselves have seen a lot of each other as we were in the same group.
I’m happy with my own form too. With everything going on, it’s important that I just try and focus on the game in hand, but it’s hard not to think that, because I’m not involved in the Championship games, that it may be my last fixture.
What I need to do is put any questions about my future to the back of my mind and prepare for another game. Then hopefully, I’ll be preparing for another after that – a final at Lord’s.
Of course, Lord’s was where it all started for Durham back in 2007 and it would be amazing if we could complete the cycle for the last seven years and have another cup triumph at the famous ground.