Paul Collingwood’s rallying call for Durham

Paul Collingwood runs a mini masterclass in T20 cricket skills at The Riverside for Academy for Sport students from Gateshead college.
Paul Collingwood runs a mini masterclass in T20 cricket skills at The Riverside for Academy for Sport students from Gateshead college.
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‘WE can’t afford to ease up,’ that is the warning from Paul Collingwood ahead of tonight’s T20 clash with Yorkshire Carnegie.

Durham head into the clash at the Emirates International Cricket Ground (ICG) in third place in the north group table.

Collingwood admits that’s a good position to be in, and that the county’s T20 fate is in their own hands.

But he is taking nothing for granted, and knows that much more hard work is needed if they are to book a spot in the quarter-finals.

He said: “We are in a good position, but we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves.

“We can’t afford to ease up now. We know we need to go out there with the same energies and intensity as we did in the last game (a convincing win over Worcestershire Royals).

“We need to pick the right balls at the right times to bowl, and we know if we do that we’ve certainly got the skills to win games.”

Collingwood in not expecting an easy ride against the Yorkshiremen, who are four places behind them in the league table, and three points worse off.

But he won’t be worrying to much about the threat posed by the visitors ahead of this evening’s encounter.

“They’ve got a young side, but it’s a very energetic side,” he said. “They have some good strong players, but we always feel that it’s best to focus on your own game.”

Collingwood was Dynamos top performer with the ball against the Royals, weighing in with superb figures of 4-19, while fellow all-rounder Ian Blackwell hit a tremendous 77.

Former England t20 captain Collingwood wouldn’t mind more of the same this evening, but he would be equally as happy to see any of his team-mates star with either bat or ball.

And he insists that Durham have enough strength in depth to make that happen.

He added: “We’ve got a lot of good skills in the dressing room, and we have a lot of confidence in our ability.

“However, it’s not enough to just be confident. We have to make sure put all of our skills together on the pitch.

“We just have to stay consistent as much as possible in the last few games.”

Durham don’t have the best of records in this format of the game in recent seasons.

And the fact that they have lost four of their 12 t20 games so far this term, is proof that things haven’t always gone to plan despite their current league standing.

But Collingwood insists that things are looking up for the county, and that they improving all of the time.

He added: “I think the guys are learning as we progress.

“The experience we have gained so far in this competition should put us in good stead, and I feel as if we are getting better.

“Now we have to try to make sure we keep on improving.”

Dynamos coach Geoff Cook has named a 13-man squad for tonight’s game with Graham Onions and Mark Stoneman added to the XI that beat the Royals.

With almost 6,000 tickets pre sold Durham are expecting their highest domestic crowd of the season.

Durham squad: P Mustard, GJ Muchall, ID Blackwell, PD Collingwood, DM Benkenstein, GR Breese, WR Smith, LE Plunkett, SG Borthwick, ME Claydon, C Rushworth, G Onions, MD Stoneman.