Captain Paul Collingwood knows Durham will have to be at their very best to triumph in their top-of-the-table LV County Championship Division One clash with Yorkshire, starting tomorrow.
Durham had this week off from Championship duty following their 178-run win over Sussex at Arundel. But the hosts will still take a nine-point lead over Yorkshire, albeit having played a game more, into tomorrow’s eagerly-awaited clash.
Collingwood said: “We’ve played a lot more cricket than the other counties and we needed a bit of a break. There’s been a lot of travelling up and down the country so it’s come at a good time.
“You just sense the boys, physically and mentally, were getting a little bit tired and that’s why the Sussex game was such a good result.
“We’ve had a nice break, the boys have still worked hard when they’ve come into training and we’re raring to go. We’re dying to get into this game on Sunday.”
A big crowd is guaranteed on all four days, and Collingwood added: “Confidence is high in the four-day competition and there’s a lot of belief in that dressing room as well, so hopefully we can perform a lot better than we did last year against Yorkshire.”
Neither side will be able to enjoy the presence of their England players currently away in preparation for the upcoming Ashes series.
Ben Stokes and Mark Wood will therefore continue to be missing for Durham, while Adil Rashid and Jonny Bairstow will be the only members of England’s one day and T20 successes against New Zealand on show for Yorkshire.
Unbeaten Yorkshire – four wins and three draws – demolished Nottinghamshire in midweek, winning by an innings and eight runs, and are Durham’s main challengers for the title at the midway point of the season.
Collingwood added: “We’ve played some great cricket over the past few years, both Yorkshire and Durham, and whenever we’ve competed out in the middle they’ve been good games to watch. They’ve been hard-fought games.
“When the fixtures come out, you always have a look to see when you’re playing Yorkshire – that’s how much it means to the boys and how excited the boys are to come up against them.”