Paul Collingwood a proud man as Durham honour club legend
Even at 41, Paul Collingwood is still adapting, still putting himself out there for Durham whenever required.
The club stalwart looked over to the middle nervously as Tom Latham lost the toss against Yorkshire yesterday.
Collingwood was waiting for his new pavilion to be unveiled by Durham chairman Sir Ian Botham, but he was also set to open the batting as a new season of white ball cricket began.
He was granted a slight reprieve by Steven Patterson’s decision to bat first, but it showed how Collingwood’s competitive instincts have been undimmed by 23 years on the front line of the sport.
This, though, was a moment of reflection richly deserved and his first thoughts were of his parents, there throughout his incredible journey.
“I’m very proud, to be honest,” he said.
“Usually you don’t get these kind of things until you’ve died or retired. I hope it’s not a sign of them wanting me out!
“But I guess it proves that the loyalty and dedication that I’ve given to the club has been rewarded and it is in a really nice way.
“I’d never dreamt of anything like this when I started out as a cricketer.
“I’m really happy for my parents, too. That’s the part that people don’t see when you are a youngster and that is a huge part of it.
“Taking you around the country, borrowing cars to actually get to coaching courses down south and what have you.
“I know they’re delighted and very proud, so I’m pleased for them.
“I’m excited to have my kids here as well.
“Up until about a year ago, I don’t think they realised what it was I did for a living!”
Collingwood has stayed loyal to Durham right from the moment his international career came to an end.
It would have been easy then to do as many others did and bring his playing days to a close, but he has gone on to achieve some of best days as a player.
The club’s financial problems presented fresh challenges, but he insists there was never any doubt he would stick at it.
“I guess this is the whole reason why Durham became a first-class county in the first place,” he said.
“To have that youngster come through up through the ranks, stay loyal to the county and play for England, scoring that Test hundred here, it all kind of felt written in stone, a fairytale.
“To have your name on a stand gives you that added pride. If any youngster out there is thinking, ‘Can I do it?’ Then this shows that you can.
“When I played for England in all three formats, I had to put everything into that and it was very hard to give back to the county,.
“Once you come out of England, you can either say ‘that’s it, I’m done completely’ or you can give back to the county game.
“Durham have given everything as a youngster, to let me live my dreams really, so, once I decided to continue, I really wanted to get my teeth into and play for a fantastic county.
“I’m very proud to be from the North East. I love the club and it’s important to give back.”
He continues to do so on a daily basis, and you suspect there are a few chapters to be written yet.