DURHAM skipper Paul Collingwood was already eyeing another LV County Championship crown just moments after winning the 2013 title.
Collingwood and his team had barely started celebrating lifting the trophy after an eight-wicket victory over Nottinghamshire yesterday, when Durham’s own captain fantastic outlined his desire for another triumph next year.
Yesterday’s win saw Durham take the First Division crown for the third time in six years, but Collingwood – then an England regular – played just a handful of Championship matches in the 2008 season, and none at all in 2009.
Now having experienced what it means to captain his home county to glory, he can’t wait to do it all again.
“Next year is the final year of my contract, so I will be finding ways now of finishing the season well at Sussex, but also to keep repeating this,” said Collingwood.
“I’m not happy just winning it once, I want to do it again.”
A veteran all-rounder, Collingwood has played 68 Tests for England, was part of three Ashes-winning sides, and captained his country to world T20 success.
But the homegrown star revealed that Durham’s Championship victory is right up there with his top achievements.
“This has been unbelievably satisfying,” he said.
“It’s been a very special year where people have grown.
“Seeing the youngsters in this squad blossom has been absolutely wonderful.”
Collingwood says that there is no secret to Durham’s success this season, and puts it down the battling qualities shown by everyone involved.
He added: “We have shown fantastic resolve. I don’t know what it is, and whether or not we can bottle it.
“But it seems to be the North East people just want to fight, and they keep on fighting.
“These youngsters have fought all year through adversity, whether it be the financial situation at the club, and thinking about contracts, or Geoff Cook’s heart attack, or even the points deduction before the start of the season.”
Financial woes forced Durham to turn to their youngsters this season, and Collingwood admitted that early on he didn’t see that paying off as well as it has done.
He said: “We only had two days of grass practice before the first game, and I thought ‘oh, look everything is against us’.
“I always knew we had the skills in the dressing room, but what you tend to get with inexperienced cricketers is inconsistency.
“The beautiful thing about this team is when someone is inconsistent, and someone doesn’t put in a performance, the next person puts in a big performance,.
“That’s happened right the way through the season, home and away.”
Collingwood took time out to pay tribute to head coach Cook, who is back at the club having suffered a life-threatening heart attack.
He said: “About eight to 10 of us went into hospital to see him (Cook), and I remember the surgeons were saying ‘it’s looking ominous’. That’s the kind of language they were using.
“For him to pull through that was a miracle, and you have to say that a lot of what Durham have done is down to Geoff.”