Durham Jets seeking revenge over Foxes

Durham's Mark Stoneman.
Durham's Mark Stoneman.
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Durham Jets’ captain Mark Stoneman is eager to avenge a “shocking performance” when the Leicestershire Foxes visit Chester-le-Street tonight (5.30pm).

Three consecutive defeats leave Stoneman’s side needing to re-ignite their season after previously being top of the table.

But the Jets’ trip to Grace Road in May ended in a disastrous defeat as the Foxes strolled home by eight wickets with more than four overs remaining.

That defeat ranks among their worst performance to date in this competition and the 28-year-old hinted the Foxes can expect a backlash from the Jets.

“That was a shocking performance down at Leicester,” he said.

“Without being disrespectful, the level of cricket they play in Division Two and the standards we have as a strong, competitive Division One side should be reflected in white-ball cricket as well.

“At Leicester, we didn’t get to grips with that, so hopefully tonight we turn up as the quality outfit that we are.”

Despite being the perennial whipping boys in four-day cricket, Leicestershire have garnered a reputation as T20 specialists and rank among the most successful outfits in the format with three titles to their name.

By comparison Durham are challenging on both fronts so far this season, despite their huge Championship defeat to Yorkshire in the week.

And Stoneman believes the continued intensity of Durham’s season has affected their white ball form, but conceded they must do better.

“Every game we play, there’s something resting on it. The intensity of Division One cricket is very high.

“You’re either fighting relegation or fighting for the title, there’s no dead games in it,” he said.

“Leicester shift all their attention to the white ball game and that’s their main drive and focus.

“We’re trying to be at our best every game, but sometimes that’s not going to be.

“We’ve got big games left. We just need to respond and get some wins under our belts.”

The Jets go into tonight’s T20 match with Leicestershire Foxes two points off bottom spot – by the same token, they are only four from top.

But Mark Stoneman’s side require a huge turnaround in fortunes if they are to reach the T20 Blast quarter-finals this season.

Though the Jets were top the North Group a matter of weeks ago, three consecutive defeats leaves them languishing among the chasing pack with seven games to play.

Their fluctuating fortunes prove what Stoneman calls the “random” nature of this season’s competition but the Jets’ batting woes need addressing as a matter of urgency.

They faltered alarmingly after good starts against Lancashire Lightning and Birmingham Bears, while throwing away a solid start to be defeated by the Worcestershire Royals.

The Jets are likely to be unchanged from last week’s Lancashire defeat.