Stoneman fired up to grab Lord’s final place

Durham one-day skipper Mark Stoneman
Durham one-day skipper Mark Stoneman
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SKIPPER Mark Stoneman says he is delighted to have overseen Durham’s march to a first one-day semi-final appearance in seven years.

But the one-day captain says he will only be happy if the club reaches a Lord’s final.

Durham take on Nottinghamshire Outlaws in tomorrow’s showpiece Royal London Cup semi-final at the Emirates ICG (10.30am start) and while the 27-year-old batsman appreciates it is a massive day in the club’s calendar, he has his eyes set on the final prize.

“No-one wants to be a losing semi-finalist,” Stoneman told the Echo. “And the confidence of a win over a strong Yorkshire side in the quarter-finals was a big boost for us..

“We’ve played Notts before in this competition and done well and we are confident going into the match this weekend, especially as it hasn’t been a great week for them so far in the North East – having lost their four-day game against us..

“We beat them in the group stage up here last month, we know our conditions pretty well and hopefully both those things will give us a fair advantage in front of our own crowd.

“Our Twenty20 campaign was disappointing really – we never really got running with that – but in the one-day format we’ve not done bad at all.

“What we need to do, though, is to get ourselves to Lord’s and the chance to have one big chance of winning a trophy.

“I hope we’re going to turn it on on the day because we have the skill and ability in the dressing room to go all the way.”

Durham will be boosted by the return of explosive all-rounder Ben Stokes, who will be looking to put his England one-day disappointments behind him.

But Stoneman says the positive run the club has been on of late could hold the key.

“We’ve played well of late and winning the four-day game against Notts this week was massive,” he added.

“I was disappointed losing our game against Lancashire – we put everything into that game only to fall just short.

“But the momentum we take from the victory over Nottinghamshire, a very strong side pushing for the title, shows what we are capable of and reinforces where we are as a team.

“We found ourselves in the relegation zone in the County Championship, but we also play some very good cricket and the Notts four-day game showed that.

“It was a great debut for Peter Chase, taking five wickets, but we also had a fantastic contribution from Paul Collingwood, our most senior player getting a century and that said a lot too.

“It has almost become a Durham cliche over the last few years how everyone is able to contribute.

“Whenever we need someone to perform – youngest or oldest – they usually have done.

“It’s such a strong point of ours.

“You look around other counties and you think they are very dependent on three or four individuals but, with us, on any given day, there’s any number of players in our team who can pull out a performance that saves or wins you a match and hopefully that will be the same this weekend.”