Stoneman shrugs off Durham’s first-day disappointment

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DURHAM batsman Mark Stoneman refused to let the rain dampen his hopes of success in the County Championship away to Derbyshire.

The Division One leaders were frustrated by both the home batting and the elements as day one at Derby ended in something of a damp squib.

Just 31 overs were managed on a rain-affected day at the County Ground, and a philosophical Stoneman admitted Durham just had to deal with the hand dealt to them.

“It’s not ideal, but the English summer can strike at any time when it comes to the weather and cricket,” he said.

“Unfortunately, it’s happened in an important game, which all three are between now and the end of the season.

“But we just have to get on with it, and try to put things right on the field when we get back on.”

Having won the toss, Durham skipper Paul Collingwood chose to put the home side in to bat.

That didn’t seem a bad choice when Chris Rushworth removed Ben Slater (13) to leave the hosts on 33-1, but Derbyshire captain Wayne Madsen (32 not out) and Paul Borrington (30 not out) dug in to steer their side to 99-1 when rain washed out play for the day after lunch.

Stoneman (pictured, inset)felt the pitch did not live up to the promise which the visitors thought they saw in it, but was honest enough to admit that the bowling attack didn’t have its best day.

“The wicket looked green, and we thought we would get quite a decent bit of seam movement out of it,” he explained.

“It didn’t seam as much as we thought, but there was assistance there, we just didn’t quite nail it as well as we could have.

“It looked as though we didn’t quite create the opportunities that we might have done. It didn’t quite take the edge.

“It was far from disastrous, but it didn’t go quite as well as we might have hoped.”

Neither Graham Onions nor Rushworth made the batsmen play enough in their opening spells.

Onions appeared to be troubled by the footholds and Rushworth initially strayed too often down the leg side, which helped Slater and Borrington survive the first 48 minutes before Durham broke through.

Slater had made 13 off 40 deliveries when he was bowled by a full-length ball from Rushworth, but there were no more successes as Madsen and Borrington survived until lunch.

They were helped by an erratic spell from Harrison, who bowled five no-balls in seven overs, three of them in the space of five deliveries, and Madsen seized on anything on his pads to hit six fours in his 32.

He survived a confident shout for lbw early in his innings and edged Onions just short of third slip on 17 when the England seamer switched ends, but the first session belonged to Derbyshire, who are fighting to beat the drop.

Only one over was possible after lunch before the rain set in and, with no sign of any improvement, umpires Trevor Jesty and Mark Saggers abandoned play for the day at 4.20pm.

Durham’s cause was not helped by news that second-placed had Yorkshire made better progress, claiming three bowling bonus points as they reduced Sussex to 276-9 at Hove.

That means the Tykes have reduced the gap between the two sides to just 11.5 points.

But while that’s far from ideal, Stoneman says Durham must concentrate on the job at hand rather than Yorkshire’s efforts. He added: “We have just got to concentrate on doing our jobs here, and in the last two games after this. It’s down to ourselves.

“We know how quickly the game can turn if we build pressure over a period of time, so everything is still possible here.”