Stoneman targets more runs for Durham

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DURHAM’S Mark Stoneman knows there’s more hard work to be done, despite being the only home batsman to deliver yesterday.

The opener played through the pain barrier to make his half century – batting for half of his innings with a runner due to a hamstring injury – before being caught by Michael Yardy, off the bowling off Monty Panesar for 52.

Stoneman, who has played a big part in helping Durham stave off the possibility of relegation to Division Two, admits it’s a case of job done for the men from the Emirates ICG in terms of staying up.

But the 25-year-old is far from happy to settle for just that.

He said: “It’s been a mixed season really. It’s another year when I’ve got around 600 runs averaging in the mid-20s again, which is frustrating.

“Then again, looking back at the halfway point when we were sat bottom of the league we said if we could get three or four batsmen around 600, 650, 700 runs we should have a very good chance of avoiding relegation.

“It turned out I’m one of them who’s managed to get past the 600 mark, and we’ve avoided relegation, so it’s job done. But for the future I need to be scoring more runs than that.”

Things started so well for Durham against Sussex yesterday in their final County Championship game of the campaign.

Chris Rushworth and Graham Onions got the ball rolling for the hosts, both claiming two wickets, while Callum Thorp claimed three scalps.

Rushworth dismissed skipper Chris Nash with the seventh ball of the game, and then claimed the wicket of Yardy, as the visitors continued to struggle and soon found themselves on 67-5.

But a stand of 106 from Ben Brown (75) and Kirk Wernars (50) gave the away team some stability as they finished on 211 all out.

Sadly for Durham the batting troubles that have plagued them for much of the campaign are still there in the background.

Only Stoneman, Ben Stokes (22) and skipper Paul Collingwood (19) made double figures as the home side were reduced to 131-6 at the close.

Steve Magoffin did the damage for Sussex returning figures of 3-29 from 15 overs, while Panesar also claimed two wickets.

Stoneman admitted that it wasn’t an ideal response to the Sussex first innings, but insists there is still plenty of time to turn things around.

The batsman says everyone will be striving to make sure they enjoy the best finish to the campaign as possible.

He said: “It would be very nice to finish on a positive note.

“We’ve got five-and-a-half, six months to think about it, so if you finish on a positive note that’s something that stays with you.”