BELATED congratulations to all involved at Durham Cricket Club for their remarkable triumph in winning the County Championship.
It really was a triumph over adversity, as at the start of the season, they had problems and many in the know even tipped them to go down.
A points penalty and financial difficulties which prevented Durham recruiting an overseas star were no obstacles as a team of local lads proved they were the best cricket team in England.
Sunderland fan Paul Collingwood has got to take a huge amount of credit.
Durham have benefited from his England retirement and since he took over the captaincy, the team have never looked back.
Geoff Cook, who has been such an influence at the cricket club for so many years, had serious health problems in mid-season, but even this negative was turned into a positive, as the players were even more determined to win it for him.
This was a fantastic Championship win and it just shows what can happen when local talent with a collective passion for the club are given a chance – maybe football can learn a lesson from that!
The Academy at Durham seems to be a conveyor belt turning out good young cricketers, not only benefiting Durham, but England too.
Steve Harmison and Collingwood were England regulars for years and Ben Stokes has made the Ashes tour with Graham Onions desperately unlucky to miss out.
It was great to see the team on the pitch at the recent Liverpool game as they so richly deserved the recognition for their fine achievement.
And the Sunderland fans, many of whom are also Durham Cricket fans, showed their full appreciation for the team that has made the North East proud.