Punjab v Railways at Mohali, Ranji Trophy Elite

Normally, Tuesdays are no blog days, as I have an early meeting and class in the afternoon.  But the meeting this morning was cancelled, so I thought: let’s write a blog damn it.

And I am glad I did.

Yesterday, I mentioned that Derbyshire was one of the youngest first-class counties in England, but at the time I was not aware that not only was Durham younger, but the significantly younger.

Durham County Cricket Club was formed in 1882, but did not make its first-class debut for 110 years, against Leicestershire at the Racecourse Ground.  That’s right, Durham has only been playing first-class cricket for 19 years – and were the first club to be promoted since 1921.  Lincoln was the US president when Lancashire played its initial first-class match, but Bill Clinton was US president when Durham did the same.

I don’t mean to harp on the club’s age, as they do have a long and significant history in the lower divisions (including a six year undefeated run between 1976 and 1982), but I did find the above a bit shocking.

However, since joining the elite ranks of County Cricket, Durham has enjoyed a fantastic run of success: A Friend’s Provident win in 2007, followed by County Championships in 2008 and 2009.  That is a run of form that most clubs would drool over.

Durham has played the majority of their first-class cricket at the Riverside Ground (now known as the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground) which is located in Chester-le-Street, Durham, England.

It has a capacity of 19,000 and has hosted both ODIs as well as tests, the first of the latter being England v Zimbabwe in 2003 and the most recent being England v West Indies in 2009.

Considering its minor county role for the first 100 years of its existence, the club does not really boast a great many notable players.  However, it did act as a bit of a feeder club in its lower division days, sending players such as George Sharp, Colin Milburn, and Bob Willis down south to ply their trade on the big stage.

Colin Milburn is one of cricket’s sadder stories.  He played in nine tests for England in the late sixties, averaging over 46 and knocking two centuries.  However, he was involved in a motor accident in 1969 which took his sight and prompted his retirement.  He died very young from a heart attack in 1990 and his funeral was attended by hundreds of cricket lovers.  Ian Botham was a pall bearer.

Colin Milburn

Currently, the club boasts several players of note: Internationals such as Michael Di Venuto, David Miller, Ian Blackwell, Paul Collingwood, Phil Mustard, and Graham Onions.

Three cheers for Durham County Cricket Club!

***************************************************************

Back on the pitch, lots going on: India is chasing the West Indies’ 211 in their first ODI.  It is the 22nd over, the current RR is 4.57 and the required is 3.96, and the hosts have 5 wickets in hand (Patel, Sehwag, Gambhir, Vohli, and Raina: all gone.)  Meanwhile in Dhaka, Pakistan crushed Bangladesh by 50 runs in their first and only Twenty20.

Plus there is a whole slew of domestic cricket happening, way too much to get into at this time, as I still have 11 more counties to write about!

Until next time.

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