COUNTY cricket’s Twenty20 holiday can often decisively shift the momentum of a team’s season. Durham have seemingly lost theirs, and are struggling to do much about it.
Since returning from concentrating full-time on the shortest form of the game, the Riversiders’ title rivals have built a head of steam and they have been unable to respond with a win. It made yesterday doubly frustrating.
It would be a day when cricket shot itself in the foot as only it can. No one was to blame for the players having their feet up until 3.45pm. They tried their best to get on before then, but when Hampshire and their rugby ball came out, rain quickly followed.
A spell at the end of the day was more farcical.
The umpires had brought the players off for bad light, and with the time 5.18pm, that looked like that. But at 6pm they were back and Mitchell Claydon stood at the top of his mark ready to finish the over he started when the drizzle returned. It was such a brief shower that Durham and the umpires had not even left the field when it stopped, but Jimmy Adams and Neil McKenzie were off in a flash.
They were brought back a few minutes later, at the loss of a couple more overs.
It was the last thing Durham needed. With rain about this week, they need to make the most of what cricket is squeezed in. Even if a run which has seen them fail to win a four-dayer since June cannot be arrested, bonus points matter.
After coming out for a final time yesterday, they bagged a bowling point which could prove crucial in a tight title race.
One area where Durham certainly cannot bemoan their luck is at the toss of the coin. Ten times out of ten this season Phil Mustard has called correctly. The odds on doing that are one in 1,024.