With Durham already having nothing to play for in the County Championship the only salvation from the rest of the season will be a show of fight from the team. Therefore, the two back to back away losses to Sussex and Glamorgan are a depressing sign of a team struggling for form and motivation.
A small positive from the Glamorgan defeat was that the two sides produced an entertaining four days with some good cricket on both sides, the same could not be said for the disgrace at Hove. Nonetheless, it remains embarrassing for a side such as Durham to lose to Glamorgan and so far the signs for next season are grim. For Durham this match was thrown away in two key moments, firstly at the end of the first day, after getting to 342 in the 92nd over, and with Paul Collingwood beginning to accelerate on 127 it looked as though maximum batting points were on the horizon. This was when Durham fell to a farcical collapse. Needing 58 from 18 overs to get the batting points did not need the tail to bat with reckless abandon, and when Collingwood fell lbw there should have been a more measured approach. However Durham then lost the final four wickets (including Collingwood), in 7 balls for no runs. This meant Durham threw away two bonus points and gave Glamorgan hope of staying in the game.
The next day it seemed like Durham’s bowing was finally finding some form with wickets falling regularly. Paul Coughlin particularly impressed as he took four but Chris Rushworth and James Weighell also took three each. George Harding, on his Championship debut, bowled too many overs in the first innings and was quite expensive. Glamorgan’s innings was however the complete opposite of Durham’s farce. While the Welsh side fell to 233-6 (as opposed to Durham’s 342-6), there last four wickets put on 120 (as opposed to Durham’s 0). This meant that Glamorgan ended up with a lead of 11. It was however the final partnership between new captain Michael Hogan and Andrew Salter who put on 74 for the final wicket. Again Durham’s bowling showed its lack of ruthlessness and the runs scored by Glamorgan’s tail gave flashbacks to Luke Fletcher and James Pattinson in the opening game of the season.
However even at this point it seemed like the match was in Durham’s hands and, when rain and bad light interrupted the last two days a draw was the favourable result. Collingwood then made the sensible and selfless decision to declare and set Glamorgan 266 to win from 51 overs (with the captain on 92*). With the game set up for a close finish it went back and forth between a Durham win, a draw and a Glamorgan win being favourite, but in the final few overs Nick Selman took the game away with some excellent batting. What seemed bizarre about the innings was the lack overs from Rushworth and Weighell and the reliance on the debutant spinner Harding (who took four wickets but was smashed around in the final overs), and the consistently ineffective off spin of Ryan Pringle. This mystery may have been cleared up by the fact that both Rushworth and Weighell have been ruled out of the next Championship match with injuries.
Overall then another poor performance by Durham defined by insipid bowling and bewildering collapses from the tail. While Durham have been praised for setting up an entertaining finish, in reality it never should have reached this point as Glamorgan’s side is so poor. Durham now need a win from somewhere and it does not feel like it is coming anytime soon. Losing to Glamorgan is a new low and the season has reached rock bottom, hopefully the only way is up in the next few weeks leading up to the t20 blast.