Friday 1 June 2007 

Durham Crush Worcestershire At The Riverside

Worcestershire's torrid start to the season continued as they were blown away in their Friends Provident Trophy match by an inspired Durham side.

Chasing a mammoth 333 for victory, Worcestershire folded to 189 all out with Gareth Breese doing the damage taking 5 for 49. There was a wicket each for England players Steve Harmison and Liam Plunkett as only Moeen Ali (86) gave Worcestershire any hope of victory.

They were always in trouble once opening bowlers Neil Killeen and Ottis Gibson reduced them to 17-3 by removing Vikram Solanki (5), Phil Jaques (1) and Ben Smith (9) early on.

Graeme Hick scored 37 and shared a partnership of 62 with Ali, who hit 4 sixes during his innings, but with his dismissal, caught by Kyle Coetzer bowled by Plunkett, the game was up for Worcestershire and no other batsman could get past 13 as they went down by 143 runs.

Earlier, Scott Styris's debut for the home side was overshadowed by 105 from Will Smith and 94 from 66 balls from Dale Benkenstein as Durham ran amok. The Worcestershire bowlers were treated with disdain; Kabir Ali disappeared for 94 from his 10 overs and Doug Bollinger 75.

The tone had been set from the outset as openers Michael Di Venuto (49) and Phil Mustard (46) put on 84 for the first wicket in quick time, giving the rest of the Durham batsmen the platform to perform. Only Styris (19) couldn't cash in but it proved academic as Durham's bowlers proved just as ruthless as their batsmen in sealing a win that puts them on top of the Northern Conference and with every chance of making it to the semi-final stage.

John Pennington
© Cricket World 2007