Somerset win by eight wickets
ALTHOUGH Durham went down to their ninth defeat in the Championship yesterday, they strove enough to demonstrate that their morale is intact - and they are still the only first-class county never to have been defeated by an innings.
Resilience was first shown by their fourth-wicket pair of Wayne Larkins and Jimmy Daley, who put together Durham's second double-century stand against a county. Daley had dreamed of making a century on his first-class debut, and came within 12 runs of being only the 12th batsman since the war to do so in the Championship.
Daley is dark-haired, on the short side and still only 18. 'I just wanted to keep my head on my shoulders,' he said, and in doing so he displayed more composure against short-pitched bowling than the other local batsmen Durham have introduced this season. He comes from the mining village of Eppleton, where the local pro, the West Indian Jimmy Adams, says Daley 'could go all the way'.
One of those decisions where the umpire might do well to consult his square-leg colleague as to height ended Larkins's fourth century of the season; and in the next over, his feet tiring after four hours, Daley sliced to third slip. The end in sight, the fun started in earnest as Ian Botham hit 74 off 71 balls.
There may have been a little animus in the innings, though only Richard Harden remains from Botham's Somerset days. In any event, it was Botham's second highest score for Durham in the Championship; and as he will now have his right shoulder seen to, his season's record is concluded at 703 runs at 33, and 26 wickets at 41.
For Somerset, it was their first victory since the end of June, and may have come just in time for Chris Tavare to retain his captaincy. Next season they could come as close as they have ever done to winning the Championship, with Andy Caddick (who now has 74 wickets), and Neil Mallender, and Mushtaq, not to mention van Troost, who would be seriously quick if only someone knew the Dutch for 'line' and 'length'.