Cricket: Robinson rocks Durham's foundations

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The Independent Online
Durham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .214

Yorkshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56-2

IT IS solid silver, standing four feet high and is said to be the largest sporting trophy in the world. Now called the Durham Light Infantry Cup it was once the Lahore Trades Cup. It must have been a prime target for Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

The DLI won it for football, pre-war, and have now given it to Durham CCC as a prize for the annual match against Yorkshire although the Cup is never, like the Ashes at Lord's, to leave its home.

The Tykes, however trustworthy, seem likely to get their hands on it first after exceptional bowling from Mark Robinson and Paul Jarvis on on a flat but pacy University pitch.

This inaugural fixture brought in a good crowd of about 3,000, not quite standing room only but not too far away, the sun shone and the one blemish was that Durham's cricket could not match the occasion.

After three successive Championship defeats and the absences, for various reasons, of Dean Jones, Paul Parker and Simon Brown, Durham are now attracting a gallows humour. Objective observers would say that the season has gone pretty well as expected: Durham looked a reasonable one-day side, but one liable to have a hard time of it in the first-class game, from mid- season.

Unfortunately, such has been the hype the public at large were not conditioned to even a relative failure and the jokes circulating are very similar to those told most winters about Newcastle United and Sunderland.

Robinson, in two spells after the intervals, (three wickets in 16 balls, three in 13) finished with a career-best of 6 for 57; Paul Jarvis, fast, hostile and accurate in mid-afternoon, shot out the middle. Stewart Hutton was missed at slip on 18, off Peter Hartley, as was Mark Briers, at seven, off Robinson.

Wayne Larkins, with 67 off 124 balls, helped give Durham a good start (106 for 1 at lunch) but a careless flick of his legs produced a well-judged catch at fine leg; Botham, in an elder-statesman innings, picking off any loose stuff, might have rescued Durham until his bails were flicked by a fast ball of perfect length.

Simon Hughes cheered the departing on a cool, grey evening by dispatching Simon Kellett with a ball that nipped away, Botham offered a couple of appeals worthy of Rumpole, but was silenced when David Byas hoisted him over square leg for six.

The big surprise came when the in-form Martyn Moxon was persuaded to pop one up to short leg, prompting Botham to test Yorkshire with a few overs of venom and swing.