Durham have been defeated by the Essex Eagles by 4 wickets in a close opening Yorkshire Bank 40 match at Emirates Durham ICG on Sunday.
In a tight finish it was the Eagles who took the match with a boundary and 6 balls to spare and successfully chased down the 210 Durham had set for the visitors.
Earlier in the day after being sent in, the Dynamos started steadily through Mustard and Stoneman who showed glimpses of their good form from the LV=Championship game last week but their partnership was this time cut short when Mustard chopped a wide delivery onto his stumps to depart leaving the score 28-1.
The Dynamos then lost two wickets in four balls after Paul Collingwood found himself back in the change rooms after Mahmood took a good diving catch to dismiss him for 7 and opener Stoneman was clean bowled by Topley for 18.
Durham steadied through Ben Stokes and skipper Dale Benkenstein who put on 57 before Mahmood struck again and got the Durham captain with a slower ball who departed for 16.
Ben Stokes continued to knock the ball around the ground and looked in good touch on his way to 51 off 64 balls but his shot making was cut short after he was run out with Mahmood dealing the blow once again.
It was then left to Gordon Muchall and Gareth Breese to add to the tally in the last ten overs as the home side tried to compile a competitive total.
The pair did just this with some clever shot making from both in their 69 run partnership. Muchall finished on 49* (3 boundaries) and Breese 41* (4 boundaries and a six) to get the Dynamos to 209-5 after their 40 overs.
The Essex run chase started strong from the get go with Australian Rob Quiney looking dangerous as Essex moved to 35-0 after the first 5 overs.
The run scoring trend continued as the match progressed as the Durham bowlers tried for a breakthrough with several bowling options.
The call to bring Scott Borthwick into the attack paid dividends when the spinner got the important wicket of Quiney shortly after he brought up his 50. This first wicket also broke the 103 run partnership the Essex openers had put together.
Quiney’s opening partner Tom Westley continued to put scoreboard pressure on and put on a further 32 runs with Bopara until Mark Wood returned to the attack and dismissed Bopara lbw for 10.
Following this wicket Durham then finally got the wicket they were after when Thorp trapped Westley lbw for 71, getting himself a much deserved wicket after some tight bowling in his spell.
Some good bowling from the Dynamos attack tightened things up with ten overs to go and the runs required and balls remaining gap was narrowing but it was the wickets which was required to put the scoreboard pressure on the visitors.
When Woods and Rushworth claimed wickets in consecutive overs they put Durham in with a real chance with Essex 5-183 needing 21 off the final four.
When Rushworth grabbed the wicket of Napier the equation was 8 from the final two overs and the game had tightened up.
However the Eagles who played their batting power play right when they needed it and found the gaps in the second last over to take the game with a boundary.
Despite the loss, Durham Coach Geoff Cook said there were positives to come from a see-sawing match where Durham managed to put the pressure back on Essex after they got on top early.
“It was a fantastic effort in second half, we put them under pressure, with a bit more luck things in the field we could have come very close to winning the game.
Cook also praised Muchall and Breese who put on a crucial partnership which reconstructed the Dynamo’s innings in the last ten overs. He also singled out the Ben Stokes run out as being a crucial moment in this match.
“If he (Stokes) had been in for a few more overs we could have been looking at 230-240. That said, Muchall and Breeese did a good job at reconstructing the innings and gave us a chance of winning”
Durham now have to back up today’s match with a trip to take on Lancashire at Old Trafford.
“We have had a tough start to the season, we now have three 40 over games in a week followed by a 4 day game starting Friday but we spoke about it yesterday and you can’t afford to feel sorry for yourself- the aim is to try qualify in this 40 over competition.
“We could have got off to a better start but we will rectify a few things and hopefully get our next win very quickly”.