Durham urged to bounce back in cup
Martyn Moxon has challenged his players to ensure that their failure to secure a quarter-final place in the Twenty20 Cup does not affect their performance when they return to action this evening.
Durham will face a Leicestershire team whose ambitions remain intact at the Riverside and, although the home side's fifth defeat in the competition means they cannot progress, Moxon's men will be determined to bounce back from Saturday's two-run loss to Derbyshire.
"I think it's important for the integrity of the tournament that we give it our best shot," said a coach whose side almost secured a stirring win over the Phantoms at the weekend, only to fall agonisingly short having given themselves too much to do.
"The players also want to do well for themselves, so there are two reasons we have to want to do well. We want to win, we never go out and try not to win, and we will be giving it our all."
Moxon is hoping to name an unchanged line-up against the Foxes, and the Riverside boss is determined to give the club's fans something to cheer about in a game of greater significance to the visitors than the hosts.
"The crowds have been excellent for the Twenty20 games this season," he said last night. "I wasn't sure how many would turn up for the Derbyshire match, with it being a Saturday afternoon and given our position. I'm just pleased we gave them a decent show with the way we finished the game."
Although it has been a disappointing Twenty20 campaign, Moxon is determined to focus on the positives. The experience gained this summer should be of great value in future seasons. "Of course it's disappointing that we haven't done better, but hopefully we have learnt to bat at the top of the innings," said Moxon, whose three openers managed a combined nine runs against Derbyshire at the weekend.
"In a good one-day team, one of the top four needs to get big runs and we haven't been able to do that this year. But we will learn from that and I hope it will help us in the Twenty20 next year."
Meanwhile, Moxon is hoping that Ottis Gibson will be sufficiently fit to make his comeback from injury in Durham's forthcoming County Championship encounter with Yorkshire.
The veteran West Indian fractured his left wrist last month and, although he did make a brief return to face Yorkshire in the Twenty20 Cup, he has been absent ever since.
"We have decided to give him a few games' rest to try to make sure he is available for the Championship game (that starts on Friday)," added Moxon. "There might be an operation needed, but we will try to avoid that if it is at all possible."