Cough­lin may be out for rest of sea­son

The Chronicle - - Safc - By STU­ART RAYNER

IF Durham beat Der­byshire on Fri­day they will have to do so a bowler light af­ter Paul Cough­lin picked up an in­jury which could rule him out for the rest of the sea­son, but coach Jon Lewis is con­fi­dent they can. It is now an if. The odds are in the River­siders’ favour but they would have ar­rived for day three hop­ing to wrap things up only to end it just 11 runs ahead, with four wick­ets still to take.

Fol­low­ing-on, Der­byshire mas­sively im­proved on their firstin­nings 164 all out with 305-6 as the pitch made both sides work hard.

Cough­lin’s work is over hav­ing strained his side af­ter four overs on Tuesday.

“I think Nigel (Kent, Durham’s physio)’s words were, ‘It’s about as good as we could have hoped for,’” said coach Lewis.

“But a come­back from a side strain takes quite a bit of time be­cause you need to build up your bowl­ing again. Whether there’s enough time in the sea­son for that to hap­pen is touch and go. Hope­fully.”

Durham have three matches left af­ter this one.

Cough­lin’s longer-term fu­ture is in doubt too with Not­ting­hamshire, War­wick­shire and Hamp­shire ex­ploit­ing a clause in his con­tract to put in 28 days’ no­tice on the all-rounder.

Durham’s Twenty20 cap­tain could have earned more money by go­ing else­where when he signed his pre­vi­ous deal – with a re­lease clause if the club were in County Cham­pi­onship Divi­sion Two.

Sun­der­land-born Cough­lin made 68 in a part­ner­ship with Paul Colling­wood which was im­por­tant to Durham’s 480-9 de­clared, and had been in good form with the ball too.

“He’s been bat­ting well and bowl­ing re­ally quite sharply,” said Lewis. “With the end of the T20s his mind is cleared to play his cricket and I think that’s helped clar­ify a few things.”

Even with­out Cough­lin – and sub­sti­tutes are un­able to bowl or bat – Durham had no hes­i­ta­tion in ask­ing Der­byshire to bat again. They used six bowlers on Wed­nes­day, each tak­ing a wicket.

“Be­cause we fin­ished the first in­ning overnight that gave us a much more re­al­is­tic chance of go­ing again,” said Lewis.

“We hoped with a nice rest that would be enough. It was a tough day for them, very much a work­ing day.”

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