Durham’s success built on friendship, insists Ben Stokes

DELIGHT ... Ben Stokes celebrates after the winning runs.
DELIGHT ... Ben Stokes celebrates after the winning runs.

BEN Stokes was the hero of the day as Durham triumphed to claim the Royal London crown after a three-wicket win against Warkshire.

Stokes, with a stoic 38 and 2-25, was rightly voted the man of the match, but the England all-rounder was more than happy to see team-mate Gareth Breese in the spotlight after scoring the winning runs on his last ever one-day game for Durham.

Stokes said: “As Mark (Stoneman) has said it was a fairytale ending for his pal.

“It brilliant to be with Breezy when he scored the winning runs.

“I said to him I want to be here with you at the end, albeit he meant to leave and it still went for four, but it’s hit the bat and run away four, and he thoroughly deserved to be the man to hit the winning runs for everything he has done and achieved for Durham cricket over the last 11 seasons.”

Stokes is now a part of the England set-up, having won a central contract, but admitted coming back to his home county is always a thrill, especially when it ends in silverware.

“I love coming to play for Durham,” he said. “I have enjoyed every single game I have played for them, and now, to walk away champions in another format (last season Durham won the County Championship title) two years in a row is fantastic.

“I’m just happy to be part of a team that has won another trophy for Durham.”

While Stokes was the man of the hour at Lords, he insists success is down to a team effort, with everyone playing their part.

“Even in the four-day stuff, everyone has stuck their hand up,” he added. “It’s not just one player winning games for Durham. Everyone has been involved.

“And when you have got a team of people doing that, then you’re going to win a lot more games than you lose.

Many of Durham’s current stars have come through the ranks together, and Stoke admits that been a massive part of any success.

The all-rounder says the team spirit at the county is second to none, and that is a key ingredient.

He added: “I think that goes a long way to how successful we’ve been.

“We’ve been around each other for a number of years.

“We know how everyone plays cricket, and we know their personalities.

“Everyone fits into the changing room, and we are not just colleagues we are mates, and I think that goes a long way to ow successful we have been this year.”