Durham Academy Rated Finest In The Country

If you were upset about Durham’s relegation from the county championship last year, you’d better have your thermometer ready. This story is going to make your blood boil.

According to the Northern Echo, Durham’s Academy has just been rated as the finest in the country by the ECB. That’s the same ECB who threw the book at the county for accumulating debts that are actually lower than the main beneficiaries of their demotion, Hampshire.

This latest round of academy evaluations will give plenty of ammunition to angry Durham fans – and indeed the thousands of cricket fans around the country who were appalled by the ECB’s draconian punishment.

After all, as Durham have the best academy, it could be argued that (a) they do more for English cricket than any other county, and (b) they’re the model the ECB would like other counties to follow (albeit perhaps not from a financial standpoint).

Here’s a few facts from the Echo to chew over:

75% of Durham’s first team have graduated from their academy

16 academy graduates played first class cricket for Durham last year

13 academy graduates played list A limited overs cricket for Durham last year

Durham’s academy squad won the North Eastern Premier League T20 competition last year

Three Durham graduates (Jack Burnham, Adam Hickey and Josh Coughlin) represented England U19.

Despite Durham’s financial woes – a crisis which wasn’t all their fault remember – it’s pretty clear that Durham are doing an awful lot right. Keaton Jennings, who made a century on debut for England, is a Durham lad (albeit with South African blood). Ben Stokes is also Durham through and through. Consequently, it makes the ECB’s decision to relegate them seem even harsher.

What’s more, it’s noticeable that Durham have decided to eschew the ‘kolpak rush’ ahead of Brexit. They’ve signed the South African opener Stephen Cook but only as an overseas players. It sounds like their commitment to producing talented young English players is undiminished – despite being kicked in the jatz crackers by the ECB’s poisoned boot.

Hampshire, on the other hand, have signed two kolpak players in Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw, and will presumably sign an overseas player too. I don’t want to have a go at Hampshire in particular, as I have a number of friends who support the county, but it’s certainly food for thought.

James Morgan

PS Thanks to Carol Durkin for bringing this story to my attention.


  • It just highlights what a nest of weasels the ECB truly are! Less fit for purpose than even FIFA are. Instead of being turkeys voting for Christmas, the Counties are the only ones that can change things I suspect?
    The game of cricket in this country deserves far better than this! The ECB have raised the bar on chicanery.

  • If you want to be kind you could say the ECB wanted to send a strong message on not expecting them to be lender of last resort and didn’t want to be accused of giving Durham unfair support. This possibly highlights the fact that the payments for producing England players are not set at the right levels but Durham are not able to generate the revenue that other counties are outside of those payments. It is an economic reality that will be hard to bypass. Despite covering the whole North-east and quite a lot of Cumbria it wouldn’t get a Franchise

    However it appears that the ECB asked Durham to reject a bid from investors which is how other Counties like Yorkshire, Warkshire and Hampshire have avoided similar trouble. Plus there are conspiracy theories about putting pressure to force the City T20 that are likely to boil the blood of current domestic cricket fans.

    Its easy to set Hampshire up as the bad guy but they have had Vince and Dawson represent England in the last 12 months and Alsop with the Lions With Mason Crane is currently tearing though First Grade batting lineups in a way that suggests another is in the pipe line.

  • representing England is a curious way to judge success considering the amount of times England’s selectors are berated on this blog and countless others. Somerset for example produce excellent youth players that never get a look in for England, they have to be prodigiously talented like Buttler and even then he only really got considered after smashing England’s international attack to all corners in a t20 final

    • Not sure that is quite fair, On Buttler’s T20 Debut he played as a specialist batsmen because Craig Keiswetter had the gloves so its hardly anti-somerset bias is it!

      Looking at the Somerset side now Hildreth has been unlucky, but of the younger players you would say the Overtons have had more exposure with England than there numbers really deserve. Jamie was in an ODI squad because he could hold a regular place in the 50 over team

  • I think you have to put everything in the past tense as far as Durham is concerned. They have been forced to get rid of most of their players, including the younger ones coming through the Academy. It has been a root and branch destruction of the club. ECB set the rumour mill at work at the beginning of last season with a view to damning the County. Plans were already afoot for press-ganging the rest of the Counties into the Franchise league. Durham were regarded as dispensable as far as Franchises went – Yorkshire being considered the most attractive. The ECB wanted to kill off Durham. But it will be a death by a thousand cuts. It’s the most shameful and devious deed ever dreamt up by the ECB now in the hands of the money gang. I don’t know why we are so appalled by Trump in America. We’ve got our own dubious billionaires in charge of running cricket and Yorkshire and Hampshire. The problem with Durham it didn’t have one.

    • Maybe because there is a gulf between letting them run a Cricket Club and the Country for four years?

      • Perhaps you are not aware that Trump practised on smaller things than countries before he ran for President? Golf courses come to mind.

        As for “letting them” run a Cricket Club… when they move from “running a club” to destroying a Club you know the trouble we’re in.

        I’m not bitter. Of course not.

  • Four months on from the ECB’s hatchet job on Durham and I’m still seething. I’m surprised they even allowed us the privilege of signing Stephen Cook – presumably on the basis that Keaton Jennings will get a central contract and we won’t see him when the Tests begin.

    Not sure I buy into the conspiracy theory that they want rid of us though – they want the teams with bigger grounds (which, let’s not forget, the ECB gave us every encouragement to develop) and in or near big cities. The North East is a big enough catchment area for us to survive, and Newcastle and Sunderland are not far away – though makes the original decision to site our ground in the small town of Chester le Street all the more foolish in hindsight.

  • No point moaning.,

    Do you pay for sky??

    Do you spend stupid amounts on tickets?

    Do you go to white ball games ?

    If so, you are merely confirming the ecb’s policy

  • I will not defend the treatment of Durham as that would be impossible. However there is a logical flaw at the heart of the article; that being able to set up and manage an Academy somehow is material to whether or not Durham are competent in managing their financial affairs and complying with ECB rules. The former is very laudable but (at best) is only a mitigation factor in the punishment. If they overpaid for international rights or otherwise failed to manage their financial state (whether or not that includes going along with ECB preferences) it simply indicates a need for new business leadership to supplement the excellence in cricket leadership.

  • I am not denying that the Durham board have made mistakes – we perhaps should have realised that the ECB would always award the bigger counties the marketable Tests and leave us with the impossible job of selling a Test in the North East in May – but having given them so much (9 England players over the last decade, more than some counties have produced in half a century), the ECB punishing us so harshly, because it was them we owed money to rather than a rich benefactor, just added insult to injury. But however much I dislike them, I’m not going to cut my nose off to spite my face by boycotting the England team or white ball cricket.

    • And that’s fine, just don’t expect anything to change then because in bean counting terms.. business doesn’t care what you think as long as you keep spending money. They will only care when the spending stops.

      People moan about cricket kit prices, then go out and spend £200+ on a bat. Well there just stupid.. if you do that the companies aren’t going to think ‘we are over charging’, they’ll think ‘woo, profit.. it’s in demand so raise the price’

      individuals are intelligent, people are stupid. Ecb know this and do not give a crap as its all about maximum money.


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