Veteran Breese fittingly the hero as Durham finish on high

Durham's Ben Stokes celebrates victory after Gareth Breese hit the winning runs during the Royal London One Day Cup Final at Lord's
Durham's Ben Stokes celebrates victory after Gareth Breese hit the winning runs during the Royal London One Day Cup Final at Lord's
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Warwickshire captain Varun Chopra admitted his side paid the price for a poor batting display after Durham won the Royal London Cup by three wickets at Lord’s.

Opening batsman Chopra scored 64 but he was the only Warwickshire player to make a significant contribution as the team were bowled out for 165.

Warwickshire spinner Jeetan Patel took 4-25 to keep the contest alive but Durham were always in command and held their nerve to clinch the trophy.

Defeat for Warwickshire ended the club’s dreams of a one-day double having already won the T20 Blast last month but the club sit second in LV= County Championship Division One behind champions Yorkshire with one game to play.

“We were always behind the game after our batting performance,” said Chopra.

“We showed our resilience as a side and made it difficult for them. I’m sure they were twitching at some stages throughout their innings but an extra 30 or 40 runs would have made it very interesting.

“We were right in the game but with such a low score on the board it only takes a bit of misfortune, a few nicks to third man and they’re much closer to the target.”

On a damp and overcast morning, winning the toss was also going to be a major advantage.

Durham elected to bowl and exploited the favourable conditions to the full as seamers Rushworth, Ben Stokes and Paul Collingwood all took two wickets each.

“It was a big toss to win, definitely,” Chopra said. “You’ve still got to utilise the conditions so credit to Durham, they bowled well up front and took wickets but I think every man and his dog would have bowled first today.

“Sometimes in September on a green wicket when the skies are like that, it does favour the side who bowls first but you still have to bowl well so take nothing away from them.”

Durham captain Mark Stoneman hailed “a fairytale ending” to Gareth Breese’s career after the all-rounder hit the winning runs.

Breese, who has been involved in the Durham first team since 2004, will retire at the end of the season and he capped his final one-day match with an excellent display at Lord’s.

The 38-year-old took three wickets, two catches and hit a much-needed 15 not out – including the boundary that clinched the trophy.

“It’s a fairytale sign-off for him,” Stoneman said.

“He’s been a great guy on the field and off the field, he’s been outstanding with his contributions for Durham.

“For him to go out on a high, hitting the winning runs in a Lord’s final – you couldn’t script it any better really.”

Breese was left unbeaten at the close alongside Stokes, who finished 38 not out.

“It was brilliant,” added Stokes.

“I told Breesey I wanted to be in there with him at the end although he meant to leave that last ball and it still went for four.

“He thoroughly deserved to be the man who hit the winning runs for everything he’s done and achieved for Durham.”

Durham’s chase was never straightforward, thanks largely to Patel, something Stokes was quick to acknowledge.

“It was tense all the way through – every time we seemed to get on top they picked up a wicket,” he said. “I just tried to stay as calm as possible and make sure I was there at the end.”

Stoneman added: “I got a bit twitchy when we were six or seven down. We felt a good partnership would see us home but then we lost Colly (Paul Collingwood) and it got tense.”

Stoneman, who had earlier hit 52 before falling lbw to Patel, is in his first full season as Durham’s limited-overs captain.

The opener was one of five players in the line-up at Lord’s to have been born in the north-east and Stokes believes that local core is behind the team’s success.

“Everyone fits into the changing room – we’re not just colleagues, we’re mates as well and that goes a long way to how successful we’ve been this year,” he said.