Durham skipper Phil Mustard has been told to cut back on red meat. After missing three County Championship games with an inflamed toe it transpired that something similar to gout was causing the problem.
“The doctor told me it could be connected with my diet, so I’ll have to eat less red meat, for example,” he said. “There’s a danger it could flare up again, but I should be all right if I follow the doctor’s advice.
“I thought I was OK when I played in the first Clydesdale Bank 40 match, but the day after it was really painful so we had to send for Michael Richardson to come back from a second team game in Billericay and play against Warwickshire. He’s had a tough start to the season but he seems to be thriving on it.”
Mustard played in the opening match at the Rose Bowl, but after deputising in the next three Richardson was Division One’s leading wicketkeeper with 18 dismissals.
He also played as a batsman when Mustard made his comeback in a three-day Second X1 Championship match against Warwickshire at Longhirst Hall, a delightful parkland ground three miles north of Morpeth, in Northumberland.
Steve Harmison also returned to action in that match, but after taking five for 22 in the first innings he went wicketless in the second and was unable to oust Ruel Brathwaite or Callum Thorp from the first team for the current match against Somerset.
Richardson scored 88 off 89 balls to set up a three-wicket win for the seconds at Longhirst, hitting 12 fours and two sixes and sharing a fourth-wicket stand of 129 with Ben Harmison.
As the senior side had a week’s break, Durham included eight players with significant first team experience, while the only player in that category for Warwickshire was Darren Maddy, who made 83 in the second innings.
Among the three junior members in the Durham line-up was Keaton Jennings, the South Africa Under 19 captain and son of Ray Jennings, the former Test player and South Africa national coach. Keaton is a 6ft 5in seam-bowling all-rounder whose mother hails from Sunderland. He will be on trial with Durham for most of the summer.