Benkenstein dominates Durham’s season awards night

Dale Benkenstein swept the board at Durham’s player of the year awards, topping the poll both from the members and his fellow players, while also receiving the batsman of the year prize.

He was also presented with a special award after surpassing one of his predecessors as captain, Jon Lewis, to become Durham’s leading run-scorer in first-class cricket.

It was during Durham’s tenth match of the season at Liverpool that Benkenstein passed Lewis’ tally of 7,854 and also became the second batsman in England to 1,000 runs for the season, a mark none of his team-mates achieved.
In total he scored 1,353 County Championship runs at an average of 61.5, taking his first-class tally for the county to 8,205 in seven seasons.

At 37 he came back remarkably strongly after falling below his usual standards last year, when he struggled with injury and underwent a double hernia operation at the end of the season.

Although there has been speculation that he will eventually take over from Geoff Cook as director of cricket, Benkenstein is keen to continue playing as long as possible. He also resumed the one-day captaincy this year, leading Durham to the Friends Life t20 quarter-finals and Clydesdale Bank 40 semi-finals.

Ben Stokes scooped the young player of the year award for the third successive season. Although he featured very little for his county after badly dislocating a finger at the end of May, he scored 628 Championship runs at an average of 48.30, and his much-improved bowling claimed 17 scalps at 33.

Graham Onions took the bowler of the year award after a magnificent comeback season which saw him become the only Durham player to 50 wickets.

Onions had not played since January 2010 after a stress fracture of the back, which threatened to end his career just as he was establishing himself in the England side. On his comeback in the second game of the season he took 5 for 53 at Headingley.

Will Smith was named the fielder of the year, while reserve wicketkeeper Michael Richardson was the second team player of the year.

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