DURHAM found an unlikely new hero yesterday as 20-year-old Irish debutant Peter Chase bowled them to the victory which greatly eases their relegation worries.
The 6ft 4in Dubliner became only the fifth Durham bowler to take a five-wicket haul on his championship debut to set up a 54-run win at home to Nottinghamshire.
Of the others only Liam Plunkett has gone on to great things. John Wood, who performed the feat at Southampton in 1992, did reasonably well but James Brinkley quickly faded from the scene and Ryan Buckley has yet to show he can build on his haul at the Oval early last season.
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Durham are now level with next week’s hosts, Middlesex, in third bottom place, 12 points ahead of Lancashire with a game in hand.
Chase, who was hastily registered two weeks ago because five bowlers were injured, finished with five for 64 and said: “I hope I’ve done enough to earn another crack.
“I am contracted to Cricket Ireland but when they don’t need me they are happy for me to play here.
“Irish cricket is now very strong and I’m not selected for next week’s games against Scotland, but I’d love to get into next year’s World Cup squad.
“I came to Durham when I was 17 with a Leinster Development squad and Geoff Cook asked me to come over for a few games with the academy.
“I’ve been over for a few games every year since but my best figures in the second team are three for 12.”
Durham coach Jon Lewis added: “Peter will continue to be contracted to Cricket Ireland next year and they will have first call. They have ambitions to be a first-class setup and they don’t want their players poached by English counties.
“But they are happy for them to develop as county cricketers as long as they remain available when Ireland need them.
They have quite a lot of cricket next year.
“We just have to maintain a good relationship with them.
I hope they feel that Peter being with us has given him a big step forward and hopefully we’ll see more of him here.”