FOR the first few years of Durham's first-class life there used to be four of us following the team around on behalf of the North-East media. Now it's down to me and a radio man.

The other newspapers are increasingly dependent on the Press Association, a national agency now based in Leeds, which is where they compile most of their county cricket reports.

Until this season PA have always had a man at each ground, but we now live in an age where technology overrides human effort, even at the expense of accuracy.

On my first day in this business 29 years ago, the editor called me into his office and told me: "There are only three things you need to know about journalism. The first is accuracy, the second is accuracy and the third is accuracy."

Which is why it grieves me deeply to see local papers carrying Press Association reports, compiled in an office in Leeds, describing Graeme Bridge as a wily off-spinner.

In Durham's match at Lord's they also said David Nash, who was run out, was just short of his ground. He was, in fact, on his backside in the middle of the pitch when Gary Pratt's throw reached his brother Andrew.

The wrongful assumptions with regard to run-outs continued in the report of Durham's dismissal for 72 at Edgbaston on Tuesday, which read: "The extent of the malaise affecting the side was highlighted by the comical innings of Danny Law, run out attempting a third run that was never on the cards."

Any eye witness would have known that the run was very much on the cards, as it was comfortably completed by Andrew Pratt running to the danger end. The fault lay with Law for failing to respond to Pratt's call until it was too late.

The same report referred to Shaun Pollock "bowling Killeen and Hatch with deliveries they barely saw, never mind offered a positive answer to."

Such ridiculous sentences are being concocted without any observational back-up and every report I have seen so far has been riddled with appalling errors.

Such practices bring my profession a bad name, and if you see anyone reading a Durham report in another local paper please tell them they are in danger of being badly misinformed.

DURHAM have so far sold 11,000 of the 17,000 tickets for the floodlit one-day international between England and India on July 4.

"We are still confident the match will be a sell-out," said chief executive David Harker. "We need a good day after the washout of the Australia v Pakistan match last year.

"Some people may have been put off by having a disappointing experience last year, but they will get a full refund if there is no play.

"It's our first one-day international under lights, and it should be a cracking event."

Durham will not have to increase stewarding beyond normal international levels, despite reports that India wanted to reciprocate our scrutiny of their security arrangements during the winter.

"They did indicate they might wish to have two people look at the venues, but it was decided it would not be necessary," said Harker.

Although the Riverside has hosted a women's Test, the women's one-day international series involving England, India and New Zealand is going to extremes next month by visiting Durham and Jersey.

There is a three-day gap inbetween, with the Durham University ground staging matches on July 16 and17, followed by the final group game and the final at the Riverside on the next two days.

Durham are working with Pauline Peel, the women's cricket development officer for the North, who is using these internationals to promote the game in schools.

"Women's cricket is a rapidly growing sport," said Harker. "We see female involvement as being crucial to the development of the sport, both in terms of playing the game and marketing it."

ASSUMING the championship games run their full course, Durham face ten days of cricket against Worcestershire between June 12 and 30.

Such are the vagaries of the fixture list that two of their three National League games to date have been against Warwickshire, and two or their five championship matches against Middlesex.

Worcestershire are one of only three counties in the same division as Durham in both competitions - Glamorgan and Nottinghamshire are the others.

The only games between the Worcestershire contests are the C & G Trophy match at Bristol on June 19 and the visit of Yorkshire in the National League on June 23.

Such anomalies make a mockery of the two-division format, which is doing nothing to improve the production of England players when Leicestershire are top of division one with Devon Malcolm and Phil DeFreitas opening the bowling.

TALKING of veteran bowlers, Simon Brown has started bowling again and hopes to be back in action soon, with no intention of allowing Durham to send him to the knacker's yard.

"I'm still only 32 and there are a few older than me still going strong," he said. "I see no reason why I shouldn't play for a few more years.

"I played for several seasons without missing a match, but I don't think that is catching up with me. I haven't had wear and tear injuries.

"Even though we have done a lot more fitness work in the last four or five years than when I started, injuries are part of the modern game and it's just the luck of the draw.

"They are always frustrating, and I just hope that once I'm over this side strain I will have a clear run to the end of the season."

Read more about Durham here.