THIS has not been an easy few years for Durham County Cricket Club, with financial problems having resulted in an enforced restructure that saw the club’s first team relegated from the First Division of the County Championship and resulted in the departure of a number of star players.

However, thanks to the support of both the ECB and Durham County Council, the club has survived and is able to stage events like the three World Cup matches that have proved so successful in the last week.

The Cricket World Cup is the biggest sporting event taking place in Britain this year, and it would have been a huge shame if the North-East’s sports fans had not been able to experience it. Instead, three sold-out crowds flocked to Emirates Riverside, around 70,000 supporters contributed an estimated £20m to the regional economy, and shots of a sun-kissed Lumley Castle were beamed around the world. Even Rihanna turned up to join in the fun.

The games were a huge success, and as Durham chief executive Tim Bostock spells out in today’s Northern Echo, plans are gathering pace for a hotel and conference centre development at the club’s Chester-le-Street home that will help safeguard its financial future.

We have always been a huge supporter of Durham CCC. We championed the county’s first-class birth, and backed efforts to ensure it did not disappear when times were difficult. This week’s scenes simply serve to underline its continued importance to the whole of the North-East.