Durham paceman Brydon Carse was pleased to complete his long-awaited comeback to first-class cricket in his side’s six-wicket defeat to Gloucestershire at Emirates Riverside.

The 23-year-old missed all of the 2018 season after suffering a knee injury. Durham made the decision to keep faith in the right-armer, handing him a three-year contract in September last year.

Carse made his return to action in the Royal London One-Day Cup, taking 10 wickets in seven matches for the north-east outfit. He proved enough in those games to make his first Specsavers County Championship appearance since September 2017 in his side’s meeting with Gloucestershire.

The South African took three wickets, but was unable to stop Durham slipping to their fourth defeat in the bounce in Division Two. Today, they hope to avoid a fifth – this is already their worst-ever start to a County Championship summer – when Derbyshire visit Emirates Riverside.

Carse admitted he was glad to be back competing with the red ball and believes that he will only improve with further time out on the pitch.

“It was a long year out last season. A lot of hard work has gone in behind the scenes,” he said.

“I’m happy to be back playing, but I’m hopeful that there will be better days ahead. There have been spells even in this game and the one-day tournament where I feel that my rhythm has clicked.

“There have been spells where I’ve felt better than I was before my injury. I feel a lot fitter and stronger than I was a year ago. The more I’m bowling and the more time I spend out there the more it will come in hand.”

Durham were cautious with the 23-year-old, holding him out of the opening three Championship games in an attempt to manage his workload. After proving his fitness in the One-Day Cup, Carse successfully came through his first game with the red ball in almost 20 months.

However, Carse is aware that he and the team will have to carefully manage his body throughout the year to ensure that he remains available for selection until the end of the campaign.

“There’s obviously times throughout the season where I’m going to be chomping at the bit to be playing, but there’s a schedule that has been put together where there’s the bigger picture looking at the whole season,” he said.

“At the back end of the season there are three or four Championship games and I would like to be playing in those matches. When I get my opportunity I’m going to take it and try to do well for the team.

“As we’ve seen - I’m probably going to be used in shorter spells. It can be a bit frustrating when I want to bowl that fifth or sixth over when I’m feeling good.

“I tend to do everything at 100 miles per hour which is just in my nature, but it’s knowing when to rein it in and when not to. It’s all part of the management and what we’re doing this season.”