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6th August 2020 Interviews

‘A very special moment’, Rushworth reacts after 500 first-class wickets

Chris Rushworth has revealed that it was an emotional moment to take his 500th first-class wicket after waiting almost a year to get the red ball back in his hands at Emirates Riverside.

The 34-year-old ended the last campaign six shy of the milestone after being thwarted by the elements in Durham’s County Championship washout against Glamorgan. The coronavirus pandemic threatened to delay the achievement further given the doubts over whether cricket would be played this summer.

However, Rushworth seized his opportunity at the first time of asking in the Bob Willis Trophy, albeit in Durham’s six-wicket defeat to Yorkshire. The moment came on the third day of the contest when the veteran seamer pinned Tom Kohler-Cadmore lbw, becoming only the third player from the county to reach 500 first-class wickets.

Although the Emirates Riverside was void of spectators, Rushworth still managed to acknowledge the landmark with his dad looking on.

“It’s very special,” he said. “I knew I was close. I was just waiting for the inevitable really, but it was nice to get it in the first game back. It was a very proud moment as all the achievements are. To be on the losing side of the game puts a slight downer on it. It’s very special it’s something I never thought I would achieve. It’s nice to get there.

“My dad is a follower of my stats so I always get a reminder from him. It was nice he was there in the ground and I gave him a little wave. That was nice and it was emotional, but it would have been great to have a home crowd in for fans that have been a huge support for me over the years. It was special to have my dad there.”

After being released by Durham early in his career, Rushworth returned to Chester-le-Street in 2010 at the behest of former coach Geoff Cook. He has singled out Cook more than any other for the role he played in helping him surpass the milestone.

Rushworth added: “I’ve had lots of messages and it was nice for the Yorkshire lads to clap off the field as well to show their appreciation – things like that are a nice touch.

“Without Geoff I would not have been part of the academy as a young lad then to be offered a second chance to come back – a lot of good things have happened over the last 12 years. Without Geoff I certainly wouldn’t be here and I’m very grateful to him and every other coach and captain that has been part of the journey.”

Rushworth has already lined up his next achievement as Graham Onions holds the record for most wickets taken by a Durham bowler.

He is currently 33 wickets off the pace of overhauling Onions, but has set his sights firmly on eclipsing his former team-mate as soon as possible before turning his attention elsewhere.

He said: “Hopefully it would be good to target 600 if cricket gets back to normal over the next few years – then fingers crossed. The next target on my list is the club record Bunny (Onions) is still there on 527 wickets. So as long as I stay fit and keep bowling well there’s no reason why not.”

Rushworth will begin his attempt to close in on the county record against Lancashire in Durham’s second Bob Willis Trophy match starting on Saturday at Emirates Riverside.

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