Coetzer revels in opening role

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Makeshift Durham opener Kyle Coetzer expressed his delight after scoring a first LV= County Championship hundred of the season in the crucial game against Nottinghamshire.

With Durham needing only 11 bonus points to wrap up back-to-back titles in the clash against Notts, Coetzer carefully clocked up a watchful 107 at the Riverside on day one.

The 25-year-old, who replaced Mark Stoneman at the top of the order in the county’s previous championship outing against Somerset, shared a 314-run partnership with Michael Di Venuto up front.

Kyle Coetzer; Michael Di Venuto

Kyle Coetzer, left, provided support for the prolific Michael Di Venuto in a record opening stand for Durham

“It’s a great confidence builder,” Coetzer said. “I just tried to bat as long as I can and bat through the day.

“I’ve had a few tough times, as every cricketer does, and I just tried to get my head down and score as many runs as I can whilst batting for as long as I can.

“Michael started to push the scoreboard along after a while which took the pressure off me and I just tried to spend time out there.”

Speaking of his partnership with Di Venuto, who cracked an unbeaten 219 while batting through the whole day, Coetzer added: “We just went in tens for the whole day, it was quite good fun really.”

The pair’s mammoth partnership was one short of the club record set by Dale Benkenstein and Ottis Gibson’s relegation-saving effort at Headingley Carnegie three years ago, with Coetzer understandably disappointed at failing to set a new milestone after he was needlessly run out.

“It was a bit disappointing getting out in the way I did, and we weren’t aware we were so close to the record. It’s a shame because it takes a long time to get back close to that score,” he said.

“Batting with Michael is good because he just makes the game look so easy. He’ll score runs in form and out of form which is one thing that (director of cricket) Geoff Cook has stressed.”

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