McCarthy the beneficiary as Onions injury setback gives Durham food for thought on loan signing

Durham bowler Barry McCarthy returns to the side against Glamorgan today
Durham bowler Barry McCarthy returns to the side against Glamorgan today

While Durham consider dipping into the loan market to bolster a small squad hit by injuries, they will turn to Barry McCarthy for the Specsavers County Championship match against Glamorgan, starting today.

After playing for Ireland in the triangular series against New Zealand and Bangladesh, the seam-bowling all-rounder will come in for Durham’s latest injury victim, Graham Onions, who sustained a back problem in the innings defeat to Sussex this week.

Hove is not a happy hunting ground for Onions, who broke down there at a similar stage three years ago and made only one more appearance that season.

A second back operation followed and, while he awaits a scan after suffering more pain at Hove this week, any back trouble cannot be good news for the 34-year-old former Test bowler.

Coach Jon Lewis said: “Graham needs a bit more assessment.

“Our squad is not as deep as it has been and the injury list is enough to stretch us.

“It’s not out of the question that we will look to sign a player on loan.

“But I wouldn’t want to play someone on loan at the expense of one of our own.

“Barry McCarthy has finished with Ireland, so he’ll be coming down to Swansea.”

Of the other injured seamers, Usman Arshad made his comeback purely as a batsman and hit 92 this week for the second team against MCC Young Cricketers, while Brydon Carse needs at least another week of recuperation.

Batsmen Michael Richardson and Jack Burnham could be fit for the visit of Northamptonshire next Friday, although Burnham is more likely to return via the second team.

Onions’ injury is a big blow for a player who has his sights on passing Simon Brown’s record of 518 first-class wickets for Durham.

With nine from three games, Onions is now on 504.

Were he fit to play today, he would be the only survivor of the 22 on duty when Durham last met Glamorgan in four-day cricket in 2004.

That was Marcus North’s season with Durham and in an otherwise modest campaign, in which he averaged 31.4, he scored 219 at Cardiff in a rain-affected draw.

On their only previous visit to Swansea, Durham won by six wickets in 1995.

Darren Blenkiron scored 145 and shared a stand of 177 with Stewart Hutton as they knocked off 343.

However, that was even before Lewis’s time with the club.

And it would not have been a happy journey from Hove to Swansea after defeat by an innings and 177 runs was sealed in early afternoon in midweek.

Durham have accrued a mere 18 points from three games and remain on minus 30, with their slender hopes of a swift return to Division One already ruined.

“We can’t dwell on this, but we have to give it a bit of thought and take the harsh lessons out of it,” said Lewis.

“It’s been a difficult start and we haven’t fronted up as well as we would have liked.

“As a team, we need to be better.”