Benkenstein hopeful of result
Dale Benkenstein was left to lament more bleak English weather after day one of Durham's clash with Kent was washed out.
Last Updated: 17/09/08 1:10pm
Captain Dale Benkenstein was left to lament more bleak English weather after the opening day of Durham's crucial LV County Championship Division One clash with Kent was washed out.
The home side's instrumental skipper admitted feeling "helpless" as umpires Peter Willey and Mike Harris abandoned the opening day's play without a ball being bowled.
Adding further misery on Durham, title rivals Nottinghamshire and Somerset both started their matches on time at The Oval and Scarborough respectively.
Benkenstein and his players are now forced to contemplate the prospect of their rivals making headway, with the penultimate round of matches getting under way around the country.
However, despite his obvious disappointment, the former South Africa international is still optimistic that his side can gain a positive result inside the three remaining days.
"There's just nothing more we can do," he said. "The groundstaff have tried everything to try to get the field fit, but there's just standing water everywhere.
"But the weather looks pretty good over the next few days, so we're hoping to get three good days in."
Despite the sodden outfield, Benkenstein reports that the square - which attracted unwanted attention when Durham beat Kent in little more than two days early last month - is in better shape than it was then.
But he nonetheless acknowledges this match is likely to progress quickly, once play begins.
"There's a huge amount of work for the groundstaff to do to try to get the outfield clear, but the good news is the pitch looks fine," he said.
"They've brought in a few extra things that I've never seen, just to try to get us on the field.
"They've rented the equipment from a company that dry football fields out if there is a lot of rain - which just shows the club are trying everything to get us on the field.
"You can't cover the whole field - so with the water table so high, there's nothing you can do about the outfield, with heaps of puddles all over.
"But it has definitely helped with the wicket. It looks a lot drier than it did a few days ago."
Durham had to sweat for several hours over the possibility of a points deduction in a hearing about the state of the pitch in that narrow, low-scoring victory over Kent.
But Benkenstein is confident the surface is much-improved.
"Everyone's happy with it, the umpires - and the pitch guys from Lord's are also happy with the wicket," he said.
"There'll be a bit of life in it when we get on. There's always a chance of a result here at the Riverside, so we've still got our hopes up.
"If we play good cricket, we're still in with a chance."