Durham begin the 2009 County Championship as holders following last season's spectacular success. Three honours in two seasons have made Durham a force in domestic cricket.
Will Smith has taken over as captain at the club, following Dale Benkenstein's decision to stand down. Smith has been a key figure in the club's success - he must balance that with the extra responsibility captaincy will bring.
Despite handing over the reins to Will Smith, Dale Benkenstein remains a vital asset to the Durham line-up, and his experience and talent will be crucial to Durham's defence of the championship.
Steve Harmison's presence in the Durham side towards the end of last season was a big driving force in the title win. He has endured a tough summer with England, and re-finding his rhythm in a Durham shirt will help him and the county.
Ben Harmison can continue to develop in the Durham first team after contributing to last season's success with a string of wickets and important runs with the bat.
'The Colonel' Phil Mustard has become a regular and steady performer with Durham as well as remaining on the fringes of the England set-up.
Liam Plunkett remains a bright hope for both Durham and England although he struggled a little toward the end of the last campaign. Capable of troubling batsmen, making himself a regular for Geoff Cook's side will be his priority this season.
Michael Di Venuto's happy knack of picking up runs was another key factor in Durham's title win last season. Comfortable in all forms of the game, the Kiwi is likely to play a big role again this season.
Ian Blackwell will be hoping to plunder the runs for Durham this season after leaving Somerset for the Riverside for this campaign. A big hitting left hander who can also spin, he will be another weapon in Geoff Cook's arsenal this season.
Graham Onions played his part in the Championship win at the end of last summer as well as making headway with the England Lions side. A nippy seamer who will be another thorn in the side of batsmen this season.
Gareth Breese's huge century during the County Championship match at Kent played a big part in bringing the trophy up the A1 at the expense of Notts last summer. Handy with bat and ball.
Shotley Bridge-born Neil Killeen has played a big role in Durham's recent success with bat and ball. 'Killer' provides a steady no-nonsense presence in the Durham bowling attack.
If Gareth Breese's century played its part in the title win, then Callum Thorp's destruction of the Kent batting order was just as vital. His experience will likely be needed this season.
Mark Davies' England Lions form will have encouraged Durham coach Geoff Cook after the Stockton-born seamer's solid displays last season. More of the same will help the county's defence of the title.
Durham fans saw little bursts of Mark Stoneman last season as the 21-year-old staked his claim for a regular place in the first team. The left-hander was in his debut season as a professional last term and will look to strengthen his position this year.
Newcastle-born Gordon Muchall is one of two of the family in the Durham side, along with brother Paul. Although he failed to make a big impression on the first XI last season, his displays for the second string earned him their Player of the Year award.
Mitchell Claydon has been a peripheral figure at Durham since joining from Yorkshire, but the Aussie quick remains on the Durham books.
Karl Turner is yet to make his bow for Durham, while Paul Muchall hopes to follow in his brother Gordon's footsteps and make his Durham debut.
Lee Goddard (left) is another peripheral figure at Durham, while veteran Paul Wiseman provides sturdy back-up and experience for the younger players to learn from.
Scott Borthwick and Paul Hindmarsh are two Cumbrian cricketers who will be keen to make an impression after making the step up from the Durham academy.
Luke Evans has had a year in the professional circuit with Durham while Will Gidman capped off last season with the club's Communities Player of the Year prize.