DURHAM have three players in the top eight in the Most Valuable Player rankings for the Royal London Cup.

Keaton Jennings tops the list, sponsored by the Professional Cricketers' Association, with James Weighell seventh and Michael Richardson eighth.

Although Jennings' 403 runs in five innings leaves him four adrift of top run scorer Peter Handscomb, he is nine points ahead of the second-placed Yorkshire player in the rankings because he has a better average and has also earned points for his captaincy.

Weighell has taken 13 wickets in four games, while Richardson has scored 351 runs at an average of 117.

The rankings put all three in contention for a place in next year's North v South matches, which were held for the first time in Dubai in March.

With three games left Durham lie fourth in the north group of the RLC and would be second had they not started with a two-point deficit.

Only the winners go straight through to the semi-finals, with the second and third teams in both groups playing off against each other.

Jennings has now scored 12 centuries in all cricket since the start of last season and said: “I'm just trying to do what I did last year and add a few bits and pieces.

“I still have work to do on my one-day batting to get to where I want to be. I've had 18 months of success, but people like Kumar Sangakkara and Paul Collingwood have done it for 20 years and that's what I want to do.”

Other young captains Durham have tried have struggled to make runs under the burden of leadership, but Jennings has thrived on it.

“You are a player first and a captain second,” he said. “If you don't score runs you don't warrant your place in the side. It brings a lot of pressure and strain, including off the pitch. But the key is to make runs and captain off the back of that.”

Durham should have Mark Wood back for their next match at Trent Bridge on Thursday.