Cricket: Boon denied at the death

Durham 331 Notts 170 and 200-6 Match drawn
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The Independent Online
DURHAM'S chances of ending a County Championship drought stretching back to the September 1995 were washed away yesterday by rain. Nottinghamshire had reached 200 with only four second-innings wickets remaining, a lead of just 39, when the Hartlepool heavens opened to force the players back to the pavilion for an early tea and, inevitably, an abandonment shortly thereafter.

Chris Tolley, unbeaten on 37, and Wayne Noon, 13, had steadied Nottinghamshire with an unbroken fifty partnership after the visitors had stumbled to 150 for 6 at lunch. At that point Durham looked well on course having just broken a stubborn fourth-wicket stand of 44 between the Nottinghamshire captain, Paul Johnson, and Tim Robinson with 11 runs still required to make the home side bat again.

Johnson, who made a fluent 34, was caught at short leg off the bowling of off-spinner James Boiling two overs before the break and, in the next over, Robinson went for 69, cutting Alan Walker to Boiling at gully.

Before that flurry of activity Durham had failed to capitalise on some good early morning work from seam bowler Simon Brown, who is hoping to nudge the selectors after being discarded after just one Test against Pakistan at Lord's last summer.

He took one wicket in each innings on that occasion, including that of the in-form Aamer Sohail in his first spell of his England debut. Aamer went on to top score with 88 in the second innings and set up a winning total and Brown was despatched north with barely a thank you.

Yesterday he immediately displayed the craft that had won him selection as Nottinghamshire lost their nightwatchman, Mark Bowen, to the day's third ball. Bowen was beaten by Brown's first two deliveries before being drawn to edge the third to second slip, where David Boon, took a fine low catch. Brown could have had further reward when Robinson was dropped by John Morris. In the end it mattered little as the Durham players were left looking forlornly skywards wondering if a ray of hope would ever arrive.

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