Cricket: Durham record historic success

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The Independent Online
By John Culley at Trent Bridge

Nottinghamshire 211 & 224 Durham 269 &167-2 Durham win by eight wickets.

IN THEIR seventh season, Durham chalked up a couple of firsts here yesterday. Never before have they been third in the Britannic Assurance table and never before had they won a Championship match on a Test ground, although they are unlikely to be in select company in doing so at Trent Bridge this season unless Nottinghamshire can improve substantially on their performance in this contest.

They might do it twice in a week given the poorly state of Middlesex, whom they meet next at Lord's, starting on Wednesday. Almost three years since their last away win in the Championship, Durham pulled off this one with a day to spare.

High as they currently fly, they will probably still finish nearer bottom than top. But they are at last beginning to believe they can win matches, particularly when the opposition is palpably no better than themselves, as Nottinghamshire most certainly are not. As candidates for the wooden spoon, they currently look the better bet.

The morning had been overcast after a 45-minute delay for rain, freshening the conditions nicely for Durham's bowlers. The ball has swung in this match and the pitch helped the bowler able to land the ball in the right place, which Durham's bowlers did more often than their counterparts. Two more wickets for Michael Foster gave him 4-41 to go with the 68 he made in a stand of 110 with Collingwood.

Resuming at 144-4, Nottinghamshire added only 80 as Durham claimed their last six wickets. The nightwatchman, Mark Bowen, had two escapes in making 32, on five and 23, but in the event, it mattered little. Having gained a first-innings lead of 58 largely through Paul Collingwood's excellent unbeaten 97 on Saturday, Durham were left to chase a modest 167 to win.

With almost five sessions available, they had no need to rush. But after looking briefly as though they might find Paul Strang's leg spin problematical, ultimately they strolled home. Having reached 68 for 2 at tea, Nick Speak and David Boon, still hobbling from time to time on his broken toe, added the extra 99 in just 25 overs thereafter in an unbroken partnership of 120.