Cricket / NatWest trophy: Durham advance: Brown takes five

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Cheshire 107-9; Durham 108-5. Durham win by five wickets

A CLINICALLY efficient bowling performance by Durham, spearheaded by Simon Brown's 5 for 23, was followed by more than the occasional hiccup with the bat before they defeated Cheshire at the picturesque Bowdon CC ground yesterday.

The die was cast as early as the first over, when Brown's incisive new-ball bowling wrecked Ian Cockbain's decision to bat first. Brown, whose emergence this season is one reason why Durham are flourishing, plucked out the top order by bowling straight, fast and swinging the ball into the right-hander from a full length.

Among his victims was Geoff Miller, the former Derbyshire and England all-rounder, who emerged at first wicket down no doubt because of his skill against fast bowling. A devastating first ball, which swung and did not bounce over-much, accounted for him and, despite Jonathan Gray's half-century, there was no way back from 28 for 5, and David Graveney made sure of that with nine overs for seven runs.

When Durham batted, Mark Saxelby, shuffling across his crease, left his leg stump exposed in Simon Renshaw's first over, and just when John Morris was threatening to play the violent little cameo which could have settled it all, Miller drifted one past his outside edge and bowled him.

A worthy spell by Charlie Lamb contained several moral victories over Wayne Larkins, who had to bat with something approaching circumspection before Renshaw prised him out. Cheshire, though, had no runs to play with.