The season still has more than a month to run but Durham have probably done enough already to retain the Championship title they won for the first time in 2008. Their seventh victory, achieved with more than a day to spare, will leave them around 40 points clear at the top of the First Division, having already recorded more wins than in the whole of last season.
At 186, their points aggregate is only four fewer than their final tally last year. They can look forward, too, to the return of Steve Harmison and Graham Onions, their leading wicket-takers, before Somerset visit the Riverside on 1 September, although the huge boost in prize-money this year means the chasing pack still have something to play for.
The title is worth £500,000 this year. But at £225,000, the prize for second place is more than double the sum Durham received as champions last year and dwarfs the paltry £40,000 given to the 2008 runners-up.
Only Jim Troughton, ending a run of 12 scores of 18 or fewer with his second hundred of the season, denied Durham an even easier passage after Warwickshire resumed four down and still 11 behind.
Even so, eased home by Michael di Venuto (41) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (41), scoring 101 to win was a formality, especially with Warwickshire's Boyd Rankin off the field with a groin strain after taking five first-innings wickets.Reuse content