Durham clinch County Championship title

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Rain halted victory over Nottinghamshire before Durham clinched 62 runs required at Chester-le-Street

Durham clinched the LV= County Championship title by wrapping up a routine eight-wicket win over Nottinghamshire on a rain-delayed third day at Chester-le-Street.

The morning session was eliminated by drizzle but play began at 1.30pm, with Durham needing 62 more runs and a theoretical 71 overs available in the day.

Just 16 of those were required as Mark Stoneman made an unbeaten 35 and put on 57 with opening partner Keaton Jennings.

Umpires Neil Mallender and Stephen Gale inspected twice before giving the okay to play while groundstaff applied patches of sawdust, particularly at the Finchale End.

Warning signs remained, though, as Durham pair Scott Borthwick and Michael Richardson slipped in the same spot on the outfield during a warm-up football game.

Stoneman flicked the day's first run off Andre Adams as fans began to filter into the ground, taking advantage of free entry across the board.

Jennings pulled for four to take Durham into double figures and Stoneman drove a boundary through cover, but Luke Fletcher was probing dangerously outside the left-handed pair's off stump.

Some scrambling in the deep could not deny Stoneman an all-run four and after 10 overs of the innings, Durham were 36 without loss.

Harry Gurney started with a huge five wides and Jennings took a delightful leg-side boundary off Paul Franks to bring up the half-century.

Gurney, who had also bowled a couple of no-balls, got it right to trap Jennings lbw for 21 but with only 12 needed it was unlikely to derail Durham at all.

Borthwick fell for a duck, chipping the same bowler to Franks at mid-on, but Stoneman punched Franks through the off side for two boundaries in an over to win the game.

Five bonus points and the absence of any penalty from the England and Wales Cricket Board's pitch liaison officer Jack Birkenshaw had ensured victory would be enough to wrap up the title with a game to spare.

And such an outcome had seemed inevitable ever since Durham's in-form pace attack skittled the visitors for 78 on day one.

Their batsmen responded with 256, built around 77 from Phil Mustard and 88 not out from captain Paul Collingwood, but David Hussey (57) saw Notts to 246 second time around to at least prolong the game into a third day.

Stoneman and Jennings accounted for seven of the required runs on Wednesday evening before their side declined the optional extra half-hour, and Thursday's play was largely a formality.

PA

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