Durham clinched a draw with Yorkshire at Headingley on Saturday and therefore avoided relegation from the First Division. That fate fell to Nottinghamshire, the 2005 champions, after they were thumped by Sussex inside three days.
Durham managed to make their fight for survival exciting by failing to reach the follow on target on the final day after Yorkshire had set them 677. Durham lost their last four wickets in 12 balls to miss their target by 10 runs and be all out for 518. That left them a potentially tricky 46 overs to bat out to earn a draw. They lost their openers quickly but dug in to pass Yorkshire's first innings total for the loss of more wicket. At 181 for 3 and with Garry Park unbeaten on 100 the game was declared a draw and Durham were safe with half a point more than Notts.
The Worcestershire coach Steve Rhodes hailed his side after they snatched promotion from Essex. Their promotion hopes were slim when they started the final day at Wantage Road with Northants on 24 for 0, and with a lead of 85. But Rhodes's bowlers combined brilliantly to dismiss the hosts for 143 before their batsmen chased down the target of 205 for the loss of five wickets.
That left Worcester waiting anxiously for news of Essex's match with Leicestershire at Grace Road. And after it was confirmed Leicester had completed a thrilling five-wicket win Rhodes said: "It's been a fantastic season for us. I've always been a believer in the team and if you have a good atmosphere you can achieve what you want. The atmosphere has got us through."
Chris Benham recorded the NatWest Pro-40 competition's best score of the season - 158 - as Hampshire and Glamorgan swapped divisions after the play-off at the Rose Bowl yesterday. Glamorgan, who finished third from bottom in the First Division, went down after crashing to Hampshire, who were third in the Second Division, by 151 runs. Benham's innings off 132 balls included 21 fours and a hooked six leaving Glamorgan to overhaul Hampshire's total of 265 for 9. Glamorgan never looked like making a fight of it and were shot out for 114.
* Australia gave themselves a boost before next month's Champions Trophy when they beat the West Indies by 127 runs in the final to win the tri-series in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, yesterday. After scoring 240 for 6 in 50 overs, Australia's pace attack tore into the West Indies' batting, bowling them out for just 113 in 34.2 overs.
Ups and downs
Relegated: Nottinghamshire, Middlesex
Also promoted: WorcestershireReuse content