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22nd September 2023 Match Reports

Durham win Division 2 County Championship after securing maximum bowling points over Worcestershire

Day 4 

Durham return to Seat Unique Riverside next week as LV=Insurance County Championship Division Two winners after bowling out Worcestershire on day 3 at New Road. 

Worcestershire now require a maximum of three more points to follow opponents Durham into Division One next season despite being frustrated by the newly crowned champions on the final day at New Road.

Durham captain Scott Borthwick scored a chanceless century and then Ollie Robinson illuminated the afternoon session with some glorious stroke-play.

Worcestershire were restricted to adding one bowling point as the game petered out into a draw to bring their run of three successive victories to an end.

They spilled a series of chances but the wash-out of nearest challengers Leicestershire’s game with Yorkshire at the Uptonsteel County Ground leaves them strong favourites to be promoted.

Worcestershire remain 21 points ahead of the Foxes heading into next week’s final fixture with

Yorkshire at Headingley while Leicestershire take on Durham at the Seat Unique Riverside.

But the fact Worcestershire will have won more games than their nearest rivals whatever the outcome of the remaining matches means three more points will suffice.

Durham had achieved their primary objective in sealing the title but no-one could accuse them of not having a full focus on proceedings today.

Durham resumed on 10-0 and Lees had a let off in the opening over of the day from Joe Leach when he survived a sharp chance to fourth slip.

But Worcestershire did make a breakthrough in the next over although it was off Durham’s own making.

Lees played a delivery from Dillon Pennington to cover but Michael Jones came charging down the wicket looking for a quick single and was run out by Logan van Beek’s throw to Joe Leach at the non-striker’s end as he failed to regain his ground.

But strong resistance to Worcestershire’s hopes of acquiring more bowling bonus points from Lees and Durham captain Scott Borthwick.

Lees, the leading run-scorer in Division Two, made Worcestershire pay for his early escape as he completed a 60 ball half century with six fours.

The partnership was worth 77 when Ben Allison, on loan from Essex, accounted for Lees lbw after he attempted to work the ball to leg.

Lees ended the campaign with 1341 runs at an average of 74.50 with five hundreds and five fifties.

Rain brought about the early lunch and when play resumed new batter David Bedingham had a let off on 10 when he was dropped at first slip off Pennington.

He made an uncertain start and successive deliveries from Leach wide of third slip for boundaries and also a leading edge just escaped the clutches of bowler van Beek.

Borthwick on drove van Beek for his 10th boundary in reaching a 105 ball fifty and his stand with Bedingham was worth 89 before Allison secured the first bowling point.

Bedingham (39) went to drive the all-rounder and was bowled at 181-3.  

Robinson had scored a magnificent 206 not out of 131 balls against Worcestershire for Kent in last season’s One Day Cup and he immediately looked in excellent touch with a series of exquisite shots.

Borthwick needed only 38 balls to move from fifty to his second Championship century of the season, pulling Pennington for his 19th boundary.

 Robinson completed a 42 ball fifty and by tea the fourth wicket pair had plundered 143 from 19 overs during a session which yielded 210 runs.

A century looked there for the taking for Robinson but on 84 he lofted Kashif Ali to long on to give the spinner his maiden first class wicket.

It left Borthwick unbeaten on 134 when a heavy shower half an hour after tea ended proceedings.

Day 3 

Durham clinched the LV=Insurance County Championship Division Two title after bowling out Worcestershire shortly before the close of a rain-affected third day at New Road.

Promotion had been secured for Durham last week without bowling a ball when Leicestershire failed to secure a batting point against Sussex at Hove.

They required a maximum of five points heading into this game to clinch top spot.

The three secured for dismissing Worcestershire for 313, plus the ones dropped by the home side for batting, ensured they finished in pole position.

Durham will be back in Division One for the first time since 2016 when they were relegated over financial issues.

Scott Borthwick was a member of that Durham side and fittingly is now the captain on their return to the top flight.

It has been a superb team effort and they have provided the division’s leading run-scorer in Alex Lees (1284) and top wicket-taker in Ben Raine (54).

Raine and Bas de Leede both picked up three wickets while Worcestershire Club captain Brett D’Oliveira (63) provided the sternest resistance.

His efforts helped claim two precious batting points in the battle for the second promotion spot.

Many home supporters also had an eye on events at the Uptonsteel County Ground as nearest rivals Leicestershire strengthened their grip against Yorkshire.

But the fate of Worcestershire remains in their own hands and their prime objective tomorrow will be to collect as many bowling bonus points as possible.

They resumed their first innings on 104-1 after a second day wash-out and Jake Libby cover drove the fifth ball of the day from Vishwa Fernando for four to complete an 85 ball half century.

But on 57 the opener was undone by a delivery from Raine which nipped away and caught behind by Ollie Robinson.

Azhar Ali collected three boundaries in quick succession off Raine while new batter Jack Haynes looked in good nick and raced to 35 off 47 balls with six boundaries.

But the momentum switched in Durham’s favour as Paul Coughlin struck in successive overs and also bowled the delivery which led to Adam Hose retiring injured.

 Haynes was undone by a delivery angled back in and lost his off stump and then Azhar (25) gave his wicket away in tame fashion when he slapped a delivery straight to cover.

In between Hose was struck on the left wrist by Coughlin and was replaced in the middle by Kashif Ali.

Immediately after Azhar’s dismissal, rain drove the players from the field for a three and a quarter hour break.

Kashif and new batter D’Oliveira scored freely against Raine and Coughlin during the evening session.

D’Oliveira cover drove Coughlin to the ropes and then steered him down to third man to bring up the 200 in the 54th over.

The partnership was worth 69 in 14 overs when Kashif nicked Bas de Leede to first slip and he then trapped fellow Netherlands international Logan van Beek lbw.

But D’Oliveira continued to score freely and brought up his half century from 58 balls with seven fours.

He had made 63 off 75 balls when bowled by a fine delivery from Matt Parkinson which spun sharply.

Raine wrapped up the innings by dismissing Ben Allison and Dillon Pennington in the space of four balls to cue the start of the celebrations amongst the Durham players.

Openers Lees and Michael Jones survived four overs before bad light halted play with three overs remaining.

Day 2 

Worcestershire and Durham endured further frustration as rain washed out the second day of their LV=Insurance County Championship match at Worcester.

Both sides have plenty to play for with the already-promoted visitors needing five points to clinch the Division Two title while Worcestershire chase a win which would take them to the brink of promotion.
But relentless rain from a sky as grey as a welder’s flannel meant there was no chance of play on the second day.
The home side will resume on the third morning on 104 for one and only some brilliant cricket from either side or cooperation between the two about setting up a contest can save the game from stalemate.

Day 1

Only 27 overs were possible on Day 1 of Durham’s LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with Worcestershire at New Road, as the hosts made an encouraging start to a truncated day 1.

Jake Libby and Gareth Roderick put on 97 for the opening stand when finally got underway at 3.45pm with a possible 36 overs remaining.

Conditions had looked ideal for bowling after Durham captain Scott Borthwick won the toss.

But his bowlers did not find the right length on a consistent basis and Roderick had time to complete a half century before he was dismissed by Bas de Leede shortly before bad light halted play.

The morning excitement in the city revolved around the discovery of an unexploded wartime shell that closed part of the centre.

Durham had already assured themselves of promotion, after Leicestershire failed to collect any batting bonus points in last week’s defeat at Sussex, and required a maximum of five more points to clinch the Division Two title.

Nearest rivals Worcestershire began the game 21 points ahead of third placed Leicestershire who had leapfrogged Sussex following yesterday’s points deduction.

The home side were unchanged but Durham handed a debut to Fernando, with Brydon Carse and Matthew Potts on England duty.

Roderick and Libby adopted a positive approach against Ben Raine and Fernando.

The first 10 overs yielded 41 runs via a mixture of boundaries and the occasional play and miss, particularly against 51-wicket Raine.

Libby produced two of the shots of a truncated session with back foot cover drives for four at the expense of Fernando and Paul Coughlin.

Libby had fortune on his side when on 43 as replays showed he was short of his ground from Paul Coughlin’s direct hit after turning Bas de Leede to cover.

Roderick drove de Leede for his eighth boundary to complete a 73 ball half century but he was comprehensively bowled by his next delivery after working to leg with 97 on the board.

Libby just had time to complete his personal run milestone before the players were taken off.


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