Nottinghamshire make light work of Durham to confirm Division Two crown

Nottinghamshire 662 for 5 dec and 121 for 2 dec (Hameed 49*) beat Durham 207 (Maddinson 40, Potts 40, Paterson 3-50) and 114 (Broad 3-36, Patterson-White 3-41) by 462 runs

Nottinghamshire needed seven minutes over two hours to take the seven Durham wickets they needed to be confirmed as Division Two champions on the final day of the LV= Insurance County Championship season at Trent Bridge.

Durham, for whom David Bedingham was unable to bat because of a dislocated shoulder, were dismissed for 114 to lose by 462 runs.

Barring defeat here, Nottinghamshire were effectively champions already after seven first-innings bonus points meant they could no longer be overtaken in the Division Two standings, yet they had wanted to end on a winning note and gave spectators free admission to witness their triumph.

Resuming on 14 for two after Nottinghamshire, who stacked up a formidable 662 for five declared, had declared their second innings on 121 for two, Durham suffered their first loss in the fourth over of the day as Broad angled one in to have Scott Borthwick leg before.

Skipper Steven Mullaney, one of four centurions in the first innings, sprang something of a surprise when he did not enforce the follow-on after Durham were dismissed 455 behind on first innings, yet his decision seemed to be justified as a rested attack made life difficult for their opponents in conditions freshened up by overnight rain.

Patterson-White claimed the second scalp of the morning in his first over as Liam Trevaskis’s top-edged sweep looped gently to slip.

Chris Benjamin, the wicketkeeper on loan from Warwickshire, took a positive approach, hitting five boundaries in his 33, but came a cropper when Broad returned for his second spell, edging to second slip.

Patterson-White bowled Ben Raine, Paterson had Matthew Potts edging to second slip, where Matt Montgomery, whose magnificent 178 had been the largest component of Nottinghamshire’s 662, took his second catch of the innings. Patterson-White then enjoyed the decisive moment as Jonathan Bushnell, sweeping off balance, was leg before.

Nottinghamshire began the season as favourites to win the division, not on the basis of their form the last time the Championship was played in two divisions, pre-Covid, in 2019, when they were relegated without a win, but on their performance in 2021, the campaign of the conference format, when they were in contention for the outright title right up to the last round.

They felt slightly miffed that this year’s divisions were configured on the basis of what happened three years ago, but the ECB quite reasonably felt they had to maintain the integrity of their competition.

In any event, they have clearly justified their short odds, winning more matches and more bonus points than any of their rivals. The only defeats suffered were against Glamorgan in their first home match in April, and at Worcester last week, a shock that left them with something to do in this fixture.

The stand-out performer with the bat has been Haseeb Hameed, who has bounced back from the low point of a chastening Ashes winter to enjoy his most productive season, amassing 1,235 runs at 58.80, including four hundreds and seven other fifties.

Ben Duckett also topped 1,000 runs in the Championship, while skipper Mullaney missed that mark by seven runs, but had his best campaign with the bat since 2016.

Among the bowlers, Luke Fletcher was unable to scale the heights of 2021, when he chalked up 67 first-class wickets, but Paterson improved in his debut-season haul of 51 wickets by adding a further 56. Patterson-White, the 23-year-old who has been tipped for a big future in the game, confirmed the promise of his first two seasons by finishing on 41 wickets as the most successful spinner in the division.

Durham’s bad day was worsened shortly after the end of play, when they were hit with a ten-point penalty by the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC), after Nic Maddinson admitted to using a bat which failed a bat-gauge test during their match against Derbyshire earlier this month.

The breach of ECB Directives 3.2 and 3.3 means that Durham are now likely to slip below Derbyshire into sixth place in the final Division Two standings.

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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