PAUL Collingwood was delighted with his side’s County Championship win over Middlesex which guarantees they will be playing Division One cricket next season – and has urged them to round off their season with a cup final victory.
Paceman Chris Rushworth led the way with three wickets for 74 runs as Durham completed an impressive 141-run victory against Middlesex at Lord’s to make sure of their place in Division One of the LV= County Championship.
Durham captain Collingwood said: “I am delighted with this victory. Lord’s is a tough place to come, and the last time we beat Middlesex here was in 1998.
“It was a victory at the right time and under pressure, given our position in the table at the start of the game. But we played some excellent cricket, with Scott Borthwick’s first innings 176, a mature knock from Ben Stokes, who looks in good form, and all our bowlers performing with the ball.
“We want to finish the season on a high, and we have the opportunity to do something special in the Royal London Cup final at Lord’s in a week or so as well as finishing strongly in the championship in our last two games.”
If injuries had not afflicted them so much this season, notably to Graham Onions, Durham might well have defended their championship title more strongly. As it is, this win means they could even push to finish fourth, with games against Northamptonshire and Warwickshire still to play.
Rushworth got Sam Robson lbw to the fifth ball, and his dismissal was the start of a wretched morning for Middlesex, who lost six wickets in the session and were already down and out at 139-7 at lunch.
Durham captain Paul Collingwood, who brought himself into the attack as the fifth seamer used in the first session, struck in his second and third overs to send back Paul Stirling and Dawid Malan, the last of Middlesex’s recognised batsmen and their best hopes of surviving for a draw.
Peter Chase, a 20-year-old Irish seamer playing only his second first-class match, had earlier trapped John Simpson lbw for eight with his second ball, as everything Collingwood did as captain in the last hour before lunch seemed to come off.
The result was a Middlesex collapse from 79 for two, with Eoin Morgan following Robson back into the dressing room after a stand of 31 with Malan when he was caught at the wicket for 21 off Rushworth, who Collingwood had just switched to the Pavilion End following his fine first-up spell from the Nursery End.
Neil Dexter, having got off the mark with a lovely back foot force through cover for four off Rushworth, was bowled later in the same over as the bowler nipped a delivery back off the seam to pluck out his off stump.
Left-hander Simpson’s departure, beaten by Chase’s movement back into him from around the wicket, was followed by Collingwood’s double-strike.
Stirling, on 15, was bowled by a beauty that clipped the top of off stump as he pushed forward and Malan had just driven Collingwood handsomely through extra cover for his seventh four when, next ball, he was beaten by a break-back and pinned lbw on the stroke of lunch.
In the afternoon session there was at least some lower order Middlesex resistance, starting with an eighth wicket stand worth 61 in 10 overs between Ollie Rayner and Toby Roland-Jones.
But Chase returned to see Roland-Jones, who hit 26 from 29 balls, edge to wicketkeeper Phil Mustard as he sparred at a rising ball and - after a further spirited stand of 32 with Murtagh - the end of Rayner’s defiant 38 from 57 balls came when he lost his middle stump to a rare full delivery from Ben Stokes.
Murtagh reached 34 from 31 balls before becoming the last Middlesex wicket to fall, well-held above his head off John Hastings by Chase, back-pedalling and falling backwards, at deep mid on.