Shropshire Star

Bears denied as Pears abandoned

Durham’s resilience was rewarded with a draw on their return to Vitality County Championship Division One after their game against Warwickshire drifted to stalemate at Edgbaston.


Warwickshire began the final day scenting victory as the newly-promoted side, following on, resumed on 12 for two, still 169 behind. But stubborn batting, led by a maiden century from nightwatchman Matthew Potts (149 not out, 254 balls), along with weather interference, sentenced the match to a draw. The visitors closed on 293 for six.

Having conceded 698 for three in a bruising re-entry to the top flight, Durham take a lot of credit for battling to a draw, earned principally by their first innings 517, the third highest score ever by a team which then had to follow on.

Ultimately, both bowling attacks were nullified by a combination of placid pitch and Kookaburra ball. Both sides were further hampered by the loss of a key man through injury, Warwickshire’s Chris Rushworth suffering a calf niggle and Durham’s Scott Boland a sore heel.

If Warwickshire were to force a result on the final day, they needed to strike early but overnight pair Potts and Colin Ackermann, little troubled on a pitch which did not deteriorate, stretched their partnership another 100 minutes into the morning session.

The third-wicket pair added 79 in 30 overs before Ackermann (22, 100 balls) played back to Yates and a sharply turning ball knocked out his middle stump. Yates has good reason to remember this match having scored a superb 191 (25 fours, five sixes) and taken a nifty catch and seven wickets including a career-best four for 137.

Potts will also long recall this game. He lifted Danny Briggs straight for six on his way to a 97-ball half-century and advanced smoothly to his maiden ton. David Bedingham settled alongside him as the pair added 50 in 56 balls before Bedingham (35, 41 balls) departed in anguish after donating a maiden first class wicket to Jake Bethell when he hoiked a long hop to deep mid-wicket.

That left Durham four down and still 25 behind with 50 overs left in the match but the weather, which had already dabbled in drizzle, hail, sleet, simooms, sunshine and bitterly cold winds during the day, switched on a burst of heavy rain.

That interruption ended all hope of a positive result. All that remained was for Potts and Ollie Robinson (52, 52 balls) to enjoy some sedate batting practice during which the former became the first player in the history of cricket to reach his maiden century with a three in Birmingham on a Monday.

Barely a mile down the road from Trent Bridge, about three-and-a-half hours before the scheduled start of play on the final day of Nottinghamshire's Division One game with Worcestershire, a tornado ripped tiles off houses and brought down trees, some close to the Nottinghamshire chief executive's house. Sadly, however, there was to be no such drama on the field.

An hour after lunch, with the latest squall sweeping through and winds threatening to send the covers flyng towards Lincolnshire, play was abandoned without a ball bowled. Nottinghamshire, 195 runs ahead overnight but with only three wickets standing, took 14 points and Worcestershire, who had fancied pushing for victory, departed the East Midlands with 13. It was one of three matches, all in the East Midlands, to be left as draws with a complete final-day wash out.

Until Nottinghamshire suffered their second catastrophic collapse in seven days on Sunday, they had seemed well set to offer a target for Worcestershire to chase. But in eight overs approaching the close they had crashed from 125 for one to 144 for seven, their new overseas signing thus year, Kiwi Nathan Smith, claiming four in seven balls, including a triple-wicket maiden. He now has ten wickets in three innings.