Nottinghamshire head to the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground this week to face Durham, in the LV= County Championship Division One, looking to build on their opening round victory over Worcestershire.

Sunday’s success saw Notts make the perfect start to a season for the fourth straight year and sees Mick Newell’s side up alongside Surrey and Somerset as the other winners from the opening round of fixtures.

Following Durham’s elevation to the first class ranks Nottinghamshire have enjoyed mixed fortunes on their previous first class visits to the north-east.

In all they have played twelve championship fixtures away against Durham, although only eleven of them have featured any cricket. The 2008 encounter was completely washed out with not a single ball bowled on any of the four days.

"Two years ago, Nottinghamshire had defeated Durham at Trent Bridge, ending the 24-match unbeaten run of the double-champions." 

Of the other fixtures, Durham have won 5, Notts have been victorious in 4, with two games ending in draws.
The first match in the series was played in 1993 at the Ropery Lane ground in Chester-le-Street and Nottinghamshire helped themselves to a huge victory inside three days. The winning margin of an innings and 157 runs was largely due to an astonishing turn-around with the bat.

Having been 4-2 early on, the visitors recovered to post 629, thanks to 130 from Paul Johnson and then career-best innings from Chris Lewis, who made a mammoth 247 and wicket-keeper Bruce French who posted 123. Together they added 301 for the 7th wicket, a county record that still stands.

Two years later, in the first meeting at the Riverside, it was the hosts who came out on top, with John Morris – later to join the Trent Bridge staff – hitting the only century of the contest. 

A drawn match at Hartlepool in 1997 was ruined by the weather but since then all the other nine meetings have been played at the Chester-le-Street ground, now a Test match venue in its own right.

Tons from Paul Collingwood and Jonathan Lewis were the foundation for the home team’s success in 1999.
Lewis proved to be a thorn in the Nottinghamshire side when he did it again two years later. His score of 112, plus 149 from Martin Love, chased down a target of 318 on the last day to secure another win, after Paul Johnson and Greg Blewett had reached three figures for the guests. Steve Harmison took 5-100 in Notts first innings.

Notts win in 2002 was built around a century from Usman Afzaal and they won again in 2004 with Russell Warren scoring a hundred after Charlie Shreck had taken 6-46 with the ball.

In 2009 Durham amassed a colossal total of 648-5 declared in their first innings. Michael Di Venuto and Kyle Coetzer combined with 314 for the first wicket. Di Venuto eventually fell for 219, Coetzer made 109 and there were also 100’s for Dale Benkenstein and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Notts were made to follow on after Liam Plunkett took 6-85 and eventually succumbed to an innings defeat.

Two years ago, Nottinghamshire had defeated Durham at Trent Bridge, ending the 24-match unbeaten run of the double-champions, but were made to pay in the return match as Phil Mustard and Gordon Muchall passed three figures for the home side, who claimed victory by 210 runs on the fourth afternoon.

Last August Notts were handicapped by England Lions call-ups for both Alex Hales and Samit Patel, so gave debuts to Karl Turner and Sam Kelsall. Weather interruptions took some time out of the game and it finished in a draw, after Michael Di Venuto had amassed 132 on the opening day and Chris Read had responded with an unbeaten century of his own.

The Nottinghamshire captain had actually gone out to bat with Notts in disarray on 21-4, and had been asked to initially survive a hat-trick delivery at each end after two wickets in two balls from both Graeme Onions and Callum Thorp.

In recent times this fixture has been played towards the latter part of the campaign but this year it becomes Nottinghamshire’s first challenge away from Trent Bridge.

For Durham, this match represents the start of their championship season, having missed out on the opening round of fixtures. They were in action though, over the weekend and picked up an emphatic victory over their near-neighbours, the Durham MCCU, who were bowled out for just 18 on Sunday in a defeat by 373 runs.