Nottinghamshire were made to wait, by a combination of Durham’s last wicket duo and the weather, before completing their second LV= County Championship win of the season at a cold, blustery Chester-le Street.
After just two overs, heavy rain brought an unexpected interruption but after a half-hour delay it was the batting of Mitch Claydon and Graeme Onions that threatened an unlikely result.
The home side had begun the final day in a near-impossible position, needing a further 165 more runs to win and with the last pair at the wicket.
“With both batsmen going for their shots it was likely that a mistake would happen sooner or later.” - Mick Newell
Having frustrated the Nottinghamshire attack for the final 6.2 overs of Saturday evening’s play, adding 23 runs in the process, they strode out with Onions having tweeted, “If we can do this we want the Freedom of the City of Newcastle.”
Claydon was clearly on board because he took ten off the first over of the day, hitting Carter for boundaries at the start and end of it.
Onions steered Adams to the ropes but, from nowhere, the heavens suddenly opened and the umpires had no option but to suspend play.
When they did return to the middle Claydon advanced to his maiden first class fifty before holing out to Luke Fletcher, off Samit Patel, ending a stand of 73 runs.
Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire’s director of cricket, said he wasn’t unduly worried. “I wasn’t overly-concerned about the runs,” he said. “It was more the weather but we had that covered. We had the radar in the dressing room and we could see it would be fairly clear for a while.
“With both batsmen going for their shots it was likely that a mistake would happen sooner or later.”
Up to that point, the match had followed an almost identical course to the opening fixture against Worcestershire, with Notts failing with the bat in their first innings before bouncing back with a disciplined bowling performance.
“I’m really happy with the seam bowlers we’ve got at our disposal,” said Newell. “Plus Harry Gurney and Jake Ball who aren’t involved at the moment. If we are going to do well we need a strong bowling unit.”
Michael Lumb’s 131, his first century for his new county, had been the foundation for a substantial second innings total of 335 which had then left Durham with more than four sessions to chase a target of 368.
Thanks to an incisive spell from Andre Adams, which produced two wickets in his first over, Durham were unable to recover from losing their first five batsmen with only 30 runs on the board.
A 3-day win seemed inevitable until Notts were held up by a defiant innings of 80 from Phil Mustard, the home skipper. With eight wickets down Chris Read asked for the extra half an hour, which began with Adams ending the stubborn resistance of Mustard, who cut firmly into the hands of James Taylor at point but Onions and Claydon at least ensured the contest would go to a final day.
With the ground almost entirely devoid of any spectators, Nottinghamshire collected another 19-point win, undoubtedly one of their most impressive in recent years, against a side tipped to challenge for the title.
It was only their fourth win on the ground and the first since 2006. It also means that Notts have won their opening away fixture for the third season running, having beaten Hampshire in 2010 and Yorkshire last year.
Nottinghamshire are next in action on Thursday, when they return to Trent Bridge to face Somerset.