Steven Mullaney led from the front as Notts Outlaws boosted their chances of qualifying for the knock out stages of the Royal London One-Day Cup.
The win lifts Notts up to nine points in the north group, with a vital clash to come against Derbyshire on Thursday.
Mullaney played a gem of an innings in hitting a career-best 124 as his side reached 255 before being bowled out in the final over of their innings against Durham at Chester-le-Street.
His runs came from 117 balls with eight fours and six sixes and took the contest firmly away from the home side.
Chris Nash played the chief supporting role, with 40 – whilst Chris Rushworth took three for 39 for the hosts.
In gloomy conditions, with the floodlights on throughout, Durham could only muster 224 in reply, leaving Notts to savour the victory by 31 runs with 12 balls of the innings unused.
Durham failed to get any early momentum in their innings, with the opening 10 overs only producing 26 runs, for the loss of Cameron Steel, who was caught behind to present Jake Ball with his 100th one-day wicket.
Samit Patel put down a difficult caught and bowled chance off Graham Clark but then pierced his defences to remove the opener for 36 in the 20th over, leaving Durham on 67 for two.
Tom Latham played positively, hitting 28 from 20 balls, with four fours and a six – but then chipped Chris Nash tamely into the hands of Ross Taylor at midwicket.
Michael Richardson played the leading hand, scoring 68 before becoming one of two Mullaney victims – but it was Matthew Carter’s impact that proved to be decisive.
The 22-year old off-spinner took four for 47 to break home spirits.
Ross Taylor took three catches, including a spectacular diving effort to dismiss Gareth Harte.
With the contest effectively over it was left to Carter to remove Ryan Pringle and Rushworth with consecutive deliveries to seal the win.
Earlier, the match got off to the worst possible start for Notts, with Riki Wessels dismissed from the opening delivery of the contest. Mark Wood, omitted from the England squad for the Headingley Test match, yorked the opener and uprooted two of the stumps.
By the time Mullaney made it out to the middle his side were 71 for four, with Alex Hales, Tom Moores and Patel also out.
A brilliant running catch from Michael Richardson ended Hales’ stay on 13 and Moores – who had nicked a ball between first and second slip at the start of his innings – was caught behind, flashing hard at Harte.
Patel helped a Matt Dixon bouncer down into the hands of long leg, and when Taylor followed for 25 – half the side were out for 73.
Nash supported his skipper in a patient – but vital stand of 86, before he was given out lbw for 40.
The lower order plundered what they could – but the monopoly on strike and scoring belonged to Mullaney. He had reached a workmanlike 50 from 76 balls but then went on the offensive to reach his second one-day hundred.
He actually began celebrating prematurely as a brilliant piece of boundary fielding by Pringle kept him on 99 but he hit his next delivery away to reach three figures from 111 balls.
Billy Root was out reverse-sweeping, Luke Fletcher hoisted into the off side and Carter went leg before, leaving Mullaney to club Dixon for three straight sixes in the final over before finding a fielder when aiming for a fourth.
Dixon’s eventual figures of two for 88 are the most expensive conceded by Durham bowler in this format.
The victory has lifted Notts up to third place in the group and into a position where a win against Derbyshire in their final. group match will guarantee a spot in the knock-out phase.
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