Mommsen heroics in vain
Durham 219 for 5 (Muchall 95*, Davey 2-18) beat Scotland 215 for 7 (Mommsen 73*, Onions 3-46) by five wickets
A brilliant all-round performance by Preston Mommsen was not enough to earn Scotland victory in their Clydesdale Bank 40 opener at Chester-le-Street. The visitors lost by five wickets as Gordon Muchall's unbeaten 95 off 97 balls carried Durham home with 10 balls to spare.
South Africa-born Mommsen, 23, who hails from Durban and arrived at Gordonstoun School in 2006 on a cricket and rugby scholarship, came in at No. 7 and smashed 73 not out off 54 balls as Scotland took 94 off the last eight overs to reach 215 for 7. But Muchall's innings, which built on a quickfire 50 from Ben Stokes, saw Durham to 219 for the loss of 5 wickets.
Mommsen helped Scotland stage a tremendous recovery from 93 for 6, although even that was relatively healthy after Graham Onions took wickets in each of his first three overs to have the Scots reeling on 16 for 3. When he came back for two overs at the end of the innings, Onions' last two balls were both hit for six by Mommsen, who now works in Edinburgh and plays for Carlton CC.
He also had figures of 2 for 20 in five overs with his offspin, while Middlesex's Josh Davey took 2 for 18 in six overs, but bizarrely neither player completed their allocation. Gordon Drummond turned instead to his quicker bowlers when Durham needed 47 off six overs and Muchall plundered a series of boundaries.
Allrounder Majid Haq also performed well for Scotland, bowling his offspin tightly and contributing 30 to a seventh-wicket stand of 77 in 13 overs with Mommsen. When Haq holed out at deep square leg, well caught by Durham's Scot, Kyle Coetzer, Gordon Goudie helped to add 39 off the last two overs.
Ian Blackwell and Gareth Breese conceded only 53 runs in 16 overs of spin for Durham but their troubles started when they turned to Ben Harmison to bowl the 33rd over. Five of his first nine balls were wides and the over cost 15, then Ruel Brathwaite came under fire at the other end as he was brought back to earth a day after his five-wicket haul against Sussex.
Durham looked like coasting to victory as Stokes, batting at No. 3, hit a 36-ball half-century, but when he pulled Davey to deep midwicket they lost their way. Dale Benkenstein was brilliantly caught by Richie Berrington, high to his right at midwicket, and two overs later Mommsen struck again when Blackwell chipped a return catch.
But at 145 for 5 in the 28th over Breese went in and his unbeaten 24 helped Muchall complete the task.