Durham go top after turnaround win
Durham 198 (Borthwick 103, Shantry 4-39, Leach 4-77) and 318 for 4 (Collingwood 127, Richardson 66*, Jennings 61) beat Worcestershire 323 (Fell 78, Cox 67, Coughlin 4-70) and 192 (Leach 76, Hastings 7-60) by six wickets
Durham needed only 43 minutes to wrap up a six-wicket win over Worcestershire at New Road which takes them top of the Championship Division One table. The result was largely influenced by Paul Collingwood's highest Championship score for 10 years, and although the captain was out for 127 in the third over of the final day, Durham knocked off the remaining 48 runs with a minimum of fuss.
Having been watched by his parents in reaching 111 not out on his 39th birthday, Collingwood was in celebratory mode when taking 13 runs off four balls from Joe Leach on the fourth morning. A cover drive for four completed a century partnership with Michael Richardson and this was followed by a six, which landed alongside the pavilion, and then another crisp off-side shot for three.
However, Collingwood was caught behind in the next over from Charlie Morris, sparring at a lifting delivery outside the off stump.
In a throwback to his best years, Collingwood brought authority and calmness to what could have become a tricky run-chase. In all he faced 183 balls, picking off 17 fours and two sixes while breaking the back of the task in stands of 108 with Keaton Jennings and 112 with Richardson.
For Richardson, who took over the gloves from regular wicketkeeper Philip Mustard, it was a particularly good match, with seven catches and a third half-century of the summer after dropping one place in the order as a concession to the additional workload. Up until Collingwood's departure he had not added even a single, but thereafter he comfortably assumed the leading role and moved up to an unbeaten 66 after scoring 25 of the last 32 runs with Gordon Muchall.
Worcestershire's fourth defeat in five games since winning promotion would have been a sobering experience and, not for the first time, they competed strongly for two-thirds of the match but failed to carry their performance through.
Collingwood admitted Durham were looking "down and out" after losing nine wickets for 103 in the first innings, and to win from there made this one of the best victories of his time as captain. "We had to show a lot of spirit,'' he said. "Full credit to Worcestershire, they pushed us really hard. I said in the dressing room that we needed some big performances. Thankfully the boys did that.''
With his side now at the top of the table, having recovered from away defeats to Middlesex and Warwickshire, Collingwood added: "We are delighted with the position we are in but we need to continue improving. We are not really playing our best cricket but we are managing to get over the line.''
Director of cricket Steve Rhodes was left to analyse another match that slipped away from Worcestershire. "Well, there have been a few this year," he said. "Why is that? Is it because we are not recognising those key moments? I don't think that is it because we talk about it a lot when we get chances in the breaks.
"But ultimately some credit goes to Durham. That fightback for the 10th wicket [in the first innings] was crucial in that match. We missed a chance or two in that little period and then it became tough. This was possibly the best position we have been in to win a game apart from against Somerset."