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Cricket: Durham win County Championship title

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Durham won their third County Championship title in six years after completing an eight-wicket victory over Nottinghamshire with more than a day to spare Thursday.

Rain washed out the third day's morning session but when play resumed after lunch at Chester-le-Street, the hosts needed just 62 more runs to win with all 10 second innings wickets left.

They took just 16 overs to reach their target, and although they lost Keaton Jennings and Scott Borthwick along the way, Mark Stoneman's 35 not out saw Durham to victory, the opener sealing the title in style with a boundary off Paul Franks.

Durham, captained by former England batsman Paul Collingwood -- one of several locally-produced players in their side -- bucked the trend among county teams by opting to do without an overseas star this season.

They were also without the input of long-serving coach Geoff Cook for much of the season after he suffered a heart attack.

Durham's latest Championship title to set alongside their 2008 and 2009 triumphs continued a run of success all the more impressive given it is only 21 years since they played their first match as England's 18th first-class county.

"The guys have really stood up at the right times and to see so many local youngsters scoring big runs, taking five-fors and winning games for Durham has been very satisfying from a captain's point of view -- to watch them blossom and grow into men," said Collingwood.

Meanwhile a proud Cook told BBC Radio Five: "We haven't had an overseas player for two or three years, part policy, part finance, it certainly gives the young lads an opportunity to push forward."

Cook also paid tribute to Collingwood's input by saying: "We were having a bit of a rough period, the ship was rocking a bit halfway through last year.

"Paul took charge of the team and brought his qualities to the XI, his calmness his experience, it settled a lot of people down and the young players have really responded to him and the confidence he has shown in them."

As for his June heart attack, a wry Cook said: "It was a bit of unscheduled mid-season break, I was jogging around and the next I knew three weeks later I woke up in hospital.

"Somebody was jogging behind me, he must have been going really slowly, but he tried to bring me round and called for an ambulance.

"I've got a little mechanism inside me but other than that I'm absolutely fine, there was no damage to the heart so I was very fortunate."

Victory in this match was all but assured after England seamer Graham Onions and fellow paceman Chris Rushworth shared six wickets between them as Nottinghamshire were shot out for just 78.

Having ended the first day on 207 for eight, with Collingwood unbeaten on 53, Durham just did enough to get past 250 to claim a second batting bonus that meant a win would give them the title regardless of the result of nearest rivals Yorkshire's match against Sussex.

Collingwood, leading from the front, finished on 88 not out in Durham's total of 256.

Australia's David Hussey made a fifty in a much improved Nottinghamshire second innings total of 246 but that still left Durham with a meagre victory target.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130919/cricket-durham-win-county-championship-title-2