Onions efforts prove in vain
Durham’s victory hopes in their LV= County Championship Division One clash with Middlesex were ultimately dashed by rain at Lord’s.
After initially being thwarted by a ninth-wicket stand of 82, Durham needed 130 to win off 45 overs, but had reached eight without loss when the heavens opened.
On the resumption in bright sunshine at 5:15pm, the target was 122 off 16.2 overs and, with Durham slipping to 75 for six, it was suddenly Middlesex who scented an unlikely victory.
Steven Finn thought he had a five-wicket haul when Scott Borthwick edged to Andrew Strauss at first slip, but it was a no-ball. The leg-spinning all-rounder, batting with skipper Phil Mustard, survived the final four overs as the visitors closed on 82 for six.
Will Smith, Paul Collingwood and Ben Stokes all went cheaply, while Michael Di Venuto impressed in making 29, after which Mustard compiled 25 not out.
When Graham Onions completed a 10-wicket match for the first time in his career just after lunch, Middlesex were 91 for eight, only 41 ahead.
But Tim Murtagh cut and carved seven fours in contributing 45 - off 50 balls - to his stand with John Simpson as the hosts were dismissed for 179, the latter making 47.
With Middlesex on 21 for one overnight, Durham began by striking in the first over for the third successive day; Onions had Sam Robson caught at second slip by Di Venuto.
There were also two wickets for Ben Stokes as well as one each for Mitchell Claydon and Callum Thorp as the hosts slipped to to 75 for six.
Skipper Chris Rogers looked the most likely to defy Durham, but departed to the second ball after lunch for 36 when a fast, straight one from Onions pinned him lbw.
Two balls later, Gareth Berg gave Di Venuto his fifth catch of the match and, at that point, Onions had 4-9.
That he ended with 4-28 having been given just three more overs illustrated the brutality of the ensuing assault from Murtagh, who eventually departed in unfortunate circumstances; he gloved a leg-side delivery off Claydon to Mustard.
Durham wasted little time in taking the last wicket - Simpson was the man to go - but, by that point, the damage had already been done.