Durham crowned county champions

Lv County Championship

Durham won their maiden County Championship title only 16 years after their inaugural first-class match.

Durham sneaked the Division One pennant ahead of Nottinghamshire, who were strong favourites at the start of the final round of matches but lost their game at home to Hampshire - while Durham beat Kent by an innings and 71 runs at Canterbury.

Kent, battling against an odds-on likelihood of relegation, managed to take the contest into the final day at the St Lawrence Ground thanks to a century stand for the sixth wicket between Justin Kemp and Ryan McLaren.

But once the two South Africans’ resistance was broken, Durham knew they were closing on victory.

Kent's eventual defeat, brought about by Steve Harmison bowling Martin Saggers for a first-ball duck, sent the hosts into Division Two for the first time since the two-divisional system was introduced.

When Nottinghamshire's 203-run defeat to Hampshire at Trent Bridge was finally confirmed, Durham could begin their celebrations properly - having won the title by eight points.

Steve Harmison

Steve Harmison is swamped by his team-mates after bowling last man Martin Saggers first ball

Although Chris Read’s side went into the final round of matches with a healthy 10-point advantage over Durham they failed to recover from a first-innings batting implosion on the second day.

Set a massive 442-run target in two and a half sessions to claim their second Division One crown in four years, Nottinghamshire went down swinging but Samit Patel’s 77 and Bilal Shafayat’s 48 - together with an unbeaten 47 from Chris Read - were in vain.

The home side were all out for 238 as Dimitri Mascarenhas and Imran Tahir both claimed four wickets.

Mark Chilton fell just short of a century as Lancashire, who had secured their LV County Championship Division One status for next season, recorded a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Somerset at Taunton.

Somerset had gone into the game with title aspirations but those were not fulfilled.

Paul Horton (57) and Chilton (97) took the visitors close to victory but it was left to Stuart Law and Karl Brown to see Lancashire home.

Sussex and Yorkshire escaped relegation before their match at Hove was drawn as Murray Goodwin scored his sixth first-class hundred of the year.

The hosts and reigning champions ended on 397 for nine, a lead of 204, when stumps were called an hour before the scheduled close of play with a positive result unlikely.

Warwickshire stormed to their first home win in the LV County Championship for 17 months after a spectacular collapse by Glamorgan at Edgbaston.

Having drawn all seven home fixtures, the Division Two champions took nine wickets in two hours to complete their first victory in Birmingham since beating Sussex by an innings and 34 runs in April 2007.

Graeme Swann & Nic Pothas

Graeme Swann's ugly heave was the first Notts wicket to fall as they crashed to defeat at home

Glamorgan resumed on 122 for one, needing a further 281 to spoil Warwickshire's unbeaten record for the season, but lost seven wickets for six runs in 48 balls and crashed to defeat by 179 runs.

Australian-born seamer Dirk Nannes ensured Middlesex’s turbulent season ended on a high as they dampened a Northamptonshire revival to claim a 93-run victory at Wantage Road.

The 32-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements with the ball in the first innings but proved to be the hero picking up 4-42 as Middlesex bowled Northants out for 367.

Former England spinner Shaun Udal also got in on the act, claiming 3-96 to add to his first innings five-wicket haul but Northants refused to go down with a whimper.

Rob White made sure it was a nervy final day for the visitors as they began to chase down 461, smashing a quickfire 123 while Riki Wessels followed his lead by chipping in with 95.

However, White and Wessels’ resilience proved to be too little too late as Nannes and Udal combined late on to leave Northants winless since July.

Steve Snell’s unbeaten 70 and a century from Kadeer Ali ensured wooden spoon winners Gloucestershire held out for a draw against Essex at Bristol.

Respondintg to Essex’s 510 first innings score, Gloucestershire had capitulated for 195 first time out and were forced to follow on.

But they hit back in the second innings to finish the final day on 385 for eight, with Kadeer scoring his century off 183 balls.

Snell faced 161 balls and Chris Taylor chipped in with 60, David Brown 48 and Richard Dawson 40 as the home side frustrated Essex’s bid for victory.