Nottinghamshire coasted to a nine-wicket win at Chester-le-Street, their second haul of 22 points from two games taking them 89 points ahead of Durham in Division Two. With the pitch looking flatter than at any time in the match, Greg Smith and Jake Libby had few problems in picking off the runs.
Given his chance at the top of Nottinghamshire's order because of Steven Mullaney's injury, Greg Smith said: “Mull is a senior player and I'm not suddenly going to dislodge him. I feel in good form and I just want to look after my own game and keep putting performances in.
We have not won here too often in recent years. It's a hard place to come, so everyone is delighted to be going back down the A1 with 22 points.”
They were only 15 short of the 108 target when Libby was yorked by Paul Coughlin for 39, but Smith remained unbeaten on 60. He finished the match by clipping Paul Coughlin sweetly off his toes through mid-wicket for his ninth four, the runs coming off 26.2 overs.
Batting had looked relatively straightforward from the outset, but after Mark Wood had helped to add 43 Durham's last three wickets went down tamely to leave Keaton Jennings unbeaten on 102.
He began last season with a century in both innings at home to Somerset and went on to hit four more hundreds at Riverside and one at Edgbaston in setting a Durham record of seven in a season. A century on his Test debut in India followed and he was watched by selector James Whitaker today.
It was the second successive Durham home game in which Jennings had carried his bat following his 201 not out against Surrey last September. Resuming on 201 for seven, all went well for Durham until Wood fell for 21, pulling Luke Fletcher straight to mid-wicket with the total on 244.
Wood had hit two high-class cover drives and an even more impressive cut for four off Fletcher. Jennings, on 82 overnight, moved into the 90s when he pulled Jake Ball through square leg for his first boundary of the day then did well to dig out a swift yorker from James Pattinson.
When Harry Gurney replaced Pattinson, Jennings pulled the left-armer's first ball in front of mid-wicket for four. He was on 99 when Wood departed, but ran Gurney to third man to reach his hundred off 201 balls. Graham Onions' reluctance to get into line saw him bowled by Gurney, then Chris Rushworth pushed his first ball into the covers and failed to beat Ball's throw in going back for a second.
Other than a couple of edges, which did not go to hand, plus a very quick bouncer from Wood, there were no scares for Smith and Libby.
Durham coach Jon Lewis: “We have had a lot of success based around people who are no longer here. It gives others an opportunity and we have to support them. But they have to stand up.
“Nottinghamshire were the better side over four days, but possibly not by as much as the scoreboard suggests. We came up short in a couple of areas and needed to support Keaton better. He was outstanding again.”