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Excitement scarce as Riversiders' campaign fizzles out; THE MATCH: Durham v Worcestershire Day one, Emirates ICG.

Byline: Stuart Rayner stuart.rayner@ncjmedia.co.uk

THERE is a real end-of-season feel to Durham as their campaigns crawls to a miserable conclusion.

It was a most un-Riverside day at Chester-le-Street. Games at Durham's home are normally played on fast-forward, and dominated by seam. The visit of Worcestershire was different in two respects.

A comical run-out late in the day to Tom Fell, the outstanding player of it, was the most entertainment the crowd got on a cold, overcast day delayed by drizzle, interrupted by something a bit harder and ended early by bad light.

Durham have lost their last four County Championship matches at home - equalling the worst run in their short history - having won the toss each time, so they could have been forgiven for being less than overjoyed that Paul Collingwood called correctly.

His decision to bowl first at Chester-le-Street seemed an obvious one, but on an attritional first day, it only reaped four wickets.

Ryan Pringle bowling four of his 20 overs of spin on it before lunch, Collingwood again prefering the more conservative spin option over Scott Borthwick, who had six at a time when the new ball was delayed by the fading light.

To see a track here offering turn in the first session is very rare, though Durham could do with making it less so. Borthwick is their best batsman, but must constantly be tempted to move to a county where he can better practice what he sees as his main art, leg-spin. His loyalty to Durham is holding sway for now.

The hosts could easily have removed both openers in the first six overs, but as too often recently their fielding was not up to the task.

When Worcerstershire's latest D'Oliveira, Brett, backed up too enthusiastically in the second over, after the ball bounced off Michael Richardson's knee, Gordon Muchall's throw missed the stumps at the non-striker's end.

Less forgivably, Borthwick put Daryl Mitchell down. The 25-yearold's bowling is not the only skill which has not kept pace with his excellent batting, and when the Australian edged the ball towards second slip's midriff, he put it down. It was yet another missed opportunity for Graham Onions. You would think his team-mates would not dare to drop a catch off the grumpiest of Durham's fast bowlers, but careless hands are costing him a welter of wickets during this purple patch in form.

Perhaps sensing their luck, the batsmen decided to grind it out, and did so reasonably well. Chris Rushworth bowled excellently all day, but the figures from his first spell were a wonderful 7-4-4-0. D'Oliveira had helped put on 50 for the first wicket before pushing forward at Barry McCarthy and being trapped lbw on the back leg.

That brought out Tom Fell, who batted extremely well, and would find good support from Tom KohlerCadmore, only drafted into the team when Alex Gidman broke his finger in training on Sunday. Some of the 21-year-old's shots through the off-side, including a cover drive shortly after reaching his 119-ball 50, were excellent. There was also a nice pickup off his legs for four, and a hook to the rope when McCarthy bounced one outside off stump in gloomy late afternoon.

Fell lost Mitchell from the third ball of an afternoon session shortened by rain, another lbw decision, this time for Pringle. Joe Clarke fell to a stunning catch by Gordon Muchall to his right at second slip.

An excellent innings came to an end when the elder Tom fell on 83. Onions stuck out a weary boot when Kohler-Cadmore hit the ball to the square leg boundary, and such was the lack of urgency from the 33-yearold, both batsmen stop, assuming the ball had gone for four. When they realised it had not, both headed for the same crease.

Onions threw the ball there but so far short of his ground was Fell that Richardson could relay it to the nonstriker's end.

At 223-4 Worcestershire are not yet in a dominant position, but it was certainly a good start for a side who need to do something special if they are to clinch survival from bottom of the table in the next fortnight.

Usman Arshad and Stuart Poynt-|er have signed new contracts with Durham.

Even though Durham did not play in the knockout stages of this season's Twenty20 Cup, Arshad was fifth in the list of wicket-takers, only three behind Lancashire's James Faulkner and Stephen Parry. In keeping with everyone who has filled their fourth seamer spot in this season's Championship, has struggled to stay fit.

Poynter's decision to stay is more of a surprise. In two years with the club he is yet to make a competitive appearance, and was overlooked for Richardson when Phil Mustard was dropped from the four-day side earlier this season. Mustard is expected to be offered a 2016 benefit year by the club later this week. His contract has a year to run and despite joining Lancashire on loan until the end of the season, he said at the weekend he hopes to see it out.

THE DAY AT A GLANCE MOMENT OF THE DAY Tom Fell looked sure to get a century until a calamitous mix-up with Tom Kohler-Cadmore? Neither thought Graham Onions' right boot had not stopped a four, and when the throw came into the striker's end from the square leg boundary, both headed there, only for Michael Richardson to relay it?

SHOT OF THE DAY Fell's hook from outside off stump shortly after the umpires had discussed the light showed what good touch the 21-year-old was in?

CATCH OF THE DAY Gordon Muchall (pictured below) is in a frustrating spell in the field at the moment, pulling off some astonishing catches and putting down the easy ones? The catch diving to his right at third slip to remove Joe Clarke certainly fell into the first category? He owed Onions that?

PLAYER OF THE DAY Fell batted beautifully on a day when no Durham player was really on top of his game?

SCOREBOARD DURHAM v WORCESTERSHIRE At Emirates Durham ICG; Durham Won Toss Worcestershire First innings D K H Mitchell lbw b Pringle ??????????????????17 B L D'Oliveira lbw b McCarthy ???????????????36 T C Fell run out ???????????????????????????????????????????83 J Clarke c Muchall b Onions ???????????????????19 T Kohler-Cadmore not out ?????????????????????46 R A Whiteley not out ?????????????????????????????????16 Extras (b4, lb2, pens, 0)??????????????????????????????? 6 Total (4 wkts, 83 overs) ?????????????????????????? 223 Fall of wickets: 1-50, 2-67, 3-109, 4-194.

Bowling: Rushworth 13-5-13-0; Onions 15-5-34-1; McCarthy 13-2-40-1; Harrison 13-5-39-0; Pringle 20-3-57-1; Borthwick 6-0-24-0; Collingwood 3-0-10-0?

CAPTION(S):

Graham Onions has been let down by careless fielding

Worcestershire's Tom Fell looked odds-on for a century until his unfortunate dismissal
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 15, 2015
Words:1119
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