Destructive Durham move closer to glory

Durham enhanced their chances of winning the LV= County Championship with a week to spare by taking command of a dramatic opening day at home to Nottinghamshire.

After 15 wickets fell in the first 49 overs, batting became much easier with Phil Mustard and Paul Collingwood sharing a stand of 121.

Mustard made a fluent 77 off 109 balls and the captain was unbeaten on 53 at stumps with his side on 207 for eight in reply to Nottinghamshire’s paltry 78 all out.

Clarke worry for Australia

Australia captain Michael Clarke has suffered a recurrence of his chronic back problem and is doubtful for the NatWest Series decider against England at the Ageas Bowl.

The tourists already know they will have to make one enforced change and it seems likely they will recall opener Phil Hughes in place of Shaun Marsh – who is ruled out after hurting his hamstring in the fourth match of five in Cardiff.

Duo seek maiden NCC win

West Indian Cavaliers and Ealing will go head-to-head for their first ECB National Club Championship final at the Emirates Durham ICG on Sunday.

The Cavaliers are a relatively young club, having been formed in 1972, but have been involved at the top end of club cricket for many years as a founder member of the Nottinghamshire Premier League in 2001.

They have welcomed many international stars through their doors over the years including Carl Hooper, Saqlain Mushtaq and Alex Tudor. Former England, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire player Usman Afzaal is their current captain.

Hoggard calls it a day

Former England seamer Matthew Hoggard has announced he is to retire from cricket later this month.

A key member of the England team that memorably regained the Ashes in 2005, Hoggard represented his country in 67 Tests and 26 one-day internationals between 2000 and 2008.

His tally of 248 wickets in the premier form of the game puts him joint-seventh on England’s all-time list alongside Graeme Swann.

Read wants to emulate the class of 1989

By Russell Staves

Chris Read reckons he is one of only a few players in the Nottinghamshire dressing room that remembers the last time his county appeared in a Lord’s final.

The Trent Bridge outfit booked their place in the Yorkshire Bank 40 finale on Monday night when they comfortably defeated Somerset.

Surprisingly, you have to go way back to 1989 for the last time Nottinghamshire were in a Lord’s final, when Eddie Hemmings famously carved John Lever for a boundary off the final ball for a thrilling Benson and Hedges Cup win against Essex.