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Double landmark for Durham batsmen
THE civic dignitaries of Brighton weren't to know that they would be welcoming the county champions in late September, so they didn't set aside any suites at the Grand.
Paul Collingwood obviously doesn't command as much attention as Ed Miliband and all the hangers-on at the Labour Conference meant there wasn't a room to be had in Brighton.
Durham opted to stay in the hotel they used for last season's match against Sussex, which was played at Arundel, and the combination of traffic and fog meant they had to spend an hour in the team coach to get to the Hove ground.
The crawl continued as they reached 75 for two at lunch, but the game then moved into the fast lane with boundaries flowing and wickets tumbling in an end-of-season parade.
It ran rapidly away from Durham in the last hour as one-day specialist Luke Wright put bat to ball in a 38-ball half-century and went on to finish unbeaten on 74.
He was badly dropped on 57 by Mark Stoneman at deep extra cover off Chris Rushworth as Sussex recovered from 90 for five to close on 186 for five in reply to 164.
Even Graham Onions came in for punishment as his figures declined from two for five after two overs to two for 64 after ten. His second three-over spell cost 33 runs.
The fog had burned off well before the 10.30 start, but the first ball of the day must have raised doubts in Collingwood's mind about his decision to bat.
The metronomic Steve Magoffin is accurate rather than fast, but the ball reared disconcertingly from just short of a length and it was mainly the bounce which undermined Durham.
Onions, smarting from his omission from the winter Ashes party, then reduced Sussex to six for two before Ed Joyce went for his shots on a pitch which encouraged attacking cricket.
Usman Arshad, preferred to Jamie Harrison, consolidated his place at the top of the national averages by claiming the scalps of Joyce and Matt Prior, but once Wright had his eye in there was no stopping him.
The biggest plus of the day for Durham was that both Stoneman and Scott Borthwick passed 1,000 championship runs.
As with London buses, you wait for ages then two come along at once.
Collingwood was the only home-bred batsman to have reached the landmark for Durham (in 2005), but in the 15th over Stoneman passed the target and five overs later Borthwick followed him.
Once Borthwick went for the top score of 36 shortly afterwards it started a procession which saw them dismissed by tea.
The second highest scorer with 32 was Will Smith in what seems likely to be his final match. He is out of contract and, as a former captain, he will be on the sort of wages which Durham can no longer afford for someone averaging only just over 30.
As in the meeting at Chester-le-Street, Magoffin was out of luck, with Jimmy Anyon picking up five wickets and Chris Jordan four. The latter was a constant threat and was made to work hard for his money.
Keaton Jennings pushed forward and edged Jordan to Prior at first slip after making 11 then Stoneman drove Anyon him to the cover boundary to reach 15 and take his season's total to 1,001. But he added only five before edging an attempted cut off Anyon to wicketkeeper Ben Brown.
A thick edge wide of the slips took Borthwick past the 15 he needed for his 1,000.But it was a rare streaky shot among some fine pulls and drives and it was a surprise when he played back defensively and was well caught low down at third slip by Joyce.
Ben Stokes fell for seven when he seemed to have got on top of a cut, only to be picked up by his bootstraps by Luke Wells at backward point.
Smith steered a ball from shoulder height to first slip, where Prior juggled it before diving to hang on.
Michael Richardson and Arshad were undone by Anyon's sharp inward movement, both recording ducks.
Collingwood was last out for 25, caught at deep mid-wicket. He had played well, hitting two fours in an over off Jordan, who then sent a bouncer soaring over the wicketkeeper for four byes.
Durham's collapse looked a poor effort on an increasingly sublime day, but Sussex were soon in trouble, Chris Nash falling lbw to the third ball of the innings.
In Onions' second over he also pinned Michael Yardy, but Joyce quickly began to pepper the boundary and Onions had conceded 31 when he was rested after seven overs.
He was replaced by Arshad, who nipped one back into Joyce to splatter leg and middle. The Irish left-hander had hit ten fours in making 45 off 55 balls.
Prior continued in similar fashion, scoring all his 16 runs in boundaries before he pushed forward and edged Arshad to Mustard.
The wicketkeeper pouched another one in the ext over, when the obdurate Wells edged Stokes. But it was all downhill from there.