GRAHAM Onions last night issued what amounted to a plea to Durham to continue his career after grabbing the four Derbyshire scalps which took him to 600 first-class wickets.

The visitors were all out for 164 in reply to Durham's 480 for nine declared, and with two overs still to be bowled the umpires ruled the light was too poor to resume.

Onions' total includes his Test and England Lions victims, plus some from South Africa. He has 508 wickets for Durham and needs ten more to equal Simon Brown's record after being held up by a back injury suffered at Hove in May.

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Onions, who will be 35 in two weeks, said: “I'm not a massive fan of milestones but it's a proud moment to get to 600. I had no idea how close I was so it was a surprise when I saw it go up on the board.

“Simon's record is the goal I'm really working towards. That would be very special after being at the club so long. I want to stay and play as long as I can but there's nothing on the table at the moment, which doesn't give me a great deal of hope.

“I might potentially have to move elsewhere, but leaving here is the last thing I want to do.”

Onions finished with four for 44 yesterday – his first wickets since being injured at Hove in May. He returned in Durham's last championship match at Leicester, but remained wicketless as the last two days were washed out.

Durham cannot even come close to escaping division two this season, but they continued to look a class apart from Derbyshire, despite being hampered by an injury to Paul Coughlin.

The all-rounder had looked the most dangerous bowler as he flattened Wayne Madsen's off and middle stumps, but after bowling four overs he was forced to retire, clutching his side.

With his history of back trouble, Durham have always been careful not to over-bowl him and will not take any risks, especially with Mark Wood expected to return against Kent next week.

Durham's total featured 177 from Paul Collingwood and 53 not out from Matthew Potts, whose five previous first-class innings had yielded three ducks, a two and 14 not out.

After resuming on 127, Collingwood soldiered on relentlessly to his third highest championship score, the two higher ones both coming in 2005 – 190 at Derby and 181 at Taunton. His best score remains his 206 for England at Adelaide in 2006.

He enjoyed some luck, notably when a skied pull off Tony Palladino fell into space on 155. But he was going so well when he pulled Hardus Viljoen for his only six that it was a surprise when he hooked the next ball straight to long leg.

It ended his 228-ball innings and gave Viljoen his fifth wicket, the declaration coming when Imran Tahir bowled Chris Rushworth in the next over.

Potts, who helped to put on 132, had added 40 to his overnight 13 and joined the lengthy list of Durham seamers who have also shown they can bat.

Coughlin, Wood, Carse, McCarthy, Weighell and Arshad can all wield the willow. The problem is keeping them fit.

Potts looked assured on the placid pitch, even against the leg spin of Tahir. There were a couple of thick edges to the vacant third man boundary, but they were well controlled and he completed his 105-ball 50 with a fine shot through the covers off Palladino.

Viljoen finished with five for 130, but once the shine had worn off the second new ball Derbyshire lacked the firepower to extract any life from the surface.

Nor did Onions and Rushworth have much joy initially. Despite regularly beating left-handed openers Ben Slater and Luis Reece, it was the 12th over before the latter edged Onions to Michael Richardson.

Billy Godleman made two before groping forward to a ball from Rushworth which took out his off stump and Derbyshire were 41 for three when Coughlin splattered Madsen's timber.

Onions removed Slater for 29 and Palladino with the help of sharp catches by Tom Latham at second slip. Rushworth nipped one back to pin Matt Critchley lbw for 12 and there were also two wickets for Keaton Jennings.

He may be short of runs, but he struck with his ninth ball when he had Alex Hughes lbw for 47. Harvey Hosein made 12 before being strangled down the leg side to give Jennings two for 13 from nine overs.