GRAHAM ONIONS celebrated his 33rd birthday by handing Yorkshire the title when he completed his second five-wicket haul in Durham's last three games at Trent Bridge yesterday.

Nottinghamshire needed maximum batting points to retain any hope of catching the leaders but were lucky to acquire one as they were dismissed for 204.

It was a good toss to win on an overcast morning and as conditions eased the hosts recovered from 73 for seven shortly after lunch before Durham put their recent woes behind them by replying with 174 for two.

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Scott Borthwick was unbeaten on 56 and Mark Stoneman passed 1,000 first-class runs for the third successive season on his way to 62 after putting on 78 with Jack Burnham.

It was Durham's biggest first innings opening stand since Stoneman shared 88 with Keaton Jennings in the first home match against Sussex.

Burnham was almost as fluent as his partner as they flew from the traps with 49 off the first six overs, but after making 31 he was run out when he set off for a run into the covers and slipped when sent back.

It was a cruel end to a promising innings on a day when another youngster, Irishman Barry McCarthy, impressed by taking two well-deserved wickets on his debut. His lively pace posed problems when he hit the right length.

There were also two wickets for Chris Rushworth, taking his first-class tally to 88. The batsmen treated him with great respect and he conceded only 15 runs in 16 overs while the rest went at around four an over.

Jamie Harrison returned at the expense of James Weighell and found the edge of Chris Read's bat to give Michael Richardson the last of his four catches.

Continuing his impressive return to form, Onions took two of the wickets in reducing Nottinghamshire to seven for three and picked up a third straight after lunch.

But figures of 10-2-20-3 were tarnished when he conceded 35 in his next four overs as No 9 batsman Luke Wood peppered the boundary. The 20-year-old Sheffield-born left-hander had scored a run-a-ball century when going in at 98 for seven against Sussex in June and threatened a repeat with a series of confident front-foot strokes.

After putting their spate of dropped catches behind them in the morning, Durham became ragged as Steven Mullaney was dropped at deep mid-wicket on 41 by McCarthy off Rushworth.

Then Richardson palmed a straightforward take for four byes to bring up the 50 stand for the eighth wicket off 47 balls, of which Wood made 32.

He slowed up once Durham realised they needed to bowl short to him, but it took the return of McCarthy for a second spell to end the stand of 92.

Mullaney played across a full-length ball and was lbw for 63, but Jake Ball was quickly into his stride when Borthwick came on.

His three overs cost 20, Wood pulling him for six, before Onions returned to bowl the last two men. Wood looked justifiably displeased to be left on 65 by Harry Gurney swinging wildly at the three balls he faced.

At the outset the hosts were swiftly reminded that batting at 10.30 on an overcast September morning is no picnic.

First to go, to the day's fourth ball, was Jake Libby, 22, from Plymouth. He made a century on debut against Sussex at the end of last season and has scored five tons for the second team since returning from a knee injury in June.

Gordon Muchall caught him by his left boot at third slip, then Onions' sixth ball turned Brendan Taylor round and the ball looped to backward point for Burnham to take a tumbling catch.

Michael Lumb, pushing forward, edged Onions to Richardson and when Rushworth changed ends a steep lifter brought a raised finger from David Millns, even though Samit Patel clearly disagreed that he had edged it.

McCarthy struck with the first ball of his fourth over when Durham's nemesis, Riki Wessels, edged a drive to Richardson.

At 37 for five Durham might have fancied having their opponents back in the hutch before lunch, but Mullaney knuckled down to show that he has become much more than a one-day biffer. He would certainly be an asset now to his original club, Lancashire.

Well as he played, the day's best batting came from Borthwick and Stoneman, albeit against a youthful attack which has never been quite the same since the departure of Andre Adams.

Stoneman mixed supremely-timed off-side shots, off front and back foot, with a swivel-pull for six off Wood.

He was out shortly after a break for bad light when a little extra bounce from Ball found the edge on the way to second slip.

Borthwick was slightly fortunate on 32 when a hook off Brett Hutton just cleared long leg, who was 15 yards in from the boundary. Several other pulls to the same area were skilfully guided down and he had 11 fours in his 72-ball half-century.

Paul Collingwood kept him company under the floodlights for the last eight overs, making 16 of the 46 he needs for 10,000 first-class runs for Durham.