DURHAM’S seamers took seven wickets in an extended post-lunch session on the final day at the Fischer County Ground to clinch their third win in five matches, putting themselves squarely in the hunt for promotion from Division Two.

Despite being dismissed for just 117 in the first innings of their Specsavers County Championship match, they defeated Leicestershire by 119 runs after seamer Ben Raine took five for 47 against his former county, who were bowled out for 273 in pursuit of an unlikely target of 393.

Leicestershire’s in-form opener Hassan Azad and former skipper Mark Cosgrove made half-centuries, but after an 81-run stand between the pair was broken soon after lunch, Raine and fellow seamers Nathan Rimmington and Chris Rushworth took the last six wickets for 63 runs.

Raine said: “After we were bowled out for 117 in the first innings, it was a massive turnaround, the biggest I have seen in my career.

“But that’s the way we are at the moment, full of confidence that we can win games from any position. We let ourselves down in the first innings because it is a good wicket.

“We were not at our best today with the ball but we got the job done and getting the wicket of Hassan Azad just after lunch was an important moment.

“I’ve played a lot against him in my University days when he was at Loughborough, so I know what he can do and he’s got a big weight of runs lately. He is a dogged, tough cricketer who would be the one setting out to bat time, so for me to open up that end was a big moment.

“We’ve managed to turn ourselves round over the last few games and we now feel we are genuine contenders for promotion.”

Leicestershire, who drop to the bottom of the table, had been 160 for three at lunch, recovering from the setback of losing nightwatchman Chris Wright and new batsman Neil Dexter to Raine in quick succession to remain in with a chance.

But they could advance the total by only another 18 runs in the afternoon session before Azad was drawn into playing a ball outside off stump and Ned Eckersley - another ex-Leicestershire player - took the catch behind the stumps, giving Raine a third success.

Cosgrove was striking the ball well enough to keep Leicestershire hopeful, a flourishing cover drive off Nathan Rimmington bringing up his half-century via his eighth boundary.

Moments earlier, however, Leicestershire had suffered another blow when Colin Ackermann was taken low down at slip by Cameron Bancroft as he bottom-edged a wide delivery from Rimmington, the batsman seeking confirmation that the ball had carried before walking off.

That left Leicestershire 210 for five. Cosgrove and new batsman Harry Dearden continued to push the score along but when Chris Rushworth returned to the attack at the pavilion end, Cosgrove was out to his fourth delivery, chopping the ball on to his stumps as he tried to cut it away.

Now six down for 234, still 158 in arrears, Leicestershire were battling to save a draw rather than chasing a win, more so when Lewis Hill was pinned in front by Rimmington with only one addition to the score.

Hill was the eighth man out on what would have been the stroke of tea when he was leg before to Rimmington but Durham skipper Bancroft asked the umpires to allow play to continue, the officials being at liberty to allow the interval to be delayed by four overs or 15 minutes if they believe a result can be obtained in that time.

In the event, it was enough for Rushworth to induce Gareth Griffiths to edge behind and for Raine to claim his fifth wicket when Mohammad Abbas was snapped up by Graham Clark at first slip.