FOR Graham Onions the joy of achieving the Durham record he cherished was tarnished by the agonising failure to snatch victory yesterday.

Onions, 35 today, took a wicket with his first ball of Kent's second innings to equal Simon Brown's record of 518 first-class wickets for the county.

He then beat the bat countless times without further reward in his opening spell before returning to take Kent's eighth wicket with six overs left.

Four overs later James Weighell also struck, but in a repeat of the clash at Canterbury Kent hung on with nine wickets down.

“It's an incredibly proud day for me,” said Onions, who added that he still hadn't been told whether the club wished him to continue next season.

Coach Jon Lewis seemed to contradict that when he said: “We have made an offer through his agent based on playing championship cricket. He still has a lot to offer in red-ball cricket and I'm glad I was here to see him break the record.

“He has put in years of work and toil on and off the pitch. He has had some dark days but had the strength of character to come through it, which is a lesson to the young players.

“To take 519 wickets is a serious achievement and it's good that he did it on the same day as Jimmy Anderson took his 500th Test wicket. Graham deserves to be talked about in the same breath.”

Onions added: “When I first came to the club Simon Brown was always in the gym. I was a skinny lad from Gateshead and I realised I needed to get in the gym myself and get fitter and stronger.

“I wasn't a great bowler when I started, but the club gave me a massive opportunity and I learnt. I've worn the badge on my heart day in, day out and I still think I have a lot to offer.

“I'll always be grateful to the club and the members and my family for their support.

“It's frustrating not being able to finish it off with a win, but it wasn't to be. I don't know how Joe Denly got through my first spell.

"We realised early season that to make up the 48-point deficit would be really tough, but if we'd won all the games where we've gone close we would have been right up there.

“As long as we keep the players we have there's no reason why we shouldn't be challenging next year.”