Durham 371 for 4 (Borthwick 134*, Robinson 84, Lees 60) drew with Worcestershire 313 (D’Oliveira 63, Libby 57, Roderick 52, Raine 3-66, de Leede 3-68)
Worcestershire require a maximum of three more points to follow opponents Durham into Division One of the LV=Insurance County Championship next season despite being frustrated by the newly crowned champions on the final day at New Road.
Worcestershire were restricted to adding one bowling point as the game petered out into a draw to bring their run of three successive victories to an end. They spilled a series of chances but the washout of nearest challengers Leicestershire’s game with Yorkshire at the Uptonsteel County Ground leaves them strong favourites to be promoted.
Worcestershire remain 21 points ahead of the Foxes heading into next week’s final fixture with Yorkshire at Headingley while Leicestershire take on Durham at the Emirates Riverside. But the fact Worcestershire will have won more games than their nearest rivals whatever the outcome of the remaining matches means three more points will suffice.
Durham had achieved their primary objective in sealing the title but no one could accuse them of not having a full focus on proceedings. They resumed on 10 for 0 and Lees had a let off in the opening over of the day from Joe Leach when he survived a sharp chance to fourth slip.
But Worcestershire did make a breakthrough in the next over although it was off Durham’s own making. Lees played a delivery from Dillon Pennington to cover but Michael Jones came charging down the wicket looking for a quick single and was run out by Logan van Beek’s throw to Joe Leach at the non-striker’s end as he failed to regain his ground.
Strong resistance to Worcestershire’s hopes of acquiring more bowling bonus points came from Lees and Durham captain Borthwick.
Lees, the leading run-scorer in Division Two, made Worcestershire pay for his early escape as he completed a 60-ball half-century with six fours. The partnership was worth 77 when Ben Allison, on loan from Essex, accounted for Lees lbw after he attempted to work the ball to leg.
Rain brought about the early lunch and when play resumed new batter David Bedingham had a let off on 10 when he was dropped at first slip off Pennington. He made an uncertain start and successive deliveries from Leach wide of third slip for boundaries and also a leading edge just escaped the clutches of bowler van Beek.
Borthwick on drove van Beek for his 10th boundary in reaching a 105 ball fifty and his stand with Bedingham was worth 89 before Allison secured the first bowling point. Bedingham (39) went to drive the allrounder and was bowled at 181 for 3.
Robinson had scored a magnificent 206 not out of 131 balls against Worcestershire for Kent in last season’s One-Day Cup and he immediately looked in excellent touch with a series of exquisite shots.
Borthwick needed only 38 balls to move from fifty to his second Championship century of the season, pulling Pennington for his 19th boundary.
Robinson completed a 42-ball fifty and by tea the fourth wicket pair had plundered 143 from 19 overs during a session which yielded 210 runs. A century looked there for the taking for Robinson but on 84 he lofted Kashif Ali to long on to give the spinner his maiden first-class wicket.
It left Borthwick unbeaten on 134 when a heavy shower half an hour after tea ended proceedings.