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Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Friday, 10 September 2010 16:21 UK

Essex settle for draw with Durham

Essex 268 & 367 drew with Durham 177 & 234-6
Essex 8 pts, Durham 6 pts
Match scorecard

Ben Harmison
Batting at five, Ben Harmison also hit 66 in the first innings at Chelmsford

Relegated Essex's hopes of ending the season with a victory over reigning county champions Durham were denied by a rearguard action at Chelmsford.

When Essex had the visitors 60-3, a home win looked likely, more so when Michael di Venuto was bowled for 58.

But Ben Harmison maintained his fine end-of-season form, batting more than three hours for a summer's best 96 - his second half-century of the match.

His departure, on 234-6, a rare wicket for Alastair Cook, signalled the end.

Hands were shaken after Harmison holed out to Tony Palladino at long on looking to reach his century with a big one off occasional off-spinner Cook.

Having followed up his first innings 66, that would have been only his second Championship century.

In pursuit of a victory target of 459, it was one Durham never attempted and, for quite a while, defeat stared them in the face, especially after both Dale Benkenstein and Michael Di Venuto were bowled shouldering arms.

But, in the end, Essex had to settle for eight points, which were not enough to prevent them finishing bottom of the table.

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see also
Walker ton sets Durham big target
09 Sep 10 |  Counties
Relegation is confirmed for Essex
08 Sep 10 |  Counties
Mickleburgh impresses for Essex
07 Sep 10 |  Counties

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