COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION ONE, New Road:
Match Drawn. Worcestershire 356 and 410-7, Durham 634-8dec (Durham 12pts, Worcs 9pts)
Steven Davies brought up his 1,000 Championship runs for the season
Relegated Worcestershire ended another miserable season of top-flight cricket on a happy note by holding county champions Durham to a draw at New Road.
Starting the day at 41-1, when the home side slumped to 169-5, still needing another 109 runs to make Durham bat again, another defeat was on the cards.
But, marshalled by 97 from outgoing Steven Davies, their tail wagged.
And eighth-wicket pair Gareth Andrew (59no) and Richard Jones (53no) then put on a match-saving, unbroken 119.
Worcestershire's spirited recovery did little to adjust the gulf between the top and bottom teams in Division One.
The champions closed their season with 240 points, having not lost a game all season.
Worcestershire, by contrast, trailed in 146 points behind after going through the summer without a Championship win for the first time since 1928.
But at least Davies, the best of the county's home-grown products, got the chance to bow out of Championship cricket before his move to Surrey with a dazzling performance.
After skipper Vikram Solanki had made 31 to reach his 1,000 first-class runs for the season and Alexei Kervezee had weighed in with 48, Davies smashed 97 (including three sixes and 16 fours) in a partnership of 117 in 16 overs with David Wheeldon (30).
That cleared Worcestershire's deficit but the home side were only 13 ahead when Andrew and Jones began phase two.
The undefeated eighth-wicket pair were uninhibited in their response and, with increasing confidence and another positive omen for the future back in Division Two next summer, they made the game safe.
Andrew reached 59 - his second half-century of the match - and Jones gave further notice of his potential as an all-rounder with a career-best 53.
Admittedly, England's Steve Harmison, Durham's leading Championship wicket-taker, did not bowl because of a sore knee.
But Liam Plunkett emerged with some battle scars in his final return of 4-132 to take his Championship haul for the season to 49 - including a fruitful 19 from Durham's two meetings with Worcestershire.
BBC Newcastle's Martin Emmerson gives his final daily report of the summer:
"Durham's transformation from whipping boys to England's powerhouse in county cricket has been impressive.
"In 2004, they finished bottom of the second division for the second time in three years.
"Back then, supporters would never have dreamed that, by the close of the decade, they would have been crowned champions twice and gone through a whole season unbeaten.
"Only 12 teams had managed the 'unbeaten' thing before.
"But Durham have now joined that elite club, and like one of them - Yorkshire - they will aim to become the first team to win it three years in a row when 2010 comes along.
"The last time that happened was in 1968 and I wasn't even born!
"The efforts of every player should be applauded this season.
"And I know for a fact that scorer Brian Hunt is going to have a busy winter re-writing the stats books because of all of the records Durham have broken this season.
"When you're watching cricket this good, you can't really call it work.
"Roll on next April so we can go through it all again."