Northants v Durham: Rob Newton digs in for draw
|LV CC Division One, Northampton|
|Durham 452 & 244 drew with Northamptonshire 378 & 205-9|
|Durham 11pts; Northamptonshire 11pts|
Rob Newton came to Northants' rescue as he helped the newly-promoted side draw with champions Durham at Northampton.
After Michael Richardson (59) fell early on, James Middlebrook (5-62) and Andrew Hall (3-57) quickly finished off Durham for 244, a lead of 315 runs.
Northants were unstuck by the visiting attack, with Graham Onions (3-48) and Chris Rushworth (2-38) both in form.
But Newton (48 no) saw out the last nine overs with last-man Muhammad Azharullah as they closed on 205-9.
Things had looked bleak for the hosts after Scott Borthwick (2-53) took the eighth and ninth wickets to fall in successive balls, but a determined Newton, whose 48 came off 137 balls, dug in to help see out the day.
Newton and Middlebrook (47) were the only two Northants batsmen to make any significant second-innings runs, with three out for a duck - including Matthew Spriegel, who hit 97 in the first innings.
However, it was a promising start to life in Division One for Northants, while Durham will be frustrated they could not finish their opponents off.
From BBC Northampton's Chris Egerton:
"It was an extraordinary finish in which last pair Rob Newton and Muhammad Azharullah saved a draw after they batted out the final 10 overs.
"Azharullah was dropped by Graham Onions at leg-slip off Scott Borthwick with four overs remaining - and how costly that appeared to be.
"It came at the end of a day at which Northants seemed to stabilise after reaching 68-3. But when they lost Andrew Hall to the last ball before tea, the tension began again.
"Credit to Durham but also to Northants who have shown they can compete in Division One once they get all the injured players back."