DURHAM'S valiant attempt to defy their points deduction in the Royal London Cup came to a tame end as they lost their final group game by 28 runs at home to Lancashire.
Had Durham managed to chase down a target of 305 they would have finished third, courtesy of Nottinghamshire's match at Northampton being washed out. That would have earned a play-off for a semi-final place.
But the superior bowling of Lancashire's new ball pair, Jimmy Anderson and Zimbabwean Kyle Jarvis, saw off both Durham openers with the total on 19 and the recovery was stifled by two unfortunate dismissals.
Graham Clark's cameo 32 was ended by a brilliant one-handed catch by Karl Brown at deep square leg and Paul Collingwood was run out shortly after Michael Richardson had to send for a runner.
Durham's lack of depth was again exposed as Richardson, with too big a burden to carry, went for broke. He took 16 off an over from Anderson in reaching 58 before inside edging left-armer spinner Stephen Parry into his stumps.
Durham finished on 276 for nine, defeat in the last two games undermining a stronger challenge than might have been expected from such a thin squad.
Lancashire's greater depth allowed them to recover from a wobble inflicted by three wickets from Collingwood. South African Dane Vilas made an 83-ball century, his second 50 coming off 26 balls, as they plundered 135 off the last 15 overs to reach 304 for eight.
The full, straight bowling at the start of the reply was in sharp contrast to the offerings of young Durham duo James Weighell and Paul Coughlin, who dropped short too often.
Weighell's golden arm has deserted him. After taking 16 wickets in five games, he was wicketless in Sunday's defeat at Worcester and suffered a chastening time yesterday.
He conceded 23 in his opening three-over burst and had none for 67 in nine until he struck with successive balls, bowling Vilas for 108 with a slow full toss to finish with two for 69. Coughlin had one for 73 in eight overs.
The clash of the Clark brothers did not materialise because Jordan is injured, giving Weighell the chance to edge back in front of the Lancashire all-rounder in the scrap for places in next year's North v South series.
His two late wickets kept him in the running.
Excellent bowling from left-arm spinner George Harding, as well as Collingwood, put the brakes on Lancashire after they were put in and got off to a flier.
With the score on 59 Coughlin made the breakthrough after Karl Brown clubbed him for six and four in the tenth over then miscued to mid-off.
England selector James Whitaker was present to watch Haseeb Hameed and Liam Livingstone, but both succumbed to Collingwood's wiles.
Extra bounce surprised Hameed, who steered to the one slip, posted well wide
Opener Alex Davies continued to impress, playing strongly off the back foot. But as soon as he reached 50 off 54 balls he lost Livingstone to a fine catch by Chris Rushworth, running back from mid-on, then got out himself.
Davies hung his head in disappointment after lobbing a slower ball from Collingwood to mid-wicket.
Coming together at 126 for four, Vilas and Steven Croft accumulated sensibly for ten overs before the floodgates opened in the 37th, bowled by Coughlin.
Vilas scooped him over the wicketkeeper for four as 14 came off the over and the return of Rushworth for his final three overs brought no respite as two pulls either side of a straight drive brought four, six, four off successive balls.
The stand was worth 118 in 16 overs when Croft departed for 41, bowled when trying to sweep Harding.
Ryan McLaren helped to maintain the momentum until he sliced Weighell to deep cover in the 49th over, which with the help of Parry's run-out yielded three wickets and raised Durham's spirits.
They flagged again when Keaton Jennings tried to work Jarvis to leg and lost his off stump then Stephen Cook edged Anderson to slip.
All the middle order passed 20, but the substantial innings Durham needed was not forthcoming. In the end they were flattered by an unbroken stand of 44 between Rushworth and Harding.
Paul Collingwood will host the first Sunderland versus Newcastle T20 match at Emirates Riverside on August 20 (2.30) as part of his testimonial year.
Wearing red and white stripes, the Sunderland fan will lead his side into battle under the management of former boss Peter Reid, while Newcastle’s squad will be coached by Magpies legend Kevin Keegan.
The match, sponsored by Infiniti Newcastle and M24Seven, will also raise funds for the Graham Wylie Foundation.
For more information visit www.Colly40.com and for hospitality tickets contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Ticket information is available through the box office (0191 3871717).