LV County Championship - Division One
Worcestershire 193 (A A Noffke 50, L E Plunkett 6-63) & 179 (A N Kervezee 66, L E Plunkett 5-56) v Durham 194 (P Mustard 63 no, Kabir Ali 6-68) & 179-5 (M J Di Venuto 100 no)
Durham (17pts) beat Worcestershire (3pts) by 5 wkts
Michael Di Venuto reached his century to guide Durham to a comfortable five-wicket victory over Worcestershire at the Riverside.
Starting the final day on 64-1 and chasing just 179 for victory, Durham lost four more wickets during their run chase, but Di Venuto helped the hosts reach 179-5.
Di Venuto reached exactly 100 not out as Durham completed their fourth victory of the summer shortly before the lunch interval.
Matt Mason caused the home team some worrying moments as he took three wickets, but Durham were always making enough ground to get home safely.
Mason's century came off 150 balls and included 14 fours and a six as the champions cruised to a facile victory and cement their place at the top of the table.
Liam Plunkett completed his first 10-wicket haul as Durham closed in on a fourth successive LV County Championship Division One win against Worcestershire at Chester-le-Street.
The England paceman followed his career-best 6-63 on the first day with figures of 5-56 to help set his side a target of 179 to triumph and stretch their lead at the top - Durham in turn reaching 64-1 at the close.
Given much easier batting conditions, the visitors played a huge part in their own downfall on Thursday as they subsided from 59-1 to 179 all out.
The innings started to unravel with two careless dismissals just before lunch - both Moeen Ali (10) and Ben Smith (3) caught at backward point by Kyle Coetzer off Plunkett and Callum Thorp respectively.
David Wheeldon came and went without scoring before teenage Dutch international Alexei Kervezee dug in to complete a maiden championship 50 off 105 balls.
Kervezee reached 66 before Plunkett came back for his second spell and lured him into shaping a hook - the batsman instead top-edging a catch to Phil Mustard.
Plunkett struck again when acting captain Gareth Batty (4) shouldered arms to one which knocked out his off stump, before Ian Blackwell found enough turn to provide Mustard with two more catches.
Chris Whelan (21) then helped Kabir Ali (30 not out) put on 45 before Plunkett and Blackwell ended the innings.
In reply, Durham sped to 47 before Coetzer (15) was caught behind off Ashley Noffke, with Michael Di Venuto unbeaten on 43 at the close.
Durham edged into a one-run lead over Worcestershire before bad light ended the second day's play early at the Riverside.
Resuming on 40-3, the hosts slipped to 105-7 before some tail-end resistance helped them squeeze their way up to 194 .
The Pears were indebted to the bowling of Kabir Ali (6-68) for getting them back in the game having only managed 193 themselves in their first innings.
Phil Mustard tempered his usual attacking instincts to make a crucial 63 not out from 102 balls, the wicketkeeper-batsman hitting 10 fours.
Liam Punkett contributed 29 to follow on from his six-wicket haul on the opening day, while Callum Thorp made a quick-fire 17 from number nine.
After Kabir's seasonal-best performance with the ball, Worcestershire faced just one delivery before the umpires took the players from the field at 3pm with the light deteriorating as a storm passed by.
Durham seamer Liam Plunkett took six wickets as Worcestershire were skittled for 193 on the first day at the Riverside.
The Pears, bottom of the Division One table without a victory, subsided to 80-5 before Ashley Noffke instigated a partial recovery.
The Queenslander hit 50 off 125 balls and shared stands worth 57 with Gareth Batty (19) and 40 with Kabir Ali (28) for the sixth and seventh wickets respectively.
But former England paceman Plunkett, who had missed his county's three previous championship matches due to a groin injury, removed all three and cleaned up the tail to finish with a career-best haul of 6-63.
Worcestershire's cause was not helped by the absence of skipper Vikram Solanki, Stephen Moore and Steven Davies on England Lions duty, while Plunkett was only playing as Durham are without Steve Harmison and Graham Onions for the same reason.
Division One leaders Durham slumped to 1-3 in reply before rallying to reach stumps on 40-3, still 153 behind.
Kabir (2-17) bowled Michael Di Venuto and Will Smith for ducks with successive deliveries and Gordon Muchall (0) edged behind off Michael Mason (1-14) during a calamitous start to the hosts' innings.
Opening batsman Kyle Coetzer (20no) and Dale Benkenstein (17no) combined to see Durham to the close without further loss.