PAUL COLLINGWOOD confessed his liking for South Northumberland after scoring 65 of the Durham's last 89 runs in hurrying them to a five-wicket Royal London Cup win against Leicestershire.

He hit 77 and 52 in the two 50-over wins against Warwickshire at the Gosforth ground and said: “I like playing here. There's a good atmosphere and it's a ground where I feel comfortable and confident. There's tennis-ball bounce, which suits me with my back-foot shots.”

Three weeks ahead of his 41st birthday, Collingwood also took three for 42 in dismissing yesterday's visitors for 211 and added: “I bowled straight through my ten overs into the wind. But I'm feeling fit and it's not a problem.

“If Keaton Jennings wants me to bowl I'm happy to do it. He and I are similar bowlers, but as captain it can be difficult to bring yourself on when there's so much to think about.”

Winning an important toss was Jennings' most significant contribution as the two other South Africans at the top of Durham's order set up the victory after James Weighell took four wickets to take his tally to 11 in three games.

There was a rare failure from Jennings, but Test opener Stephen Cook made 67 and put on 91 with Michael Richardson for the second wicket.

After again looking in supreme form as he took his RLC total to 283 in four innings, Richardson had the misfortune to be run out for 51. Then Graham Clark failed to take his chance when he sliced a drive to point.

The jitters might have set in had the edge which got Collingwood off the mark not just evaded slip. But shortly afterwards he hoisted off-spinner Rob Sayer over long-on for the first of his two sixes to start the acceleration to his 45-ball half-century. He reached the landmark with a cover drive for his sixth four.

The importance of the toss was seen as batting became progressively easier under a cloudless sky. Early wickets dictated that the anticipated run-fest did not materialise as Leicestershire had to settle for trying to bat out their 50 overs after slumping to 13 for four. They were all out with one ball left.

It was another jolly occasion at the Gosforth ground, where 450 hospitality guests packed the indoor school and sun-baked fans thronging the boundary wondered if it might be over all too quickly as Weighell and Chris Rushworth both struck with their second ball.

Mark Pettini was reminded how swiftly the game can bring you back to earth when he followed his 150 against Warwickshire by edging Rushworth behind.

The pitch appeared to have good pace and carry, but South African left-hander Cameron Delport and Aadil Ali both lobbed simple catches off mistimed drives off the golden arm of Weighell.

He also induced visiting skipper Ned Eckersley to surrender when he hooked straight to long leg.

It could have been worse because Weighell was convinced he had Mark Cosgrove caught behind first ball.

The Australian settled in and was beginning to look dangerous when, on 21, his attempted pull off Paul Coughlin flew off the top edge over the wicketkeeper for six.

He followed up with on-driven four as Coughlin struggled, but on 37 Leicestershire's hopes of a big total vanished when Cosgrove clipped Collingwood straight to deep square leg.

Durham lacked the firepower to go for the jugular when they had the visitors 68 for six, at which point Zak Chappell came in and remained unbeaten in compiling his maiden one-day half-century.

He reached 50 with a fierce pull wide of long-on off a slower ball by Weighell and had eight other boundaries in his 59 off 82 balls.

Lewis Hill was the second-highest scorer with 44 before he clipped Collingwood to mid-wicket and was brilliantly caught by Jennings, diving to his left.

Dieter Klein helped Chappell add 73 in 17 overs for the ninth wicket before he heaved across the line in the 49th over and was bowled by Weighell for 26.

With Ryan Pringle nursing a shoulder injury, Durham gave a second outing to left-arm spinner George Harding, who bowled tidily in conceding 33 from eight overs.

Without Australian Clint McKay and Sunderland's Ben Raine, who has a side injury, the Leicestershire attack looked threadbare.

Left-armer Klein, a South African with a German passport, surprised Jennings with a full toss which had the Durham captain lbw for 12. But Richardson was soon in full flow.

Two sublime cuts off Gavin Griffiths flew to the boundary as he raced past Cook and a similar shot gave him his seventh four just prior to reaching 50 off 65 balls.

But he had added only one when when he went back for a second run to third man and found himself at the same end as Cook with the throw heading for the other end.

Cook was bowled when trying to run Tom Wells to third man then Cameron Steel fell lbw to a yorker in the same over with 33 still needed.

But Collingwood quickly finished the job and another Royal London Cup win against Northamptonshire at Emirates Riverside tomorrow would keep Durham in the running for a semi-final place.