Durham need just 62 more runs to become the 2013 County champions with 10 wickets in hand and two days still left in their Division One match with Nottinghamshire.
The hosts closed the second day on 7-0, with 62 needed to win their third Championship title in six years. And although the forecast is poor on Thursday at Chester-le-Street, it is fine on Friday and the title should now be a formality.
Durham began the day in 207-8 in reply to Nottinghamshire's paltry first innings total of 78, and James Harrison and Chris Rushworth helped Paul Collingwood add another 49 runs in the morning.
Collingwood, 53no overnight, dominated stands of 32 with Harrison (8) and 17 with Rushworth (6) before Durham were bowled out for 256, a first innings lead of 178 and the crucial second batting bonus point.
The captain was left high and dry on 88no but with the title all-but in the bag, Collingwood did not look too upset to miss out on what would have been his first century of the season.
Rushworth then made an early breakthrough in Nottinghamshire's innings, having Riki Wessels (11) caught by slip Mark Richardson.
Michael Lumb (28) and Steven Mullaney (72) then dug in, adding a patient 55 for the second wicket. But Graham Onions, as he so often does for his home county, then made the crucial breakthrough.
He trapped Lumb in front and seven overs later he did the same thing to Mullaney. Back came Rushworth and he bowled James Taylor (12) with a beauty and their new fast-bowling discovery James Harrison got rid of Samit Patel (4), caught at second slip - the two bulwarks of the middle-order gone.
When Onions got rid of Notts skipper Chris Read for a duck, the visitors were 143-6 and it looked as if Durham would be celebrating the title that night.
But Australian star David Hussey (57) and veteran all-rounder Paul Franks (29) ensured the champagne would have to remain on ice.
They added 59 and looked well set, so, for the first time in the match Collingwood turned to the spin and it paid immediate dividends, leg-spinner Scott Borthwick bowling Franks with his first ball.
It was left to Ben Stokes to show why he is being tipped as a potential Ashes tourist, the fast-bowling all-rounder finishing things off with a three-wicket burst.
He dismissed the dangerous Andre Adams, slogging, for a duck, and after Luke Fletcher added a battling 20, Stokes had him caught in the deep by Rushworth.
Stokes finished off the innings by bowling Hussey, and Durham openers Mark Stoneman and Keaton Jennings survived the one over left in the day, taking seven off Fletcher in the process.
Durham then opted not to take the extra half an hour, and will hope to open the champagne on Thursday night.