Durham (19pts) defeated Warwickshire (6pts) by seven wickets
Warwickshire's revival came to an abrupt halt as they slipped to defeat with a day remaining against Durham.
The team that have won their last three Championship matches were unrecognisable for much of the last day as they collapsed with the bat and failed to shine with the ball to allow a team that had not won for three months to stroll to victory.
It is hard to know what to make of this Warwickshire side. Victors against high-flying Sussex and Hampshire, they have crumbled against lowly Yorkshire and Durham. Their inconsistency is the only consistent aspect to the Bears' season.
Perhaps it is just as well that their title aspirations have ended. Even the most fervent supporter would admit that they do not really deserve it and premature success might mask a few of the ongoing issues that will hinder long-term achievement.
The loss of Heath Streak was a crucial blow yesterday. Indeed, without the injured trio of Streak, Jimmy Anyon and Neil Carter, Warwickshire could not sustain any pressure in the second innings.
Paul Harris' left-arm spin was largely negated by bowling to two left-handers while Tim Groenewald bowled some good deliveries but slips in too many poor balls to propser at this level.
Lee Daggett raised early hopes and Dougie Brown was as persistent as ever but once, the shine had worn off the new ball, the bowling looked bland. It was telling, too, that stand-in captain Nick Knight again preferred Moeen Ali's flighted off-spin to Alex Loudon's.
The day started so well for Warwickshire. Loudon and Jonathan Trott achieved their first Championship half-centuries since late May as Durham's bowlers struggled to find their length.
The pair scored 52 in the first seven overs of the day, feasting on some fearful tosh delivered by Mick Lewis and Graham Onions.
Loudon (55, 80 balls, nine fours) was especially fluent, cutting and driving four boundaries of the day's opening over. He will rarely face bowling quite as awful but he put the ball away with a pleasing touch that gave a reminder of how well he can bat while Trott (69, 79 balls, 11 fours) cut with power and picked up three boundaries through third man.
Neil Killeen's introduction made the difference. The 30-year-old seamer produced his best figures for three years as Warwickshire subsided from 121 for four to 138 for eight.
Simply putting the ball on a good length, hitting and seam and allowing the pitch to help him, Killeen induced Warwickshire's third batting collapse in as many days.
Almost immediately he had Trott nibbling at a ball he had to play before Brown edged a good one that nipped away.
Streak's flimsy defensive shot was beaten by inswing before Loudon played across a straight one. Groenewald produced one flick for six but then failed to get forward and was beaten by one that nipped in before Harris' late counter was ended by a mistimed pull. In all, Warwickshire lost their last six wickets for 43. The target of 195 was simply not enough.
Durham, however, were soon reeling. With memories of their capitulation against Daggett at Edgbaston fresh in the minds - they were dismissed for 141 chasing 160 in June - Gary Scott was only half forward when hit on the pad by a straight one before Gordon Muchall prodded at the next ball.
Dale Benkenstein - or Ben Kenstein as the public address announcer calls him - immediately looked at home, however, and saw off the new ball.
Brown was pulled for six when he dropped short while Daggett, straying in direction and length, soon had to be removed.
Asked to lead the attack, Daggett is promising but inexperienced and strained too hard for the breakthrough.
Though Brown had Benkenstein caught behind attempting to cut, his reduced pace was unable to find the same devil in the pitch as had Durham's seamers. Harris struggled. The ability of left-handers to sweep him proved fatal.
Jimmy Maher (126 balls, 14 fours), with his second century of the season, and the increasingly impressive Ben Harmison (84 balls, 13 fours) scurried to victory in a stand of 135 in 28 overs.
Had Trott clung on to a desperately difficult chance things might have been different. Harmison, on 12, edged Groenewald - the ball flew low through the slips. It was the two chances missed off Benkenstein in the first innings that proved more costly.
Streak, like Anyon highly unlikely to play on Sunday and a doubt for the next Championship match, said his absence was only one problem. "We under-achieved in our second innings," he said. "Had we taken our catches and bowled better it may have been different but we needed to set them around 300. The pitch was starting to ease. The turn Harris found in the first innings was due to dampness in the pitch but that had dried out. Our season has been like this game...inconsistent."
They certainly are. Indeed, they were last year, too. Though they move up to third, another finish in mid-table is likely. It is probably a fair reflection of a peculiar season.