Cornwall finish their season with pride after tense finale
For a match which, in the wider picture, had little at stake there was a thrilling finale to Cornwall and Berkshire’s championship season at St Austell last night.
On a glorious late summer afternoon Cornwall valiantly held out for a draw, surviving three late appeals. In a confusing finish Cornwall’s players thought the job had been done when 6.30pm arrived and the mandatory 17 overs had been bowled.
The umpires deemed another five minutes play were required but in a tense finish it made no difference. Cornwall had been set a record breaking 351 to win, in a minimum of 85 overs (that became 93 in reality).
They ended on 316 for nine with the last pair of Dan Davis and Shakil Ahmed surviving the last 40 minutes, adding 45 runs.
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Davis was the day’s hero hitting the only century of the campaign. He ended on 131 not out off 209 balls with two sixes and 18 fours, batting for three and a half hours.
The innings had begun well with Matt Robins (45) and Scott Harvey (49) putting on 86 for the first wicket. Robins was first to go bowled by Richard Logan. Tom Hughes was run out for four after a mix up.
Scott Harvey was then caught, one short of a deserved fifty, when he found Richard Morris at cover. Paul Smith (13) and Alex Smeeth (5) were both held at first slip by James Morris.
Taylor Williams followed for six in identical fashion as the Duchy looked to be heading to defeat at 156 for six in mid afternoon. Davis got good support from Mike Bone (19) to add 65 for the seventh wicket over 19 overs.
Harry Stephens got the breakthrough to get to the last hour with two Cornish wickets remaining. Kelvin Snell made 18 before the late heroics of Davis and Ahmed.
Any thoughts of an early declaration in the morning didn’t materialise as James Morris went on to make 144 not out. A further 69 runs were added as Berkshire were bowled out for 337.
Ahmed sent down a 43 over spell to take three for 126. Snell took three for 81 to end with seven wickets in the match. Robins took two for 37.
So Cornwall end a transitional season with a creditable two wins, a draw and three defeats, which is enough to see them in seventh spot.
Cheshire are the champions after drawing with Shropshire. Wales caused some last day anxiety by moving to the top of the table, with a two-day win at Dorset. Cheshire could not afford to lose and made sure by batting out much of the final day at Nantwich.