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Cornwall's Championship hopes still alive despite tough day

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 11, 2012

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at Boscawen Park

The Minor Counties Championship final is up for grabs today at Truro.

Cornwall and Buckinghamshire will both fancy their chances, providing the weather does not play too big a part. There will be a minimum of 102 overs today with play commencing at 10.30am, as the time lost earlier in the match has been made up.

Buckinghamshire require a further 169 runs with seven wickets remaining, after an absorbing day of Championship cricket yesterday.

The day began with Cornwall in some trouble at 59 for four. When Taylor Williams was caught behind off Faisal Ali in the fifth over of the morning, the home support might have feared the worst.

Nerves were eased as Tom Sharp and Neil Curnow added 44 before Sharp was caught at slip for 18. It was 105 for six and the lead only 157.

Just as in the first innings, the seventh-wicket pair came to the rescue. This time it was Chris Hunkin and Curnow who combined, adding a crucial 68 runs.

The partnership was broken after lunch , when Hunkin was bowled for 45 by one of Shaftkab Khalib's off-breaks, and the innings fell away as Tom Hughes was leg-before without scoring.

Curnow then fell to the new ball when he was caught at slip by Jason Harrison off Doug King. Shakil Ahmed was the last to go when he was caught at backward point by a diving Joel Pope.

Cornwall were all out for 197 but that was not the end of the drama. Regulations that only apply to the final sees a six-run penalty added for every over not bowled below the 17-over per-hour average.

At first, Cornwall received a generous-looking 24-run penalty, but after lengthy discussions at tea match referee Phil Caley announced a miscalculation and the revised penalty was reduced to 12 runs.

It meant Cornwall's innings was increased to 209 and a victory target of 262 set.

The Buckinghamshire innings got off to a poor start when they lost Alex Morgan, bowled by Sharp in the seventh over. It got better for the hosts when key man Mal Loye was caught at backward point by Jake Libby for three off Ahmed.

Faisim Qureshi and Michael Payne then frustrated the home attack by putting on 66 over 35 overs. Qureshi went in the last half hour, however, when he found Sharp at mid-off, with Sam Hockin taking the wicket.

In failing light, the day ended with Buckinghamshire on 93 for three. It is all is set up for a great finale to the season at Boscawen Park today, when Cornwall will be hoping to make history.

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