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Hunkin and Hughes keep Cornwall's title hopes alive with century stand

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 10, 2012

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Cornwall's middle order staged a fine recovery yesterday in the Minor Counties Championship final against Buckinghamshire at Truro.

The hosts were on the brink, at 45 for four in the 22nd over of the four-day game, but the Grampound Road duo of Chris Hunkin and Tom Hughes put on a crucial 110 for the seventh wicket, over 38 overs, to transform the innings.

Hunkin was originally twelfth man but was drafted into the side for Alex Smeeth, who withdrew overnight through injury.

Hughes was making only his second Championship appearance but played a valuable, mature innings just when needed.

Cornwall had been put in at 10.30am with Boscawen Park still recovering from a heavy overnight dew.

They suffered an early blow with Matt Robins caught behind off Faisal Ali for 11, chasing a wide one, in the seventh over.

Ali struck again in his next over to trap Jake Libby (seven) leg before wicket. Taylor Williams spent half an hour making three before he was bowled by the medium pace of Simon Stanway.

When David Roberts was leg before wicket to Stanway, after a long appeal, it was 45 for four and the visitors were on top. Tom Sharp and Neil Curnow stopped the rot, however, to add 48 for the fifth wicket.

On reaching 20, Sharp reached a notable milestone as he reached 4,000 Championship runs, only the seventh Cornish player to achieve the feat. He is the first to also achieve the remarkable double of 200 wickets.

Shortly afterwards Sharp was lbw to Doug King, just before lunch, as Cornwall stuttered to 96 for five at the interval. Curnow went on to make 41 off 74 balls. Having struck the off-spin of Shaftab Khalid down the ground, he was bowled in the same over.

Hunkin and Hughes then combined to boost Cornish fortunes. Under grey skies, they built a century stand which ended with less than six overs remaining of the allotted 90 when Hunkin was caught and bowled by a diving Khalid for 77. He hit ten fours and faced 152 balls.

Hughes was lbw to Khalid in the spinner's next over, and Rob Harrison was caught in the deep off Stanway for two. Shakil Ahmed was the last out, off the final ball of the innings, as Cornwall reached a respectable 257.

The covers were brought on, with drizzle in the air, during the interval with Buckinghamshire due to face just over an hour's batting.

Conditions deteriorated and play was called off for the day just before 6pm. Play is due to resume at 10am today.

Cornwall team manager Godfrey Furse was happy with the way the day unfolded. He said: "It was a superb fightback by Curnow, Hunkin and Hughes. It leaves us in the game with a reasonable first innings total on the board."

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