Cornwall’s batsmen have a big task on their hands, on the final day of the Minor Counties Championship county season.
Wins in the three-day format against Berkshire have been rare in recent times and it will take something special today at St Austell if Cornwall are to add to the list.
Berkshire start the day 281 runs ahead, and still have three second-innings wickets remaining, one of which is skipper James Morris (107 not out).
By their own admission the Duchy’s top-order batsmen have not really fired this year. They have only passed the 250 mark on three occasions. That said, Cornwall have successfully chased 300 in their history on two occasions, and both were at St Austell.
The 313 against Oxfordshire in 1995 was eclipsed eight years ago, when both David Roberts and Antony Penberthy hit centuries in a tally of 322 for two against Shropshire.
Cornwall began yesterday on 161 for seven, still 69 runs behind. All went well for the first 40 minutes before Alex Smeeth found Harry Stephens at extra cover, in the tenth over of the morning. Matthew Carter got the breakthrough with Smeeth going for 44.
Taylor Williams got a single of the first ball of the next over before Kelvin Snell was bowled by Richard Logan. There was a sting in the tail, however, as Shakil Ahmed helped Taylor Williams add 33 for the last wicket.
Williams made 28 before being bowled by Stephens and Ahmed (ten not out) was undefeated off 27 balls.
With a lead of 13, Stephens was bowled by Snell in the fourth over. Dan Davis picked up the important wicket of David Barnes (21) at 65.
Opener Simon Macey went on to make 45 before being third out, caught and bowled by Robins.
James Morris dominated the rest of the innings. His 107 not out has come off 211 balls. His brother Richard made 21 and Logan 35, in stands of 42 and 55 respectively.
Cornwall’s hopes rose when Ahmed struck twice in four balls, in the 76th over of the innings. He trapped both Shelvin Gumbs and Euan Brock leg before.
Stewart Davidson joined his skipper to see out the last 14 overs of the day, adding an unbroken 37 so far for the eighth wicket.
Ahmed has sent down almost half the overs, taking three for 110 from 42. Robins, Davis and Snell were the other wicket-takers.