CORNWALL have won the Minor Counties Championship for the first time in their history after completing a 150-run victory over Buckinghamshire before lunch at Truro yesterday lunch.
The county side, led by Tom Sharp, tied up the win within 90 minutes of the start of play on the fourth and final day to cap a brilliant season.
Buckinghamshire resumed at Boscawen Park yesterday on 93 for three in their second innings, needing a further 169 to win with a minimum of 102 overs to be bowled.
But it became clear fairly quickly that it was going to be Cornwall's day as the visitors lost their last seven wickets for 18 runs to collapse to 111 all out. Cornwall's spinners did the damage, with former St Buryan professional Shakil Ahmed finishing with seven for 36 with his left arm spin, while Sharp bowled 33 overs for only 36 runs, and took two wickets.
Scores (Bucks won toss): Cornwall 257 (C Hunkin 77) & 209 (N Curnow 53, C Hunkin 45).
Buckinghamshire 205 (Sharp 5-76, Ahmed 3-76) & 111 (68.4 overs; S Ahmed 7-34, T Sharp 2-36).
Full report on our website, www.thisiscornwall.co.uk
Rugby: They may still be unbeaten after two rounds of this season's RFU Championship but the Cornish Pirates will need to up their game ahead of Sunday's televised West Country clash with Bristol at the Memorial Ground (3.15pm). On-loan full-back Rob Cook's last minute penalty stole a narrow 19-17 win over Plymouth Albion last Sunday but the overall performance was poor. And now they face a stern examination at a ground where they have not won since February 2005.
Pirates' head coach Ian Davies has spent much of the early weeks of the season juggling resources to field 22 fit players on match days but knows that with Bristol and then Newcastle Falcons next up for his team, they are about to be severely tested.
"We have now got two huge games followed by Doncaster which is never an easy place to go," he said. "We will train as normal this week and look after those with bumps and bruises but there is plenty for us to work on.
"Bristol will be a particularly tough game because they are still smarting after losing here in the play-offs. They need to get over that because it is a new season, but they are still smarting and we will go there and see what happens."
With injuries to several key players restricting his options against Plymouth, Davies called on Gloucester to secure a short-term loan of Rob Cook whilst prop Max Maidment, brother of Ben, and flanker Joe Buckle arrived from Bath. And Davies agreed that there has been disruption to his plans.
"We knew we had Rob Cook here but the real disruption came in bringing the Bath boys in," he explained. "Ben Prescott had a family issue in Scotland and we weren't sure if he would get back in time and we had injuries to Alan Paver, Darren Barry and a few others.
"We are really grateful to Danny Grewcock and Toby Booth who we know really well up at Bath and we are hoping that we can keep Max and Joe for a couple of weeks to help us through our injuries.
Cornish Pirates (from): Cook, Bedford, Riley, Fatialofa, Evans, Hallett, Cattle (capt); Andrew, Elloway, Prescott, Lyons, Johnson, Marriott, Burgess, B.Maidment, Storer, Semmens, Morgan, Barry , Kessell, Penberthy, Cheesman, Paver, Joyce, M.Maidment, Buckle, McGlone, Nowell, Hill, Ewers.
Cornish Pirates report, Page 83.