CORNWALL have pulled off some spectacular victories in the past but the events at a sweltering Corsham this week will live long in the memory, writes Michael Weeks.
A new look Cornwall team saw Matt Robins taking charge for the first time officially. They were, seemingly, in hopeless positions more than once during the three days at Station Road.
They were hampered with the withdrawal of opening bowler Sam Hockin before the game. Camborne's Matt Rowe came in for his 14th Championship appearance.
Cornwall were bowled out for a modest 211 on the opening day and the home side had levelled the scores at stumps, only two wickets down and 44 overs remaining.
At tea on the second day Cornwall faced the prospect of an innings defeat, or at least a loss inside two days, as they trailed by 28 runs with four wickets remaining.
Remarkably though that became a 201-run lead by noon on day three and was followed by a dramatic home collapse that saw Redruth spinner Neil Ivamy sensationally take seven for 34.
The hosts were dismissed for 150 by 3pm to slide to a 51 run defeat. Cornwall's first innings saw Christian Purchase dominate making 81 off 101 balls with Dan Davis the next best with 26. With Ed Kilbee on an ominous 123 not out overnight the potential was there for Wiltshire to take a huge lead.
Shakil Ahmed got rid of him for only a couple of runs on the second morning, and went on to take seven for 84. It restricted the lead to a sizeable 151 – but it might have been more.
Despite Matt Robins making a quickfire fifty that all seemed irrelevant as the Duchy collapsed from 92 for one to 123 for six at tea. It looked odds on that, for the first time in 13 years, three successive defeats was on the cards. However, the impressive Purchase made 90 that included five sixes. With Alex Smeeth he put on 144 for the seventh wicket. It not only ensured the game went into the third day but saw a useful Cornish lead of 163 and two wickets remaining.
On day three Ahmed retired hurt after a blow on the foot, but when Ivamy was dismissed, he returned to try to get Smeeth to his hundred. However, the Werrington all-rounder was cruelly bowled on a county best of 99.
Needing 202, the Wiltshire openers flew out of the blocks putting on 56 in nine overs, as again Cornwall looked doomed. What followed was dramatic to say the least, as eight wickets fell for 25 runs, either side of lunch.
Tahir Afridi then went on the offensive as the ninth wicket added a worrying 51, but it was to be Cornwall's day. Ivamy, who at one stage had figures of six for eight, ended with a county best seven for 34. Ahmed took three for 75 to end with match figures of 10 for 159.
Next up for Cornwall is a trip to Shrewsbury on Sunday week.