Monday, 21 June 2021

Morris and Nugent shine for Berkshire

BERKSHIRE’S Western Division clash against title rivals CORNWALL at Grampound Road was abandoned with rain preventing

BERKSHIRE’S Western Division clash against title rivals CORNWALL at Grampound Road was abandoned with rain preventing any play at all on Monday and Tuesday.

Some good has come out of the fixture as Berkshire secured the eight maximum bonus points on Sunday plus another four points for the draw, and that has seen them move above Cornwall with 88 points, five behind leaders Shropshire, who beat Cheshire on Tuesday, while the Duchy are now down to third with 83.

On the only day where play was possible, Berkshire produced one of the most sensational performances seen in the club’s modern history.

They rolled over Cornwall for a meagre 92 in 37.5 overs with Henley’s Tom Nugent in phenomenal form, taking 6-26 off 15 overs.

Matt Carter captured 2-15 and Waqas Hussain 2-11, while there were four catches for wicket-keeper Stewart Davison.

Berkshire then took an even tighter stranglehold on the home side by racing to 325-6 before declaring after 63.5 overs, giving them a commanding lead of 233.

Waqas Hussain led the run charge with 123, made off 124 balls with an amazing 25 boundaries.

Hussain and Ollie Wilkin put on 69 for the first wicket before the Ealing batsman fell for 33 and Martin Andersson soon followed with just one boundary to his name.

Hussain bettered Cornwall’s total by himself, reaching his century off 102 balls in 115 minutes. Following his dismissal at 208-3 in the 40th over, Berkshire quickly lost James Morris for nine and Andy Rishton for 12 with the fifth wicket going down on 236 in the 46th over.

Richard Morris and his Henley team-mate Euan Woods kept the runs flowing with a partnership of 84 in 16 overs and the former was just five runs short of his century when he edged a catch to the keeper. His 95 came off 128 balls in 140 minutes and included two sixes and seven fours. Woods was unbeaten on 37 and Davison three when skipper James Morris called his players in.

To declare a first innings on the first day when batting second is extremely rare in minor counties cricket and is surely a first for Berkshire.

They then turned the screw on the Duchy when Nugent claimed his seventh victim of the game by having home skipper Matt Robins snapped up by Davison for four with the total on 8-1.

Berkshire looked certain to go on to win the game, but Cornwall’s wet weather shattered their hopes. Rain crept under the covers and the umpires had no hesitation in calling the game off early on Tuesday.

All three title contenders have just one fixture remaining with Berkshire facing Dorset at Finchampstead on August 14.

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