Cornwall's cricketers make history with first ever Minor Counties Championship title
CORNWALL have won the Minor Counties Championship for the first time in their history after completing a 150-run victory over Buckinghamshire at Truro this morning.
After more than 100 years of trying, the county side, led by Truro's Tom Sharp, clinched a history-making win within 90 minutes of the start of play on the fourth and final day to cap a brilliant season.
Buckinghamshire had resumed at Boscawen Park 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 almost immediately that it was going to be Cornwall's day as the visitors lost their last seven wickets for 18 runs as they crumbled to 111 all out, sparking jubilation from the team and supporters.
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The Eastern champions lost six wickets for just eight runs in an amazing collapse, much to the delight of a sizeable home crowd who had come along to the ground in expectation of a Cornwall win, though possibly also a little apprehensive of what was about to unfold.
But Cornwall spinners Sharp and former Pakistan Test left armer and St Buryan professional Shakil Ahmed soon eased their fears as they ripped through a demoralised Buckinghamshire side.
Suffocated by the accuracy of the home attack, backed up by some alert close to the wicket catching, Buckinghamshire could hardly get the ball off the sqaure.
Man of the match Ahmed finished with seven for 36 from 21.4 overs, while Sharp bowled 33 overs for only 36 runs, and took two wickets.
Cornwall have been taking part in the Championship since 1904 without success, but at last this season won the Western Division title earning the eight to play the Eastern winner Buckinghamsire.
Cornwall by no means had it all their own way in an attritional final, but dug deep under intense pressure to win a competitition many supporters thought would always be beyond them.
And there were emotional scenes when Ahmed removed last man Simon Stanway, caught by Sharp, to wrap up a massive win.
Choking back the tears former Cornwall president Canon Ken Rogers said: "I did not think I would ever see this day."
And Sharp who has captained Cornwall since 2002 said: ""The boys played brilliantly. They were up against a tough side but were not prepared to give an inch. It is great just to see how much it means to everyone."
Brief Scores (Bucks won toss): Cornwall 257 (C Hunkin 77, T Hughes 47, N Curnow 41, T Sharp 28, D Roberts 21; S Stanway 4-73, S Khalid 3-77))& 209 (N Curnow 53, C Hunkin 45; F Ali 341, S Khalid 3-52); Buckinghamshire 205 (Sharp 5-76, Ahmed 3-72) & 111 (68.4 overs; S Ahmed 7-34, T Sharp 2-36).