RICHARD Morris hammered a magnificent century as Berkshire opened their defence of the Unicorns Trophy with a 36-run win over Cornwall at The Oratory School on Sunday, writes Dave Wright.

The Henley batsman came to his side’s rescue, lifting them from 90-6 to 261-9 in their 50 overs.

There was also a centurion in the Cornwall innings with Sam Wood knocking up 106 as they recovered from 138-8 to an all-out total of 225.

So two centuries and a game of fluctuating fortunes made for a thoroughly entertaining game for spectators on a beautiful sunny day at this picturesque ground in Woodcote, being used by the county’s 1st XI for the first time.

But it didn’t start at all well, with Chris Peploe lbw for 2, Euan Woods bowled for 10 and Andy Rishton caught for 22, leaving the hosts 39-3 in the eighth over.

Morris and Dan Lincoln added 34 before the latter was lbw for 15, making it 73-4 with 15 overs completed.

Skipper James Morris managed only two runs and Stewart Davison seven as Berkshire slumped to 90-6 off 24 overs.

However, Richard Morris and Joe Thomas turned the game in their side’s favour by adding 117 runs in 20 overs.

Thomas was bowled by Wood for 36 in the 44th over and Richard’s ultimately match-winning innings of 131 came to end in the penultimate over, having faced 116 balls. He hammered five sixes and 12 fours.

Tom Nugent (21) was run out off the final ball, leaving Berkshire with 261-9 off their 50 overs.

Cornwall used five bowlers, with all but one taking two wickets.

When they replied, the visitors slumped from a promising 98-3 in the 24th over to 138-8 after 28, Euan Woods taking 3-49.

Hopes of a quick finish were ended by Sam Wood’s super blast of 106 off just 69 deliveries with five maximums and 11 fours.

The left-hander, who has played for Nottinghamshire, eventually fell to a skier, well taken close to the long-on boundary by James Morris off Rishton.

Wood dominated a ninth-wicket stand of 74 in eight overs with Nathan Pobega (15), who was then bowled by Ali Raja (2-26) with the Cornwall total on 225 in the 44th over.

Berkshire will be away to Devon, 56-run winners over Wiltshire last weekend, in the quarter-finals at Sidmouth on June 10th.

A week earlier, June 3rd, they have a T20 double header against Oxfordshire at Falkland CC.

  • BERKSHIRE Women (149-9, Lauren Bell 36, Emily Cunningham 33) suffered their first County Championship Division Two defeat of the season when crashing to Surrey (150-2 off 28.5 overs) by eight wickets at North Maidenhead on Sunday.