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Berkshire lose out in title quest

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Devon defeat ends championship and double hopes in advance of Thursday date at Lord's

BERKSHIRE'S depleted side crashed to a 10-wicket defeat in Devon to hand their opponents the Minor Counties Western Division title.

It is the second year in succession that the seaosn-long leaders have thrown away their chances of qualifying for the national championship final at the final hurdle.

Monday's play in Sidmouth had started well for Berkshire as they reduced Devon from 171-1 to 241-7 with spinner Euan Brock taking four wickets and Shaun Udal two.

But skipper Neil Hancock (58) and Matt Thompson (60 not out) added 102 for the eighth wicket and Devon went on to reach 364-8 in their 90 overs, a lead of 85.

Berkshire's second innings was a disaster. Michael Roberts was bowled for six and Jono McLean for a duck in the same over.

They never recovered and were all out for 107 with Udal's 21 the top score.

The defeat came as an unwelcome blow to morale in advance of Thursday's trip to Lord's to take on Hertfordshire in the Knock-Out Trophy final, although Berkshire will be buoyed by the return from suspension of skipper Bjorn Mordt, Carl Crowe and Steve Naylor.

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