Sharp begins 11th quest to win Minor Counties title
By Western Morning News | Saturday, June 09, 2012, 08:00
Cornwall start their Minor Counties Championship campaign tomorrow with a first visit to Eastnor, where they will play Herefordshire.
The venue is in the Malverns, on the outskirts of Ledbury, with Eastnor Castle providing the backdrop.
Cornwall skipper Tom Sharp, in his 11th season in charge, will be looking for a good start as the Duchy begin their quest for an elusive first title.
Cornwall have done well at Herefordshire under Sharp, having won the last three Championship games comfortably, plus a narrow one-day success four years ago.
However, memories will be fresh of a five-wicket defeat at Truro last August, when the visitors were set an enticing target in a game Cornwall were prepared to lose to give themselves a chance of victory and keep alive any title hopes.
The Duchy go into the game with two changes to the team that ended last year's Championship at Bournemouth. Sam Hockin missed the three-day games last year due to work commitments but has been included, along with professional Keith Parsons, who missed out at Dean Park due to his Unicorns commitments.
The two players making way are Kelvin Snell and Matt Rowe, who were both regulars throughout last season and featured in the Trophy games against Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire in May.
Callington's Jake Libby is included, having made his debut in the final game last year. He could hardly be better prepared, having just had a memorable bank holiday weekend. The 19-year-old hit back-to-back Premier League centuries with his 117 at St Austell followed by a superb 146 at New Road against Grampound Road on Monday.
The rest of the Cornish line-up has a familiar look, with Matt Robins and Dan Davis at the top of the order backed up by Parsons, Sharp and Chris Hunkin. Taylor Williams continues to keep wicket.
In what looks like a well-balanced team, Alex Smeeth provides the left-arm pace and Andrew Libby provides the slow left-arm option. Ben Kitt is playing for Nottinghamshire Academy in the Nottinghamshire Premier League.
Herefordshire give debuts to Andrew Kimberlin and Greg Leighton, who follows in his father's footsteps as they become the first father and son to represent the county at Minor Counties level.
Cornwall: T G Sharp (capt, Truro), M L Robins, J D Libby, A C Libby (all Callington), D F Davis (Thornbury), C A Hunkin (Grampound Road), T Williams (wkt, St Austell), A G Smeeth, SC Hockin (both Werrington), B M Kitt (Notts), K J Parsons (Taunton St Andrews).
Herefordshire: C W Boroughs (capt), M P Hingley, D J R Exall, S J Adshead, D J M Cox, A Kimberlin, N J Powell, G Leighton, C M Stewart, C T Griffiths, S Bevan.