BERKSHIRE have retained the Western Division title despite seeing their run of 12 successive wins – including two in national finals – come to an end this week when they were held to a draw by Cornwall at St Austell.

With title rivals Oxfordshire and Dorset also failing to register a win, Berkshire have opened up an unassailable 25-point lead going into the final round of matches.

The defending champions met with stubborn resistance from an inexperienced Cornwall side and were involved in their tightest finish to a Championship game for some time.

In a rain-affected match, Berkshire were bowled out for 226 in their first innings – Chris Peploe top-scoring with 41 – before dismissing their hosts for 186, with Tom Nugent taking 5-53 and Peploe 3-46.

Their second innings saw an outstanding innings of 111 from teenager Jack Davies as they made 207-8 declared to set their hosts a target of 248 to win in what turned out to be 71 overs.

Berkshire sent Cornwall sliding from 80-2 to 98-6, but a stubborn seventh-wicket stand of 61 went a long way towards the West Country side holding out for a creditable draw at 175-8. Euan Woods finished with 3-43, Luke Beaven 2-27 and Peploe 2-40.

Berkshire next play third-in-the-table Dorset at Wargrave CC on September 1-3, but before that, they have the Unicorns Trophy final against Cumberland at Wormsley on Wednesday of next week.

The last time they met Cumberland was in the Trophy semi-final at Falkland CC in 2011 which they won by 58 runs, before going on to beat Hertfordshire in the final at Lord's.

Of that semi-final team, only James Morris and Luke Beaven remain, but it did also include Tom Lambert, the county's current performance manager.

"I didn't expect to play in that game as I had retired the season before," said Lambert who took 4-42 in 8.3 overs.

"But Bjorn (Mordt), the captain at the time, had injury problems in the team and he asked me to come back. It turned out to be a very enjoyable day. I managed to sneak into the team for the final as well and I got one wicket at Lord's."