BERKSHIRE held their nerve to win the Minor Counties Cricket Association's KO Trophy by one-run in a dramatic final at The Wormsley Estate ground on Wednesday.

They were shot out for 144 in 46.4 overs by Cumberland before hitting back to restrict their rivals to 143-9 and win by the narrowest of margins, with two runs coming off the last ball.

Berkshire became the first side to successfully defend a total below 200 since the competition began in 1986, and it was the lowest-scoring final since Norfolk (135-4) defeated Wiltshire (134) in 2005 when the tie was played at Slough after a washout on the scheduled date at Lord’s.

This was Berkshire's fourth Trophy win in the last nine years and their fifth since 2004, but this was by far the closest they had come to losing in a final.

"We haven't been involved in such a close run-chase for some while, and I can't quite believe we have done it," said skipper James Morris after the game.

"I felt we were 40 to 50 runs short of what we considered a decent score on that wicket. So to be able to scrap and drag it back as we did was a great team effort."

But, after being put in to bat by Cumberland, Morris revealed it wasn't quite the wicket they were expecting to bat on.

The Datchet batsman explained: "This is in no way critical of the Wormsley groundstaff as they all do a brilliant job, but we felt it was a very different wicket to that we had experienced in our previous games here when we made scores of around 250 and higher.

"It was very dry and quite slow, took spin and it was difficult to get the ball away.

"Yet, although the wicket played differently, it produced a great game of cricket for the large crowd."

Berkshire did well to reach 144 as they looked in trouble at 91-7 in the 29th over, but Chris Peploe (31) and Tom Nugent added 40 vital runs for the eighth wicket with the latter going on to make 22 before being ninth man out.

Opener Jack Davies had also scored 31 earlier, having been dropped by fellow wicketkeeper Ben Howarth when on six, while Peploe should also have been caught when on 20.

Berkshire also benefitted from some sloppy fielding which gifted them a few crucial runs.

And they got off to a sensational start when Cumberland replied, with Luke Beaven having Sam Dutton smartly caught behind by Davies to the very first ball of the innings.

Beaven also trapped the other opener, Toby Mowat, lbw for seven (16-2) and Berkshire's ultra-efficient spin department went on to take all nine wickets.

The Northerners, who had made 186-3 when beating Wiltshire in the 2012 Trophy final, looked to be spiralling towards a heavy defeat at 65-7 with half their 50 overs completed, but their lower-order batsmen had different ideas.

A stand of 30 came to an end when Euan Woods bowled Liam Grey for 12, making it 95-8 in the 36th over.

Howarth was joined by Toby Bulcock, who had earlier taken 3-25 from 10 overs, and they started to edge their side closer to the target until the former fell lbw to Beaven for 18, with the total on 121-9 in the 43rd over.

But Bullcock, with a couple of boundaries, raised hopes of a Cumberland victory and going into the final over bowled by Nugent, they needed five to level the score and win by losing fewer wickets.

Adam Syddall managed only two off the first five deliveries and, with three needed off the last ball, he drove the Henley paceman to long-on, but could run only two – and it was time for Berkshire to celebrate another national title.

Last-man Syddall remained undefeated on 10, but the Cumberland supporters must have wished that the top-scoring Bulcock did not have an opportunity to add to his total of 29.

For Berkshire, Woods finished with 10-0-23-3, Beaven 10-1-31-3, Peploe 10-1-16-2, Ali Raja 10-1-27-1, Nugent 8-1-35-0 and Andy Rishton 2-0-7-0.

Cumberland, with a total of 12, scored four more boundaries than Berkshire during the game, which failed to produce a single six.

Peploe was voted man of the match, edging out keeper Davies who followed up his 31 with three good catches.

Morris continued: "Our spinners got all nine wickets, but credit to our two seamers (Nugent and Rishton) for the way they bowled to finish off the game.

“Tom’s final over may have looked nerveless, but it wasn’t for him. It’s not a job we have given him often, so for him to be able to take that on with such a huge amount on the line was fantastic.”