DEVON have their work cut out to stay in the game after a disastrous first day against Berkshire.
Berkshire, going for a third successive Unicorns Championship title, ran up a hefty total of424 for seven in the 90 overs allowed in the first innings.
Waqas Hussain scored 192 and there were half-centuries for his opening partner Archie Carter and skipper James Morris.
Devon were 54 for six in at last night’s close, which came a couple of balls earlier than intended when Joe Thompson was caught behind for a duck. George Allen had 13; no one else made it past nine.
Devon arrived at Falkland CC on the outskirts of Newbury still looking for their first Championship win of the season. It is hard to see them getting it in this game.
Devon need to reach 275 to avoid being asked to follow-on, although there is no guarantee Berkshire would enforce it given the conditions.
It’s almost sub-tropical at Falkland – as Devon discovered the hard way – and Berkshire skipper Morris may prefer to give his troops a breather in the shade.
Keith Donohue, Devon’s director of cricket, wasn’t looking as far ahead as a potential follow-on. He just wants to make a game of it.
“We have got a potential 70 overs to bat yet and we need some of our lads to get some runs and keep us in the game,” said Donohue.
“It is pointless talking about avoiding the follow-on when we have to get into the high 270s – we just have to bat for as long as we can.”
Waqas certainly batted as long as he could – staying out there a fraction under four and half hours.
Berkshire didn’t lose a wicket in the 40 overs up to lunch and it was five overs after the interval that Devon broke a first-wicket stand of 146 when skipper Josh Bess had Carter caught at mid-off for 53.
Waqas and Andy Rishton (40) hoisted 84 more for the second wicket and were relatively untroubled apart most of the time, although Waqas was dropped at slip in the 90s early in the partnership.
Thompson was deployed as a partnership breaker and did the job second ball with a juggled return catch to remove Rishton.
Hussain was the third man out, lbw to Joe Hagan-Burt when he had a double ton in his sights. He faced 248 balls, hit 21 fours and two sixes and was dropped either side of a hundred.
Morris (76 off 68 balls) just made matters worse for Devon before the overs ran out.
It looked a huge total, but Donohue felt it could have been worse.
“Our slow bowlers – Max Hancock and Jamie Stephens in particular - found ways to stop Berkshire totally running away with it,” said Donohue.
"It was a bad toss to lose as the lads had to field for 90 overs in a furnace, then bat on a pitch already showing signs of movement."
Berkshire 424-7 (W Hussain 192, J C Morris 76, A Carter 53, J A J Rishton 40; J O Hagan-Burt 2-50), Devon 54-6 (C T Peploe 2-7, T M Nugent 2-19).