Cornwall captain Paul Smith | "We will be doing everything we can to make sure we qualify'<br>credit: Conrad Sutcliffe - no re-use without copyright owner's consent

CORNWALL captain Paul Smith refuses to see beating Devon to qualify for the NCA Trophy quarter-finals as a ‘Mission Impossible’.

Smith takes Cornwall to Cornwood CC tomorrow (11am) in the final round of qualifying games for a place in the knockout stages of the 50-over competition.

Group leaders Berkshire cannot finish outside the top two and are guaranteed a place in the last eight, irrespective of how they fare against Buckinghamshire in their last pool fixture.

Devon, currently second, will join Berkshire in the quarter-finals if they beat Cornwall. 

Cornwall can draw level on four points if they win at Cornwood, although an inferior net run-rate could militate against them going through. Devon (+1.57) have a distinct advantage over Cornwall (+0.53) should net run-rate become a factor.

Smith knows all this – and accepts that qualifying is a tall order. But it is not far-fetched to think it could happen.

“Beating Buckinghamshire (by 127 runs) last week as a crucial result for us as it gave us a chance of qualifying,” said Smith.

“We played really well against Bucks and made qualifying less of an impossible task.

“It will be a battle – we know that – but we will be doing everything we can to make sure we qualify.

“And the good thing for us is we are playing at Cornwood… and not just because it is picturesque!

“Cornwood has been good to us in the past – we won two Twenty20 games there last year – and it is a fast-scoring ground, which means chasing big totals is realistic.”

Devon go into the game on the back of convincing wins over Oxfordshire (160 runs) and Buckinghamshire (92 runs), both of which hoisted their net run-rate.

Dave Tall, the county club’s director of cricket, said he hopes the momentum generated will be maintained against Cornwall.

“The Buckinghamshire game was probably our best white-ball performance during my time in the job, not just because of the result,” said Tall.

“For the first time this team looked and acted like on that had the belief it could win.

“The team has come a long way in the past three years. Just as we showed in three-day cricket last season by winning our division, we are getting better all the time.

“Our reputation is growing all the time, so much so that I am getting phone calls from players outside the county asking if they can play?

“There is always room for improvement, but if we play as well as I know we can it will take a very good team to beat us.”

Devon have stuck with the same XI that beat Buckinghamshire at High Wycombe, plus Cornwood all-rounder Matt Skeemer. Will Christophers (hamstring) and Ben Beaumont (shoulder) remain on the injury list.

Cornwall have yet to finalise their side as filling-in for missing opener Toby Whiteford is proving a problem. Match professional Alex Blake, the former Kent batsman remains unavailable and Graham Wagg’s availability is not known.

Wagg, the former Warwickshire all-rounder, filled in for Cornwall against Berkshire in an earlier round.

Devon (from): J D Horler, M W Thompson, C M Sharland, C J Haggett, E H Hamilton, L S Walker, S O Read, B H Privett, M P Skeemer, M B Shepherd, J A Stephens, K B Szymanski.

Cornwall B M Taylor, K N Leathley, W A McVicar, M M Tryfonos, P S Smith, A W Bone, A J Hodgson, W J J Rowe, B A Ellis, E A F Whitford, A N Other.