Reigning champions Cumberland moved back to the top of the Eastern Division table ahead of the final round of fixtures on August 20 and 21. Simon Dutton's men contrived a fivewicket win over Buckinghamshire with some declaration bowling after the morning session on day two at Carlisle was lost to rain.
Buckinghamshire raced to 159 for one off only 22.3 overs to leave Cumberland a target of 175 in what proved 56 overs. They were 117 for five before Dutton (41 not out) and Martin Lewis (25 not out) saw them home with nine balls to spare. They now lead Lincolnshire by 12 points going into the final fixtures this weekend.
Shropshire stuck to their guns to wrap up their Western Division home programme on a winning note at Bridgnorth, bowling Berkshire out for 246 to claim a 22-run triumph.
Berkshire, chasing 269 in what proved 66 overs, looked favourites at tea when they had advanced to 85 without loss off 25 overs. Oswestry slow left-armer Ben Platt then weighed in with four quick wickets as 94 for nought became 106 for four, and at 120 for six the balance had shifted Shropshire's way.
Ex-England Test star John Emburey joined Stuart Seymour to hit a brisk 31 in a seventh-wicket stand of 83, but his run out was decisive and Platt then tempted Seymour (79) into a return catch. Platt finished with six for 92 off 23 overs and a match return of 12 for 169.
Minor Counties Championship:
Carlisle: Bucks 137 & 159-1 (GDT Paskins 76 not out, SG Lynch 69 not out) Cumberland 122-7 & 175-5 (AA Metcalfe 50) Cumberland (20) beat Bucks (3) by 5 wickets.
Bridgnorth: Shrops 226-7 & 257-7 (M Bamford 75, JT Ralph 61) Berks 215-6 and 246 (SA Seymour 79, GE Loveday 63, BWW Platt 6-92) Shrops (20) beat Berks (6) by 22 runs.