There has been a sensational twist in the race for this year’s Unicorns Counties Championship, ahead of this weekend’s final round of fixtures.

Following the penultimate round of games Shropshire regained top spot, five points ahead of Berkshire and ten points in front of Cornwall, following the Duchy’s rain affected draw with Berkshire at Grampound Road. However Shropshire played Scott Elstone in the victory against Cheshire at Nantwich. He had been a first class contracted player with Derbyshire until July 23.

He was then registered by Shropshire on July 29, two days prior to the last round of fixtures. According to Championship regulations, "A player who has been registered with a First Class County during the season must be registered for the Minor County he intends to play for, at least 14 clear days prior to the date scheduled for the first day of that Minor County's fifth round Championship match".

This regulation has been in force since 2012 and was introduced to discourage the use of professionals at short notice at the expense of regular players. According to MCCA regulations, this means that Shropshire "shall forfeit any points earned from that match". Therefore they have been deducted 24 points to leave the table reading Berkshire 88 points, Cornwall 83, Shropshire 69 and Cheshire 63.

Cornwall travel to Sidmouth this weekend knowing if they beat Devon, and Berkshire fail to beat Dorset at Finchampstead, Cornwall be the Western Division champions for only the second time. They have made one enforced change with Greg Smith unavailable for family reasons. He is replaced by Truro’s 23 year old batsman Connor Miles, who played in two Trophy games at the start of the season. He played in two championship games for Wales MC last year.

Cornwall: M L Robins (Capt), (Grampound Rd), M H Rowe (Henley-on-Thames), B L Wadlan, C B F Purchase (Penzance), A D Angove (Penzance), P S Smith (Werrington), J R Turpin (St Austell), S A Harvey (wk) (Truro), A C Libby (St Austell), J C J Stephens (St Just), C J Miles (Truro).