Holders Berkshire, Devon, Herefordshire, Suffolk and Cheshire all booked their places in the quarter-finals of the National Counties Trophy on a rain-affected final day of group matches.
Devon’s six runs (DLS Method) win over Dorset in a cliff-hanger at Dorchester secured them a home quarter-final tie and decided a tight Group Two in which all five sides started the day with a mathematical chance of proressing.
Somerset paceman Ned Leonard was Devon’s matchwinner with five for 15, including four for five in his first four overs, which reduced Dorset to 16 for five.
But Bashley Rydal’s Jake Gordon rebuilt the innings with 45 on his Dorset debut with support from Ed Ellis (25) and Simon Woodruff (27).
Dorset, who were set a revised target of 144 in 32 overs after rain arrived six overs before the end of Devon’s innings, got within one blow of victory after Gordon thumped the third ball of Calum Haggett’s final over for six, but he was caught behind next ball.
Earlier Haggett had top scored with 70 in Devon’s 170 for five.
Herefordshire, who completed their group programme last week, had to monitor proceedings at Dorchester and Warminster, where Cornwall beat Wiltshire by two wickets, from Brockhampton where they were involved in a charity fund-raiser against the MCC.
At one stage it looked like Cornwall would overtake Herefordshire on net run rate after former Derbyshire and Essex all-rounder Greg Smith had thumped 65 from 35 balls.
Cornwall chased down a revised target of 193 in 25 overs with 26 balls to spare but they needed to get in there in 13.3 overs to improve their net run rate sufficient to overtake Herefordshire.
Cornwall were left disappointed as was Wiltshire opener Cameron Steel, the Durham batsman who is on loan at Hampshire.
Steel made 109 from 98 balls with 14 fours and two sixes and shared a fifth wicket stand of 118 with Wiltshire captain Ed Young.
Wiltshire were 242 for seven when rain curtailed their innings eight overs early, then Cornwall got their calculators out.
Cambridgeshire were the only side to win all four of their group matches which they completed with an emphatic 96 runs win over Norfolk at Peterborough to clinch top spot in Group Three and a home quarter-final.
Wayne White, the former Derbyshire, Lancashire and Leicestershire all-rounder, played the match-defining innings, striking 101 not out from 124 balls, his first century in the competition.
White added 136 in an unbroken seventh wicket partnership with Kieren MacKenzie, a new competition record for that wicket.
Cambridgeshire, who had already qualified for the knockout stages, were struggling at 126 for six, despite Waqas Hussain’s attacking 46, before White and MacKenzie turned the game in the final 22 overs of the innings.
Norfolk slipped to 96 for six in reply against disciplined bowling before Will Rogers shored up the innings with a half century.
Suffolk beat Hertfordshire by one run under the DLS Method in a thriller in the first competitive county match staged at Sudbury and joined Cambridgeshire in the last eight.
Suffolk coach Andy Northcote fell two runs short of a half century on his debut for the county at the age of 38.
Northcote shared a fifth wicket partnership of 75 with Ben Shepperson (52) before rain arrived with Suffolk handily placed on 204 for six after 36 overs.
Hertfordshire were set a revised target of 218 in the same number of overs and they appeared to be pacing their chase to perfection when they reached 170 for five after 25 overs.
But Hertfordshire collapsed to the left arm spin of Jack Beaumont with their last five wickets going down for 46 in five overs.
Beaumont finished with four for 31 including Abi Kulkarni who last man out – bowled for 33 – with 6.4 overs unused.
Oxfordshire beat Bedfordshire by seven wickets in a rain-affected Group Four match at Aston Rowant but it was not enough to secure their passage to the last eight.
Oxfordshire improved their net run rate by chasing down a revised target of 180 in 43 overs with almost eight overs to spare with Tom Haynes (44 not out), Jonny Cater (41 not out), Tom Cosford (40) and Harry Smith (35) leading the charge.
But Berkshire dashed Oxfordshire’s hopes of progressing by beating Buckinghamshire by nine wickets at Wargrave.
Berkshire spinners Chris Peploe and Max Uttley returned combined figures of 20-4-52-6 after solibut former Yorkshire batsman Elliot Callis (54) and 42 from Conrad Louth had given Buckinghamshire a solid start.
Buckinghamshire were 235 for eight when rain interrupted play with one ball remaining of their 50 overs and Berkshire were set a revised target of 194 in 32 overs when the players returned.
The target was further adjusted to 131 in 25 overs after another heavy shower and Berkshire got home with plenty of wickets, but just one ball, to spare thanks to opener Savin Perera’s 68-ball 72 not out.
Berkshire’s win was not sufficient to take them past Wales NC who topped the group by virtue of superior net run rate.
Wales NC finished top Group Four on superior net run rate.
Cheshire progressed to the last eight without bowling a ball after their Group One match against Staffordshire at Knypersley was abandoned.
Staffordshire needed to win to overtake Cheshire but the washout meant they missed out on inferior net run rate.
Rain also had the final say at Netherfield where Cumbria reduced Shropshire to 96 for six, 46 of them from Dan Lloyd, before play was halted.
By that stage Cumbria had already secured top spot in the group and a home quarter-final on July 18.
National Counties Trophy
Netherfield: Shropshire 96-6 v Cumbria. No result.
Knypersley: Staffordshire v Cheshire. Abandoned.
Dorchester: Devon 170-5 (Calum Haggett 70 not out), Dorset 137 (Ned Leonard 5-15). Devon won by six runs (DLS).
Warminster: Wiltshire 248-7 (Cameron Steel 109, Ed Young 66), Cornwall 196-8 (Greg Smith 65). Cornwall won by two wickets.
Peterborough: Cambridgeshire 262-6 (Wayne White 101 not out, Kieren MacKenzie 62 not out), Norfolk 166 (Will Rogers 52). Cambridgeshire won by 96 runs.
Sudbury: Suffolk 204-6 (Ben Shepperson 52), Hertfordshire 216 (Jack Beaumont 4-31). Suffolk won by one run (DLS)
Wargrave: Buckinghamshire 235-8 (Eliot Callis 54), Berkshire 135-1 (Savin Perera 72 not out). Berkshire won by nine wickets.
Aston Rowant: Bedfordshire 176, Oxfordshire 181-3. Oxfordshire won by seven wickets.
Brockhampton: MCC 139-4 (Evan Flowers 60) v Herefordshire. No result.