ALEX Barrow crafted a maiden Minor Counties century as Devon came out fighting against Cornwall on day two at Werrington.
Cornwall dominated the first after bowling Devon out for 136 then reaching 216 for seven.
Werrington seamer Tom Dinnis took five Devon wickets on day one and clubmate and captain Paul Smith held the reply together with a studious 49 after a mid-innings wobble.
Smith went on to reach 83 not out in Cornwall’s first innings total of 271 all out, which gave them a lead of 162. Devon skipper Josh Bess (3-31) took two of the wickets to fall in the pre-lunch session.
Devon had some work to do to catch up and in Barrow they had just the man for the job.
The former Somerset staffer went in first wicket down in the fourth over and made himself at home for more than four hours.
Stands of 63 with Josh Mailling (26) and 133 with Matt Thompson (40) wiped out the deficit.
Cornwall had a hard time in the field between lunch and tea. Devon scored 139 runs for the loss of Mailling. With temperatures hovering in the high 80s, fielders must have felt like Foreign Legionnaires with blisters looking for an oasis in the desert.
Barrow brought his ton up with a tip-run single through the covers. He kept going past 150 and was had reached 163 when his time was up.
Barrow went to play Jake Libby through mid-wicket, but only succeeded in spooning a catch to Lewis Goldsworthy.
Dan Pyle was in and out for a stifled 19. He was the last man to go in Devon’s total of 298 for five.
Skipper Bess, 38 not out at the close, had every right to feel satisfied with Devon’s outcomes for the day. Having been 163 behind on first innings, they go into the final day 162 ahead with five wickets intact.
The decision facing Bess is how much longer to bat on before declaring? Wickets were hard to come by on day two and are unlikely to be any easier to gain on the final day, when Devon will need to take 10 to win the game.
Keith Donohue, Devon’s director of cricket, was encouraged by his side’s improvements on day two.
“To borrow an appropriate phrase from football parlance, today we turned up” said Donohue.
“Alex batted superbly, never letting the bowlers or the fielders settle with his eye for a run.
“I still think Cornwall are on top, but we have fought our way back into the game and given ourselves a chance.”
Godfrey Furse, Cornwall’s team manager, was in thoughtful mood at close of play.
“When the opposition are 291for five, there have not been that many highlights for us,” said Furse.
“Paul Smith carried on where he left off on Sunday with an innings of high importance.
“I think the way our bowlers stuck at it on a batsman’s wicket, deserves praise.”
Devon 136 (J J Bess 58; T J Dinnis 5-46, A C Libby 2-9, J D Libby 2-41) & 298-5 (A W R Barrow 163, J J Bess 38no, M W Thompson 40), Cornwall 271 (J D Libby 67, P A Smith 83, L P Goldsworthy 32; J J Bess 3-31, J A Stephens 6-92).