CORNWALL'S short mat bowlers will conclude their group matches in this season's Inter County Championship with fixtures away to Devon at the Manor House Hotel, Okehampton on Sunday, writes Nicholas Truscott.

The Premier Team trails Devon by 10 points in the table after five rounds of matches. 

To qualify for the Premier One Knockout, Cornwall have to score 26 out of a possible 40 points in the match. 

Both counties are missing key players who are away at the SMPT tournament. 

Hertfordshire or Oxfordshire are the likely opponents in the knockouts should Cornwall qualify.

The A Team needs 13 points to overhaul Dorset for second place in the group and a place in the knockout competition where Norfolk are the likely opponents in the play-off. 

A convoluted format in the A Team competition sees the second-placed teams from groups one and two playing off on the first weekend of the knockout matches, with the winners going forward to play the second-place team from group three. 

The winners of that match will join the three group winners in the semi-finals.  

The English Short Mat Bowling Association recently published the groupings and fixtures for the 2024/25 season.

Cornwall's Premier Team are in Group One alongside Devon, Somerset and Dorset.  

Cornwall's A Team are in Group Three again alongside Devon, Dorset and joined by Hampshire to make up a group of four. 

With a view to reducing the travel required for both Cornwall and Hampshire, officials from both counties had been seeking to arrange a double header fixture at a neutral venue. 

A recent communication from the ESMBA has, however, stated that double header fixtures will not be permitted in future. 

The CCSMBA management committee will discuss the situation at its next meeting in early January.