ALEX Davies scored a fluent 69 as Oxfordshire Under 17s posted their third successive ECB Cup victory with a 63-run success away to Bedfordshire at Southill Park.
Oxfordshire and Bedfordshire’s players and officials held a minute’s silence before the game in memory of under 14 player Felix Byam-Shaw, who died last weekend, and wore black arm bands as a mark of respect.
This victory means Oxon go into next week’s crunch game with Buckinghamshire knowing a win would secure a semi-final spot for the second year in a row, although defeat would almost certainly mean they fail to qualify as Bucks are also unbeaten so far.
Winning the toss, Oxon batted first and although losing Harry Ackland cheaply, they got off to a flying start.
Under 15 George Reid player, who was making his Under 17 debut, hit a fluent 39.
Davies, batting at No 3, looked in fine form with his 69 including three sixes and four fours.
Davies shared a partnership of 101 with Reid, before Hendrick Robyns (39no) and Leo Bethell (36) continued Oxfordshire’s momentum.
Callum Russell chipped in with a quickfire 20 not out at the end as Oxon posted a useful total of 268-5 from their 50 overs.
On a small ground, however, Oxfordshire knew they had to bowl and field well to defend their total, but the home side got off to a strong start with a 51-run opening partnership.
Rob Baxter led the way with an excellent 80, while Callum Riches hit 30 in just 19 balls.
But Saim Hussain, who took seven wickets against the same opposition last week in their championship match, returned fine figures of 3-37 from his ten overs to put Oxon in control.
Bethell claimed 3-28 and Adam Spears 2-24 as Bedfordshire fell to 205 all out with five overs remaining.
It leaves Oxon’s destiny very much in their own hands, but Buckinghamshire will provide an altogether sterner challenge in their next match at Radley College on Thursday.
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