Oxfordshire Under 17s agonisingly missed out on the ECB Championship by a solitary point after a disappointing defeat by Herefordshire at Eastnor.
Going into the game unbeaten, Oxon needed only six points to secure the title, but after a poor first innings batting display, they were always up against it, and finished with just five bonus points in a first innings loss.
Captain James Fitzjohn lost a crucial toss and Oxfordshire were inserted on a wet and slow pitch, and were quickly in trouble at 6-2.
Rain then forced the players off, and when they resumed at 5pm, they managed to reach 99-4 by the close.
However, day two saw Oxon collapse, losing their final six wickets for just 45 runs as they were shot out for 144, only Alex Davies (63) looking in any form.
When the home side put on 69 for the first wicket, Oxon were always going to be up against it.
But Jonny Meardon rem-oved Jack Taylor for 33 and Adam Spears bowled Rob Protheroe for 40, and that saw Oxon claw their way back into the game.
But Herefordshire got to the target with six wickets down, before going on to be dismissed for 180, giving Oxon the maximum four bowling points.
Davies returned 3-21 from 9.4 overs.
This left Oxfordshire just 16 overs in the match, in which time they needed to score 150 to secure the two batting points needed for the championship.
But it was not to be as they threw the bat at everything to be bowled out for 118 in 14.2 overs, Fitzjohn top-scoring with 33.
It all meant that Bedfordshire, who Oxon narrowly missed beating by an innings earlier in the season, secured the title by a point.
Oxon now will re-focus their attention on the ECB National Cup semi-final, where they will host Leicestershire at Wormsley on Thursday, August 28.
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