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CRICKET: Semi-final sorrow for Oxon's battlers
11:00am Wednesday 21st August 2013 in Sport
OXFORDSHIRE suffered Yorkshire Bank County Cup semi-final heartbreak as the under 17 boys fell to an 86-run defeat against a very strong Gloucestershire side at Stonesfield on Sunday.
Oxon had reached the last four by topping their group, but found Gloucestershire a step too far as the visitors posted a comprehensive win to book their place in the final on September 1.
But Oxon performed with great credit against a side unbeaten in all competitions this season, and did superbly to bowl their visitors out for 236 – the first time this season Gloucestershire had been all out.
Visiting skipper Tom Smith won the toss and had no hesitation in opting to bat first on a flat Stonesfield pitch.
But Smith himself, who had scored six successive championship and cup centuries, soon fell for 10 as Tom Costley struck early.
A fine second-wicket stand of 95 between Dan Lezar and Will Pascall put Gloucestershire on track, and although Lezar fell for 35, Pascall continued on his way to a magnificent century.
With wickets falling regularly the other end, Pascall’s 106 was the stand-out innings of the day.
For Oxfordshire, pick of the bowlers was Lawrence Brock, who returned superb figures of 4-33 from 9.5 overs.
Oxon were well satisfied with dismissing their visitors for 236, but they were quickly in trouble at 38-3 as Tom Condon, Markus Jeacock and Costley all fell cheaply to the pace of Immy Ahmadzai, who finished with 3-15 from ten overs.
The middle order showed some resolve, but no-one could really get going as they fell away to 150 all out with five overs remaining.
Saim Hussain top-scored with 28 and was last man out as Gloucestershire sealed an 86-run victory.
Despite the result, Oxon can be rightly proud of their efforts, and with seven under 16s in the side, it augurs well for the next campaign.
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