A FINE innings from Jonny Cater could not prevent a depleted Oxfordshire side from struggling on the opening day in their Unicorns County Championship Western Division match against Wiltshire at Banbury yesterday.
Cater hammered 92 as the hosts were bowled out for 228. By the close Wiltshire had raced to 151-2, only 77 runs behind.
Oxon had been hoping to include 14 year-old Jordan Garrett, who would have become their youngest-ever player in the Championship.
But the Great & Little Tew batsman was not released by Gloucestershire for the game.
After choosing to bat first, Oxon were soon in big trouble a 42-4.
The makeshift opening pair of Vishane Perera and Michael Beard, did not last long, while Shabaz Alam and youngster Curtly Slatter also fell cheaply.
It was left to Cater and Jasper Davies to rescue the innings.
They took the score to 94-4 at lunch and extended their fifth- wicket partnership to 100 before Davies fell for 13, made off 86 balls.
He played second fiddle to Cater, who contributed 86 of that partnership.
Cater was seventh out at 163, having made 92 from 114 balls with 14 fours.
Ashley Blanchard and debutant Faisal Khalid, from Leamington Spa, added 48 the for the eighth wicket to help Oxon past 200.
Wiltshire’s reply got off to a flier, with openers Jayden Levitt and Henry Langford putting on 101 in 17.3 overs as they punished Oxon’s inexperienced seam attack.
The hosts took two wickets before the close, but ended the day very much on the back foot.
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