CRICKET: Skipper Ryan backs Oxfordshire to march on

Nathan Hawkes returns for Oxfordshire’s quarter-final against Cumberland

Nathan Hawkes returns for Oxfordshire’s quarter-final against Cumberland

First published in Sport by , Sports reporter specialising in horse racing. Call me on 01865 425453

Skipper Luke Ryan is confident Oxfordshire can send Cumberland packing in the Unicorns Counties Trophy quarter-final at Bicester & North Oxford on Sunday (11am).

Oxon have reached the last eight by winning their four group games.

And Ryan is able to name a full-strength side with Banbury’s destructive batsman, Nathan Hawkes, who has been unavailable until now, returning in place of Damian Shirazi.

The captain said: “He is a terrific batter at this level and can win a game on his own.

“It is fantastic to have him in the side and really strengthens our batting.”

And he added: “We are playing good one-day cricket at the moment and I would take us to beat any Minor Counties side on the day.

“We have really got ourselves sorted in one-day cricket with our roles and responsibilities and everyone has played a part.

“We are in a great place to nail the quarter-final.”

Hawkes will bat at No 3, with Lloyd Sabin stepping up to join Richard Kaufman in opening the innings.

A feature of Oxfordshire’s displays this season has been the depth of their batting, and Ryan believes that stands them in good stead for their latest test.

“We have lost a couple of wicket early on and our middle to lower order have stepped up and scored quickly with over 100 runs in the last ten overs on a couple of occasions to get us up to competitive totals,” he said.

Ryan admitted to not knowing much about Cumberland’s side apart from the fact they include Gary Pratt, who is famous for running out Australia captain Ricky Ponting while on the pitch as a substitute fielder in the Ashes Test at Trent Bridge in 2005.

But he added: “They are probably an experienced side that have played a lot of league cricket up there.”

Oxfordshire: L Ryan (capt), A Blanchard, J Cater, N Hawkes (all Banbury), R Kaufman (Old Northamptonians), C Keegan (Henley), L Manley (Banbury), K Penhale (Aston Rowant), L Sabin (Banbury), C Watling (Aston Rowant), R West (Banbury).

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Oxford Mail:

2:00pm Friday 19th December 2014

BRIAN Howard’s situation at Oxford United is unclear after head coach Michael Appleton admitted he did not know whether the midfielder would be offered an extension to his short-term contract.

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12:33pm Friday 19th December 2014

PIRI Weepu returns to the London Welsh starting line-up for tomorrow's Aviva Premiership fixture with Saracens at Allianz Park (KO 3pm).

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Oxford Mail:

12:00pm Friday 19th December 2014

JOSH Ashby is good enough to play in Oxford United’s side right now, but the teenager knows his time will come, according to head coach Michael Appleton.

Worried Hartlepool boss compares Oxford United to Real Madrid after scouting trip

Oxford Mail:

9:40am Friday 19th December 2014

RONNIE Moore is braced for a tough first game in charge of Hartlepool United after comparing opponents Oxford United to Real Madrid.

Oxford United striker John Campbell is keen to make his mark at Hartlepool

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Friday 19th December 2014

John Campbell admits it would be difficult to keep his kit on if he was able to make an impact on debut for Oxford United tomorrow.

Interactive match preview: Appleton and Hylton on goals; Moore likens United to Real Madrid; Howard's future; Ashby; club stalwart departs + video

Oxford Mail:

9:34am Friday 19th December 2014

Get ready for kick-off with our interactive preview of Oxford United's trip to Hartlepool

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Oxford Mail:

9:10am Friday 19th December 2014

THERE were times earlier this season when it felt like Danny Hylton was scoring in every game, but Oxford United’s top scorer is not getting weighed down by a sudden barren run in front of goal.

Appleton puts faith in his poachers to improve Oxford United's goal return

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Friday 19th December 2014

FINDING a predator to turn dominance into goals has been an Achilles’ heel for Oxford United this season, but Michael Appleton is hopeful two candidates will emerge over the festive period.

Oxford United lay on three free supporter coaches for Hartlepool trip

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Friday 19th December 2014

ABOUT 150 supporters have taken advantage of Oxford United’s offer of free transport to tomorrow’s game at Hartlepool United.

FOOTBALL: North Leigh boss Mark Gee is wary of Wantage threat

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7:30am Friday 19th December 2014

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