CRICKET: Cater again holds the fort for shaky Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire opener Shabaz Alam falls lbw to Devon’s Matt Golding.

Oxfordshire opener Shabaz Alam falls lbw to Devon’s Matt Golding.

First published in Sport

Jonny Cater once again carried Oxford-shire’s batting line-up as they had the worse of the opening day of their Unicorns Counties Championship Western Division match with Devon at Banbury yesterday.

Cater, who top-scored with 92 in their opening ten-wicket defeat by Wiltshire, made a fluent 65 as the hosts’ young side were all out for 252.

By the close, Devon had raced to 114-1 to put themselves in a strong position in this three-day encounter.

Oxfordshire fielded three Championship debutants.

Thame seamer Will Rooney and Oxford’s Alex Davies were in the original selection.

Then following the late withdrawal of seamer Liam Manley through injury, the selectors called up the young Aston Rowant left-armer Leo Bethell, who, like Davies, is at Abingdon School.

Choosing to bat first, Oxon made a slow start, the first five overs being maidens.

But Richard Kaufman and Shabaz Alam, who faced 105 balls for his 34, laid a solid platform.

Cater, whose 65 came off 72 deliveries with nine fours, shared a third-wicket stand of 87 with Richard Cook.

At 166-3, Oxon seemed set to top 300, but the loss of five wickets for 28 runs – three of them to the experienced Tre-vor Anning – lowered their horizons.

In the end, it needed a last- wicket stand of 40 between Karl Penhale and Jimmy Phillips for them to reach 252 in the 78th over.

There was early joy for Rooney, who took a wicket with his 11th ball in Championship cricket when having James Toms caught hooking at square leg.

But thereafter Liam Lewis and Rob Holman made light of the Oxon attack in an unbroken second-wicket stand of 104.

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