Jonny Cater hit an unbeaten century and Hugo Darby fell one run short of a ton on his debut as Oxfordshire took control on day two of their Unicorns Counties Championship Western Division clash against Shropshire at Bridgnorth.
Cater made 117 not out as Oxon passed 300 for the first time this season by reaching 323-6 to establish a first-innings lead of 39 runs.
Oxfordshire then reduced Shropshire to 184-7 in their second innings, leaving the hosts with a precarious lead of 145.
Resuming on 94-2, Oxon lost Lloyd Sabin without addition to his overnight 24 when he skied a catch to James Ralph at mid-on off Gurman Randhawa.
But Cater was then joined by Durham MCCU batsman Darby, who lives in Oxford, in a fourth-wicket stand of 154.
Darby hadn’t given a chance until he reached 99 when he agonisingly chopped a delivery from off-spinner Ralph into his stumps.
His runs had come off 215 balls with fours boundaries and one six.
Jamie Perkin was bowled by Randhawa one run later, but Chad Keegan smashed 40 off 20 balls as Oxon swept past Shropshire’s 284, before the stand-in skipper was caught behind off Ralph.
It left Cater undefeated at the close, with his chanceless innings coming off 143 balls with 13 fours and one six.
Keegan then got stuck into Shropshire with the ball, bowling Steve Leach for five.
Francois Vainker trapped fellow opener Joe Carrasco lbw with his left-arm spin, before Adrian Evans and Ryan Lockley shared a stand of 102 for the third wicket.
But the breakthough came when Evans edged a delivery from 15-year-old left-arm spinner Lloyd Belcher into Cater’s gloves for 52 and Lockley followed soon afterwards for 57.
And Belcher was again involved, taking a good catch at deep square leg off Keegan.
Sabin then reacted smartly to run out Omar Ali with a throw to Cater from mid-wicket, before Keegan ripped through Ralph’s defences for his third victim to leave Shropshire 162-6.
Belcher then struck a big blow in the last over when he had Randhawa caught by Keegan at short leg.
It saw Oxfordshire’s all-time youngest player finish the day with admirable figures of 2-32 from 18.3 well-controlled overs.
Scores: Shropshire 284 & 184-7 (R Lockley 57, A Evans 52), Oxfordshire 323-6 (J Cater 117no, H Darby 99).
12:00am Sunday 7th February 2016
OXFORD United season ticket holders will be able to buy tickets for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final at Wembley as of tomorrow.
3:00pm Saturday 6th February 2016
DEFENDER Canice Carroll has signed a professional contract with Oxford United.
12:40pm Saturday 6th February 2016
OXFORD United will announce full details at 1pm tomorrow on tickets for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final at Wembley.
10:19am Saturday 6th February 2016
OXFORD United's Sky Bet League Two game at Exeter City has been called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
10:00am Saturday 6th February 2016
SAM Slocombe is set to take over between the sticks as Oxford United make the trip to Exeter City in Sky Bet League Two this afternoon (3).
9:30am Saturday 6th February 2016
LIAM Sercombe expects an emotional return to Exeter City today but insists he is focused on one thing – an Oxford United victory.
8:30am Saturday 6th February 2016
Reece Chamdal, the 15th ranked English cadet, dominated the Oxford & District League’s junior tournament at Kidlington Forum.
8:30am Saturday 6th February 2016
Forum A suffered a shock defeat when losing 8-2 to Bicester A in Division 1 of the Oxford & District League.
8:20am Saturday 6th February 2016
Oxford City Stars and MK Thunder will compete for the John Cartwright Trophy in their English League South Division 1 match at Oxpens tomorrow.
7:50am Saturday 6th February 2016
CHRIS Webb came out on top in the Mason’s match at Aristotle Lane.