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).
9:40am Monday 3rd August 2015
MICHAEL Appleton declared Oxford United were ready for the competitive football to start after they outplayed Coventry City without getting their rewards in a goalless draw.
9:34am Monday 3rd August 2015
MICKEY Lewis is back in football less than a month after parting company with Oxford United.
9:10am Monday 3rd August 2015
DANNY Hylton’s missed spot-kicki against Coventry City could cost the forward his role as Oxford United’s main penalty taker this season.
10:32am Monday 3rd August 2015
OXFORD United have been handed a bye in the first round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
8:30am Monday 3rd August 2015
ANUPAM Sanklecha took seven wickets as Shipton-under-Wychwood returned to winnings way in Division 2 with a five-wicket victory over Gerrards Cross.
7:30am Monday 3rd August 2015
7:10am Monday 3rd August 2015
OXFORD City were well beaten as they ended pre-season with a 4-1 defeat at Solihull Moors.
6:20am Monday 3rd August 2015
HUGO Darby scored 92 as Oxfordshire hold the upper hand against Cornwall after the first day of their Unicorns Counties Championship clash at Banbury.
6:00am Monday 3rd August 2015
BANBURY lost ground in the Division 1 title race after they were beaten by three wickets at leaders Henley.
4:49pm Saturday 1st August 2015
OXFORD United hit the woodwork three times and missed a penalty as they finished pre-season with a strong display but a goalless draw with Coventry City.