CRICKET: Captain Ryan: Let's have fun

Luke Ryan celebrates a crucial catch from Michael Beard (right) in Oxfordshire’s trophy semi-final victory over Wiltshire. The captain now wants to recreate that atmosphere in Oxon’s Championship side

Luke Ryan celebrates a crucial catch from Michael Beard (right) in Oxfordshire’s trophy semi-final victory over Wiltshire. The captain now wants to recreate that atmosphere in Oxon’s Championship side

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

UNICORNS COUNTIES CHAMPIONSHIP

LUKE Ryan hopes the feelgood factor surrounding Oxfordshire’s 50-over side can rub off on their three-day outfit.

Captain Ryan praised the spirit that has seen Oxon reach the Unicorns Counties Trophy final for the first time.

And as they prepare for their Western Division clash with Dorset at Dean Park, starting on Sunday, Ryan would love to see more of the same.

“We have got to aim to enjoy ourselves,” he said.

“We have looked to express ourselves in one-day cricket and we have got to do the same in three-day matches.

“It’s really important that we build on the good atmosphere from the one-day games.

“When people are enjoying themselves, they will be keener to commit the time to play three-day cricket.”

Ryan’s comments come with Oxon having lost all three of their Championship games this season – in contrast to a 100 percent record in 50-over matches.

The division’s basement boys make four changes, with Ryan, Richard Cook, Karl Penhale, Jimmy Phillips coming in.

Francois Vainker, Vishane Perera, Lloyd Belcher and Will Rooney drop out.

Strike bowler Chad Keegan has declared himself fit following an ankle injury.

“I think we have got a really decent side out,” said Ryan, who missed the defeat to Shropshire with a neck problem.

“It’s definitely our stron-gest three-day side this season.”

Reflecting on the changes to the side, Ryan said: “Karl Penhale is one of the first seamers on the teamsheet.

“He gives it his all and has been very successful for us.

“Richard Cook batted very well at No 6 in the last game he played at Banbury.

“He looked really comfortable and we want to give him the chance to stake his claim.

“We want to build a side for the three day matches and he is a part of that.”

Dorset have named the same side that beat Herefordshire to record their first Championship win in two years.

Ryan highlighted all-rounder Tom Hicks as a dangerman for the hosts.

Oxfordshire: Ryan (capt, Banbury), Cater (Banbury), Cook (Aston Rowant), Darby (Spencer), Kaufman (Old Northamptonians), Keegan (Henley), Manley (Banbury), Penhale (Aston Rowant), Perkin (Oxford), Phillips, Sabin (both Banbury).

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