CALLUM Russell’s gutsy 57 not out led Oxfordshire to a thrilling four-wicket win at home to Buckinghamshire in their last ECB Under 17 Cup group match.
As a result, Oxon secured a place in the national semi-finals for the second year in succession.
After beating the same opposition in the two-day championship earlier in the week, Oxon put Bucks in to bat first on a green pitch at Radley College.
But the visitors got off to a solid start as Jordan Helps and Woody Bowcock shared 63 for the first wicket.
However, the introduction of spinner Max Mannering turned the tide in Oxon’s favour as he removed both inside three overs, before Mark Eteen fell for 22.
Mannering finished with 3-28 and Saim Hussain 3-24 as Bucks were dismissed for 166 in the 49th over.
Oxon’s reply did not get off to a good start as they quickly slumped to 28-3, including the dismissal of Jordan Garrett for 18.
Hendrick Robyns (33) and James Fitzjohn shared 48 for the fourth wicket, but when Fitzjohn was bowled and Robyns run out, followed quickly by Harry Ackland, lbw for one, Oxon were up against it at 97-6.
However, Russell and Jeremy Kirby (24no) held their nerve to see Oxon home with an unbroken 72-run stand.
Scores: Bucks Under 17 166 (W Bowcock 37, S Hussain 3-24, M Mannering 3-28), Oxfordshire Under 17 169-6 (C Russell 57no, H Robyns 33).
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