CRICKET: Oxfordshire denied by Berkshire and the rain

Chad Keegan beats Simon Macey with a bouncer

Chad Keegan beats Simon Macey with a bouncer

First published in Sport

OXFORDSHIRE’S hopes of recording a first Unicorns Counties Championship Western Division win of the campaign were foiled by the weather and some stubborn Berkshire batting at Great & Little Tew yesterday.

Oxon were already firmly in command when they resumed their second innings 252 ahead with five wickets remaining and a first county century from Chris Watling took the game further ahead of their rivals.

After Chad Keegan added just a single to his overnight 41 before being caught by James Morris off Matt Carter, Watling and Francois Vainker put on a further 115 before Oxon declared on 349-6, setting Berkshire 371 to win.

Aston Rowant’s Watling hit 12 fours and three sixes in his unbeaten 107, which came off 160 balls, while Vainker’s 58 not out contained 12 fours. Both were career-best scores for the county.

When former Middlesex seamer Keegan had Harry Stephens caught by Vainker at mid-off off the fifth ball of Berkshire’s second innings, Oxon must have harboured hopes of a victory.

Simon Macey and David Barnes dug in until lunch, which was followed by a rain delay of 65 minutes.

Despite using six bowlers, Oxon could not prise them apart before tea and no further play was possible afterwards following a spell of heavy rain.

Berkshire closed on 108-1, Macey having reached a half- century.

Oxon’s extra point from the game means they move one above Berkshire at the bottom of the table with one game remaining.

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