Chad Keegan’s man-of-the-match performance was not quite enough as Oxfordshire lost by seven runs to Devon in the Unicorns Counties Trophy final at Wormsley yesterday.
Keegan scored 47 off just 34 balls to follow up his figures of 4-20, but he could not stop Devon lifting the trophy for a record-equalling fifth time.
Replying to Devon’s 203-9, Oxon looked dead and buried when they slumped to 95-6, but a 72-run partnership between Keegan and Richard West gave them real hope.
However, once Keegan was out lbw to the impressive Scott Barlow, Devon had the edge.
Devon elected to bat after winning the toss, but the cloudy conditions offered plenty of hope for Oxon’s seamers.
And they were rewarded in the third over when Keegan had Rob Woodman caught behind for two.
Ashley Blanchard opened up with a maiden before getting Liam Lewis to sky one to Keegan in his next over, making it 34-2.
Burke and Matt Thompson took the score past 50 in the 17th over and to three figures in the 30th.
The game came to life three overs later when off-spinner West was on a hat-trick.
Having bowled Thompson, he had Devon skipper Josh Bess caught by Nathan Hawkes, but David Lye survived the next ball.
Just when calm heads were required, Lye mistimed a cut to offer wicket-keeper Jonny Cater a soft catch for West’s third wicket.
Burke brought up his 50 off 93 balls, featuring seven fours, but Devon were struggling to cut loose.
And it was not long before he was caught behind off Keegan, leaving Devon 144-6.
Somerset-contracted seamer Jamie Overton was super-bly caught by Keegan at short extra cover off Luke Ryan after a run-a-ball 28.
Keegan then bowled Gary Chappell and was on a hat-trick when he trapped Trevor Anning lbw.
Barlow survived this and, alongside wicket-keeper Sandy Allen, took Devon to 203-9 at the close.
Blanchard and West (3-38) backed up Keegan’s efforts well.
Lloyd Sabin and Hugo Darby got Oxfordshire’s reply off to a decent start.
Sabin looked the more fluent before being caught behind off a sloppy shot.
That was 48-1 and Darby then ran himself out at 53-2, albeit thanks to a great throw from Lewis at mid-wicket.
Just when Hawkes and Kaufman were rebuilding, the latter gave a soft catch to Lewis at mid-wicket from spinner Chappell’s first ball.
A tricky situation was soon verging on disaster as Cater was out lbw to Burke, and Jamie Perkin was run out by Burke.
That was 85-5 and three wickets had fallen in 16 balls.
Overton’s return paid immediate dividends when he removed Hawkes lbw after a brisk 36, making it 95-6.
West and Keegan, who smashed a mammoth six over wide long on, took Oxon to 118-6 after 33 overs before a brief rain break intervened.
Keegan was dropped by Bess as Devon’s captain ran back to third man to attempt a tricky chance over his shoulder.
He finally fell lbw to Barlow for 47, leaving 37 needed with three wickets remaining.
But Ryan played on to Barlow, who then had Blanchard lbw from the next ball.
There was still time for West to carve a six over third man, but try as they might he and Karl Penhale came up short.
Scores: Devon 203-9 (50 ovs, J Burke 55, M Thompson 45, C Keegan 4-20, R West 3-38), Oxfordshire 196-9 (50 ovs, C Keegan 47, R West 38no, N Hawkes 36, S Barlow 4-25). Devon won by 7 runs.
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