JONNY Cater fell one run short of a century as Oxfordshire battled back from a nightmare start on the first day of their Western Division clash at home to Devon.

Oxon suffered a horrific opening to their innings at Banbury, slipping to 5-3.

But captain Cater (99) led the home side’s revival before they were dismissed for 219 in the 83rd over.

Harvey Eltham and Leo Bethell then took a wicket apiece as Devon ended the day on 87-2.

Oxon chose to bat, but any hopes of making a strong start were scuppered in the first eight overs.

Tom Condon and Miles Hammond were removed for ducks by Devon skipper Josh Bess to leave the hosts reeling on 1-2.

And opener Lloyd Sabin, who had only scored five, was trapped leg before by Hugo Whitlock as Oxon crumbled to 5-3.

The hosts needed to respond and captain Cater led the way, putting on a 134-run fourth-wicket partnership with Jordan Garrett (51).

The latter was stumped by Max Curtis off the bowling of Jamie Stephens (3-50), before Richard Kaufman quickly followed as he was caught in the slips by Zak Bess to leave Oxon on 142-5.

Cater and Harrison Ward added 36 for the sixth wicket, but the skipper, who hit 17 fours in his superb innings, was the next to go in bizarre circumstances.

Oxon’s captain went down the wicket to try to bring up his century, but the ball struck his pads.

With Devon appealing for leg before, the ball was picked up at second slip and thrown to the keeper, who ran out a stranded Cater.

Oxon then lost four wickets for 16 runs.

But a tenth-wicket stand of 25 between Bethell and Brad Taylor helped Oxon over the 200-mark, before the latter was trapped leg before by George Benton.

Devon got off to a solid start in reply, openers Reid Mawdsley and Luke Bess putting on 30.

But Bethell trapped Bess leg before and spinner Eltham dismissed Mawdsley to leave the visitors on 68-2.

However, Oxon were unable to take another wicket as James Burke and Matt Golding played out the first day.