OXFORDSHIRE never recovered from a dreadful start as they lost by six wickets to Suffolk in their Unicorns KO Trophy quarter-final at Banbury yesterday.

The hosts slumped to 12-4 after being put in to bat.

And although skipper Jonny Cater and Ollie Clarke produced a superb battling century partnership, their total of 190-8 from 50 overs was never enough to test the visitors.

Oxon’s hopes of a semi-final place were in ruins by the 11th over, in which time Suffolk seamer Tom Rash had dismissed Harry Smith, Jamie Perkin and then Jordan Garrett for a third-ball duck.

At the other end, Richard Kaufman fell to James Poulson for one.

No praise can be to high for the spirited response from Cater and Clarke.

They steadied the ship before accelerating the run rate in a fifth-wicket stand of 138 in 35 overs.

Cater, who hit a six and five fours in his 63 which came of 127 balls, fell first.

Clarke, who brought up his half-century with one of his two sixes, soon followed for an excellent 75 from 107 balls.

However, No 9 Tom Price (15no) was the only other batsman to reach double figures

Rash returned late on to finish with a match-winning 5-34 in ten overs.

Oxon’s bowlers needed an early breakthrough – and got one when Gareth Andrew bowled Suffolk opener Jake Foley for nought.

But Jaik Mickleburgh and Kyron Young counter-attacked, adding 78 for the second wicket in 13 overs.

At 108-3, with all three wickets having fallen to catches by Perkin at first slip, there was a slight hope for Oxon, but Darren Batch and Darren Ironside helped Suffolk home with 13.5 overs to spare.