TEENAGER Olly Clarke believes Oxfordshire would have had an “exceptional” year if they were to finish with a fifth victory in a row.

And that adjective is not far off how you would describe the left-arm spinner’s own performances in a young side who have flourished in the three-day format.

Clarke has bowled impressively all summer for county and club, highlighted by two scintillating displays against Wales and Cornwall when he finished with match figures of 12-157 and 8-78 respectively.

The 19-year-old has also been performing well for Banbury in the Home Counties Premier League, taking 49 wickets – his best haul in a single season.

Has Clarke been surprised by his form?

“Yes, a little,” said the Loughborough University student.

“I’ve been working quite hard on my bowling, particularly over the winter.

“I felt like I was in a good place with it, but I’ve taken quite a few wickets this year, probably more than I expected.”

A lot has been made of former Worcestershire seamer Gareth Andrew’s impact for Oxon.

But it is not just his individual performances which have helped the side, with the 34-year-old’s advice proving equally crucial.

Clarke, who has also been playing for Leicestershire’s 2nd XI this year, said: “He has been great to have around and definitely helped all of our younger players at some point over the season.

“He’s certainly helped my bowling with placing fielders and understanding how to get people out.”

Oxon begin their final Minor Counties Championship fixture of the season against Wiltshire at Marlborough CC on Sunday.

After recording two wins in 2017, the side are now targeting an impressive fifth successive victory.

And Clarke believes it would be quite an achievement for Oxon’s fledgling team.

He said: “In the three-day format, we’ve gone really well since we lost the first game against Berkshire, we’ve won every game and it’s been really good.

“Obviously we were not expecting to do so well and to finish with five wins would be exceptional.”

Oxon make four changes, with Harry Smith named captain in the absence of Jonny Cater.

George Reid, Max Mannering, Robbie Shurmer and Chris Humphreys are all handed debuts

Oxfordshire: H Smith (Gt Tew, capt), G Andrew (Ombersley), O Clarke (Banbury), T Condon (Aston Rowant), C Humphreys (Oxford), M Mannering (Cumnor), G Reid (Aston Rowant), C Russell (Thame Tn), R Shurmer (Gt Tew), O Tong-Jones (Oxford), M Warner (Chesham).