OXFORDSHIRE are on top after the first day of their Western Division encounter against Herefordshire.

Half-centuries from Tom Cosford and Gareth Andrew helped Oxon post 294 all out in the Unicorns Counties Championship fixture at Challow & Childrey CC.

Matt Warner then took four wickets as Herefordshire were reduced to 74-5, trailing their hosts by 220 runs.

Oxon elected to bat, but soon found themselves 17-1 as Harry Smith became Thomas Hage’s (4-69) first victim.

Freddie Smith was next to go, caught behind by Ian Bullock, as the hosts were restricted to 42-2.

Richard Kaufman (39) and Jordan Garrett dug in to put on a 49-run third-wicket stand, but they fell in quick succession, Barney Morgan (3-47) doing the damage, as Oxon slipped from 91-2 to 92-4.

The hosts needed another partnership to stabilise their innings and Cosford and captain Jonny Cater obliged with 48 runs for the fifth wicket to help them to 140-4.

But when the skipper was bowled by Hage and Olly Clarke dismissed for a duck, Oxon found themselves 141-6.

Two partnerships had helped hold the home side’s innings together so far, but Cosford and Andrew combined for the most crucial stand, putting on 65 for the seventh wicket.

Although Cosford, whose 76 came off 85 balls and included 14 boundaries, was dismissed, Andrew led the way as the lower order added to the total.

He finished unbeaten on 67 off 125 deliveries as Oxon posted 294.

Herefordshire had a couple of hours to make progress.

But Oxon seamer Warner (4-12) had other ideas, ripping through the top order to leave the visitors reeling on 44-4.

Rob Keat then trapped captain Matt Pardoe (32) leg before wicket as they slipped to 48-5.

But Herefordshire survived the rest of the day, with Russell and Hage steering them to 74-5.