JORDAN Garrett’s fine knock has put Oxfordshire in a strong position heading into the final day of their Western Division encounter with Herefordshire.

The 20-year-old helped the hosts declare on 210-7 in their second innings at Challow & Childrey CC, following Herefordshire’s reply of 173.

It set the visitors a daunting target of 332 in the Unicorns Counties Championship clash, but they dug in to reduce the deficit to 249 for the loss of one wicket at the close.

Herefordshire resumed on 74-5, trailing by 220.

The visitors had only put one run on the board when Matt Warner (5-24) dismissed Alex Russell.

Barney Morgan (34) was involved in seventh and ninth-wicket partnerships of 25 and 29 as the tail dug in, before they were all out for 173 in the 67th over.

Oxon still led by 121 runs, but they needed Garrett’s superb innings to ensure they did not undo their hard work.

The hosts slipped to 51-4, Dan Conway (4-23) taking the first three wickets.

But Garrett, who hit 79 off 101 balls, including seven fours, led Oxon’s recovery.

A fifth-wicket stand of 60 with Tom Cosford (34) helped to steady the ship.

Although Cosford and Olly Clarke fell to leave Oxon on 136-6, Garrett and Gareth Andrew put on 63 for the seventh wicket.

The Gloucestershire 2nd batsman was eventually caught by Mahaaz Ahmed off Conway, but the hosts went on to declare on 210-7.

Herefordshire still had a couple of hours to make inroads into Oxon’s lead.

And they did just that with an opening partnership of 71, before Andrew had Jujhar Johal (31) caught behind by skipper Jonny Cater.

Matt Pardoe (39) and Ian Bullock then helped them reach 82-1 at the close.