OXFORDSHIRE showed great battling qualities as their final Western Division match of the season at Cheshire ended in an enthralling draw.

Staring down the barrel following the opening day at Chester Broughton Hall, Oxon’s youthful bowling attack got them back in the game on Monday.

And yesterday they showed determination with the bat to set their rivals 260 off 41 overs, before another superb display with the ball almost brought an unlikely victory.

Resuming on 168-3, a lead of 20, Oxon progressed to 193 before Jordan Garrett was bowled by Wayne White.

Richard Kaufman and James Fitzjohn then shared a half-century stand before the former was trapped leg before by Danny Woods for 84.

Fitzjohn and Olly Clarke put on 52 for the sixth wicket, before White picked up a fourth wicket by bowling Fitzjohn.

He made it five when Callum Russell was caught by Ed Fluck at slip, and Harvey Eltham soon followed for one, caught by White off Matt Stewart.

At 317-8 – a lead of just 169 – Oxfordshire were in trouble.

But a swashbuckling 63 not out from No 10 Leo Bethell off only 40 balls helped them declare on 408-8, a lead of 260.

Bethell’s knock included six fours and four sixes in an unbroken eighth-wicket partnership of 91 with Clarke, who finished on 53 not out.

Cheshire went all out in a bid for quick runs.

But they lost wickets at regular intervals with Eltham again the stand-out bowler for Oxfordshire.

After claiming five victims in the first innings, the spinner added another four to end with match figures of 9-181.

At 100-4 off 20 overs, any result was possible.

But Cheshire soon realised the target was out of reach and shut up shop, only to be given a scare by Eltham and Clarke.

But time ran out, the hosts closing on 182-7.