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CRICKET: Future's bright for Oxfordshire
MINOR COUNTIES CHAMPIONSHIP
LUKE Ryan is already looking to 2014 as Oxfordshire complete their Western Division by taking on Devon at Sidmouth.
Oxfordshire’s captain feels there is reason to be optimistic about the future, even if they can finish no higher than mid-table this season.
Ryan’s men go into Sunday’s three-day match in seventh place, having won just one of their five games.
“We want to finish on a positive note, but we we have half an eye on next year,” said Ryan.
“In the last game we had an average age of 21 and that bodes well for the future.
“It is always good to give these young players the chance to play for Oxfordshire in a relatively non pressure situation, but still at this level.”
The emphasis on youth sees Joe Barrett and Richard Cook retain their places after making their debuts in the last match.
Opening batsman Richard Kaufman replaces Jamie Perkin as the only change from the side that drew with Herefordshire at Banbury.
Ryan has found his first season as captain frustrating at times, but is in it for the long haul.
“You always set out with the aspiration to win the competitions you play in because you don’t want to think that you will lose at any stage,” said Ryan.
“I think that we have got the squad to win things at Minor Counties level.
“Our batting has been a disappointment. We have not batted out our full 90 overs in the first innings at any stasge.
“That is definitely something we will reflect on, but our bowling and fielding has been good.
“We have shown the ability to bowl sides out again and again.
He added: “Captaincy has been a real learning curve for me.
“I have been happy with my bowling and captaincy in the field.
“I didn’t take on the captaincy for just one year. It is something that Rupert Evans (coach) and I can look to build on in the next few years.”
Oxfordshire: Kaufman (Old Northamptonians), Sabin (Banbury), Barrett (Shipton), West (Banbury), Cater (Banbury), Beard (Frocester), Cook (Aston Rowant), Keegan (Henley), Ryan (capt, Banbury), Vainker (Oxford), Penhale (Aston Rowant).