CRICKET: Youngsters excused school to make county debuts

The Oxford Times: Abingdon School pupils Alex Davies (left) and leo Bethell proudly wear the Oxfordshire shirt before facing Devon Abingdon School pupils Alex Davies (left) and leo Bethell proudly wear the Oxfordshire shirt before facing Devon

Two Abingdon School pupils were excused lessons this week to play for Oxfordshire.

Leo Bethell and Alex Davies made their Unicorns Counties Championship debuts in the match against Devon, which started at Banbury on Sunday.

The lads, both in the lower sixth, got the call-ups due to a number of senior players being unavailable for the scheduled three-day match.

Bethell, 16, a left-arm medium-pace bowler, who joined Aston Rowant this season from Oxford & Bletchingdon Nondescripts, bowled only three overs in the match, which Devon won by nine wickets inside two days.

But he did his best to try and extend the match into a third day – and perhaps miss another day of lessons – by being unbeaten on four in Oxfordshire’s second innings.

Davies, 17, a middle-order batsman who plays for the Oxford club, resisted well in the second innings.

The Oxfordshire under 17 player made 16 from 57 balls and shared a fifth-wicket stand of 58 – the best of the innings – with Richard Cook.

But once they were both dismissed, the innings folded, leaving Devon only 13 runs to win, which they achieved late on Monday.

“The school is very proud of them playing for Oxfordshire at such a young age,” said head of cricket Damian Shirazi, who plays with Bethell at Rowant.

“Both had finished their exams, so there was no problem getting time off school,” he added.

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