CRICKET: Stronger Oxfordshire aiming to move up

Spinner francois Vainker has been brought back into the Oxfordshire

Spinner francois Vainker has been brought back into the Oxfordshire

First published in Sport The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy Sports Editor. Call me on 01865 425457

Oxfordshire will be trying to move off the bottom of the Western Division table when they take on Berkshire in a three-day contest at Great & Little Tew on Sunday (11am), writes MICHAEL KNOX.

Both counties have struggled with availability for their Championship matches this season and are tied at the foot of the table, having lost three of their four games.

However, Oxon did come desperately close to beating Shropshire in their last game, with Dorset’s last pair hanging on for a draw.

In that match, county captain Luke Ryan and his fellow Banbury spinner Jimmy Phillips hauled Oxon back into the game after a poor first day and so nearly secured an unlikely victory.

Evans said: “The encouraging thing about that game was that we batted for the full 90 overs in the first innings, which was something we didn’t do in the first three matches.

“I always felt we were in the game and it’s a shame that we didn’t win.”

Phillips is unavailable for the Berkshire game, so Francois Vainker, Oxon’s leading wicket-taker last season comes in to make it an all left- arm spin combination.

Oxon make two other enforced changes to the side, with Shabaz Alam and Chris Watling coming in for the unavailable batsmen Jamie Perkin and Richard Cook.

This team is a much more representative Oxon’s strength, which has seen them reach the finals of the Unicorns Trophy one-day competition later this month.

Oxon will conclude their Championship campaign against Cheshire at Nantwich from August 17-19.

Oxon team (v Berkshire): L Ryan (capt), S Alam J Cater , H Darby , R Kaufman, C Keegan, L Manley, K Penhale, L Sabin, F Vainker, C Watling.

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