After recent batting collapses, Oxford captain Ian Crosby urged his side to stand up and be counted ahead of their Serious Cricket Home Counties League Division 1 clash at Slough on Saturday.
Oxford seemed to be heading down the same road when losing four wickets for 42 after being put in to bat.
But it was Crosby himself, along with Jamie Perkin, who stood up and turned a potential batting crisis into their highest score of the season Crosby (91) and Perkin (82) added 158 for the fifth wicket and further support down the order saw them reach a massive 299-7.
It was not enough to secure a victory as Slough battled to a draw at 216-7, but the fighting display will have done wonders for Oxford’s confidence.
Things looked very different after the first hour.
Slough seamer Raja Nawaz knocked over the first four Oxford batsmen – including Stewart Laudat – in no time at all, to leave the visitors in big trouble.
But Perkin and Crosby went on the offensive and wrested the initiative from the Slough bowlers.
Perkin’s 82 came off 125 balls with ten fours, while the more aggressive Crosby took only 101 balls for his innings, which contained 14 fours.
Both departed within seven runs of each other.
But their lead was taken up by John Barrett with a run-a-ball unbeaten 53 and Mark Beer, who scored 38 not out from 46 deliveries.
Nawaz finished with damaged figures of 4-80 from 17 overs.
Beer then struck two early blows at the start of the Slough reply, dismissing Waqas Hussain and Shahid Yousaf.
When Geyhas Khan fell to Freddie Simon to make it 65-3, Oxford had hopes of forcing a victory.
But Nabil Shah’s rapid half-century, and good supporting innings from Feroz Baig and Bobby Sher kept Oxford at bay before they both fell to Shami Mendis.
Slough never looked like getting close, but secured a draw thanks to an unbroken eighth-wicket stand of 33.
Beer took 3-75 from 13 overs for Oxford, who were the happier team at the end of the match.
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