Devon end Minor Counties season with victory over Oxfordshire
Will Squire took four wickets and Rob Woodman three more as Devon finally completed a 128-run win over Oxfordshire in their final game of the season.
With Matt Thompson making centuries in both innings – something only done twice before by their batsmen since they joined the Minor Counties competition in 1901 – Devon declared 522 runs ahead between lunch and tea on day two.
Oxfordshire had two choices – go for it or hold out for a draw – and after reaching 89 for one overnight were just about in “go-for-it” mode.
The pace slackened during the third and final day, but with Richard Kaufman (74), Lloyd Sabin (92) and stonewaller Mike Beard with 64 in four hours and seven minutes all batting out time it was a struggle for Devon to take wickets.
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Devon were hampered by the absence of opening bowler Trevor Anning, who pulled a hamstring on day two and took no further part in the match.
They were already without spinner Chris Bradley who dropped out before the match, which meant trying to bowl out Oxfordshire without this season’s two leading wicket takers. Quite an ask.
Once Kaufman and Sabin were out of the way, followed briskly by Jonny Carter, Beard was joined by Richard West in a stand of 101 that detained the Devon attack for 37 overs.
Only when West was caught at third slip by Devon skipper Josh Bess off left-armer Woodman (3-18) at 304 for five did Devon start to make inroads on a regular basis.
Chad Keegan and Luke Ryan fell lbw to Squire (4-118) then Woodman found Beard’s edge and keeper Sandy Allen took the catch. Oxfordshire were 337 for eight then and had a little bit more than an hour to hold on. They very nearly did it.
Francois Vainiker (47) nursed Karl Penhale for nearly an hour as the pair added 50 for the ninth wicket. When Matt Kidd trapped Penhale lbw there were six overs to go.
Oxfordshire were taking it seriously now, a point made by last man Richard Cook coming out to bat with a broken finger in the hope of saving the game.
Cook survived an over in obvious discomfort, before Vainker went back on strike. Matt Golding took Vainker’s wicket to dismiss Oxfordshire for 393 with four overs left to play.