NATIONAL COUNTIES Oxfordshire tame champions

NCCA-Logo MasterOxfordshire again proved a thorn in the side of defending champions Berkshire as they took the first day honours at Thame in Western Division One. 

Opener Ollie Ebsworth-Burland again enjoyed himself on his home club ground by anchoring Oxfordshire’s first innings with 81. Ebsworth-Burland made a century on his only previous county appearance two years ago, also at Thame. 

He shared a fifth wicket stand of 95 with captain Jonny Cater, which rescued Oxfordshire from 76 for four before George Tait (71) and Gareth Andrew (40) added 99 for the seventh wicket. 

Andrew then took three for 18 to reduce Berkshire to 27 for four before Euan Woods and Andy Rishton took them to 53 for four at the close. 

Cheshire left-arm seamer Ben Gibbon took his first five wicket haul to help increase Wiltshire’s relegation worries at Alderley Edge. 

Wiltshire opted to bat first under heavy cloud cover and were soon in trouble at 38 for five before Chris Aubrey (40) and Ben Draper (35) shored up the innings. 

Wiltshire were eventually dismissed for 146 after a stoppage for rain and Cheshire replied with 49 for two, with debutant Henry Dobson making all but seven of those runs in a confident innings. 

Herefordshire improved their promotion prospects from Western Division Two thanks to five wickets from pace bowler Awais Mohammed against Wales NC at Eastnor. 

Mohammed, who plays for Berkswell in the Birmingham & District Premier League, was making only his second appearance for Herefordshire but he tore through Wales’ top order to 65 for seven.  

Herefordshire failed to build on an opening partnership of 82 between Ben Chapman-Lilley and captain Matt Pardoe (42) after Pardoe had opted to bat first. 

They were dismissed for 165 with former Glamorgan off-spinner Kieran Bull taking his first five wicket haul for Wales. Leg-spinner Sam Pearce took four for 32 before Mohammed took centre stage. 

Bull and Pearce then combined with the bat to help Wales recover to 94 for seven at the close. 

Cornwall opener Olly Westbury enjoyed himself against Shropshire, his former county, by making a his first century in the competition at Bridgnorth. 

Westbury played for Shropshire between 2016 and 2019 while he was on Worcestershire’s staff but he was recruited by Cornwall earlier this season. 

He made 124 not out from 250 balls before being run out having shared a fourth wicket partnership of 114 with Matt Robins (73). 

Experienced former Warwickshire, Derbyshire and Glamorgan all-rounder Graham Wagg again led Shropshire’s attack by taking six for 53, his best figures in the competition. 

National Counties Championship (Day 1 of 3) 
Paly resumes today at 1100 * weather-permitting  

Western Division One
Alderley Edge: Wiltshire 146 (Ben Gibbon 5-43), Cheshire 49-2
Thame: Oxfordshire 294-8 dec (Ollie Ebsworth-Burland 81, George Tait 71), Berkshire 53-4. 

Western Division Two
Eastnor: Herefordshire 165 (Kieran Bull 5-59), Wales NC 94-7 (Awais Mohammed 5-38)
Bridgnorth: Cornwall 317 (Olly Westbury 124 not out, Matt Robins 73, Graham Wagg 6-53) v Shropshire 

Eastern Division One
Sleaford: Lincolnshire 160 (Matt Wareing 5-28) Suffolk 220-2 (Kyran Young 84 not out, Joe Gatting 65 not out, Darren Ironside 54)
Longton: Cambridgeshire 40 (James Cox 4-5, Alex Coates 4-25), Staffordshire 286-4 (Zen Malik 102, Michael Hill 88) 

Eastern Division Two
Furness: Cumbria 297 (Sam Dutton 56, Paul Hindmarch 52), Buckinghamshire 5-1.
Jesmond: Bedfordshire 175-2 (James Kettleborough 68 not out, George Thurstance 53 not out) v Northumberland.

Read Paul Bolton's WESTERN DIVISION preview HERE 

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