Oxfordshire win by tightest of margins to reach NCCA Trophy quarter-finals
OXFORDSHIRE emerged on the right side of another thriller as they beat Lincolnshire by one run to reach the quarter-finals of the NCCA Trophy.
With one wicket in hand, the visitors needed just two off the final over to win at Aston Rowant CC after Oxon fell to 211 all out.
Olly Clarke bowled a dot ball to Ben Wright, unbeaten on 61, before removing the Lincolnshire No 5 thanks to Luke Charlesworth’s catch.
It saw Oxon go through to the quarter-finals of the 50-over competition as Group 1 winners, with their only dropped points coming in the draw with Cumbria earlier this month.
The hosts won the toss and chose to bat, only to slip to 48/5 as their big-hitters were removed for low scores.
When Clarke was stumped for six at the start of the 23rd over Oxon were in trouble at 76/6, but George Tait and Ollie Currill stabilised the innings.
The pair put on 47 before the latter was dismissed for 28, with Tait standing firm and eventually going for 53. There were also invaluable contributions from tailenders Prav Chahal (34*) and Max Mannering (20) to push the hosts north of 200.
Charlesworth removed Lincolnshire top-order batsmen Jaden Fell and Jack Timby in quick succession, but the visitors chipped away at the target at a decent rate.
Tom Keast (64) and Wright put on 93 for the fourth wicket and they moved to within 50 runs of victory with 12 overs remaining.
Mannering made the difference, though, dismissing Keast and Jordan Cook in the space of three balls – and then Nic Keast at the start of the next over - to leave Lincolnshire 166/6.
Currill and Tait each claimed a wicket to eat into the tail, but Wright stuck around and a boundary in the penultimate over left the visitors needing two to win off seven balls.
Mannering gave Oxon a glimmer of hope when he ran out Mason Hildrith, before Charlesworth caught Wright to snatch victory.
Rupert Evans' side's quarter-final opponents will be revealed in due course as they bid to hold all three NCCA trophies at once, having already claimed the three-day and T20 titles.