Clayson’s blow wrecks Beds’ victory chances

Action from Bedfordshire's defeat to Oxfordshire at the weekend
Action from Bedfordshire's defeat to Oxfordshire at the weekend
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Bedfordshire’s run of poor form in one-day competitions continued as they exited the MCCA Trophy with a hefty 102-run defeat to Oxfordshire at Cople on Sunday.

The outcome may have been different had skipper Oliver Clayson not been forced to retire hurt after being hit in the eye when he was going well on 45, but having been 51-5 chasing Oxfordshire’s total of 261-9, it would have been a remarkable comeback.

The wicket and the outfield were a credit to the Cople Argus club after the recent downpours and openers Richard Kaufman (53) and Lloyd Sabin (40) took full advantage after Oxfordshire had been asked to bat first.

It was left-arm spinner Andy Reynoldson who made the breakthrough, getting Sabin with the score on 90 and Will Sneath dismissed Kaufman four runs later.

The scoring rate slowed after this and the final total of 261 was probably no more than par for the wicket as Reynoldson was the outstanding bowler for the home side, taking 4-47.

Sneath picked 2-41, while Dan Bendon picked up 1-48 and Rob Keogh claimed 1-29.

Bedfordshire needed to get off to a good start in their innings but with James Kettleborough (7), Steve Stubbings (19), George Thurstance (0), Reynoldson (5) and Bendon (4) all falling cheaply, victory already looked a long way off when Keogh joined Clayson.

Nevertheless they shared in a confident partnership, with Clayson looking much more like his old self.

But with the score on 96 he was hit in the face trying a reverse sweep and although Keogh batted through to make an unbeaten 29, while Colin Griggs cracked 23 off 19 balls, in the end it was all too easy for Oxfordshire, as former Middlesex bowler Chad Keegan claimed 2-29 and M Taylor 3-33.

The players now have a month to find some form in club cricket before the Minor Counties Championship season begins against Hertfordshire at Bishop’s Stortford on June 10.