Cheshire 246 & 199, Oxfordshire 189 & 259-6. Oxfordshire won by 4 wickets
Oxfordshire skipper Harrison Smith carried his bat for 134 and Prav Chahal hit an ubeaten 55 as the pair added 97 for the seventh wicket to seal an impressive win for the 2021 champions at Alderley Edge. Their fourth innings score of 259-6 was the highest of the match.
An intriguing game had ebbed and flowed with honours just about even on the final mornng - the visitors needing 138 more runs and Cheshire effectively six wickets with the injured Jamie Harrison unabe to bat.
First blood went to Cheshire as David Wainwright bowled George Tait for 25 to make it 132-4 and Ollie Currill followed without further score, caught in the slips off Wainwright.
On 162-6, Oxfordshire still had work to do and the game had swung in Cheshire's favour but holding up stoically and looking in no trouble, Smith continued to pick the bad ball and dispatch accordingly.
And it didn't take long for Chahal to get in on the act, similarly confidentally scoring alongside his partner.
Gradually the attack wore down as Sehmi juggled his bowlers. Ben Gibbon - restricted to 24 overs in the game - bowled flat out, Mike Finan tried his luck and Andy Jackson, after the previous day's great spell, all toiled away. Charlie Barnard too and Luke Young at the end but to no avail.
This was a top inning from Smith and a great way for the Champions to start their three day campaign.
Cheshire will reflect on a top game of cricket that ebbed and flowed throughout and will re-group for their next game at Herefordshire in three weeks.
"A cracking game of cricket and we just about came out on the wrong side," said Head of Cricket, Pete Babbage.
"Ultimately we were a few runs short and Harrison's innings was outstanding. But we're a young side, we have to learn and then go again."
Cheshire 6 points, Oxfordshire 21 points.