GARETH Andrew says Oxfordshire have got all the ingredients to be a force this season.

The former professional helped his side to a four-wicket win at Berkshire in their NCCA Trophy opener last weekend, although he will miss Sunday’s clash with Wales due to club commitments.

Jonny Cater’s men are full of confidence after a strong pre-season and Andrew believes a young squad is only getting better.

The 37-year-old said: “The plaudits should go to the coaches who have driven the guys to hit the warm-up games as hard as possible.

“The guys have put in some great performances, but they’ve all been shared around.

“A lot of players have looked like they’ve developed a lot over the last 18 months.

“We know we’re going to miss a few people here and there, but we’ve got a brilliant squad of talented players so we won’t worry about it too much.”

The all-rounder brought experience to a young squad when he joined in 2018, with 96 first-class matches for Somerset, Worcestershire and Hampshire on his CV.

Andrew’s time with the county has been disrupted by Covid and he did not play at all in the shortened 2020 season.

But he is delighted to be back involved this summer as Oxon fight on multiple fronts again.

Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire join Berkshire and Wales as their Group 4 opponents, while the three-day season in Western Division One gets under way next month.

Andrew said: “I think we’ve developed rapidly in the one-day game and the T20s over the last couple of seasons.

“We’ve got all the potential to go all the way to the finals.”

Arguably the brightest of Oxon’s rising stars is James Coles, who has already signed his first professional contract with Sussex.

Andrew had not played alongside the 17-year-old all-rounder before the win at Berkshire, but it was not only the teenager’s sensational figures of 5-6 that impressed him.

He said: “His maturity and his personality comes first, and then his cricketing ability.

“I’ve played with a lot of talented cricketers in my time, but sometimes the drive has let them down.”


Jonny Cater (capt/wk), Joe Butcher, Olly Clarke, James Coles, Tom Cosford, Tom Haynes, Tom Price, George Tait, Joe Thomas, Harrison Ward, Matt Warner, Lucas Pugh (12th man).