JONNY Cater leads Oxfordshire into their first fixture of 2021 as they face Oxford University Centre of Cricket Excellence tomorrow.

The 50-over friendly in University Parks, Oxford, begins at 11am and it is hoped the game will be streamed online with spectators still banned due to coronavirus restrictions.

Wicket-keeper Cater leads a side largely similar to the one that competed in the shortened 2020 season.

Among those involved is James Coles, who only turned 17 on Friday and became Sussex’s youngest-ever player last September.

Tomorrow’s game is the first of five friendlies before Oxfordshire face Buckinghamshire in the Nurton-York Trophy, a competition they won last season, on May 23.

They begin their National Counties Trophy campaign against Berkshire on June 13, while the Unicorns Championship starts after a year’s break at the end of July.

But Oxfordshire will not play competitive T20 cricket after the NCCA Cup was cancelled.

The National Counties Cricket Association (NCCA) discussed the options with member counties and felt it was not possible to run the tournament.

They cited logistical issues, with overnight stays and lengthy travelling distances not currently deemed ‘essential’.

Richard Logan, operations manager of the NCCA, said: “Alternative options, including potentially playing the T20 competition later in the summer, were looked at, but not found to be workable.

“The health, wellbeing and safety of all players, officials and spectators is of paramount importance to the NCCA, which is why this decision has been taken.

“The NCCA remain positive that the 50-over format, due to start in June, and the Championship programme, scheduled to begin in July, will proceed as normal.

“However, we will continue to work closely with the England and Wales Cricket Board to ensure that any Government advice is fully adhered to.”


Jonny Cater (capt./wk), Shabaz Alam, Olly Clarke, James Coles, Tom Cosford, Tom Haynes, Harvey Jupp, George Sandbach, Robbie Shurmer, George Tait, Joe Thomas, Matt Warner, Russell White.