JONNY Cater says Oxfordshire’s confidence is sky-high as they look to take a step towards more silverware this weekend.

Rupert Evans’ men host Suffolk in the quarter-finals of the NCCA 50-over Trophy at Banbury CC on Sunday after finishing top of Group 1.

It is a rematch of last year’s NCCA Championship final, when Oxon beat the visitors by 178 runs to win their first trophy in the three-day format since 1989.

They added the NCCA T20 title in May and long-serving captain Cater revealed his side are feeling the effects of an unprecedented period of success.

He said: “We’ve had some good teams in the past and been pretty close before, but in terms of the success of the last year or two I haven’t experienced that.

“We can never take it for granted, but when we walk onto the pitch we’re so confident we’re going to win. Even when we’re not on our A-game it feels like we’ll pull through.

“The confidence is so high and that’s what happens when you win a couple of trophies.”

Oxon are in great form heading into Sunday’s match after winning their first two Championship matches of the summer.

Cater missed the victories over Cheshire and Herefordshire as he was away on holiday, with Harry Smith deputising as skipper.

Oxon will again have to rotate their squad against Suffolk, with the in-form Max Mannering among those absent and youngster Zach Lion-Cachet coming in.

Cater said: “We’ve had a number of players unavailable for various reasons and it tests the squad depth.

“It’s tough, but the lads have been excellent in the last couple of games.

“Harry deputised really well in my absence and getting his first Championship hundred (against Cheshire) was brilliant.

“It was important to top that off with another win.

“Harry is very well-respected and has been around the squad for a number of years. He’s calm and the players feed off that.

“I knew he would do a really good job and hats off to him, but I’m looking forward to getting back into it.”

Defeat in last year’s Championship final will have hurt Suffolk, who had not won the competition outright since 1979, and Cater expects his side to be tested.

He said: “It leaves a small dent in the mind, knowing you’re going to play a county you’ve lose against.

“They’ve got some names we’re familiar with, but Sunday is a new day.

“It’s a different format so we need to be on our A-game to progress to the semis.”

Play starts at 11am on Sunday.


Jonny Cater (capt/wk), Prav Chahal, Olly Clarke, Ollie Currill, Zach Lion-Cachet, Robbie Shurmer, Freddie Smith, Harry Smith, George Tait, Joe Thomas, Harrison Ward.