RAIN intervened to hand Oxfordshire a six-wicket success over Herefordshire under the Duckworth Lewis method at Banbury on Sunday.

In a largely even encounter, the match was intriguingly poised when the downpour left the hosts 21 runs ahead of the rate just over halfway through their 50-over innings.

The day could scarcely have begun less favourably for the visitors when skipper Matt Pardoe, who had lost the toss and seen his side invited to bat first in testing conditions, was bowled by the second ball of the game – a perfect off-break from Max Mannering which pitched outside leg and hit the top of the off-stump.

Pardoe’s fellow opener Jujhar Johal (29) played some attractive strokes and set about building a base with Mahaaz Ahmed.

Former Eastnor batsman Ahmed (51) was then joined by his current Barnards Green team-mate Zain ul Hussain (59) and both completed half-centuries before the innings closed at 214-8 from the allotted 50 overs.

Dave Ball (17) and James Rudge (17) also contributed useful and quickfire runs as the Herefordshire innings reached its close.

The Oxfordshire reply began even more badly than their opponents’ effort had with Jake Hill (1-16) pinning Harry Smith leg-before with the first ball of the innings.

Barney Morgan (1-21) had Freddie Smith caught by Alex Russell and Rudge (1-30) picked up the wicket of James Coles, caught by Maverick Perry to reduce the home side to 61-3.

But with rain approaching, Harrison Ward injected some pace into the run-scoring and had struck three sixes and six fours in an unbeaten 59 from 55 balls when the eventual downpour ensured that no further play would be possible.

Herefordshire will be in action again on Sunday when they take on a Worcestershire Xl in another 50-overs-a-side match at Brockhampton, starting at 11am.