Will Christophers on the way to a three-wicket return in the win over Oxfordshire<br>credit: Conrad Sutcliffe - no re-use without copyright owner's consent

BEN Privett top scored with 69 to put Devon on course for a thumping 160-run win over Oxfordshire in the NCA Trophy.

Devon went into the Sidmouth showdown in desperate need of a group game win to make-up ground lost by a two-wicket defeat at the hands of trophy holders Berkshire in round one.

This win propelled Devon up to second in the Group Three table with Buckinghamshire to play at High Wycombe this Sunday. Berkshire remain top after they got home by 28 runs against Cornwall at St Austell.

Devon team manager Dave Tall was looking for an improvement on the showing against Berkshire – and, by and large, he got it.

A 92-run opening stand between Privett and Elliot Hamilton (25), was topped-up by Charlie Sharland and Ben Beaumont hoisting 55 for the third wicket.Devon's Ben Privett smashing Oxfordshire spinner Max Mannering for six

Sharland and Privett both took advantage of the short boundary on the leg side to launch sixes into a Sidmouth sidestreet.

Sharland, a student at the University of Exeter, made 63 and was still going strong into the two hundreds long after Beaumont departed caught behind for 24.

Some lusty blows from Calum Haggett (27) and Lawrence Walker, whose cheeky six over mid-wicket off Tom Davis was the shot of the day, got Devon to 277 for nine at the end of their 50 overs.

Oxfordshire were three-wicket winners on the chase against Buckinghamshire first time out, but with a side substantially different to the one that faced Devon. Seven changes are a lot to cope with!

Some of the gaps in the Oxfordshire batting order became apparent as the response wandered from 47 for one to 53 for five. Take out Luke Maslen’s 34 of those runs and there was not a lot from the rest.

The turning ball proved Oxfordshire’s undoing as captain Jamie Stephens (1-3), Max Shepherd (4-42) and Will Christophers (3-44) worked their way down the batting list.

A combination of poor shot selection and sticky-fingered fielding – Sam Read took four catches in the outfield – hastened Oxfordshire’s demise.Lawrence Walker admires his handiwork after stepping outside the line of a ball from Tom Davis the smashing it over mid-wicket

Prav Charhal entertained briefly with a bright-and-breezy 24 that included an improvised reverse cross-bat slog off Shepherd that sailed over cover-point! Oxfordshire were long out of contention by then and they were all out a few slogs later for 117.

Tall agreed he got an improved performance out of his team, but said there remain areas to work on when batting in 50-over cricket.

“With the greatest of respect to Oxfordshire, what was good enough to beat them still would not have beaten a stronger side,” said Tall.

“We batted brilliantly at first and I was hoping we would go on to make 300-320, but we did not.

“Our game awareness still isn’t great: for example Sam Read gets caught on the boundary and two balls later Matt Thompson does virtually the same thing. Not what you need from two recognised batters with wickets in hand in the last five overs.

“Even so it was pleasing to get to 277; the caveat is we made it much harder than it needed to be.

“I could not fault us in the field – one dropped catch perhaps – and a result like this is a great confidence booster.”

Devon's Charlie Sharland sets off for a run against Oxfordshire