OXFORDSHIRE captain Jonny Cater says their NCCA Championship win this year was reward for work that has gone in over the last five years.

In September, the side won their first NCCA Championship title for 32 years after beating Suffolk by 178 runs.

Cater said: “This season’s success was down to building a solid foundation over the past five seasons.

“Like I have said before, it has taken time to build the right squad with the right philosophy.

“We have had our ups and downs along the way, but myself and the management group felt we were heading in the right direction with some solid performances in the past.

“We realise it’s a huge commitment to play National Counties cricket, and we need to make it as enjoyable as possible without losing the intensity required to win matches.

“We believe we have the right balance and that players know when to switch on during key moments of the game.

“You only have to look at the names on the team sheet each week to realise what a great group of players we have at our disposal.

“Each player brings something different to the dressing room and it’s a great place to be.”

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Cater also acknowledged the importance of players coming through the system at Oxfordshire, and getting into the team.

He said: “The pathway is incredibly important. The large majority of our players have come through the Oxfordshire system and this is testament to the work the board has done to produce players of National Counties standard and beyond.

“This is of course strengthened by the links we have with Sussex, and it’s great too see our players progressing to this environment.

“James Coles and Harrison Ward have been integral parts of the Sussex first team this season.

“There really is an incredible amount of depth in the Oxfordshire system that we can have these players missing and still compete at the highest level outside the professional game.”

Cater also paid credit to Gareth Andrew, who retired after the NCCA win, for his influence on and off the pitch.

He said: “Gareth Andrew has been nothing short of incredible since he signed four seasons ago.

“Having someone with his experience and skill set is priceless, and it’s certainly helped our squad to believe that anything is possible.

“To top it off, he is a superb person to have around the team.

“We have been incredibly lucky to have him and I wish him all the best for his future plans away from cricket.”

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Cater added: “Rupert [Evans] and Paul [White] have been excellent.

“Their experience of NCCA cricket provides all the players with the best chance of success.

“Thinking about 2022, we of course want to build on the success we have had this season.

“We feel we have underachieved in the white ball competitions so that will be our number one priority going into winter preparation.

“Having a strong start to the summer will only help the three-day campaign at the back end of the season.”