DORSET’S hopes of securing back-to-back victories for the first time in four years remain on a knife edge going into tomorrow's final day of action at Dean Park.
Chris Park’s men trail Oxfordshire by 196 and need to find five wickets to follow up their victory at Herefordshire with a win over the Western Division backmarkers.
Michael Porter (96) and Masoor Khan (102) continued their belligerent stand at the crease by racking up a mammoth 209 across 70 overs but Dorset suffered a swift capitulation as Luke Ryan (7-78) whipped up a maelstrom with the ball.
Oxfordshire’s leg-spinner took out five wickets for 18 further runs inside seven overs, while Charlie Keegan dismissed Mark Wolstenholme for a duck to reduce the hosts to 227 for six.
Park, Mike Kitson and Tom Hicks stifled the storm as Dorset saw out their 90 overs with a total of 255 for eight, claiming a slender 18-run advantage.
Oxfordshire opener Lloyd Sabin sat tight for an hour but only managed 10 runs, while comrade Hugo Darby (48) took the mantle with eight boundaries and inspired the visitors to 102 for two.
Jonny Cater (55) and Richard Kaufman (34) then put on a further 73 before Sam Thomson shattered the latter's resistance.
Buoyed by that wicket, Dorset scented blood and Dave Kitson might have caught Richard Cook at 198 for four but just failed to hold a flashing drive from close quarters.
There was a positive end to the day, though, when Thomson (3-51) claimed scalp of the free-scoring Cater with the final ball as Oxfordshire finished the day on 214 for five.