BUCKS never recovered from a disastrous start as they lost to rivals Oxfordshire by six wickets with more than 12 overs left in their one-day warm-up match at a bitterly cold Aston Rowant on Sunday.
Mal Loye, the former England ODI international, lasted only three balls before being trapped lbw for two as Bucks slipped to 13-3.
An unnecessary run out compounded Bucks’ problems and when two more wickets reduced the visitors to 73-5, an early finished looked likely.
However, Joel Pope, with a fluent 66 off 69 balls, and skipper Jason Harrison added 59 before the latter fell victim to a front-foot lbw decision - a trend that is likely to increase following the Hawkeye technology.
Tom Helm’s 39 guided Bucks to 204 all out, with 2.5 of their 50-over allocation left unbowled.
With a flat pitch and a fast outfield, this total was 80 runs short of par, but Bucks made a good start, taking the wickets of Richard Kaufman and Alex Jewell cheaply.
Craig Haupt, who survived a steepling chance when on seven, and Nathan Hawkes then produced the match-winning third-wicket stand of 163 at a run-a-ball.
Hawkes, who struck 17 off an over from Vikram Banerjee’s left-arm spin, departed for 71 made off 63 balls with ten fours and a six.
Haupt reached his century off 113 balls, with 13 fours and one six to take Oxon to the brink of a comfortable win, before retiring hurt with an elbow injury.
None of the Bucks spinners could make an impact, which the pick of their bowlers were seamers Simon Stanway and George Harper, both of whom took two wickets.
Bucks will be hoping for better luck when they open their Minor Counties Trophy campaign against Dorset at Dean Park, Bournemouth on Sunday.