Cornwall manager Godfrey Furse refused to blame his young side after they lost to Oxfordshire in the Minor Counties Championship at Truro.
The visitors reached the victory target of 232 with Jonny Cater scoring his second unbeaten century of the match.
"I thought our young lads stepped up pretty well," Cornwall manager Godfrey Furse told BBC South West Sport.
"We had our chances and without one of their batsmen playing exceptionally well we'd probably have won."
The reigning Minor Counties champions had been hit with injuries and unavailability ahead of the match, with captain Tom Sharp one of the absentees.
"We did well considering the guys that were missing," Furse added.
"We had six or seven senior players unavailable and not many sides can cope with that, but I thought we gave it a good go."
Cornwall's first innings total of 202 was built around stand-in captain Gary Thomas (61) and Dan Davis (52) with left-arm spinner Francois Vainker (7-65) taking seven wickets.
Oxfordshire took an eight-run first innings lead with Cater (109 not out) scoring the first of his centuries, with the Duchy spinners Shakil Ahmed (5-77) and Neil Ivamy (5-69) sharing 10 wickets.
In their second innings the home side put themselves in a strong position at 150-0, before collapsing to 235 all out with Vainker (6-90) again doing the damage.
"We had an opportunity to drive home the advantage at 150-0," Furse continued.
"But we missed our chance and that's probably where we lost the game.
Oxfordshire wicketkeeper Cater (102 not out) scored his second hundred of the match as they sealed the win for the loss of five wickets.