Oxford MailCRICKET: Phillips focuses on title charge (From Oxford Mail)

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CRICKET: Phillips focuses on title charge

Oxford Mail: Liam Manley is back at Banbury Liam Manley is back at Banbury

Skipper Jimmy Phillips is hoping that a winter recruitment drive can help fire Banbury to their first Division 1 title since the Serious Cricket Home Counties Premier League's founding year in 2000.

Banbury, who start at promoted Gerrards Cross tomorrow, have signed New Zealander Dean Bartlett to replace South African Brady Barends as their overseas player.

The 26-year-old opening bowler has taken 37 first-class wickets at an average of 35 over 14 matches for Auckland Aces.

Seamer Liam Manley, a former colt with the club, is back from Great & Little Tew, and has already made his mark for Oxfordshire this season.

Batsman Dan Harris has joined from Northampton Saints, for whom he scored 583 runs in the Northamptonshire Premier League last season, and bowler Ed Smith from Cove.

Barnt Green all-rounder Ben Ford will be available in July after teaching commitments at Magdalen College School, Oxford.

Auckland Aces bowler Dean Bartlett replaces South African Brady Barends as the overseas player.

Phillips said: “We have improved squad depth and quality, so anything less than last year’s third place would be a disappointment.

“Our aim is to win the league, but we expect a very strong challenge from Henley, Tring, Slough and a rejuvenated Wycombe.”

IN: Dan Harris (Northampton Saints), Liam Manley (Great & Little Tew), Dean Bartlett (Auckland Aces), Ed Smith (Cove), Ben Ford (Barnt Green).

OUT: Chris Thompson (Sandford St Martin), Brady Barends (South Africa).

TOMORROW’S TEAM

Banbury (v Gerrards Cross, away): L Sabin, Ryan, Haupt, Cater, Bartlett, West, Harris, Hawkes, Blanchard, J Phillips (capt), Manley.

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