CRICKET: Crunch time for Aston Rowant

Chris Watling is back for Aston Rowant

Chris Watling is back for Aston Rowant

First published in Sport

Aston Rowant go into their Oxfordshire derby at home to Banbury tomorrow knowing they must start winning games to ensure their Serious Cricket Home Counties Premier League Division 1 survival.

Wes Morrick’s side hover five points above the relegation zone.

But their cause may well be aided with the league format reverting from time games – where the draw came into play – to 50 overs-a-side win-lose matches.

Batsman Chris Watling, fresh from scoring a maiden Unicorns Counties Championship century for Oxfordshire, returns to the side after missing last week’s draw at Oxford.

And he said: “It’s crunch time really with four games to go. We probably need to look at winning two out of the four as a minimum as we obviously want to stay in this league.”

Watling is one of four changes with fellow opener Tim Morgan also back.

Dan Matthews and Gordon Harris also come into the side, with Nick Ferraby, George Reid and Leo Bethell unavailable, while Chris Leaney drops down to the 2nd XI.

Banbury skipper Jimmy Phillips, meanwhile, has conceded that his side’s title chances are over following last Saturday’s five-wicket home defeat by Slough.

He said: “I think Slough are the only side that can catch Henley.

“We have plenty to play for, though, as far as finishing as high as possible.”

Oxfordshire captain Luke Ryan and batsman Ian Tew are unavailable, with the pair attending separate weddings.

Dan Harris and Olly Wright step up to take their places.

New Zealand all-rounder Mark Beer returns for Oxford’s trip to Burnham.

He is one of three changes, with Andrew Clough and Ian Evans back in the side, while Adam Price, Vishane Perera and Harvey Eltham drop out.

The middle order have flourished in the last two weeks to take Oxford to big scores after top-order collapses.

And skipper Ian Crosby admitted: “We need to tighten up that side of our game.”

TOMORROW’S TEAMS

Aston Rowant (v Banbury, home): Morgan, Watling, Hammond, Cook, J Smith, Matthews, Morrick (capt), Penhale, Muttitt, Kazmi, Harris.

Banbury (v Aston Rowant, away): Sabin, Haupt, Hawkes, Cater, Harris, Bartlett, West, Blanchard, Wright, Manley, Phillips (capt).

Oxford (v Burnham, away): Clough, Laudat, Perkin, Sutherland, Vainker, Crosby (capt), Mendis, Barrett, Beer, Simon, I Evans.

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