HORSPATH will be without former England paceman Ajmal Shahzad for their tricky Home Counties Premier League Division 1 trip to Slough tomorrow.

Shahzad has joined the second-placed team on a short-term deal from Sussex, who are not releasing him for the game.

“I understand that Sussex are concerned that Ajmal has a slight back injury and don’t want to risk him,” explained Horspath skipper Will Eason.

“We’re grateful to Sussex for letting him play for us, but it was very much on a week-to-week basis.

“We may see him for three or four more games this season, we don’t really know – but that’s fine.

“The good thing about us this season is that it has been an all-round team effort.

“Each week somebody has stuck their hand up and performed. That’s why we are second.”

Young Harrison Ward returns, while Mark Jefferson has been called up from the 2nd XI and replaces Andy Roberts, who kept wicket last week.

Although mainly in as a batsman, Ward’s off-spin will come in useful against a strong side on a Slough pitch expected to turn.

Captain John Barrett is confident Oxford will bounce back when they host local rivals Great & Little Tew.

Last week’s humiliating eight-wicket defeat at Henley saw the newly-promoted side slip from first to sixth.

Oxford name a squad of 12 for this weekend’s match, with Jamie Perkin and Shami Mendis returning as Arthur Muir and Mursaleen Sadiqi drop out.

Barrett, who revealed batsman Andrew Clough is carrying a slight hamstring injury, is in an upbeat mood.

He said: “Playing Henley, one of the top sides, it was always going to be a tough game.

“I’m not looking for excuses, a few guys were away, and if you lose early wickets against them you’re always going to struggle.

“It’s in the back of our minds.

“We’re thinking about the positive performances we had earlier in the season and we’ll go again.”

Tew, who started the season strongly have slipped into the bottom two.

In a tight division, Banbury are only one place above Tew, after last week’s draw with Slough.

Lloyd Sabin’s side host champions Finchampstead, who are finding their form after a slow start.


Horspath (v Slough, away): W Eason, R Eason, Coleman, Ward, Cosford, Fitzjohn, Slatcher, Green, Jefferson, Faruk, Belcher.

Oxford (v Great & Little Tew, home) from: Tong-Jones, Eltham, Ayub, Barrett, Beer, Crosby, Musk, Humphreys, Fallah, Perkin, Mendis, Clough.

l HORSPATH will play Harefield in the Home Counties Premier League Twenty20 semi-finals at Burnham on Sunday, July 23.

Henley face High Wycombe in the other semi-final, with the final to follow in the afternoon.