Oxford player-coach Michael Bates has signed a short-term deal with Somerset.

Rated one of the best wicket-keepers in the country, the 24-year-old joined Oxford at the start of the season after being released by Hampshire.

However, it was always on the understanding that if he got an opportunity to relaunch his career, the Serious Cricket Home Counties Premier League club wouldn’t stand in his way.

Bates impressed in a 2nd XI game for Somerset to earn a three to four-week deal.

And with glovemen Alex Barrow out of favour and James Regan breaking a knuckle, he got the call to face Notts in the LV=County Championship this week, featuring in the stand which saw Somerset clinch a two-wicket victory.

Oxford captain Ian Crosby, whose side face Harefield in a Division 1 basement battle at Roman Way tomorrow, said: “Obviously we are pleased for him, but it is a blow for us.”

Australian Ryan Carters is a ready-made replacement as wicket-keeper and will also stand in as captain for Crosby, who starts a two-game ban for criticism of umpires.

Will Eason is looking for his Horspath side to turn the tables on hosts Reading.

Horspath were promoted as Division 2 runners-up behind champions Reading last season, having come off second best in their two meetings.

Eason said: “We lost to them twice last year and obviously they won the league, so we have got to think about getting a win.”

Experienced all-rounder Pat Foster returns and Kit Cutter is recalled to open the batting, with Harrison Ward required to play for St Edward’s School and Adam Mould away.

Left-arm seamer Tom King, who was due to make his debut in the washed-out game against High Wycombe last week, finally gets his chance.

Seamer Ollie Wright is at a wedding and misses Banbury’s trip to High Wycombe.

He is replaced by Ed Phillips.


Banbury (v High Wycombe, away): Darby, Paine, Sabin, West, Briggs, Ryan (capt), Tew, Blanchard, Penhale, E Phillips, J Phillips.

Horspath (v Reading, away): Cutter, R Eason, Phillips, Ali, Davies, Green, W Eason (capt), Foster, Price, King, Belcher.

Oxford (v Harefield, home): from Carters (capt), Perrera, Laudat, Thornton, Mendis, Sutherland, Morgan, Simon, Rooney, Eltham, Clough, I Evans.