CAPTAIN Harry Smith is backing Great & Little Tew to push for an immediate return to the top-flight despite losing two key players over the winter.

The west Oxfordshire side begin their Division 2 campaign at home to Burnham tomorrow.

But they will be without the experienced head of former captain Andy Harris after the seamer joined Tring Park, and rising star Jordan Garrett, who has left to play in Bristol.

Tew agonisingly suffered relegation from Division 1 on the final day of last season.

And despite losing the duo, Smith still expects his side to challenge at the top of the table.

He said: “It’s a bit of a blow for us and we’ve not managed to replace them.

“We don’t have an overseas (player) either, but we’ve still got some quality players in there.

“If we can find some form we will definitely be winning more games than not.

“Last year we were good against the top teams and bad against the bottom teams.

“If we can find some consistency we could be all right.”

And Smith is under no illusions about the importance of recording an early victory.

He said: “We’re hoping to go up. If we can get off to a flyer that would be a major help.

“You don’t want to be playing catch-up if you want to be promoted.”

Players in: None.

Players out: Andy Harris (Tring Park), Liam Manley (Horspath), Jordan Garrett.

Charlie Miller is calling on Shipton-under-Wychwood’s young guard to step up to the plate this season.

The side, who are now captained by overseas all-rounder Anupam Sanklecha, head into the 2018 campaign off the back of a winter of change.

Charlie Brain has stepped down as skipper, but will continue to play.

However, Shaun Miller has moved down to the 2nd XI, while Simon Hole is taking a break and Andrew Hemming can no longer commit to the all-day format following the birth of his child.

At the age of 17, Charlie Miller recognises it is time for the younger players to take on more responsibility – emphasised by his decision to become the club’s vice-captain.

He said: “It’s time for people like myself, and a couple of the lads who have had a few seasons in the league, to step up.”

Shipton, who start at Buckingham Town tomorrow, have added to their squad in the form of former Horspath duo Hasam Ali and Adeel Rehman.

But Miller knows the side have a fight on their hands in the league.

He said: “We want to survive. To expect much more than that with the side we have is probably unrealistic.”

Players in: Hasam Ali, Adeel Rehman (both Horspath).

Player out: Simon Hole.