OXFORD captain Jamie Perkin is backing his side to cope without star bowler Samad Fallah.

Issues with the Indian left-arm seamer’s visa means he will not feature for the Division 1 side in 2018.

Fallah has fallen one game short of the requirement to play a minimum of five first-class matches during the last two years.

He took 97 wickets in two seasons for Oxford and the club have decided to carry on without an overseas player in the Home Counties Premier League.

Skipper Perkin, whose side face local rivals Horspath tomorrow, said: “It’s a blow to us, for me he’s the best bowler in the league.

“It’s not given us a chance to bring someone else in as we only found out late last week. But we are drawing a line under it.”

Oxford started the season with a five-wicket defeat at home to Aston Rowant.

But Perkin, who adds Fergus Nutt to his squad, is confident of a reaction.

He said: “It’s probably the sort of game we need after last week.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a huge game in terms of a must-win, but no team wants to be two from two in terms of defeats.”

Horspath captain Will Eason is calling for improvement after last Saturday’s 53-run loss at Slough.

A late fightback prevented the hosts from posting an even bigger total than their 243-6, but they lost early wickets in their reply.

Eason said: “We played well in periods, but we’ve got to be pretty consistent throughout, that’s something we realised afterwards.

“We’ve got to look at, particularly early on, sticking with the basics and hopefully we’ll be able to build something and get a positive result.”

Elliot Miles is handed his debut and Stephen Green is selected, replacing Jimmy Phillips (unavailable) and Milly Faruq (groin).

Thame Town skipper Michael Beard is relishing a home fixture against champions Henley.

The promoted side beat Finchampstead by 24 runs last week.

With 20 points already on the board, Beard is looking forward to seeing how his side fare against one of the title favourites.

He said: “It was a top start and nice to get a win in our first game in a new league against quite a good side.

“This weekend is the sort of match you want going up a division.

“It’s good we have them at home and hopefully we can give them a game.”

Chris Jeffcock and Alex Bell replace James Klapper and Adam Phippen.

Banbury host High Wycombe, hoping to hit back from last week’s 84-run defeat at Henley.

Captain Lloyd Sabin was encouraged by aspects of the display.

And he enters tomorrow’s game in good spirits with an unchanged team.

Sabin said: “I felt we played really well in stages and got ourselves into two good positions with both bat and ball.

“We just didn’t quite perform in key stages of the game and missed a couple of half chances.

“I’m fairly confident that if we perform similarly we will not be far off this season.”

Rowant bid to build on their opening-day win when they host Finchampstead.


Oxford (v Horspath, away): from Tong-Jones, Eltham, Perkin, Ayub, Barrett, Mendis, Kilpatrick, Simon, Murphy, Keat, Humphreys, Nutt.

Horspath (v Oxford, home): Coleman, R Eason, Fitzjohn, Brown, Cosford, W Eason, Skelton, Belcher, Manley, Green, Miles.

Thame Tn (v Henley, home): Sutcliffe, Kanishka, Beard, Straughan, Adams, Mushtaq, Higgs, Russell, Khan, Jeffcock, Bell.

Banbury (v High Wycombe, home): Sabin, Haupt, Hill, Adams, West, Clarke, Rana, Green, Beer, Wright, Taylor.