LEADERS Aston Rowant will be without key player Wes Morrick for their Home Counties Premier League derby clash at home to Oxford tomorrow.

Morrick, whose all-round feats have helped to take Rowant 16 points clear at the top of Division 1, is unavailable for the match against their struggling Oxfordshire rivals.

He is replaced by spinner Adam Muttitt, while George Reid comes in for Dan Matthews in the only changes to the side that defeated Horspath by 77 runs last week.

“We’re over the moon to be at the top,” said Rowant batsman Chris Watling.

“We expect a tough challenge from Oxford, but we feel have enough in the tank to beat anyone.”

Oxford skipper Jamie Perkin is in an upbeat mood, after his side had much the better of their draw against Thame Town.

“We dominated that game from start to finish,” he said.

“That makes it two positive results for us in a row, and we’re now playing with more confidence.”

With Harvey Eltham almost certainly ruled out for the season by injury, and Shami Mendis away, Oxford have a shortage of spin options.

In the one change from the Thame game, they give a debut to Rory Willis, a former St Edward’s School pupil, who bats and bowls off-spin, in place of Ian Crosby.

Thame, who prop up the table, entertain Finchampstead, whom they beat on the first day of the season.

“We were top of the league then,” said skipper Michael Beard.

After that they lost six of their next seven games, before last week’s draw at Oxford.

However, they name an unchanged side to face their Berkshire opponents.

Horspath make three changes for their match at home Slough.

Seamer Liam Manley is out with a side strain, while Will Robertson and Shahbaz Ali are unavailable.

Tom Cosford returns to provide the only spin option in the continued absence of Lloyd Belcher, while Tom Coleman and James Phillips also come in.

“In this dry weather, we really struggled by not having a spinner last week,”said Horspath skipper Will Eason.

“When we played Slough earlier this season, they looked a strong well-balanced side. We expect another tough test.”

Banbury, who had a high-scoring draw at Finchampstead last week, entertain Henley, hoping to reverse the fortunes of their opening-day defeat.

Anupam Sanklecha was delighted, but not totally surprised by his Shipton-under-Wychwood side’s convincing 113-run victory over Great & Little Tew last week.

Before the contest, Shipton were cut adrift at the bottom of Division 2, having lost seven of their eight matches.

But they turned the formbook on its head to defeat their highly-placed rivals.

“It had been coming,” said the Shipton skipper.

“We got a tie the previous week to show that the hard work we’ve put in was paying off.

“I knew if we put a decent total on the board, we could put the pressure on, and it paid off.”

Charlie Miller’s century took them to 237, before Sanklecha and Shaun Cross dismissed Tew for 124.

Cross misses Shipton’s match at home to leaders Buckingham, for which they make three changes.

Coming into the side are Jason Hunt, Craig Wood and veteran spinner Shaun Miller.

Great Tew, meanwhile, will be hoping to return to form away to Burnham.


Aston Rowant (v Oxford, home): Tolson, Reid, Condon, Smith, Watling, Moriarty, Bethell, Muttitt, Whatman, Harris, Pendered.

Oxford (v Aston Rowant, away): from Tong-Jones, Nutt, Dickinson, Ayub, Perkin, Willis, Kilpatrick, Murphy, Simon, Keat, Humphreys.

Thame Tn (v Finchampstead, home): Beard, W Sutcliffe, Kanishka, Adams, Jeffcock, Mushtaq, C Russell, Khan, A Russell, Straughan, Higgs.

Horspath (v Slough, home): R Eason, Beresford, Fitzjohn, Phillips, Brown, Green, Cosford, Coleman, W Eason, Faruk, Mohammed.

Shipton-under-Wychwood (v Buckingham, home): Sanklecha, C Miller, Wood, Norgrove, Lewis, Harris, Marstin, Hunt, Davies, Rehman, S Miller.