HORSPATH skipper Will Eason is calling on his players to make the most of an opportunity to pull further away from the bottom two.

The side make the short trip to Oxford tomorrow for a crunch Division 1 clash at Jordan Hill.

Both teams languish in the bottom three with just over half of the Home Counties Premier League season played.

However, Horspath are 16 points ahead of Oxford, who occupy the second relegation spot.

Work commitments rule Eason out of the fixture, but he is urging his side to end a three-match winless run.

He said: “We’ve not played well enough over the last few weeks – we’ve been pretty open with each other about that.

“This is probably by far our biggest game of the season and we’ve got an opportunity to move away from the bottom two.”

Horspath make five changes in total, with Robbie Eason and Tom Beresford also unavailable, while Alfie Turner and Mark Skelton move down to the 2nd XI.

Tom Coleman, Lloyd Belcher, Milly Faruq, Will Robertson and Dominic O’Connor come into the side.

Oxford’s position is more precarious and skipper Jamie Perkin is under no illusions about the importance of a victory.

Shami Mendis and John Barrett return to the side in place of Ruairi Willis and Richard Musk.

Perkin, whose team are looking for their first victory since May 26, said: “It’s a massive game, there’s no doubt about that.

“It’s difficult, I wouldn’t say it’s a must-win but it’s a game we can’t lose.”

Banbury bid to end a run of three successive draws when they travel to High Wycombe.

Captain Lloyd Sabin has been enthused by recent performances.

He said: “It’s a bit frustrating because we’ve played well, but we’re just drawing.

“We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing and hopefully we’ll get a result.”

Richard West and George Tait, who makes his first-team debut, come in for Graham Beer and Will Briggs.

Leaders Aston Rowant travel to champions Finchampstead, boosted by the return of Wes Morrick who replaces Dom Whatman.

Batsman Chris Watling is backing the side to stretch their unbeaten run to eight games.

He said: “We’re riding a bit of a wave. We’re in a good place and playing really well as a team.”

Bottom side Thame Town take on Henley.

Anupam Sanklecha has been encouraged by Shipton-under-Wychwood’s fighting spirit in the face of adversity.

The west Oxfordshire side sit bottom of Division 2 and are 26 points adrift of safety after ten games.

Shipton picked up their first win of the season when beating Great & Little Tew a fortnight ago.

And, while they were unable to build on that result, the side dug deep to take seven wickets in Buckingham Town’s run chase last week.

Skipper Sanklecha is buoyed by the character shown by his players ahead of tomorrow’s match at Chesham.

He said: “We didn’t bat too well last week, 140 was not enough, but it was a good fight from our players because they are top of the table.

“If we play in that manner again we might be able to beat Chesham.”

Steve Bates and Shaun Cross return in place of Adeel Rehman and Jason Hunt.

Tew bid to arrest a three-match winless run when they host Harefield.


Horspath (v Oxford, away): Fitzjohn, Brown, Hawtin, Cosford, Green, Mohammad, Coleman, Belcher, Faruq, Robertson, O’Connor.

Oxford (v Horspath, home): Tong-Jones, Nutt, Dickinson, Ayub, Perkin, Kilpatrick, Murphy, Keat, Humphreys, Mendis, Barrett.

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

Aston Rowant (v Finchampstead, away): Reid, Tolson, Condon, Smith, Watling, Bethell, Moriarty, Pendered, Muttitt, Harris, Morrick.

Shipton (v Chesham, away): Norgrove, Lewis, C Miller, Marstin, Sanklecha, Wood, Harris, Davies, S Miller, Bates, Cross.