CHRIS Watling believes Aston Rowant’s performance against table-toppers Slough Town last week sets them up nicely for the Division 1 title run-in.

Rowant, who are second, got the better of a high-scoring draw to close the gap at the top to eight points.

And Watling says confidence is high ahead of the final four games – with the 50-50 format returning this weekend.

“We played some very good cricket last week and obviously are now that bit closer to Slough,” he said.

“We batted phenomenally (to declare on 301-4), but bowling them out was always going to be tough.

“But looking at our run-in, it is possibly slightly better than Slough’s, so if we can continue to play how we did then, it should be an exciting end to the season.”

He added: “If we can win three of our last four matches we will have a very good chance. But whatever happens it has been a great year.”

Rowant make one change from last week’s team, with Ben Knowler coming in for the unavailable Will Pendred.

At the other end of the table, Jamie Perkin accepts Oxford face the tough task of possibly needing to win all four of their remaining games to have any chance of staying up.

Having not tasted victory since May, Oxford are 36 points adrift of safety and travel to leaders Slough tomorrow.

“Things are improving and it’s about building for next year as well,” the captain said.

“The younger lads are coming to the party, but I think we all know we have to win four games out of four to have any chance.”

Calvin Dickinson has concussion after being hit on the head while playing for Hampshire, while Ian Crosby (thigh) and Joe Porter (unavailable) are not in the side.

Connor Kilpatrick returns, but Oxford have yet to select their full team.

Horspath make two changes for their clash at home to Henley.

James Fitzjohn and Will Robertson are both unavailable, so Mark Skelton and Lloyd Belcher come into the side.

Horspath have picked up points with four successive draws, but skipper Will Eason knows a victory would go a long way to easing their drop fears.

“We have learned from previous years that picking up points in drawn games is crucial,” he said.

“But we desperately need a win to make sure we get ourselves out of it rather than relying on others.”

Banbury welcome back prolific run-scorer Craig Haupt for their match at home to Thame Town, with George Tait making way.


Aston Rowant (v Tring Park, away): Reid, Tolson, Condon, Smith, Moriarty, Morrick, Knowler, Bethell, Muttitt, Harris, Watling.

Oxford (v Slough, away): Tong-Jones, Perkin, Ayub, Nutt, Mendis, Murphy, Musk, Humphreys, Kilpatrick.

Horspath (v Henley, home): from Coleman, R Eason, Brown, Hawtin, Green, Cosford W Eason, Manley, Rafiq, Skelton, Belcher.

Banbury (v Thame, home): Sabin, Haupt, Adams, West, Clarke, Hill, Rana, Beer, Wright, Curtis, Green, Bartlett.

Division 2

GREAT & Little Tew captain Harry Smith is backing his side to continue their impressive form – and gain revenge for a drubbing earlier this season when they travel to Wokingham this weekend.

Tew failed to pick up a single point in a 147-run defeat against tomorrow’s rivals earlier in the campaign.

A winning streak has seen the west Oxfordshire side move to the brink of the top-two and means they go into the match against a fellow promotion hopeful in a buoyant mood.

“We’ve won three on the bounce now and the confidence is back,” Smith said.

“Wokingham absolutely stuffed us last time and are a good team, so we know it will be difficult.

“But we are just two points off second place and they are only a few behind us, so it should be a good game.”

The skipper also believes the switch to the 50-50 format will also be an advantage to Tew in the run-in.

“That suits us better,” he said.

“We have five or six good bowlers in our side, so whereas other teams tend to use just a couple throughout, we have a good mix.”

Tew name the same side that beat Dinton by 114 runs last weekend.

Skipper Anupam Sanklecha wants his Shipton-under-Wychwood side to play with freedom as they attempt to escape the clutches of relegation.

The west Oxfordshire side’s confidence has been boosted by their 21-run triumph over Harefield – only their second win of the season.

Shipton find themselves 39 points adrift of safety with four games to go and are in desperate need of back-to-back victories.

But Sanklecha will not be putting pressure on his side when they host fourth-bottom Amersham tomorrow.

“If I told my players we needed to win all of our games we would be under pressure,” he said.

“We will still take it game-by-game and see what happens.

“It would be good for Shipton to stay up.”

Shipton make three changes with Lewis Marstin, Callum Taylor and Shaun Miller coming in for Charlie Miller, Luke Champion and Anthony Prior-Wandesforde.


Great & Little Tew (v Wokingham, away): Smith, Catling, Wyatt, White, T Price, Broadbeer, Slatter, O Price, Shurmer, Thomas, Lawrence Brock.

Shipton (v Amersham, home): Sanklecha, Marstin, Bates, Cross, Taylor, Norgrove, Nelson, Wood, Harris, Rehman, S Miller.