ASTON Rowant have not given up hope, even though the destiny of the Home Counties Premier League Division 1 championship lies out of their hands.

Josh Smith’s side go into the final two games in third spot, 21 points behind leaders Slough and 13 adrift of Henley.

The top two face each other tomorrow, and victory for Slough would put the title out of Rowant’s reach.

They need Henley to win that match and then hope both sides lose their final game.

“It’s unlikely, but stranger things have happened,” admits Chris Watling, of Rowant, who must win both remaining games, starting with a trip to derby rivals Thame Town tomorrow.

“Thame may have been relegated, but we won’t be taking them lightly,” he added.

Rowant make two changes from the side that beat Banbury last week.

Will Pendered comes in for the unavailable George Reid, while they have opted for an extra spinner, with Sasha Barras replacing Gordon Harris.

Banbury are involved in another derby as they host Oxford, who need a miracle to avoid the drop.

Skipper Jamie Perkin, whose Oxford side trail Horspath by 39 points, accepts they are down despite last week’s encouraging victory over Tring Park.

“That win has been a long time in coming, but I was delighted by the performance,” said Perkin.

“We may be down, but the important thing for our young side is to finish the season strongly, as we look to next season.”

“We’ve learned a lot of tough lesson, this year, which we hope will stand us in good stead for the future.”

In the meantime, Perkin’s objective is “to put one over” his good friend Banbury captain Lloyd Sabin.

Oxford make one change with Shami Mendis replacing Banerjee Ramalingam.

Banbury are without their overseas star Quaasim Adams, who has flown home, and all-rounder Richard West, but have not named their replacements.

Horspath skipper Will Eason will not believe they are safe until they have picked up the two points they require at home to High Wycombe.

His side are without the two players, who starred in their seven-wicket success over Thame last week.

Lloyd Belcher, who took five wickets, and Tom Coleman, who scored 90 not out, are replaced by Steve Green and Dom O’Connor.

Great & Little Tew have accepted that they will not be promoted from Division 2, even though it is still mathematically possible for them to do so.

Last week’s 48-run defeat by champions Buckingham leaves the west Oxfordshire side in fifth spot – 23 points off the second promotion position, with two games (worth a total of 40 points) to play.

“We really needed to beat Buckingham to have a chance,” admitted Tew skipper Harry Smith.

“We’re not thinking about promotion now, but it’s been satisfactory season following last year’s relegation.

“But for amid-season blip, we would have been right in the hunt.”

Smith’s side go into tomorrow’s game away to fourth-placed Chesham missing Ollie Price and Tom Bradbeer from the side that lost to Buckingham.

Their replacements have yet to be named.

Anupam Sanklecha, skipper of relegated Shipton-under-Wychwood, says they are determined to savour their final two games, starting at home to fellow strugglers Dinton.

The first encounter between them in June ended in a dramatic tie.

“We want to end the season on a positive note and enjoy ourselves,” said Sanklaecha, whose side shows three changes from the line-up that lost by 177 runs to Datchet.

Jason Hunt, Callum Taylor and Bradley Bryant come in for Lewis Marstin, Ben Norgrove and Anthony Prior-Wandesforde.


Aston Rowant (v Thame, away): Pendered, Condon, Tolson, Smith, Watling, Bethell, Morrick, Moriarty, Muttitt, Whatman, Barras.

Banbury (v Oxford, home): Haupt, Bartlett, Sabin, Clarke, Hill, Rana, Wright, Beer, Curtis and two others.

Oxford (v Banbury, away): Perkin, Tong-Jones, Dickinson, Ayub, Nutt, Kilpatrick, Mendis, Simon, Muir, Musk, Humphreys.

Horspath (High Wycombe, home): O’Connor, R Eason, Fitzjohn, Brown, Cosford, Rafiq, Green, W Eason, Hawtin, Manley, Faruq.

Great & Little Tew (v Chesham, away): Smith, Catling, White, T Price, Slatter, Shurmer, Thomas, Lawrencce Brock, Hirst, and two others.

Shipton-under-Wychwood (v Dinton, home): Sanklecha, C Miller, Cross, Hunt, Taylor, S Miller, Lewis, Rehman, Harris, Bates, Bryant.