WILL Eason is hoping Horspath can finally get the better of Banbury when the two sides meet in Division 1 tomorrow.

Both clubs made winning starts to the Home Counties Premier League season last weekend and will be looking to build early momentum.

Horspath, who beat Tring Park by 33 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method six days ago, are yet to beat Banbury in six top-flight meetings.

But captain Eason has reason to feel optimistic when they host their Oxfordshire counterparts after a positive start.

He said: “It’s never an easy game against Banbury as we’ve found out in previous seasons.

“Hopefully we can build on our performance last week and try to get ourselves another good result.”

Eason added: “To get a win in the first game was very pleasing.

“We didn’t always look convincing, but we got to 191.

“We then restricted them quite well and kept taking wickets and in the end it was pretty comfortable.”

Tom Cosford and Kyle Hopper are unavailable, so Horspath make two changes with Will Robertson and second XI captain Dom O’Connor coming into the side.

Robertson, who also plays for Oxford MCCU, has not featured for Horspath since August 4 last year due to injury, but he took 6-49 against Banbury that day.

“Hopefully he can replicate that this weekend,” added Eason.

Banbury name an unchanged team from the side which beat High Wycombe by 57 runs on the DLS method.

Captain Lloyd Sabin is expecting a tough encounter.

He said: “It was a pleasing win last week.

"We lost the toss and had the trickiest conditions, but we did well to get up to 130-odd and then bowled really well.

"This Saturday will be tricky as Horspath have some match-winners in their side.

“But we are going there confident of hopefully getting another win.”

Josh Smith has stressed the importance of his Aston Rowant side showing a quick reaction to their opening-day defeat when they travel to Datchet.

Despite a superb century from the skipper, they fell to an 18-run loss at home to champions Henley.

Smith was encouraged by aspects of his side’s performance, but knows Rowant can ill-afford to already be playing catch-up.

He said: “It was positive to score nearly 250 on a weekend which was generally low-scoring.

“There were frustrations, but for the most part we competed and gave Henley a good run for their money.

“If we want to compete at the top of this division we have to get off to a good start and we need to get back to winning ways pretty soon.”

Rowant make two changes, handing James Fitzjohn his debut, while Sasha Barras also comes into the side in place of George Reid and Leo Bethell.

Jamie Perkin is calling on Oxford to build on their morale-boosting start to the season when they travel to Amersham.

A 31-run win over Harefield marked a positive opening weekend to their Division 2 campaign.

It included a half-century from Muhammad Ayub as they posted 145-9, before spinner Harvey Eltham took 3-25 as the visitors fell short.

Oxford needed to dig in after slipping to 52-4 and captain Perkin, although pleased with the start, is hoping to see his side improve in Shardeloes, Buckinghamshire.

He said: “It was a really good start.

“We put a bit of pressure on ourselves, but we got the win.

“It was a good all-round performance.

“I don’t think we batted badly. The wicket was quite difficult, but we played out our 50 overs.

“We’ll have to bat better this weekend, they’ve had quite a strong bowling attack for the last few seasons.

“But we should go there looking to get a positive result and make it two from two.”

Oxford make one change, with Mark Beer replacing the unavailable Fergus Nutt.

Captain George Sandbach is expecting a tough test when newly-promoted Oxford Downs face Wokingham in their first home game at this level.

The skipper scored 76 runs, with Harry Sutton and Will Watts taking three wickets apiece, in a 106-run win at Dinton on the opening day.

It was a superb start to their campaign, but Sandbach believes Downs will have to find another level this weekend.

He said: “It was good to hit the ground running.

“We perhaps didn’t get enough runs as we should have, if we are being super-critical, and dropped a couple of basic chances which we can’t afford to do this weekend.

“Wokingham will be one of the tougher fixtures this year, so it’s important we put in a good show.

“A win on Saturday will put us on the map in this league and will prove our worth as newcomers.”

Sutton’s unavailability forces Downs into one change, with Nick Rivett coming in.

Thame Town are hoping to have their new overseas player available for tomorrow’s fixture at Cookham Dean.

Michael Beard’s side started their campaign on a low note when falling to a six-wicket defeat at home to Burnham.

But South Africa all-rounder Johan van Dyk, who was due to fly to the UK last night, is set to make his debut this weekend.

And Beard is hoping the 25-year-old seamer can lift Thame tomorrow.

He said: “There were definitely some positives last week, but it was quite a big toss to lose.

“We didn’t get off to a great start, but the new boys held in well, so fingers crossed for a better performance.

“We should have our new overseas this weekend, so hopefully that will give us a boost.”

Thame are without the unavailable Mike Higgs and James Adams, resulting in Richard Straughan coming out of retirement for one game only.


Horspath (v Banbury, home): Coleman, R Eason, Phillips, Brown, Parmar, W Eason, Skelton, Rafiq, Belcher, Robertson, O’Connor.

Banbury (v Horspath, away): Sabin, White, Clarke, Yousaf, Hill, Tait, West, Rana, Wright, Beer, Thomas.

Aston Rowant (v Datchet, away): Condon, Tolson, Smith, Watling, Rossouw, Morrick, Mathews, Whatman, Harris, Fitzjohn, Barras.

Oxford (v Amersham, away): Tong-Jones, Perkin, Ayub, Dickinson, Eltham, Mendis, Simon, Musk, Keat, Humphreys, Beer.

Oxford Downs (v Wokingham, home): Watts, Costley, Sandbach, Ellwood, Rafiq, Slatter, Crouch, Sillars, Brock, Airey, Rivett.

Thame Town (v Cookham Dean, away): Beard, Ebsworth-Burland, Sutcliffe, Bamford, Mushtaq, Warner, Ali, Jeffcock, Russell, van Dyk, Straughan.