MICHAEL Beard is backing Thame Town to continue building momentum after rediscovering the winning feeling.

County counterparts Oxford Downs are the visitors to Church Meadow tomorrow as the side target a third-straight victory in Division 2.

Thame are full of confidence after their win over Cookham Dean a fortnight ago ended an 18-match winless run in the Home Counties Premier League – a barren spell which dated back to May 5 last year.

Captain Beard always believed his side would be competitive after relegation from the top tier and hopes his side can kick on.

“They’re like London buses – wait for one and two come along,” he said.

“I think stepping down we always felt we had the quality to do well in this league, but when you’ve not won for a while, particularly when you’re chasing runs, there is that pressure.

“So to get over the line twice now is very pleasing.”

Thame make two changes, with Chris Jeffcock dropping down to the second team and Oliver Ebsworth-Burland unavailable.

James Adams and Richard Straughan come in.

Downs captain George Sandbach is hoping his side can bounce back quickly from their first defeat.

An eight-wicket loss at home to Harefield denied them a third straight win.

Although disappointed with the result, Sandbach is confident of a reaction.

He said: “We’re gutted about last week, but we were bound to lose a match at some point and it may well be the motivation we need moving forward.

“We’re hoping to put a better batting performance in to put more pressure on the opposition.

“Luckily our batting line-up hasn’t been altered and we’re feeling confident of getting runs on the board.”

Downs make three changes with Tom Costley, Brad Airey and Nick Rivett coming in for Amin Rafiq, the unavailable Harry Sutton and Lawrence Brock, who misses out through injury.

Early leaders Oxford are waiting on the fitness of overseas star Samad Fallah ahead of their trip to Cookham Dean.

The left-arm seamer hurt his knee ahead of last week’s win over Burnham.

Although he still played, Fallah was run out and did not bowl, but Oxford are optimistic of having him available.

Captain Jamie Perkin said: “He got a knock on his knee on Friday trying to get used to the conditions. The ball was hit through a net and it hit him on the knee cap.

“He could hardly walk, but it’s just bruising. We need that to go down, but we think he will be OK for Saturday.”

Oxford add Calvin Dickinson, Freddie Simon and Rob Craze to their squad.

Banbury captain Lloyd Sabin is calling on his batsman to step up to the plate ahead of their clash with fellow Oxfordshire side Aston Rowant.

Both teams head into the Division 1 clash on the back of defeats last weekend.

While Rowant are yet to record a victory this season, Banbury suffered their first loss of 2019 at home to champions Henley.

The north Oxon side fell short by 62 runs as they were all out for 160.

Sabin was frustrated at the manner of the defeat and is hoping his top order can find some form tomorrow.

“We put ourselves in a good position at the half-way point against Henley, we bowled really well,” said the skipper.

“We’re a bit disappointed, it was a bit of a missed opportunity, we just didn’t bat well enough.”

Sabin added: “We haven’t scored 200 runs yet this season.

“I’m confident the batters will start stepping up and scoring runs – we need to start doing that pretty soon."

Banbury make two changes, with Olly Clarke and Richard West returning in place of Tom Bartlett and Dave Eaton.

Horspath skipper Will Eason is demanding a reaction at home to Finchampstead.

Despite being well-placed at 231-6, they slipped to 236 all out as they suffered a six-run defeat at last year’s runners-up Slough six days ago.

Eason labelled the loss as “one of the most disappointing results I’ve had since taking over the captaincy” and is eyeing an improved performance tomorrow.

“We’re looking for a bit of a reaction this week,” he said.

“It’s difficult to win games in this league, as we’ve found in the last couple of years, so when we get ourselves in a position where we’re right on top, it’s crucial we finish games off.

“You look at it on paper and we’ve nearly chased down 242, but we’re not happy with our performance.

“That says a lot about the levels we’re trying to achieve each week.”

Kyle Hopper and Stephen Green return for Horspath, with Jimmy Phillips unavailable and Milly Faruq dropping to the second XI.


Banbury (v Aston Rowant, away): Sabin, Phillips, Yousaf, Hill, Tait, Rana, Wright, Beer, Thomas, Clarke, West.

Horspath (v Finchampstead, home): Coleman, R Eason, Brown, Parmar, Cosford, Skelton, W Eason, Rafiq, Belcher, Hopper, Green.

Thame Tn (v Oxford Downs, home): Beard, Sutcliffe, Bamford, Russell, Mushtaq, Van Dyk, Warner, Higgs, Ali, Adams, Straughan.

Oxford Downs (v Thame Tn, away): Smith, Watts, C Sandbach, G Sandbach, Slatter, Ellwood, Costley, Crouch, Sillars, Rivett, Airey.

Oxford (v Cookham Dean, away): from Tong-Jones, Eltham, Price, Ayub, Perkin, Nutt, Mendis, Fallah, Musk, Keat, Humphreys, Dickinson, Simon, Craze.