JAMIE Perkin hailed the collective effort of his Oxford side as they eye a fifth win in a row tomorrow – but says there is room for improvement.

The Home Counties Premier League Division 2 leaders kept their 100 per cent record intact when beating Cookham Dean last weekend.

It has seen Oxford open up a 14-point advantage ahead of their home fixture with Wokingham.

Muhammad Ayub scored his third half-century of the season, while Samad Fallah took 3-17 in their latest success.

Although he wants to see improvement from the Cookham victory, Perkin, who names an unchanged side, has been encouraged by the displays.

He said: “The most pleasing thing so far is that everyone else is contributing rather than it being the same bowler or the same batsman.

“We’ve got one of the best batsmen in Mo and the best bowlers in Sammy, but it’s about everyone else chipping in and so far we’ve certainly done that.

“But we were actually pretty poor on Saturday, certainly in the field, so we need to perform better against Wokingham who I think are one of the stronger sides.”

Captain George Sandbach is backing Oxford Downs to produce the goods without their regular top order.

Chris Sandbach, Freddie Smith, who hit a century last week, and Will Watts miss tomorrow’s home fixture with Amersham and next Saturday’s clash at Chesham.

Luke Maslen has been rewarded for his fine performances for the 2nd XI and steps up to open the batting.

Ollie Dunn and Amin Rafiq also come into the team, and George Sandbach is confident the team can step up as they search for a fourth win from five games.

He said: “Luckily Luke Maslen has been in fine touch for the second team, scoring a 70 and 120 in his two games for the club, so it’s very exciting to have him in the line up.

“Another U17 player Ollie Dunn is also coming in after again impressing in the second team with both the bat and ball.

“After two brilliant wins against top teams (Wokingham and Thame) we are feeling confident of getting a win on Saturday.

“Despite missing three players we are lucky to have a deep squad, but more importantly a young squad.

“The three hundreds this year have come from Freddie, Luke and Ollie, all teenagers

which is very exciting for the club.”

Thame Town bid to bounce back from their defeat to Downs when they travel to Chesham.

Will Eason is predicting another testing encounter when Horspath make the trip to newly-promoted Buckingham Town in Division 1.

They head to Bourton Road off the back of a thrilling contest with Finchampstead six days ago.

Facing defeat, a late wicket earned a tie at Oxford Road and, while it is unlikely to be that tight again, skipper Eason is prepared for another tricky afternoon.

“Buckingham have had a pretty good start, they had a fantastic season last year, so it will be a challenging game for us,” he said.

“We know about the dangerous players they’ve got and I expect another close game.”

Horspath make one change, with second team captain Dom O’Connor replacing Tom Coleman, who is unavailable.

Eason admitted he was left with mixed emotions last weekend, having posted 239-5 and restricted Finchampstead to 211-9.

He added: “There was a bit of relief, bit of elation as well.

“But the last two batted well and put on 28, so we were disappointed not to finish the game.

“We were also 28-4, so to get 239 we had to battle hard.”

Banbury are bidding to avoid a third straight defeat when they host Tring Park.

A strong opening fortnight has been undone by losses to Henley and Aston Rowant, while the north Oxfordshire side are yet to score more than 200 runs in a match.

Banbury are boosted by the possible return of Joe White, who was due to have a fitness test last night, while Dave Whitely comes in to the side.

Captain Lloyd Sabin is looking for improvement.

He said: “We bowled and batted pretty poorly last week.

“It’s a big game, we’ve got to put in a good performance.”

Sabin added: “Everyone’s working hard and I know it’s completely different, but we’ve been looking good in the nets.

“It’s just about going out and delivering on Saturday now.

“I can’t put my finger on it, but I’m sure we’ll start firing soon.”

Richard West is unavailable, while Graham Beer drops to the second team.

Rowant are eyeing back-to-back wins when they visit Slough.


Oxford (v Wokingham, home): Tong-Jones, Eltham, Perkin, Ayub, Dickinson, Nutt, Mendis, Simon, Fallah, Keat, Humphreys.

Oxford Downs (v Amersham, home): G Sandbach, Maslen, Costley, Slatter, Rafiq, Ellwood, Dunn, Crouch, Sillars, Rivett, Airey.

Horspath (v Buckingham Tn, away): R Eason, Cosford, Brown, Green, Hopper, Skelton, W Eason, Belcher, Parmar, Rafiq, O’Connor.

Banbury (v Tring Park, home): Sabin, Phillips, Clarke, Yousaf, Tait, Hill, Rana, Wright, Thomas, Whitely, White.