CALLUM Russell says the Division 2 title race is far from over despite Thame Town being knocked off the top of the table.

The side lost last week’s crunch Home Counties Premier League clash with Oxford by nine runs, which saw their rivals return to the summit and open up an eight-point lead with three games remaining.

Thame, who name an unchanged team, are bidding to bounce back tomorrow when they host bottom side Dinton at Church Meadow, where they are on a four-match winning run.

And vice-captain Russell insists the side are upbeat about their chances of taking the title race to the wire.

“We’re still very positive,” he said.

“It’s not over at all.

“Promotion is the main aim and to win the title on top of that would be an added bonus.

“We’re focusing on what we’ve got to do at the moment, which is performing in the last three games.”

Oxford travel to Chesham hoping to keep the hammer down.

And captain Jamie Perkin, who adds Richard Musk to a squad of 12, is urging his side to not get caught up in the potential importance of last week’s success.

“We’ve put ourselves in a really good position and we now have three games to see it home,” he said.

“Chesham won’t be easy. I’ve never played there, but I’ve heard the wicket is tricky, so we’re expecting a tough match.

“Last week has gone. I don’t think anyone can deny how big it was, but we’ve done that job now and we’re on to the next game.”

George Sandbach believes Oxford Downs need two wins from the final three weeks to secure their status.

The west Oxfordshire side, who are in their first season at the level, have only recorded one victory in their last nine games.

The run has seen Downs slip down the table and they are now 17 points above the relegation zone.

But captain Sandbach, whose side travel to Burnham, is confident his players have no reason to worry and has a clear target for the final weeks.

He said: “We need to get two more wins, that will make us safe.

“We’re all right.

“Unless we lose all of our games we won’t be worried, we’ve got a good chance of staying up.”

Downs make two changes, with Prav Chahal and James Ellwood replacing unavailable duo Freddie Smith and Chris Sandbach.

Will Eason admitted Horspath’s Division 1 status is hanging by a thread as they head into a must-win game at home to Datchet.

Last weekend’s defeat, compounded by Tring Park’s win over fellow strugglers Slough, leaves the side 30 points adrift of safety with only 60 on offer.

Horspath could be relegated if they fail to win tomorrow and captain Eason is under no illusions about what is required.

“We’re hanging on by a thread now,” he said.

“So we’ve just got to go out and give it our best shot.

“We’ve got to get at least two wins from our last three games and one of them has to be tomorrow.”

Robbie Eason and Asad Rafiq replace unavailable duo Kyle Hopper and Steven Green.

Aston Rowant have their sights set on chasing down second-placed Banbury.

Rowant are 19 points behind and hoping to close the gap when they host Buckingham Town tomorrow.

Batsman Chris Watling said: “We’re eyeing up second, which I think would be quite a successful season.”

George Reid and James Coles are unavailable, so James Fitzjohn and Dom Whatman come in.

Banbury are bidding to extend their unbeaten run to three games when they take on Slough at home.


Aston Rowant (v Buckingham Tn, home): Condon, Matthews, Smith, Watling, Rossouw, Bethell, Morrick, Muttitt, Mason, Fitzjohn, Whatman.

Horspath (v Datchet, home): O’Connor, Coleman, Cosford, Hawtin, Skelton, Robertson, W Eason, Belcher, Manley, R Eason, Rafiq.

Oxford (v Chesham, away): from Price, Eltham, Perkin, Ayub, Nutt, Craze, Tong-Jones, Mendis, Keat, Fallah, Swanepoel, Musk.

Thame Tn (v Dinton, home): Ebsworth-Burland, Beard, C Russell, Sutcliffe, Bamford, Mushtaq, Ali, Warner, Van Dyk, A Russell, Higgs.

Oxford Downs (v Burnham, away): G Sandbach, Watts, Rafiq, Slatter, Sillars, Costley, Crouch, Mehmood, Brock, Chahal, Ellwood.