ASTON Rowant captain Josh Smith has been singing the praises of young star James Coles as he prepares for tomorrow’s visit to Harefield.

The 16-year-old hit 83 in last weekend’s 165-run thrashing of Oxford – before scoring 101 on his senior Oxfordshire debut 24 hours later to help his county beat Buckinghamshire.

Smith said: “James is a very talented youngster – I’m happy we’re not playing against him.

“He’s a class player and it’ll be exciting to see where he can go.”

Rowant’s only change is the return of Robin Pritchard for Adam Muttitt.

Elsewhere, Oxford Downs host Thame Town aiming to display the form that saw them to a 45-run success at leaders Banbury last Saturday.

New captain Tom Costley got off to the best possible start as his side put in an excellent display with the ball.

He said: “I was so proud of the way the boys approached the game – everyone turned up with the mentality that we can win this.

“Whoever we’d played they weren’t going to beat us.”

Downs are without George Sandbach, but Will Watts returns.

After a strong start to the season, Thame skipper Mike Beard hopes his young side can use last weekend’s 94-run defeat to Horspath to their advantage.

He said: “We knew we had some tough games coming up and Oxford Downs look like they’ve got a good side this year.

“A lot of things went our way in the first few games so that will be a learning curve.”

Will Rooney returns for Thame after time away with the army, while Tom Bamford also comes in.

They replace Will Sutcliffe and the unavailable Faisal Ali.

Banbury will look to bounce back from their defeat to Oxford Downs at fourth-placed High Wycombe.

The table-toppers collapsed from 55-1 to 126 all out last week and captain Lloyd Sabin knows his side must do better.

He said: “We’ve got to improve with the bat, it’s as simple as that. We’re not going to over-analyse it.

“High Wycombe are one of this season’s stronger sides, but traditionally we’ve done well against them.”

Oli Wright drops out, with his replacement still to be confirmed.

Horspath will aim to follow their first victory of the season with another success at home to Chesham.

Tom Coleman and Jimmy Phillips shared a record-breaking opening partnership of 204 in the win over Thame.

The captain said: “We executed our game plan to perfection, but it’s not often you get a stand like that.

“I think we’ve figured out a route to take. The team’s settled down a bit so hopefully it’ll be the same again.”

Will Hawtin is on holiday, so Rob Wight comes in to keep wicket.

Oxford were a man down for most of last weekend’s loss due to a mystery illness to Barney Carey, who left the field after 15 overs and stayed in hospital overnight.

He has now recovered and returns to the side for the visit of Wargrave, who are also winless.

Meanwhile, bowler Rob Keat replaces Harry Startin as he makes his first appearance of the season.

Captain Jamie Perkin said: “I’ve said to the lads all year that this is about seeing if we’re ready as a team.

“This is a massive opportunity – we’ve now got four winnable fixtures and if we win tomorrow I wouldn’t be surprised if we went on a run.”


Aston Rowant (v Harefield, away): Reid, Condon, Coles, Smith, Fitzjohn, Watling, Pritchard, Bethell, Mannering, Morrick, Whatman.

Banbury (v High Wycombe, away): White, Burton, Sabin, Clarke, Phillips, Hill, Rana, Eaton, Thomas, Manley, TBC.

Horspath (v Chesham, home): Phillips, Coleman, Sehgal, Ward, Brown, W Eason, Wight, Beer, Belcher, Turner, Livingstone.

Oxford (v Wargrave, home): Mase, Carey, Mathews, Tait, Ramalingam, Swanepoel, Perkin, Musk, Keat, Bridson, Nawaz.

Oxford Downs (v Thame Town, home): Crouch, Smith, Cosford, Costley, Watts, Maslen, Slatter, Warner, Brock, Rivett, Davie.

Thame Town (v Oxford Downs, away): Beard, Ebsworth-Burland, Rooney, Meer, Adams, C Russell, Mushtaq, Jeffcock, Bamford, A Russell, Jelfs.