OXFORD Downs’ place in the John Goodman Cup final would have raised a few eyebrows two months ago, admits Tom Costley.

Downs visit High Wycombe tomorrow for a chance to claim the top prize for the shortened 2020 season after they beat Wokingham by five wickets in last weekend’s semi-final.

The Oxfordshire side finished third in the pooled division, despite ending the 2019 season sixth in Division 2.

And they could even win two pieces of silverware this weekend, with a repeat of last year’s Bernard Tollett Oxfordshire Cup final against Banbury on Sunday.

It has been quite a ride for Downs since the belated campaign started in July, but captain Costley knows they fully deserve a shot at glory.

He said: “Being in two finals means there’s a lot of tension building up to the weekend.

“If you’d said at the start of the season that us, Wokingham and Chesham would be in the Home Counties semi-finals, you’d have got pretty long odds.

“It shows a lot about the character of the club and how good we can be when it clicks.”

Downs will hope to play the same team in both finals, but will be without the injured Tom Cosford (ankle) and Luke Maslen, who has returned to university.

James Ellwood and Ethan Davie step in and Costley is expecting his side to have plenty of belief following a five-match winning streak.

He said: “It’s been a difficult year in lots of ways, but credit to the league that we’ve been able to get a season on.

“Credit also goes to our players for putting in performances and getting victories week after week.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a squad that’s won such competitive games every week.

“There’s a lot of confidence going in to the weekend.”

Thame Town can also finish the season with a trophy, but they will have to get past last season’s Division 1 champions Henley in the John Goodman Plate final.

Captain Mike Beard and Will Rooney are unavailable, with Faisal Ali and Andy Russell coming in.

Shahbaz Meer moves up the order to open alongside Olliver Ebsworth-Burland in Beard’s place.

Thame are another surprise package, having been in Division 2 in 2019 – albeit ending the season as champions – and Beard is excited ahead of a tough test for his side.

Beard said: “It’s nice to have a final to try to win and Henley at home makes it quite a big fixture.

“Anything can happen in a one-off game, but looking back at some of the sides we’ve beaten this year is a good sign.

“They’ve got some big names, so it’s a big chance to step up.”

Oxford will not be able to fulfil their 17-20 play-off final at Slough as several players are unavailable.

But captain Jamie Perkin was pleased to end the season with a win at Buckingham last weekend.

He said: “It’s actually been a lot better than the league table looks.

“We probably should have won three more games and that would have put us fourth or fifth.

“We’ve given invaluable experience to youngsters, which will only make them better players.”


Oxford Downs (v High Wycombe, away): Crouch, Smith, Watts, Costley, Sandbach, Ellwood, Slatter, Warner, Brock, Rivett, Davie.

Thame Town (v Henley, home): Ebsworth-Burland, Meer, Jeffcock, C Russell, Mushtaq, Bamford, Ali, A Russell, Furness, Jelfs, Sutcliffe.