HORSPATH have been dealt a major blow with the news overseas star Rameez Raja will miss the rest of the season through injury.

The 29-year-old, who scored 595 runs in 2016, broke a finger in three places during last week’s defeat to Great & Little Tew.

It was Raja’s first game back since he travelled home to Pakistan at the beginning of June due to his mother’s poor health.

But the former T20 international returned to the Home Counties Premier League Division 1 side with a dislocated finger.

After being struck on it again, he needed to go to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Captain Will Eason said it was now too late to find a replacement overseas, but Horspath would look into extending Sussex bowler Ajmal Shahzad’s stay until the end of the season.

He said: “Rameez is going back to Pakistan and that’s him for the rest of the season.

“When he went back home he dislocated his finger quite badly, tried to play through it on Saturday and it was quite obvious with the way he was was batting.

“In the field he took another blow to the hand and went to the JR, got it X-rayed and it seems he has got three breaks in his finger and needs an operation.

“That’s unfortunately devastating for him and for us.”

Tom Cosford and Ian Slatcher are back for the home clash against Burnham, while Alex Thomas drops to the 2nd XI.

Banbury captain Lloyd Sabin cannot believe how closely matched all the Division 1 sides are.

Just 36 points separate second-placed Finchampstead and bottom side Slough.

He said: “I’ve never known the league to be like this before."

Banbury add Olly Clarke, Ed Phillips and Jack Wilkins to a squad of 13, but Tom Bartlett misses out for tomorrow’s match against Tring Park.

John Barrett is backing Oxford to bounce back when they host champions Finchampstead.

The skipper was unavailable for last week’s defeat to Banbury.

He said: “It was quite a naive batting performance and something we’ve not really had yet, but we go again, it’s one of those things.

“We’ve got a good blend, we’ve got youth and experience, I think maybe the disappointing thing was that it was the most experienced guys this time, but that’s cricket and it does happen.

“I’m still confident we’ve got a good team and I don’t think it will affect our confidence.”

Oxford make three changes, with Barrett, Andrew Clough and Ben Charlesworth coming into the side.

Ian Crosby is unavailable, Mursaleen Sadiqi drops down to the 2nd XI and Freddie Simon is injured (shoulder).

Great & Little Tew travel to leaders Henley.

Victory over Horspath saw the west Oxfordshire side move out of the bottom two last week.

Captain Harry Smith said: “Hopefully we can take our confidence into Henley away.

“We know we can beat them, we can play with no fear.”

Robbie Shurmer returns in place of Josh Garrett.


Horspath (v Burnham, home): Coleman, R Eason, Fitzjohn, Jefferson, Shahzad, Green, W Eason, Faruk, Belcher, Cosford, Slatcher.

Banbury (v Tring Park, away): from Haupt, Sabin, Hill, West, Hawtin, Megson, Briggs, Wright, Taylor, Cheema, Clarke, Phillips, Wilkins.

Oxford (v Finchampstead, home): Eltham, Tong-Jones, Perkin, Ayub, Mendis, Beer, Fallah, Musk, Barrett, Clough, Charlesworth.

Great & Little Tew (v Henley, away): Smith, White, Jordan Garrett, Ll Brock, Harris, Law Brock, Slatter, Manley, Thomas, Adams, Shurmer.

CHARLIE Brain says all the pressure will be on Division 2 leaders Aston Rowant when Shipton-under-Wychwood face their high-flying rivals tomorrow.

The west Oxfordshire side recorded back-to-back victories for the first time in the Home Counties Premier League this season when beating Great Brickhill in an exciting low-scoring clash last weekend.

Shipton head to Rowant with confidence, but the skipper knows his side will have their work cut out.

“The pressure is on them,” said Brain, who is forced into one change as the unavailable Andy Hemming is replaced by Matt Brown.

“They’re aiming to win the league, we’ve got nothing to play for really and we can be quite dangerous.

“They will have to face Pam (all-rounder Anupam Sanklecha) a lot more in the longer game so good luck to them.”

A tenth-wicket partnership of 53 between Brain and Shaun Miller proved the difference last week as Shipton won by 26 runs having found themselves 55-9.

Brain added: It’s a headache to decide who will bat seven, eight, nine, ten and you have to go by form and the captain always takes the hit to keep everyone happy.

“Our batting order can be pretty flexible and those people are considered all-rounders rather than pure bowlers.”

Rowant make two changes with Andrew Tolson unavailable and Sasha Barras dropping to the 2nd XI, so Tom Condon and Alex Jewell return.

Their victory over Thame Town last weekend saw them extend their lead to 27 points, but captain Josh Smith is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.

He said: “We’ve just got to keep winning games, we can’t be complacent.

“Last week, we played well in all three aspects and when you do that you’ve got to be happy.”

Opener and spinner Mike Higgs returns as Thame welcome Datchet to Church Meadow.

Michael Beard’s side sit fifth after their five-game unbeaten run was ended by Rowant last weekend.

The Thame skipper, whose team are without seamer Will Rooney (unavailable), remains in good spirits, though, at the half-way point of the season.

He said: “Rowant are the strongest side we’ve played this year.

“We’re similar sides, I think they’re just two or three years ahead of us.

“We were not at our best, but it’s been a very positive start.

“If you had offered me five wins I would have taken it.”


Shipton-under-Wychwood (v Aston Rowant, away): Wood, C Miller, Hole, Sanklecha, Davies, Cross, I Harris, S Harris, Brain, Miller, Brown.

Aston Rowant (v Shipton, home): Matthews, McDougall, Smith, Watling, Morrick, Pendered, Bethell, Muttitt, Harris, Condon, Jewell.

Thame Tn (v Datchet, home): C Russell, Sutcliffe, Kanishka, Beard, Straughan, Adams, Phippen, Mushtaq, Jeffcock, A Russell, Higgs.