CRICKET: Haupt’s battling a back injury

thisisoxfordshire: Aston Rowant’s Josh Smith Aston Rowant’s Josh Smith

Serious Cricket Home Counties Premier League

BANBURY batsman Craig Haupt is hoping to recover from a back injury to return for tomorrow’s Division 1 clash at home to Tring Park.

The experienced left hander has been banned for the past two matches for dissent, but now faces a fitness battle.

“Craig was getting out of bed one morning and hurt his back, it was one of those freak things,” said captain Jimmy Phillips, who misses the game to attend a wedding in Cairo.

“He has not had it before. He has got pain-killers and it is going to be a case of wait and see if he can play.”

Seamer Ashley Blanchard and opening batsman Ian Tew return, with Ben Stafford dropping to the seconds.

Left-arm spinner Luke Ryan will skipper the side in Phillips’s absence.

“It is vital for us to win if we have any hope of staying in the title hunt,” added Phillips.

It is one spinner for another as Ian Evans replaces Francois Vainker (unavailable) for Oxford’s basement battle at home to Bishops Stortford.

Paceman Stuart Hole faces a late fitness test.

Oxford are bottom, but host Stortford and Burnham, the sides immediately above them, in the next two weeks.

Captain Ian Crosby said: “They are all big games at this stage, but Saturday is massive.

“It is very important we win and I am pretty confident.

“We were very unlucky not to get anything at Tring on Saturday. We batted poorly for ten minutes and didn’t get the rub of the green.

“Overall, the performances in the last three weeks have been very good.”

Aston Rowant have brought in all-rounders Nick Ferraby and Nat Watkins, plus wicket-keeper batsman Josh Smith for their Division 2 West derby at Thame Town.

Durham University duo Smith and Watkins make their seasonal debuts.

“With Nick being around a lot more often now that school has finished and Josh and Nat back from university, it is a huge help for us,” said captain Wesley Morrick.

Thame include all-rounders, George Patey and Alistair Thomas, but Sam Lachlan and Ed Barnett are away.

Skipper Mike Higgs said: “It is always a good fixture.

“They have been doing quite well and the weather is helping them with their seamers.”

Shipton-under-Wychwood welcome back Chris Oliver after four weeks to keep wicket for their trip to Cove.

Big-hitting batsman Jason Hunt makes his Home Counties debut.

Brothers Graham and Ryan Newhook are away as Shipton bid to climb out of the drop zone and secure a first win since May 26.

TOMORROW’S TEAMS

Banbury (v Tring Park, home): from L Sabin, Tew, Wirth, Desai, Haupt, Hawkes, West, Cater, Ryan (capt), Wright, Blanchard, J Megson.

Oxford (v Bishops Stortford, home): from King, Sandbach, Laudat, Canning, Perkin, Crosby (capt), Barrett, I Evans, Mendis, Sutherland, Geeson-Brown, Hole.

Aston Rowant (v Thame Town, away): Morrick, Watling, Morgan, Ferraby, Smith, Watkins, Leaney, Muttit, Cooper, Carlton, Cook.

Thame Town (v Aston Rowant, home): Higgs (capt), Neilson, S Patel, P Patel, Patey, Thomas, Jivrajani, Parmar, N Patel, Desai, Rooney.

Shipton-under-Wychwood (v Cove, away): Cha Brain, R Barrett, Hole (capt), Hunt, Wood, Seacole, Gurney, Oliver, Miller, Senior, Bates.

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