JAMIE Perkin has challenged Oxford to find a way to solve their batting problems after a below-par start to the season.

Last week’s seven-wicket defeat at Finchampstead saw Oxford slip to the bottom of Division 1 after three Home Counties Premier League matches.

Having been all out for 96 on the opening day against Aston Rowant and their total of 220 chased down in 48 overs last week, Perkin is calling for improvement.

The skipper is hoping his side rise to the occasion against champions Henley tomorrow.

Perkin, who has obtained permission from Hampshire to add wicket-keeper/batsman Calvin Dickinson to a squad of 12, said: “The underlying problem is our batting – not enough people are scoring runs.

“We’ve got a great opportunity against probably the best side in the league to see whereabouts we are.

“I just hope people go out there with a clear mind and enjoy the challenge rather than worrying about playing the champions.”

Lloyd Sabin is calling on Banbury to build on a confidence-boosting first victory when they host Tring Park.

Spinner Steven Green starred, taking 4-17, as the side beat Slough by three wickets.

Banbury make one change with Olly Clarke coming back in for Ed Phillips and skipper Sabin is backing his side to continue improving.

He said: “Slough are a dangerous team, so it was good to get the win.

“We bowled excellently again, we’re just a bit short with the bat, but I know that will come pretty soon.”


  • BACK: Mike Higgs is available for Thame Town's home match against Slough

Captain Michael Beard remains upbeat despite Thame Town suffering their first defeat.

The newly-promoted side fell to a heavy 140-run loss at High Wycombe.

But Thame have picked up 29 points from their first three games and Beard believes his side can return to winning ways at home to Slough.

He said: “I’m reasonably pleased – if you had offered me that at the start, I would have taken it.

“We were missing a few last week and we always knew High Wycombe was going to be tricky.

“Hopefully we can bounce back.”

Top-order batsman Callum Russell is back from university, while Andy Russell and Mike Higgs return in place of James Klapper, Adam Phippen and Alex Bell.

Will Eason is confident it is only a matter of time before Horspath record their first win.

Rain stopped a thrilling run chase against Oxford a fortnight ago, while they suffered a tense two-wicket defeat to Tring Park last week.

But the Horspath skipper, who adds James Fitzjohn to his side in place of the unavailable James Phillips for tomorrow’s trip to fourth-placed Finchampstead, believes they are close to a victory.

He said: “We showed a lot of character last week, it was a close one.

“But we’ve got to be able to get over the line.

“The last few weeks could have been a lot different, but hopefully the win is just around the corner.”

Leaders Aston Rowant bid to continue their unbeaten start when they host High Wycombe.


  • AIMING HIGH: Harry Smith believes Great & Little Tew would send a massive statement to their rivals with victory at Datchet Picture: Ric Mellis

A confident Harry Smith believes Great & Little Tew would send out an early message to their Division 2 rivals if they beat Datchet tomorrow.

The west Oxfordshire side have won two of their opening three matches and are level on points with this weekend’s opponents.

Smith is tipping Datchet to be battling for honours at the end of the campaign.

And the Tew skipper believes his side are capable of springing a surprise at the Wally Gage Memorial Ground.

Smith said: “I would expect them to be up there come the end of the year.

“If we can get a result it would be a massive statement.

“They’ve got a good side with a few Berkshire players.

“But we’re in good form and you never know, we could go there and turn them over.”

Tew make two changes from last week’s five-wicket win over Amersham, with Ollie Price and Tim Wyatt replacing unavailable duo Ian Bryan and Tom Young.

Captain Anupam Sanklecha admits Shipton-under-Wychwood have a battle on their hands after a testing start to the season.

The side sit bottom after three straight defeats.

Shipton lost valuable experience from the first team during the winter and have been unable to fill the void with players from their 2nd team.

Sanklecha is hoping his side can get off the mark tomorrow at Burnham.

He said: “With a lot of people leaving from the last few years, it’s not been easy, we’re struggling.

“Losing has an affect on your mindset when you go into the next game.

“Sometimes players come into the team and see we have lost all of our matches and get a bit nervous.

“But we have to keep being positive and see how it goes.”

Shipton make three changes, with Luke Champion, Joe Cockroft and Craig Wood returning in place of Scott Harris, Lewis Marstin and Dee Jarvis.


Oxford (v Henley, home) from Tong-Jones, Eltham, Perkin, Ayub, Nutt, Kilpatrick, Mendis, Simon, Murphy, Keat, Humphreys, Dickinson.

Banbury (v Tring Park, home): Sabin, Haupt, Hill, Adams, West, Rana, Green, Wright, Beer, Taylor, Clarke.

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

Horspath (v Finchampstead, away): Coleman, R Eason, Skelton, Brown, Cosford, Green, W Eason, Faruk, Belcher, Manley, Fitzjohn.

Great & Little Tew (v Datchet, away): Smith, Catling, Woodward, White, Lloyd Brock, Slatter, Shurmer, Thomas, Lawrence Brock, Price, Wyatt.

Shipton-under-Wychwood (v Burnham, away): Cross, I Harris, C Miller, Sanklecha, Lewis, Norgrove, Rehman, S Miller, Champion, Cockroft, Wood.