CHRIS Watling says James Coles has a bright future ahead of him as the youngster continues to impress for Aston Rowant.

The 15-year-old opener hit 91 in last weekend’s nine-wicket win at Tring Park in Division 1.

Coles has scored 315 runs in eight Home Counties Premier League games this season and teammate Watling has been impressed with the teenager.

“For a lad so young, he’s got a calm head on his shoulders, which doesn’t seem right,” said the batsman.

“He’s extremely talented and he’s been brilliant at the top of the order and bowling his left-arm spin.

“He has a bright future ahead of him.”

Rowant name an unchanged team for their trip to Banbury this weekend.

And they are looking to continue a strong run of form against their county counterparts, which has seen them win the last four meetings between the sides.

Watling added: “The last few weeks have been really good.

“We’ve put in some great performances and we’re looking forward to continuing that.

“We’ve got a pretty good track record against Banbury and it would be good to put one on them again.”

Banbury head into the fixture knowing they can ill-afford to drop points in their quest to chase down the top two.

Lloyd Sabin’s side are 38 adrift of leaders Henley, with whom they drew last weekend, but have closed the gap to second-placed Datchet to nine.

Banbury make one change for tomorrow, with Joe Thomas returning in place of George Tait.

And skipper Sabin is hoping his side can extend their unbeaten run to four games.

He said: “Rowant are in good form and we are as well, so it should be a good contest.

“We’re basically two wins off Henley.

“I think it will be hard to especially finish top, a lot of things are out of our hands, but we’ll just keep trying to win games.”

Horspath could face a pivotal week in their bid to climb out of the relegation zone.

Will Eason’s men, who are two points adrift of safety, travel to Finchampstead.

With fellow strugglers Slough and Tring Park facing the division’s top two, Horspath have a chance to move clear.

Captain Eason said: “There is an opportunity for us if we can pick up a good result this weekend, with them both having difficult games.

“We might be able to leapfrog both of them.

“There’s still well over 100 points still to play for, but we’ve got to try to pick up results sooner rather than later.”

Horspath make three changes, with Will Hawtin, Mark Skelton and Amin Rafiq replacing unavailable trio Robbie Eason, Milly Faruq and Tom Coleman.

Oxford captain Jamie Perkin is unconcerned by seeing his team knocked off top spot in Division 2.

Thame Town took advantage of their rivals’ match at Harefield being abandoned to open up a seven-point lead.

But Perkin, whose side host Cookham Dean tomorrow, believes there will be plenty more twists and turns.

“We’re still completely in control of our fate and that’s where we want to be at this stage of the season,” said Perkin.

“We’ve still got six games left.

“And we know if we win five of those games we’ll be where we want to be, so things haven’t changed in terms of our targets.

“We’ve still got to play Thame and we’ve got to give them credit, it’s quite a run they’ve been on.

“They’re a good team and up there for a reason, but we can’t worry about the table, there’s still a long way to go.”

Oxford have recalled Owyn Tong-Jones to the first team, replacing Rob Craze.

Oxford Downs take on Thame and are confident of springing a surprise against their in-form visitors.

Captain George Sandbach is missing again, but is backing his side to deliver on home turf and record the double over their Oxfordshire rivals.

He said: “Thame are obviously a strong team, but we know their two key wickets.

“So if we get them out then we are confident we can restrict them to a low total.

“Our main scorers against them earlier in the year (Freddie Smith and Curtly Slatter) are playing, so hopefully their confidence will continue.”

Downs make one change from the side which were due to play Harefield last week, with Smith replacing Tom Costley.


Aston Rowant (v Banbury, away): Reid, Coles, Condon, Smith, Watling, Duncan, Matthews, Rossouw, Morrick, Muttitt, Harris.

Banbury (v Aston Rowant, home): Sabin, White, Clarke, Yousaf, West, Rana, Phillips, Hill, Whiteley, Wright, Thomas.

Horspath (Finchampstead, away): Belcher, W Eason, Green, Hopper, Manley, O’Connor, Robertson, Cosford, Hawtin, Skelton, Rafiq.

Oxford (v Cookham Dean, home): Price, Eltham, Dickinson, Ayub, Nutt, Perkin, Mendis, Musk, Fallah, Keat, Tong-Jones.

Oxford Downs (v Thame Tn, home): C Sandbach, Smith, Watts, Rafiq, Slatter, Ellwood, Sillars, Crouch, Mehmood, Sherborne, Brock.