ALL three of Oxfordshire’s Division 2 sides face a crucial weekend in the Home Counties Premier League.

Leaders Thame Town could secure promotion when they travel to third-placed Harefield, who are 19 points behind with two games to play.

Oxford, five points adrift of Thame, are also on the verge of going up.

Their opponents tomorrow are an Oxford Downs side desperate for a win after back-to-back defeats dragged them just seven points above the drop zone.

Both sides know the significance of the fixture, but have been hampered in the lead up.

Oxford are without overseas star Samad Fallah who has returned to India due to injury.

The overseas left-arm seamer has been struggling all season with an ankle problem after being hit in the nets on the eve of the campaign.

Captain Jamie Perkin said: “He can’t bowl anymore, he can hardly walk.

“He’s been bowling at 60 per cent all year and we thank him for his efforts – we’ll try to plough through without him.”

Freddie Simon comes into the side, while Fergus Nutt replaces Rob Craze.

“It’s a very big game,” said Perkin.

“I would prefer it not to be, but unfortunately we’ve put ourselves in a predicament now.”

Downs are leaving it late before naming their side.

Captain George Sandbach was set to drop a couple of players to the 2nd XI, but is unable to do so, due to rules in the Cherwell League.

Players are not allowed to play in the final two matches if they have featured in four Home Counties games and not played eight Cherwell League matches – a situation 15 members of Downs’ squad find themselves in.

Sandbach said: “It’s not good. The rule needs to be changed or each case has to be assessed individually.

“We have sent an email to the league saying who we want to drop and it clearly shows that it is due to performances.”

Sandbach’s side are bidding to avoid being relegated in their first season at the level.

The skipper added: “This weekend is massive for us.

“I think we just need to get one win, whether it’s this Saturday or next weekend.”

The title is in Thame’s hands after they took advantage of Oxford’s shock defeat at Chesham last week.

And vice-captain Callum Russell explained that the players have been given a very clear message.

He said: “It’s been great getting the results and seeing people put in fantastic individual performances, but we have to make sure it’s not all in vain.

“We’re at the top of the table again and we plan to stay there.”

Devane Warner is unavailable, so Chris Jeffcock comes in.

Like Downs, Banbury and Aston Rowant are still weighing up their team selection.

Banbury could secure second place in Division 1 when they make the trip to Finchampstead.

Although George Tait is unavailable, captain Lloyd Sabin is waiting on the selection of the 2nd XI before naming his side.

He said: “Finishing second would be a pretty successful season.

“There a couple of things we can improve on, so hopefully we can put those right in the next couple of weeks.”

Fourth-placed Rowant travel to High Wycombe.

Relegated Horspath make three changes for their home fixture against champions Henley.

Stephen Green, Asad Rafiq and Milly Faruq come in, replacing Mark Skelton, Will Robertson (both unavailable) and Alfie Turner, who will play for the 2nd XI.

Captain Will Eason said: "We're pretty disappointed after last week.

"We're going to look back with more frustration than anything because we've been involved in so many games where, at times, we were well on top but not able to win and that's probably more disappointing."


Thame Tn (v Harefield, away): Beard, Ebsworth-Burland, C Russell, Sutcliffe, Bamford, Mushtaq, Ali, Van Dyk, Higgs, A Russell, Jeffcock.

Oxford (v Oxford Downs, away): Price, Eltham, Perkin, Ayub, Tong-Jones, Swanepoel, Mendis, Musk, Keat, Simon, Nutt.

Horspath (v Henley, home): O’Connor, Cosford, Coleman, R Eason, Hawtin, W Eason, Belcher, Manley, Green, Rafiq, Faruq.