Oxford captain Ian Crosby has set his sights on a season of consolidation as they return to Serious Cricket Home Counties Premier League Division 1 after a one-year absence.
The top flight has a different look to it since Oxford, who visit reigning champions Henley tomorrow, were last in it two seasons ago following the breakaway by the Hertfordshire clubs this winter.
And the good news for last year’s Division 2 West champions is that former Oxfordshire seamer Stuart Hole will be playing more games this season.
A change of policy has seen Oxford recruit an overseas player in the shape of New Zealander Mark Beer, a 27-year-old all-rounder, who played for Metropolitan Tigers and Southland.
His arrival will help compensate for the loss of paceman Tom Geeson-Brown, who is working up north, as is Stefan Van Dyke.
Former Wolverhampton captain Dan Bowyer will strengthen the batting, while Abi Sakande, a seamer from Oxford MCCU and Sussex, who is a member of the England Development Programme Under 19s, is expected to be available for the first part of the season.
Young all-rounder Alex Davies has joined from Oxford & Bletchingdon Nondescripts.
Crosby said: “Mid-table is the aim, stability back in the top flight.
“We have played quite a few of the teams. Four of us are coming up, so there should not be too many surprises in there and we know the other teams that are in it very well.
“We have four tough games early on, but we have had a good pre-season and two good wins last weekend, and the lads are looking pretty good.
“The boys that have come in look like good players, so we are confident we can do well.”
Missing for the trip to Henley will be Stewart Laudat, who is expected to be out for two weeks with an ankle injury.
IN: Dan Bowyer (Wolverhampton), Alex Davies (Oxford & Bletchingdon Nondescripts), Mark Beer (Metropolitan Tigers), Abi Sakande (Oxford MCCU).
OUT: Tom Geeson-Brown, Stefan Van Dyke, Luke Finch (Horspath).
Oxford (v Henley, away): from Clough, Beer, Perkin, Bowyer, J Davies, Crosby (capt), Hole, Mendis, Vainker, Sutherland, Euen, I Evans.