CRICKET: Phillips wants Banbury to keep focused

The Oxford Times: Ross Barrett (batting) returns for Shipton-under-Wychwood’s clash with Horspath Ross Barrett (batting) returns for Shipton-under-Wychwood’s clash with Horspath

Jimmy Phillips has urged Banbury to stay focused despite their Home Counties Premier League Division 1 title chase being held up by the wet weather.

Three wins from their opening three matches saw Banbury open up a decent lead, but since then they have completed only two games and dropped to second.

As they prepare for tomorrow’s trip to basement boys Harefield, captain Phillips wants to put frustration aside.

“It has been so stop-start for the last few weeks,” he said.

“We played the first three games and since then it has been very difficult to get going because of the wet weather.

“We have just got to make sure we are fully alert and try to do the best we can.

“It is a case of making sure we remain focused if there is a rain break.”

Ed Phillips and Liam Manley are added to Banbury’s 13-man squad, while Luke Ryan is battling a neck problem.

Oxford captain Ian Crosby has named an unchanged side for their home game with Gerrards Cross.

Should results go their way, Oxford could be top by the end of the day.

But Crosby said: “We won’t be getting too excited about that. It’s all very tight.

“If you had offered me fourth spot at this stage of the season, I would definitely have taken it.”

Aston Rowant’s match at Henley was abandoned without a ball being bowled last week, but they will hope for more luck at home to Tring Park.

Nick Ferraby, Chris Watling, Tom Needham, Dan Matthews and Leo Bethell all come into the side.

It is two changes apiece for the Oxfordshire derby between hosts Horspath and Shipton-under-Wychwood in Division 2.

Kit Cutter and Mohson Rana come in for Pat Foster and Luke Finch for Horspath. For Shipton, Jason Hunt and Ross Barrett replace Ian Lewis and Jack Davies.

Horspath captain Will Eason hopes to have recovered from a groin injury picked up on Sunday.

“Missing Pat is a big blow. He has sports day at the Dragon School where works,” said Eason.

“But hopefully, we can build on the confidence we have got by winning the last two matches.”

Shipton skipper Simon Hole was annoyed that rain stopped his side building on a good start at home to Chesham last week, but he fears more disruption.

“It is so frustrating having so many games called off,” said Hole.

“The forecast doesn’t look good already for Saturday, but fingers crossed we’ll be OK.”

Great & Little Tew captain Andy Harris names a squad of 12 for their trip to Dinton.

Robbie Shurmer is on holiday, but Ashley Hubbert and Lawrence Brock return.

Tew were 185-2 when rain stopped play against Cove last week.

Harris said: “We were back to how we were batting at the start of the season. Hopefully, we can build on that and the forceast improves a little bit.”

TOMORROW’S TEAMS

Aston Rowant (v Tring Park, home): Morrick (capt), Watling, Morgan, Ferraby, J Smith, Cook, Muttitt, Matthews, Needham, Bethell, Condon.

Banbury (v Harefield, away): from L Sabin, Harris, Haupt, Hawkes, West, Cater, E Phillips, Ryan, Blanchard, Bartlett, Manley, Wright, J Phillips (capt).

Oxford (v Gerrards Cross, home): Sutherland, Perera, Laudat, Crosby (capt), J Davies, Hole, Vainker, Mendis, Perkin, Bowyer, Beer.

Great & Little Tew (v Dinton, away): from White, Jordan Garrett, Smith, Hubbert, Slatter, Catling, Clark, Lloyd Brock, Lawrence Brock, Harris (capt), Woods, Bryan.

Horspath (v Shipton-under-Wychwood, home): R Eason, Cutter, Phillips, Ali, Skelton, Wynd, D Conradie, W Eason (capt), Faruq, Belcher, Rana.

Shipton-under-Wychwood (v Horspath, away): Hole (capt), Brain, R Barrett, Wood, Sanklecha, Seacole, Cross, Senior, Hunt, Kirby, Miller.

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