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CRICKET: County go for bowling boost
Minor Counties Championship
OXFORDSHIRE have opted for an extra bowler against Wiltshire as they pursue their outside hopes of topping the Western Division table.
Trailing leaders Wilts by 16 points, fifth-placed Oxon must win comfortably at Devizes starting on Sunday and hope other results go their way.
Oxfordshire make three changes to the side that were so unlucky to draw with Cornwall – with Oxford seamer Tom Geeson-Brown brought in to change the balance.
Geeson-Brown, who will make his first appearance of 2012, replaces unavailable batsman Jonny Cater.
Elsewhere, Richard West comes in for Charlie Knightley, who badly dislocated a thumb against Cornwall, while Banbury seamer Ashley Blanchard returns in place of the Gloucestershire’s David Wade.
“We’ve gone for an extra bowler to give us the best chance of winning,” said Oxfordshire captain Ian Hawtin.
“We’ve gone with the two local lads in Tom and Ashley.
“All we can do is go out and beat Wiltshire well, then everything else is in the hands of other people.
“We will concentrate on what we do and not on what others do.”
Had they been able to take the final wicket to beat Cornwall, Oxon would have been just four points off top spot.
But now to finish top, they must hope Dorset, Shropshire and Cornwall all fail to win their final matches as well as themselves beating Wilts.
As well as topping the Western Division table, Wiltshire have reached the MCCA Trophy final.
The Championship season has been badly affected by wet weather, but Hawtin remained philosophical.
“Some of the other sides have not suffered quite as badly as we have,” he said.
“It has been a bit of a funny season in that respect, but what goes around comes around.
“We were saved by the rain against Berkshire and then it rained when we were evenly matched against Dorset.”
Wiltshire need 20 points or more to be sure of finishing top and setting up a Championship decider against likely Eastern Division winners Buckinghamshire.
Oxfordshire: Kaufman (Old North-amptonians), Sabin (Banbury), Perkin (Oxford), West (Banbury), Watling (Aston Rowant), Smith (Bromley), Keegan (Worksop), Hawtin (capt, Banbury), Ryan (Banbury), Blanchard (Banbury), Geeson-Brown (Oxford).