JAMIE Perkin says his high-flying Oxford side will need to be prepared for one of their toughest tests yet at Thame Town tomorrow.

The Division 2 leaders head to their Oxfordshire counterparts on the back of five successive wins.

A four-run victory over Wokingham saw Oxford preserve their 100 per cent start to the Home Counties Premier League season.

But captain Perkin is expecting his side’s excellent record to come under threat at Church Meadow as the timed format begins.

“Thame will be a tough nut to crack,” said the skipper, who adds Ollie Price to his side in place of the unavailable Shami Mendis.

“They will be quite strong in the timed stuff and it will probably be our hardest test yet.”

Perkin added: “Things are looking really good at the moment.

“We’re obviously not going to get ahead of ourselves, but confidence is a good thing and something you’ve got to make the most of it in cricket.”

Thame will be bidding to put last week’s defeat to Chesham behind them.

Michael Beard’s side looked hot favourites after dismissing their hosts for 101, but slipped to a 19-run defeat.

Johannes Van Dyk starred with the ball and the Thame skipper is hoping his overseas star can deliver again.

Beard said: “We know who their key players are and we will need to get them out early. Hopefully our overseas can play a big role.

“He’s very competitive, he got stuck in last Saturday, it’s good to have someone who’s up for the fight.”

Mike Higgs and Chris Jeffcock replace the unavailable Devane Warner and James Adams.

Oxford Downs are without six first-team players for their trip to Chesham.

Brad Airey and Luke Maslen are out, joining the already unavailable Chris Sandbach, Freddie Smith, Will Watts and Lawrence Brock.

Cam Spilsbury is handed his first-team debut, while Rory Garrett also comes into the side.

Although Downs won last Saturday, skipper George Sandbach, who hit 110, is demanding improvement.

“We managed to squeak past Amersham, but we’re aware our batters need to up their game if we are to continue our good run,” he said.

“Apart from a hundred nobody managed to get above 14, so a couple of players need to graft this coming week.

“The change of format is a blessing with our strike bowlers being able to bowl more than usual and the red ball swinging more for longer will help our oversees pro Richard Sillars significantly.”

Captain Lloyd Sabin says it is exciting to think Banbury have won three of their five Division 1 games without playing to their full potential.

The north Oxfordshire outfit climbed to third last week when beating Tring by 62 runs.

It ended a run of back-to-back defeats, thanks to half-centuries from Ed Phillips (61) and overseas Shahid Yousaf (59no).

Banbury are still yet to score more than 200 runs this season, but Sabin has reason to feel optimistic ahead of tomorrow’s home fixture against co-leaders Datchet.

He said: “We’ve won three out of five, but I don’t think we’re playing to our potential which is a bit frustrating.

“However, the exciting thing is if we do find momentum and put everything together we can push on.”

Sabin added: “Last week the weather was not great in the morning and we had to be ready to play at any time.

“We approached it in a really good way.

“We lost the toss and got put in which was not ideal, but we responded well to that with Eddie (Phillips) and Joe (White) battling well to set a platform and our overseas played well with what turned out to be a match-winning innings.”

Banbury name a squad of 12, with Olly Clarke and Richard West in line for returns, while Dave Eaton drops to the second team.

It has been the opposite for Horspath, who have only picked up one win despite being competitive in all of their fixtures.

Will Eason’s side are due to host High Wycombe this weekend, but heavy rain throughout the week could put the match in doubt with parts of the ground under water.

If the fixture goes ahead, the skipper is hoping his side can find a winning formula.

He said: “We’ve been well in all five of our games, that’s probably the most frustrating thing, but pleasing at the same time.

“We could’ve won three, four, if not five, but we’ve got a tough month coming up now.”

Eason added: “Like everyone, the issue we’ve had this week is we just haven’t been able to do anything with the pitch so far.

“It’s not ideal preparation against a quality side.”

Tom Coleman and James Phillips replace Jay Parmer, who has left the club, and second team captain Dom O’Connor.

Aston Rowant will be eyeing their second win of the campaign when they host Finchampstead.


Banbury (v Datchet, home): from Sabin, Phillips, White, Yousaf, Tait, Hill, Rana, Wright, Whiteley, Thomas, Clarke, West.

Horspath (v High Wycombe, home): Hawtin, Cosford, Brown, Green, Hopper, Skelton, W Eason, Belcher, Rafiq, Coleman, Phillips.

Oxford (Thame Tn, away): Tong-Jones, Eltham, Perkin, Ayub, Dickinson, Nutt, Simon, Fallah, Keat, Humphreys, Price.

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

Oxford Downs (v Chesham, away): G Sandbach, Crouch, Ellwood, Slatter, Rafiq, Costley, Garrett, Dunn, Sillars, Rivett, Spilsbury.