NEW Oxford Downs captain Tom Costley is excited to see how his side fare at leaders Banbury tomorrow.

The all-rounder has taken the reins after George Sandbach stepped down due to work commitments.

Costley was in charge for last weekend’s 21-run home defeat to Aston Rowant and was encouraged by Downs’ display.

He said: “This season gives us an opportunity to see where we want to be.

“To push sides like Aston Rowant shows where we need to improve.

“It was a good challenge and I’m looking forward to building on George’s work over the last three years and taking this side on.”

Youngster Ethan Davie and the experienced Nick Rivett replace Will Watts and Alex Ling for the visitors.

Banbury’s 100 per cent record puts them clear at the top following their 75-run victory at Buckingham.

The fixture is a re-run of last year’s Bernard Tollett Oxfordshire Cup final, when captain Lloyd Sabin scored 72 not out to help tomorrow’s hosts to an eight-wicket victory.

“I’m sure they’ll be using that as added motivation,” said the skipper.

“They look quite a good outfit, so we’ll have to be at our best to win.”

Banbury make one change, as Dave Eaton comes in for Dave Whiteley.

Elsewhere, skipper Michael Beard praised Thame Town’s resilience ahead of the visit of Horspath.

Beard’s side again came out on top in a nail-biting contest last weekend, beating Oxford by five runs.

He said: “It’s always good to come out on top in the close games.

“I thought it would be a bit of a lottery depending on availability and so far ours has been quite good.

“If we can keep this side together we’ve got half a chance of finishing in that top eight.”

Andrew Russell replaces Michael Higgs in the only change.

Horspath were on the other end of a close contest as they lost by two wickets at home to Great Brickhill.

It left Lloyd Belcher’s side bottom, but the captain feels a change of fortunes is around the corner.

He said: “I knew it would take a bit of time to get going, but after Saturday it feels like we’re going up a gear.

“They were in a great position to win, but I was proud that we dug deep and took it to the end.”

Jimmy Phillips returns in place of Stephen Green to partner Tom Coleman at the top of the order.

The Thame defeat means Oxford are still searching for their first win of the season and Jamie Perkin’s side face a tricky trip to Aston Rowant.

He said: “They’ve got all the bases covered and are strong at home.

“We’ll have to play extremely well to win, but you never know.”

Kasim Nawaz and Balaji Ramalingam replace Mark Beer and Joe Porter for the visitors.

Their hosts name an unchanged line-up after claiming their first triumph of 2020 and captain Josh Smith is targeting more of the same.

He said: “I thought it was a decent performance and we always had the game under control.

“The plan is to play in the same fashion and build a bit of momentum.”


Aston Rowant (v Oxford, home): Reid, Condon, Coles, Smith, Fitzjohn, Watling, Pritchard, Bethell, Mannering, Morrick, Whatman.

Banbury (v Oxford Downs, home): White, Burton, Sabin,

Clarke, Phillips, Hill, Rana, Eaton, Wright, Thomas, Manley.

Horspath (v Thame Town, away): Phillips, Coleman, Sehgal, Ward, Brown, W Eason, Hawtin, Beer, Belcher, Turner, Livingstone.

Oxford (v Aston Rowant, away): Mase, Carey, Mathews, Tait, Ramalingam, Swanepoel, Perkin, Musk, Startin, Bridson, Nawaz.

Oxford Downs (v Banbury, away): Crouch, Smith, Cosford, Costley, Sandbach, Maslen, Slatter, Warner, Brock, Rivett, Davie.

Thame Town (v Horspath, home): Beard, Ebsworth-Burland, Sutcliffe, Meer, Adams, C Russell, Mushtaq, Jeffcock, Ali, A Russell, Jelfs.