Wednesday, 23 June 2021

First face early test against top-sport rivals

HENLEY face a crunch match on Saturday, starting at 11.30am away at Banbury.

HENLEY face a crunch match on Saturday, starting at 11.30am away at Banbury.

Whilst it is too early in the season to be definitive, it may give a good indication of the relative prospects of the two rivals. 

After three matches each, they currently share top spot in the Home Counties Premier League on full points along with High Wycombe.

Banbury finished fourth last season with 246 points to champion Henley’s 297.

They are, though, desperate to clinch the title this year after not having won the league since 2000 and coming runners–up on five occasions since.

This time last year Banbury gave Henley a bit of a hiding at their place.

Henley elected to bat but their 209 for eight never looked enough (Roberts 56) and Banbury reached it with only three wickets down, in 40.2 overs.

Nathan Hawkes got 109 of Banbury’s reply but he has now left for High Wycombe.

In July at Henley, in a timed match, Henley this time elected to field and bowled Banbury out for 139 in 52 overs, with Afridi and Mordt bagging four wickets each.

  Henley reached the target fairly comfortably, three  wickets down with Brock on 60 not out.

Last season, in Banbury’s batting averages, behind Hawkes came Craig Haupt with 400 runs at an average of 33.

Jonathan Cater at average of 32 was next on the list but he has also left the club, and then Oxfordshire opener Lloyd Sabin with an average of 29.

In the bowling averages, left–arm spinner Luke Ryan took 28 wickets at an average of 15, then Jimmy Phillips with 21 at 25. 

Ryan has replaced Phillips as club captain and also taken over as club coach.

There have been plenty of other changes pre–season for Banbury. 

Hugo Darby, the 21–year– old who opens the batting for Oxfordshire and also bowls medium pace, has joined, as has Karl Penhale, the pace bowler who has taken Henley wickets before when playing for Aston Rowant. 

The most significant new signing for the hosts comes in the shape of Tim Paine, the 30 –year–old wicketkeeper–batsman from Hobart, Tasmania.

He has played 30 times for Australia, and made a hundred in a One Day International against England at Trent Bridge.

Henley, though, are hoping to have their very own stand–out Australian, Jake Doran, back in the side after he was sidelined over the past week.

With Doran back in action Henley are confident of  having a full squad from which to choose.

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