In-form Banbury have captain optimistic

BANBURY cricket captain Richard Kaufman is optimistic ahead of the start of the Home Counties Premier Cricket League season on Saturday.

His side won their final two pre-season friendlies over the Bank Holiday weekend and Kaufman is excited about his side’s prospects.

“We’ve picked up where we left off at the end of last season,” he said. “The bowling unit is in form and we have a lot of options. The batsmen are confident so it looks good.”

Paul Taylor took 4-20 and Jimmy Phillips 2-20 as Banbury restricted visiting Oxfordshire to 212-8 on Saturday.

In reply Craig Haupt hit 55 and Steve Beck 49 as the hosts reached 213.

Haupt maintained his fine form by making 45 against a Northants Academy side, including former England all-rounder David Capel, on Monday. Opener Marc Rorich scored 57 to help Banbury post 196.

The bowling display was the best Kaufman had seen during his time.

“Simon Launder clean-bowled their top three to reduce them to 20-6. It was the bet we have fielded under my captaincy,” he said. “If we perform like that against Reading on Saturday then we’ll win.

New additions John Wolstenholme and 16-year-old Luke Ryan will start on Saturday.

“We have a more settled side and I’m clearer about my bowling combinations,” said Kaufman.

* Banbury seconds captain Jamie Briggs is confident that if his bowlers can tighten up their line and length and the overall fielding improves, his team can challenge for the Cherwell League Division Two title.

They won their second friendly of the season by 119 runs against Cropredy on Saturday.

Banbury posted a competitive score of 202-8. The main contributors being debutant Wayne Hazel (57) and skipper Briggs (40).

Unfortunately Hazel aggravated an old knee injury when opening the bowling so Tim Smith took over and immediately took three quick wickets.

Banbury let themselves down by dropping a number of catches but won comfortably with Smith finishing with figures of 5-20 off 11.4 overs.

Some first team players made up the team who faced a strong Evesham side on Sunday.

Tim Smith (40) and Ed Phillips (88) showed great application, while Mark Haupt played powerfully off the back foot to score 53 as Banbury reached 223-8 in reply to Evesham’s 282-5.

* Deddington made a disastrous start to life back in OCA Division Four as they were bowled out for their lowest total in ten years and lost by ten wickets.

The side slumped to 45 all out in 21 overs against Westcott. Deddington fell from 10-0 to 15-5. Westcott had few alarms in knocking the runs off and the match was over before tea.

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