Banbury face tough test to get through early rounds

Jimmy Phillips will captain Banbury at Market Harborough
Jimmy Phillips will captain Banbury at Market Harborough

Banbury will once again face a tough test to get through to the latter stages of the ECB National Club Championship with several players ruled out through county commitments.

The White Post Road club travel to Market Harborough for Sunday’s first round tie with new captain Luke Ryan looking for Banbury’s younger players to put down some early markers in the absence of key regulars.

It gives our younger players the opportunity to experience cup cricket and that has benefited them and us in the past.

Banbury captain Luke Ryan

With Ryan and Lloyd Sabin on county duty, former skipper Jimmy Phillips will captain the side at Market Harborough where Paul Hill and Steve Beck are likely to add some experience to a youthful squad which will include new addition Tom Bartlett, plus another couple of younger players Brad Taylor and Olly Clarke.

Bartlett, the former Hook Norton opener, completed a century in his first game for Banbury in the second XI friendly with Stony Stratford.

Ryan said: “It’s unfortunate that the first few rounds of the competition all clash with Oxfordshire games but it was a similar case last year.

“It gives our younger players the opportunity to experience cup cricket and that has benefited them and us in the past.”

Meanwhile, Harborough captain Joe Gordon is looking for his side to cause an upset at Fairfield Road on Sunday.

He said: “Banbury are going to be a good side and we haven’t done that well in this competition.

“I think we’ve only won one game in the last three years but what Kibworth have achieved has shown us what’s possible. We’re looking to get through this game on Sunday and go on a bit of a run.”