UNBEATEN Berkshire CCC will be looking to take another step towards retaining their title when they face neighbours Oxfordshire at Challow & Childrey CC in a three-day game starting on Sunday (11am), writes Dave Wright.

The national champions go into the match in a healthy position, as they head the Western Division standings with a 23-point lead over Cheshire who are in second place.

Oxfordshire are third, two points adrift of Cheshire, so must win this, their penultimate fixture of the season, to remain in the title race.

“It is another massive game for us,” admitted Berkshire captain James Morris.

“But we are on a really good run and will be looking to keep things rolling. We also have a good record over Oxfordshire, but we will certainly not be treating them lightly.”

His side are just a month away from completing three years without losing a championship fixture, home or away.

Berkshire have injury doubts concerning Henley’s Richard Morris (leg) and Ealing all-rounder Ollie Wilkin (elbow), who both missed last week’s 10-wicket win over Herefordshire at Finchampstead.

Another absentee was Waqas Hussain (Henley) due to a family bereavement, but he is now available.

Sam Burgess looks set to retain his place in the squad, particularly after his outstanding innings on Tuesday when he scored 123 for Berkshire in a second XI match against Buckinghamshire at Henley.

His runs came off 130 balls and the Sunbury batsman smashed two maximums and 16 fours in a 139-minute stay at the crease before being given out lbw.

Burgess shared a third-wicket stand of 146 in 29 overs with Wokingham teenager Archie Carter, who went on to finish unbeaten on 59 off 95 balls as Berkshire (221-4) sealed a six-wicket win over Bucks (220-8) with just two balls to spare.

Berkshire and Oxfordshire are also due to meet in a second XI 50-50 game at North Maidenhead CC today (Thursday).