OXFORDSHIRE got their Middleton Cup campaign off to a flying start on the south coast.

A commanding 130-102 victory over Sussex, which saw them pick up 19 points to their rivals’ three, puts them in a strong position.

However, it was not enough to see them take an early lead in the South Section A table, after Hampshire saw off Isle of Wight 20-2 in the other opening weekend clash.

Oxon got off to a steady start and were five shots ahead after five ends.

The Banbury Borough quartet, skipped by AJ Docherty, led the way with a convincing all round performance.

The rinks led by Ray Gaskins Paul Sharman and David Leighfield finished strongly to record victories.

But with Chris Gilkes’s four losing their match, the outcome of the Baden Sparkes rink would determined the overall result.

Although holding a two-shot lead going into the final end, the Oxfordshire men saw their rivals hit back to level overall and snatch a share of the spoils.

However, it still ensured an emphatic overall win, ready for their home clash with Hampshire on Saturday, June 15.

Sussex 102 (3pts), Oxon 130 (19)

Rink 1: S Watts, J Gaskins, R Clanfield & C Gilkes lost 16-23.

Rink 2: J Bland, L Young, P Comley & R Gaskins won 22-17.

Rink 3: J Abercrombie, K Holloway, M Sykes & AJ Docherty won 29-10.

Rink 4: J Justin, P Skidmore, K Alder & B Sparkes drew 17-17.

Rink 5: A Kemish, O Bennett, W Campion & D Leighfield won 26-17.

Rink 6: B Squires, A McIntyre, S Cooper & P Sharman won 20-18.

  • Oxfordshire beat Somerset 121-107 in a friendly match at Chipping Norton BC.

Wins on fours of the six rinks were enough to secure a decisive success.

Oxon 121, Somerset 107

Rink 1: B Jarvie, G Thompson, D Bullock & B Bloomfield won 22-17.

Rink 2: P Hickman, J Timms, A Fleming & M Andrew won 22-12

Rink 3: A Hunt, A French, J Lucas & M Morris won 16-15.

Rink 4: S Tolhurst, J McGeough, J Benfield & A Ley lost 14-24.

Rink 5: M Jones, C Haley, D Wedge & I Whelpton won 31-17

Rink 6: P Demczak, T Gripe, J Hurren & L Days lost 16-22.

  • OXFORDSHIRE’S women went down 131-99 to Hampshire in the first round of the Johns Trophy.

The hosts were only able to win on the rinks skipped by Carol Gaskins and Wendy Cross at Oxford City & County BC and fell to a 18-4 points defeat.

Oxon 131 (4pts), Hampshire 99 (18)

(Oxon skips first)

Rink 1: J Berry 11, J Williamson 22.

Rink 2: C Gaskins 24, L Hayward 13.

Rink 3: C Penson 10, J Ballard 24.

Rink 4: B Havard 17, M Holden 27.

Rink 5: D Knight 17, H Marke 26.

Rink 6: W Cross 20, S Pullin 19.

  • OXFORDSHIRE were only able to take five rinks to Hertfordshire for their friendly clash and went down to a 93-54 defeat.

Hertfordshire 93, Oxon 54

(Oxon skips first)

Rink 1: C Thornhill 7, S Duck 19.

Rink 2: J Berry 9, M Reid 24.

Rink 3: C Bloomfield 18, M Dunstane 15.

Rink 4: S Blackmore 5, K Havord.

Rink 5: W Cross 15, M Hendry 12.