Oxfordshire 2nd suffered an agonising 8-7 defeat against Division 4 Central leaders Shropshire in the County Championship.

The loss denied Oxon the chance to top the table at the turn of the year.

After the singles were shared 2-2, the hosts fell behind in the level doubles. Emma Cramond and Claire Hawtin won both their matches, but Clare Hamilton and Kathryn Schutterlin suffered two defeats in three-set clashes.

With Oxfordshire winning just one of the four men’s doubles, they trailed 7-5 going into the mixed.

Second and third pairings Paul Casey and Cramond, as well as Chris Lim and Hawtin played excellently to secure wins in the opening two rubbers to level the scores.

However, Shropshire’s No 1 pairing were just too good for Oxford’s Simon Gaines and Claire Hamilton and they were unable to follow in their teammates’ footsteps to secure the victory and divisional top spot.

Oxon had slight consolation with victory in the last match, but it was not enough to record victory.