Oxfordshire kept their Middleton Cup hopes alive with a 121-110 win over the Isle of Wight at Shanklin.
The 15-7 points victory means that Oxon are still in with an outside chance of qualifying from South Group Section B.
But, with Hampshire, who Oxfordshire entertain at Oxford City & County on Saturday, running riot with a 60-shot win over Kent, the south coast are hot favourites for top spot.
At five ends, Oxon led by 20 shots, with four rinks opening up leads.
By ten ends the Islanders had closed to 12, but with Ian Snowdon’s rink dominating play and the fours of Mark Sykes and Alan Prew also leading, Oxfordshire still looked in a comfortable position.
However, a mixture of good play and good fortune saw the Isle of Wight push Oxon all the way with five of the six rinks settled by two shots or less.
Oxon’s Paul Sharman led early on, but his opposite number, John Crews, came back to win by 17-16.
Mark Charlett and Baden Sparkes’s rinks rallied well to draw 17-17 and lose 18-17 respectively, having held ‘game’ before the final bowls.
A seven and four picked up on consecutive ends saw Darren Griffith overtake Prew, who went down 22-20.
On the end rink, Snowdon’s four were pegged back and went into the last end a shot behind, but a great opening bowl from Dean May and a drawn second shot from the Oxon skip with the game’s final bowl secured a 24-23 victory.
Sykes’s rink of AJ Docherty, George Schwab and Richard Redford stayed in front throughout to win 27-13. Captain Alan Prew is unavailable for Saturday’s clash with Hampshire, so vice-captain Keith Holloway leads the team.
Calvin Carpenter skips in place of Prew, and Carterton’s Stuart Richens plays at No 3 in his first Middleton Cup game since 2011.
Witney Mills’s Chris Weller makes his debut at No 2 on Sparkes’s rink, replacing Remy Clanfield.
Isle of Wight 110 (7pts), Oxon 121 (15)
(Isle of Wight rinks first)
Rink 1: B Davies, R Smith, M Butchers, J Crews 17, L Young, S Cooper, B Lambourne, P Sharman 16.
Rink 2: J Wilkins, B Price, P Furmidge, D Griffith 22, K Holloway, I Henwood, C Carpenter, A Prew 20.
Rink 3: S New, P Knight, J Pearce, A Cawdell 18, R Pink, Re Clanfield, C Whitehead, B Sparkes 17.
Rink 4: R Hayes, J Marsh, T Lloyd, T Meller 17, S Watts, G May, J King, M Charlett 17.
Rink 5: M Cox, C New, S Hamblin, K Beckett 13, AJ Docherty, G Schwab, R Redford, M Sykes 27.
Rink 6: B Bridgeman, G Day, D Gustar, A Best 23, D May, K Alder, N Lewis, I Snowdon 24.
12:10pm Friday 27th November 2015
THERE have been plenty of highlights at Oxford United this season, but Michael Appleton says there is no time to enjoy them as he seeks to capitalise on an opportunity 12 years in the making.
12:00pm Friday 27th November 2015
Another home game, another disappointing result. Our loss on Saturday against Gosport Borough meant we dropped to third position in the table.
11:30am Friday 27th November 2015
A JOURNALIST who went undercover to expose football’s slave trade says his task would have been much more difficult without help from Oxford United.
9:30am Friday 27th November 2015
Oxford United took measures to maintain their promotion form ahead of a busy December by making two loan signings from Sky Bet Championship clubs.
9:00am Friday 27th November 2015
PATRICK Hoban says his sudden glut of goals is down to a change in fortune in front of goal rather than a change in approach.
8:30am Friday 27th November 2015
RONNIE Moore says Oxford United’s players have the quality to “frighten the life” out of his Hartlepool United side tomorrow.
8:00am Friday 27th November 2015
GENERAL manager Justin Merritt says he wants to create cup fever at Oxford City as they begin their FA Trophy campaign at home to Marlow tomorrow afternoon.
8:00am Friday 27th November 2015
THE county’s finest talent will be out in force tonight at the Oxfordshire Sports Awards.
7:40am Friday 27th November 2015
DIDCOT Town aim to return to winning ways after a midweek defeat when they entertain Larkhall Athletic tomorrow.
7:30am Friday 27th November 2015
FRESH from reaching the third round of the FA Vase, Kidlington turn their attention to the Oxfordshire Senior Cup tomorrow.