There is never a dull moment where the Oxfordshire women's team are concerned, and it was no different when 60-year-old Angela Billingham had to save the day at the 11th hour in the Winter County Cup at Bolton.

Having named an eight-strong squad, Oxon were dealt a double whammy when Lizzie Jelfs was unable to make the first of the three-day day event, and then rising star Gina Liverton came down with 'flu and was not able to travel to the team's Division 2 base in Bolton.

With everyone now forced to play both singles and doubles on the opening day against Sussex, Oxon were in crisis when Mandy Nall badly strained her back just three games into her singles and was forced to retire.

Nall could not walk as she left the court, and was still in agony days later as her back went into spasm.

With Nall absent, Oxon had already lost one rubber, and were going to lose another with them unable to field a third doubles pair.

But in stepped Baroness Billingham of Banbury. Just about to catch the train to watch Oxon play, she received a call to tell her to bring her racket and tennis attire.

Trailing 4-2 after the singles, Oxon needed to win all three doubles to take the match.

Claire Sumner (formerly Taylor) and Imogen Wyatt won their match, with Gillian Card and Cressida Henderson also triumphing.

But the mother and daughter pairing of Caroline Jones and Billingham were edged out, despite putting up a heroic battle.

Jelfs was available for the final two days, which meant that Billingham - a member of the House of Lord's - was able to fly out to Paris to attend an important conference.

Unfortunately for Oxfordshire, the change did little to revive their fortunes as they also went down 5-4 the following day to Lancashire.

Henderson, Wyatt and Jones all won their singles, but only Jones and Jelfs could manage a doubles victory as relegation starred Oxon in the face.

But an excellent display against promotion favourites Middlesex on the final day meant that Oxon stayed up - despite experimenting with new pairings for next year's County Week in the summer.

Card, Wyatt and Jelfs won their singles, and after Jones and Henderson, as well as Jelfs and Wyatt won their doubles, the match was won and the final rubber was scrapped.

"There's not many 60-year-olds who could do what mum did," said Caroline Jones.

"I think she must be the oldest-ever person to play in this event, and we should actually have won our doubles. She was a real star."