Oxfordshire made a disappointing start to their Middleton Cup campaign with a 122-110 defeat by Middlesex at Bush Hill Park.

Oxon picked up just six of the 22 points available in the South Section B clash, and must now win the three remaining group games to stand any chance of qualifying.

Under the captaincy of Alan Prew, Oxfordshire went into the game confident of repeating the 2012 win over their opponents at the same venue.

However, a strong start by Middlesex, led by the outstanding Ron Leleux, put them on the back foot.

But Oxon dug in and clawed their way back to lead by two shots at ten ends.

It remained close across the board for the next five ends with Middlesex just wresting the advantage back by four at 15 ends.

Prew’s four of Nathan Lewis, Ian Henwood and Keith Holloway always controlled their game against Brian Elbourn to produce Oxon’s best win with a 23-12 victory.

Next door, Mark Charlett’s side of Mick Nash, Remy Clanfield and Jason King were involved in a tight battle with skip Perry Cook, who turned over the head with his last bowl for a 14-12 win.

Paul Sharman’s rink of Lee Young, Andy Martin and Gordon Walker – a late replacement for the injured Barry Lambourne – were all-square at 12-12 against Darren Gosnall after 12 ends.

But then a run of six ends saw their Middlesex opponents open up a gap of 15 shots on the way to a 29-14 win.

Ian Snowdon’s Headington four of Dean May, Gary May and Shaun Claridge were blown away 29-12 by the excellent play of Leleux, who had 2012 skip Paul Cater at No 3.

Calvin Carpenter’s side of Mike Petersen, David Clanfield and Robbie Clanfield started slowly, before taking control against Barry Jenkins to run out 23-14 winners.

Mark Sykes’s rink of AJ Docherty, George Schwab and Richard Redford were involved in a high-scoring battle against Norman Worley with a two on the last end giving the visitors a 26-24 victory.

However, it wasn’t enough as, across the green, Middlesex scored more heavily in the final ends to secure victory.

Middlesex 122 (16pts), Oxfordshire 110 (6)

(Middlesex rinks first)

Rink 1: C Cleaver, R Southgate, A Frankland, D Gosnall 29, L Young, A Martin, G Walker, P Sharman 14.

Rink 2: B Bass, A Tanner, P Fuller, B Jenkins 14, M Petersen, D Clanfield, Ro Clanfield, C Carpenter 23.

Rink 3: P Renolds, A Harman, J Sweeney, N Worley 24, AJ Docherty, G Schwab, R Redford, M Sykes 26.

Rink 4: R Watkinson, E Rudston, P Cater, R Leleux 29, D May, G May, S Claridge, I Snowdon 12.

Rink 5: R Fortune, T Brooks, T Waller, P Cook 14, M Nash, Re Clanfield, J King, M Charlett 12.

Rink 6: D Pitt, A Knott, J Sinclair, B Elbourn 12, K Holloway, I Henwood, N Lewis, A Prew 23.

OXFORDSHIRE take on Isle of Wight in the Balcomb Trophy (National County Top Two Fours) first round at Plessey on Sunday.

OXFORDSHIRE Vice Presidents continued their winning ways with a 108-93 victory over Leicester City & District Parks BA at Banbury Borough.

Oxfordshire Vice Presidents 108, Leicester City & District Parks 93 (Oxfordshire VP’s rink scores): I Hale, B Allin, A Peters, M Andrew lost 25-20; C Blackmore, T Backer-Holst, F Savari, I Whelpton won 18-13; J Franks, M Enright, M Collison, M Brain won 27-23; J Dunne, M Hale, A Rowe, J Guest lost 19-17; T Mold, E Dorling, T Gripe, C Cox won 26-13.