Oxfordshire finally opened their Middleton Cup account with a nail-biting 122-118 win over Sussex at Worthing Pavilion.

Oxon’s hopes of progressing from Group 2 Section B (South) were already a distant dream following defeats by Hampshire and Middlesex.

But they picked up a welcome victory on the south coast by winning on four of the six rinks and drawing on another to take the points 19-3.

Howard Watts’s four of Dean May, Nick Rae-Welsh and Craig Nicoll led the way by starting well and finishing strongly to beat skip Scott Edwards 29-20.

Mark Sykes’s side of AJ Docherty, George Moon and Richard Redford held off Ollie Ovett’s challenge to win 18-15.

And Baden Sparkes’s rink of Mike Petersen, Will Campion and Robbie Clanfield kept their nerve to defeat Aaron Sexton 20-18.

It was also nip and tuck as Mark Charlett’s four of Keith Holloway, Ian Henwood and Shaun Claridge edged past Adrian Finnie 20-19.

Greg Moon’s side of John Philpott, Barry Lambourne and Nathan Lewis looked good for a win, but a late collapse saw them draw 19-19 against Andy Smallbridge.

They had led 18-9 after 15 ends, but then picked up just one more shot.

Oxon’s only reverse saw Alan Prew’s rink of Bob Turley, Paul Sharman and Stuart Richens blown away 27-16 by Derek Dyer.

The win took Oxfordshire up to third place, but with one game left, their hopes of making the last eight are over.

Sussex 118 (3pts), Oxfordshire 122 (19)

(Sussex rinks first)

Rink 1: D Anderson, J Smith, P Hilsden, A Smallbridge 19; J Philpott, B Lambourne, N Lewis, Gr Moon 19.

Rink 2: C Dyer, M Patching, M Lancaster, O Ovett 15; AJ Docherty, Ge Moon, R Redford, M Sykes 18.

Rink 3: N Wingfield, S Ireland, P Morgan, A Finnie 19; K Holloway, I Henwood, S Claridge, M Charlett 20.

Rink 4: B Fordham, G Geddie, I Watson, D Dyer 27; B Turley, P Sharman, S Richens, A Prew 16.

Rink 5: S Flynn, T Honour, B Crittle, S Edwards 20; D May, N Rae-Welsh, C Nicoll, H Watts 29.

Rink 6: C Wright, K Bolton, K Woodcock, A Sexton 18; M Petersen, W Campion, Ro Clanfield, B Sparkes 20.

Oxon make three changes for their final game against Kent at Oxford City & County on Saturday (2pm).

Skip Ian Snowdon, Lee Young and Jason King return in place of the unavailable Philpott, Sharman and Richens.

Oxfordshire: M Petersen, W Campion, Ro Clanfield, B Sparkes; L Young, B Lambourne, N Lewis, Gr Moon; K Holloway, I Henwood, S Claridge, I Snowdon; AJ Docherty, Ge Moon, R Redford, M Sykes; D May, N Rae-Welsh, C Nicoll, H Watts; B Turley, J King, M Charlett, A Prew.

HANBOROUGH president Ken Williams was presented with a county badge as Oxfordshire ran out 134-96 winners over Herefordshire in their latest friendly at his home club.

In their previous match, Oxon lost 109-107 to Northamptonshire at Bicester.

Oxfordshire 134, Herefordshire 96 (Oxon rink scores): S Tolhurst, B Jarvie, D Bullock, B Gilkes won 22-12; B Allin, J Edwards, H Franklin, S Jones won 25-20; T Backer-Holst, A Braden, M Jones, J O’Shea won 29-12; M Cameron, L Eltringham, D Wedge, A Hall lost 21-15; M Tatlow, K Williams, B Bloomfield, A Hunt won 31-9; E Fry, P Brittin, B Buckingham, J Lucas lost 22-12.

Oxfordshire 107, Northamptonshire 109 (Oxon rink scores): D Lines, P Brittin, M Jones, J Lucas won 18-15; B Bloomfield, J Rees, M Brain, H Winstone won 17-16; G Wood, M Tatlow, D Bullock, J O’Shea won 26-15; G Syme, B Jarvie, B Evans, D Wedge won 24-16; D Jennings, B Allin, R Bull, M Workman lost 27-9; S Tolhurst, A Fleming, N Satchell, A Hall lost 20-13.