Oxfordshire let slip a commanding lead to slump to a 118-115 defeat against title rivals Kent in the Home Counties League at Oxford City & County.

With both counties boasting 100 per cent records – Oxon having won three out of three and Kent four out of four – this clash was always likely to have a big bearing on the destination of the championship.

And when Oxon led 91-73 after 15 ends it looked as if they were on course to take pole position.

But the visitors stormed back over the next three ends to lead by five, before holding on for a three-shot victory to take the points 18-4.

It leaves Kent needing six points from their final match against Middlesex at West Ealing on Saturday, July 30 to be crowned champions.

Oxon won on two rinks, with Paul Sharman’s four of George Schwab, Richard Jackson and Chris Weller storming to a 26-16 victory over skip Eddie Allen.

Chris Earl’s side of Robert Pink, Chris Lewis and Paul Comley provided Oxon’s other success with a nail-biting 21-20 win against Grant Allen.

But the key turnarounds saw defeats for Oxon skips Baden Sparkes and George Moon.

They both held 16-11 leads after 15 ends, but Sparkes’s side of Chris Miles, Jim Bland and Richard Claridge went down 21-19 to Michael Doorey.

And Moon’s rink of Bob Turley, John McGeough and Kevin Alder were overhauled 22-18 by Alan Morton.

Alan Leys’s four of Paul McGrath, Shane Cooper and Ian Whelpton went down 19-16 to Gary Horton, while Robbie Clanfield’s four of Mike Clarke, Steve Gilkes and David Allin were beaten 20-15 by Roger Kendrick.

Oxfordshire 115 (4pts), Kent 118 (18)

(Oxon rinks first)

Rink 1: M Clarke, S Gilkes, D Allin, Ro Clanfield 15; G Wells, S Coyle, L Shoobridge, R Kendrick 20.

Rink 2: C Miles, J Bland, R Claridge, B Sparkes 19; A Boatwright, G Gough, D Banfield, M Doorey 21.

Rink 3: P McGrath, S Cooper, I Whelpton, A Ley 16; S Green, T Kirby, B Shields, G Horton 19.

Rink 4: B Turley, J McGeough, K Alder, Ge Moon 18; B Stone, G Bailey, A Hayward, A Morton 22.

Rink 5: R Pink, C Lewis, P Comley, C Earl 21; M Fisher, M Bannister, M Collins, G Allen 20.

Rink 6: G Schwab, R Jackson, C Weller, P Sharman 26; J Abercrombie, P Brett, I Way, E Allen 16.

OXFORDSHIRE went down 121-96 to Cambridgeshire in their friendly at Haddenham BC.

Cambridgeshire 121, Oxfordshire 96 (Oxon rinks scores): M Clarke, A Braden, B Buckingham, R Claridge won 16-11; M Tatlow, A Melville, B Bloomfield, I Whelpton won 20-11; T Backer-Holst, P Brittin, M Jones, A Hall lost 27-12; S Tolhurst, D Steel, C Weller, A Ley won 22-15; P Christmas, J Stephens, A Hunt, R Bull lost 31-13; M Cameron, D Snell, H Payne, L Lewis lost 26-13.