Essex Premier won 24-16 away to Oxfordshire in their first Inter County Championship group game at Oxford Indoor Bowls Club.
The away side had the game won after the third session with a full session being won by Essex.
Last year’s quarter finalists had three new debutants in their side with Danny Curl and two new Essex members from former county Kent.
Adam Sultana got Essex off the mark but was tight up till the ninth end where Sultana pulled away from Gareth Davies to finish off with a comfortable 15-4 victory.
Dominic Reed had a tough matchup against AJ Brown and had an uphill battle being 6-0 down early on. Reed got himself back in the game and broke in front 13-11 going into the penultimate end. Brown would not let the game slip from his grasp and gained the two for the draw.
Barry Hedges and Peter Faultey struggled in their first game as they failed to keep in touch against Geoff Cross and Dave Wiggins as they lost 18-8.
Newby Matt Dillon and Babs Morokutti kept Les Woodwood and his partner at bay with a 15-8 victory to edge the session 5-3.
Del Coates, Mark Chittock and Mitchell Young were 7-4 in front, but did not win an end in the last four ends as they lost 10-7.
Mo Binstead, Linda Lambert and Paul Bax were kept at arm’s length and could not overturn there deficit as they also lost 9-6.
Debbie Tomlinson Danny Curl, Nigel Reed, Keith Paxman were level two thirds of the way through against the Oxford four but nicked the lead and extended it with an 11-6 win.
Ian Arthur, Sam Lambert, Tony Ealham and Steve Killington hit the front from end one and continued it throughout as they won 12-2, as Essex split the session and lead 9-7 at halfway.
Reed took the lead in his second game and forced the issue on Davies for shots and opened up his lead through frustration from Davies as Reed won 19-8.
Sultana kept Brown at bay despite Brown’s best efforts to get back into the game as Sultana won 14-8, which secured the bonus points for the singles with a strong plus 26 shots.
Hedges and Faultey put their first game behind them and after a slow start won with ease from 6-4 down with eight end left as they won 17-9.
Dillon and Morokutti put in a fine performance against Wiggins and Cross with one shot in it after eleven ends surged to victory 19-9, with the bonus points and the overall win for the visitors.
With the match won Essex could relax but Oxford gained some vital points as Coates, Chittock and Young threw away their lead in the final end of their game, as they lost 11-10.
Binstead, Lambert and substitute Anthony Fautley also struggled as they lost 11-8 in the other triple which gave the home side the deserved bonus points.
Tomlinson, Curl, Reed (Senior), Paxman were 8-6 up with two ends to play but Oxford bite back and snatched the win 10-8.
The last game with Arthur, Lambert, Ealham, Killington featured another fight back from the hosts as the Essex quartet were 8-6 up but dropped two for the draw, but kept the bonus points by 13 shots.
Despite only three points in the final session Essex claimed still a 24-16 victory as they now look forward to their next group game away to Northampton on Sunday.
Adam Sultana 8/10
Del Coates 5/10
Antony Fautley 5/10
Sammy Lambert 6/10
Dom Reed 7/10
Mark Chittock 6/10
Debbie Tomlinson 7/10
Tony Ealham 7/10
Babs Morokutti 7/10
Mitchell Young 4/10
Danny Curl 5/10
Steve Killington 7/10
Matt Dillon 9/10
Mo Binstead 5/10
Nigel Reed 7/10
Peter Fautley 6/10
Linda Lambert 5/10
Keith Paxman 6/10
Barry Hedges 6/10
Paul Bax 5/10
Ian Arthur 6/10