Batting first, Bedfordshire lost an early wicket, but a stand of 115 between skipper Steve Stubbings and Rob Keogh put them in the driving seat.
Keogh scored at better than a run a ball before being caught for 60, but the introduction of the spinners put a brake on the scoring rate.
George Thurstance was unfortunately run out for 10, but Stubbings then added 50 with Andy Reynoldson before he was dismissed in bizarre fashion seven runs short of a century as, going for a sweep, he lost control of the bat which flew out of his hands and on to the stumps. Reynoldson completed an unbeaten half-century and with help from Martin Weightman Beds were able to post a score of 262-6.
Colin Griggs made an early breakthrough when Oxfordshire replied but the quicker bowlers were hammered to all parts by Lloyd Sabin (80) and it wasn’t until Bedfordshire turned to spin they managed to get a grip. Stubbings took a great catch to dismiss Richard Kaufman for 68 when the score was on 162 as the wickets began to tumble thanks to Keogh (3-29), Reynoldson (3-47) and David Foster (1-39).
When the eighth Oxfordshire wicket fell on 226, Bedfordshire seemed on the verge of a memorable win – only for ex-Middlesex bowler Chad Keegan to swing the game back Oxfordshire’s way by smashing three sixes and a four in an innings of 27 off 13 balls. He went with 13 runs still needed, but Oxfordshire’s last pair edged their side home.
Chairman of the selectors Mike Archer said: “When Oxfordshire romped away at the start of their innings it looked as though we would be well beaten, but we fought back magnificently and in the end it was disappointing to lose.
“I am optimistic that we are going to have a good season.”
Bedfordshire aren’t in action again until the Spring Bank Holiday when they have back-to-back games with Hertfordshire at Harpenden on Sunday and Cornwall at Cople the following day.
Scores: Bedfordshire 262-6 (Stubbings 93, Keogh 60, Reynoldon 50 not out) lost to Oxfordshire 266-9 by one wkt.