"Jonny's Journal"

Weekly Match Reports - Summer 2019 

(A big thank you to Jonny Peacock)

WEEK - 15


The final head-to-head matches settled the league positions this week, with places two to six all changing. There were triumphs and tragedies in equal measure in a fitting finale to a summer of fun. Two table-top quizzes will round off the summer competitions before a short break.

The Ploughman’s Bunch! finished a winning season with an 80-74 win at Bletchingdon Nomads. The only point at which they threatened to do a Devon Loch was just before the pictures, which saw the Nomads take a two-point lead in what was for most of the night a tight contest. The Nomads cut the deficit in the last round, but by then the Bunch! had clinched the match, and the league, and went on to paint the town red.

Runners-up The Plough had a close match against Kidlington Green, winning 69-67. It was nip and tuck all the way, never more than a handful of points in it, with the heady scent of victory against the odds for the Plough: they were missing the dynamic duo, and with four players against the visitors’ five. Everyone contributed to a fine team performance, and Ruth excelled on Wacky Races in particular. The picture round was decisive: the Plough achieved their first clean sweep in the pictures for some time.

The Masons travelled to the Blenheim, and by the end of the third round were, as expected, eleven points behind the home team. But another perfect score in the picture round and a strong performance by everyone in the team meant that by the finish the scores were Royal Blenheim 70 - Masons Arms 74. The Blenheim’s impressive run of ten successive wins ended, so they forfeited silver and finish in third place.

The Gardeners Arms ended the season fourth, with a fine win, 76-63 against a spirited White Hart. Managing to get the year of the Alamo dead on, an educated guess on local radio, knowledge of Emerald wedding anniversary (55th) and Sylvester Stallone films ensured that they finished on a high.

Blackbird 62 - Royal Sun 65. They had to wait, but finally The Royal Sun got their second win of the season after their opening match. It was a close-run thing though - they were behind after the first round, then built up a twelve-point lead after round five, which they then attempted to blow completely.

The Winter League season starts on October 3rd, with a reduced fee for new teams. It’s a great social Thursday night out - form a team and join in, new teams and venues are very welcome.


WEEK - 14


As the sun sets on the Summer League the competitive spirit is still strong. Some fiercely fought matches changed the league positions, with only two more to play. The Winter League starts on 3 October, so form a team and compete at regular Thursday matches – details on the website below.

The Ploughman’s Bunch! tightened their grip with an 82 – 72 win against rivals The Plough. With Beth and Tim both absent at Cropredy, the teams were well matched, but the Bunch! had the edge on pulling answers out of the bag. The Plough won only the picture round, and lost all the others by only a few points, adding up to a convincing victory for their local rivals for the second time this season. The Bunch! are now secure at the top of league, with every intention of staying there.

The clash of the Blackbird and the White Hart produced a great night of quizzing and a 66-all draw. The Blackbird were six-nil down after two questions. However, some inspired answers from Stevie G and Mayo Mick meant they led by ten later. The White Hart battled back and were three behind going into the final round. It all boiled down to the final question and the lack of the home side’s knowledge of Scottish Football Managers meant a tied game. There will be no cows milked in Florida this week after news of this gets to holidaying Captain Conway!

After squandering a six-point lead the Masons, who were hosting the Royal Sun at their award-winning home, had to battle back to win by a single point. It would have been more if the Mighty Quinn had got to number one (see Q3 below). Final score: Masons 69 Royal Sun 68.

There was a valiant display against the Gardeners Arms (64) by Bletchingdon Nomads (51) with a holiday-depleted team of only three. After a slight delay starting, questions were briskly asked and answered. With Rob managing to get one question after only one word, they say only fools rush in but not this time! They delivered on Q1 below, and identified the Popemobile’s number plate.

The Royal Blenheim recorded their ninth straight victory, and continue their meteoric rise, (I thought meteors went down?), otherwise they might have been title contenders. The damage was all done in the first half where they were eighteen points up after only three rounds. The win takes the Blenheim up to second place in the league: Blenheim 84 - Kidlington Green 61.


Week -13

There was another great suite of questions from Tim Busby this week to challenge the memories of Oxfordshire’s keen quizzers. As the Summer League approaches the end game, it’s still competitive and lively. The Winter League starts on 3 October, so now is the time to form a team and represent your pub or club at regular Thursday matches. It’s a fun and sociable way to spend the dark winter evenings – you need to get out more!

The Royal Blenheim maintained their unbeaten run with a 74 - 69 win against the Bletchingdon Nomads, but not without a late scare. They established a healthy lead before the last round, mainly due to a generous number of questions on their specialist area of pop music. But the Nomads had whittled a nine-point lead down to three before the Blenheim steadied the ship for the win.

Ploughman’s Bunch! 76 - Gardeners Arms 64. It was after round three that it all began to go wrong for the Bunch! The Gardeners edged the pictures by a point, won round five with a bonus, then lost round six by two points. Beth’s perfect pronunciation of Q1 below recouped something, so the Bunch! were grateful for an excellent start and a disastrous round three for the Gardeners. This was largely down to Charles returning to the team after last week’s absence for disciplinary reasons (knocking Beth to the ground in the Blackbird car park).

The Blackbird were the visitors at Kidlington Green, where the home side managed to find a winning combination from the ever-changing summer holiday merry-go-round. Alarm bells rang when the first round featured questions on ITV's The Chase, for sitting on the opposition table was a winner from that show in the form of the ever-amiable Darragh, but Kidlington were up to the challenge and in a swift-moving game managed their best result for some weeks with a 77 - 63 return.

The Plough travelled north to Begbroke, to be welcomed by the Royal Sun with a delicious bar snack of whitebait and sweet potato chips. That was a great start to a tight match, which could have gone either way until the last round. The home team played with skill and humour, but getting the highest losing score of the week is no consolation. Final score Royal Sun 70 – Plough 77. In another part of the county the White Hart Eynsham won against the Masons Arms 68-63.


Week -12

The race for the league title, like the weather, was getting hotter this week. The final few matches will decide the outcome, while preparations are well under way for the Winter League, which starts on 3 October – form a team and represent your pub or club.

After a slow start to the season, the Royal Blenheim have hit a rich seam of top form. They were in last place in the league after three matches, and are now threatening the leaders after a winning streak of seven in a row. Having beaten the second place Plough last week, this week they won against top placed Ploughman’s Bunch! 70-67. Despite fielding only three players The Blenheim established an early nine-point lead after two rounds, but the Bunch! chipped away and managed to reduce it to three with one round left. But the Blenheim held their nerve and with both teams getting all their questions right the home team ran out worthy winners.

White Hart 76 Royal Sun 53. After a couple of close rounds, the home team drew ahead around the half-way point, and for once didn't blow it towards the end. They also established that no one on either team knew anything about mythology - Norse, Greek, whatever. However, the team who were stronger in areas such as the Tweenies and the works of S Club 7 won the day.

The hot weather meant that the CAMRA pub of the year Masons Arms played outside again. After an encouraging start the Green Road Club edged ahead, but aided by a decent performance from Colin King the Masons were in the lead at the end. A quiz enjoyed by both teams, final score Masons 76 Kidlington Green 72.

Plough 83 Gardeners Arms 63. The visitors were missing Robert and Carsten in sweltering traffic for the first two rounds. Even at full strength they couldn’t overhaul the Plough’s lead, despite galloping home for a bonus on the Cesarewitch (not at Doncaster, Jonny!).

The Blackbird played their ‘home’ fixture at the ‘away’ venue, beating Bletchingdon Nomads 65-62. It was an enjoyable evening, level pegging by round five. The Nomads got into a two-point lead going into the last round, then it was all square on the last two questions. Blackbirds took a gamble, and gave away their favourite Horse Racing, the ploy worked they got the bonus, then to their never-ending shame they knew S Club 7 to claim victory. They resolved to play all home matches away in future.

See “Oxfordshire Quiz League” on Facebook for more. The Winter League season starts on October 3rd, with a special reduced fee for new teams.

Week - 11

Questions on the Falklands War suited some teams, and caught others out this week, as the season continues through the dog days of high summer.

A full-strength Royal Blenheim team on good form is a match for anyone, as The Plough found to their cost this week. With a couple of rounds tied, including one “perfect” at 12-12, the Blenheim won everything but the pictures. The Blenheim retrieved some stunning answers, not least Trev getting “Oxbridge”, the location of 1960s Doctors and Nurses drama Emergency Ward Ten. Stitch that! The final score was Plough 73 - Blenheim 79, their excellent result taking them up to third place, just one point behind the Plough. In the words of Q1 below: Things can only get better.

Having built up a substantial lead by the end of round three, and edged the picture round, the Nomads then went into freefall scoring a total of just eighteen points in the last three rounds. However, the Masons Arms only did slightly better, but not enough to cancel the Nomads’ early lead. So the final score was Nomads 70 - 57 Masons Arms. A good night was had by all though.

Another win for The Gardeners this week: Royal Sun 61 Gardeners 70. The Gardeners took a bumper squad of seven and some wondered if they were just there for the singsong. On the contrary, solid rounds including knowledge of Daimler-Benz, Hillman Imps and Hulk Hogan were enough to see the away team through.

Blackbird 61 Ploughman’s Bunch! 77 - Once more the Bunch! jumped into an early lead, taking the first

round 13-6. The Bunch! picked up another two on the pictures, but then the tide turned, and the Blackbird won six points back in the second half of round five, and then won round six 11-6. But the Bunch! had a big enough buffer, and edged the last round, on what was an enjoyable, Guinness-fuelled evening, enlivened by Captain Conway's attempts to channel an unruly team member.

Tony Chinn of Kidlington Green club writes: A somewhat ‘BOY’sterous affair at Kidlington this week, no tempering female presence there or in the visiting White Hart team. Both teams ‘BOY’ed up with England’s cricketing heroics saw a tight match drawn 54 each at round six. Who would bowl the super over? Not even a possible bonus point could stop the home side's super-surge. A superb/lucky repeat of 5 dot balls delivered for the second week running saw a final score of Kidlington 64, White Hart 56. Open-top bus anyone?

WEEK - 10

A summer of sport was enlivened by a harder than average quiz this week, a stimulating night out needing knowledge and stamina. The league table remains the same as last week, and there were some tough matches to keep it that way.

On a hot night in Eynsham, Bletchingdon Nomads found their hosts were in generous mood, giving them a ten-point lead in round one. The evening continued in a similar mood, despite a slight rally after the pictures. The final score was White Hart 58, Nomads 73, another good night in a convivial atmosphere.

There was another al fresco match at CAMRA pub of the year the Masons Arms, hosting league leaders the Ploughman’s Bunch! Unlike last week, the Masons were fielding a full squad, and even had the luxury of bringing Quinny on as a half-time substitute. It was the Bunch! who missed both of their youngsters, but still established a good lead in the first round. A set of good answers from the hosts (apart from the Tibetan dog, see Q2 below) saw them regain four points in round two, before some solid knowledge gave the Bunch! the last round 11-8. They survived the absence of their juvenile colleagues, finishing 75-52 winners.

Kidlington v Royal Sun was all about give and take. The game was evenly matched until the home advantage of first pick was squandered, drawing four blanks in each round. Eight points adrift going into the last round saw a change of fortune for 'Kidders' with impeccable 'gives' foxing the Begbroke team five times. It was 57 apiece with the last pair of questions to go. Keeping Bob Dylan away from the Sun's Dylanologist took it to the last question. Honours even - Kidlington Green 59. Royal Sun 59.

Gardeners 59 Blenheim 63. This low-scoring match was very much a game of cat and mouse. As soon as the Blenheim established a lead the Gardeners clawed it back, a pattern which was repeated throughout. It was the first round that was ultimately the crucial one, as the Blenheim took it by six points, the final margin of victory only four, and even then, the result could have gone either way until almost the last few questions.

The Plough struggled to find their recent high-scoring form, having gone for an all-male line-up. Ruth selflessly stood aside to read the questions, but her up-to-date knowledge would have made a difference. The Blackbird were chirpy, catching up with a strong picture round, but the Plough dug into their furrow in the final rounds to finish on 71 to the Blackbird’s 58.

WEEK - 9

It was a hot summer night, the Fourth of July, and the mid-point of the Summer League season. Tim Busby supplied a lovely set of questions to test the knowledge and memories of Oxfordshire’s quizzers.

The Plough’s first visit to CAMRA pub of the year The Mason’s Arms was a sociable and eventful night, but a one-sided match. The home team were missing Laurence and Barbara, and the increased pressure gave Emma a nosebleed. Away from that drama it was a lovely summer evening for an alfresco quiz on the decking. The Masons never really got going as the visitors got a lucky thirteen bonuses in their total of 92, the highest score of the season so far. It all ended in the gloaming, Masons Arms 47 - Plough 92.

The Gardeners Arms have now won three in a row, and move into the top half off the league. They had another great match against Blackbird, with fortunes swinging from team to team. A “hidden” bird theme helped the home team, but not the Blackbird, aptly getting Sheryl Crow and displaying knowledge of the Canaries. Final score was Gardeners 69 Blackbird 65.

With the Nomads captain being in Doha (somewhere east of Chippy apparently), and another member in Scotland, this was always going to be a tough game for them. But they rallied, and edged into a six-point lead by the end of the picture round. This was immediately halved as Green Road took the 5th - but restored as the Nomads took the 6th. It could have gone either way, but the Nomads finally clinched it Bletchingdon Nomads 70 - 63 Kidlington Green.

Royal Sun 56 Blenheim 85. There was a time in the recent past when the Royal Sun were the Blenheim's bogey team when they played at the Begbroke venue, but this match continued the recent trend of a complete reversal. The Blenheim, admittedly having the rub of the green with their pick of the questions, were so far ahead that they could relax with half the quiz left. The Royal Sun regained some pride with a last round victory but by then the contest was already over.

The Bunch! started a little sluggish, but were soon into their stride and took the first round 9-4. Round three was kind to them and they won it 14-6. The other rounds were closer, but the home team won them all (including a full house on the pictures) against a good-natured White Hart outfit. Highlights included two of the team knowing Vincent, the classic motorcycle manufacturer. Ploughman’s Bunch! 87 White Hart 62, keeping the Bunch! leading the league.

WEEK 8 - Table Top 2

Nine teams got together in the deep south this week, for a warm welcome, as ever, at The Blackbird. The bar crowd were cheering on the mighty Lionesses’ victory on the big screen, so the serious quiz business went into the comfortable back room for Tim Busby’s superb suite of 124 questions.

Question master Darragh, seconded from the home team, got the field under starter’s orders, pushed back and kicked off round one, all things sporty. Experts the Masons Arms registered top score in this round, getting a tantalising eleven out of twelve correct. They even remembered the name of Tony Allcock, the “other” English world bowls champion.

Round two played to another specialism – music to the ears of the Royal Blenheim, who achieved the first of only two maximum scores of the night. Playing second fiddle, a single point short were the Bletchingdon Nomads, who after a solid first round took an early lead. They were only one point ahead of the pack, and it’s a marathon, not a sprint, an opera not a song, the night was still young.

Scores dipped in round three as the questions got trickier – “Animals on TV”. This hit the sweet spot for the Gardeners Arms, top scoring with a notable nine. Pictures of twenty-four captains, from Haddock to Kirk, made up round four. The Gardeners Arms were equal first again, on twenty-two with the Ploughman’s Bunch! who edged into the lead. Home team The Blackbird showed well in this round too, together with Kidlington Green, both on an impressive twenty-one.

There was a delicious and popular chicken curry cooked up by Cleo to sustain the hungry teams while they struggled with the identification parade. Then the next round was literature, all set abroad, from Charlotte Gray to Charlotte’s Web. The Plough had only four players, but they were the right four to get all twelve questions, another maximum. Not quite enough to catch their rivals the Bunch! though.

Let’s get physical – with a round on the human body. Twelve questions, lots of Latin, and some sharp intakes of breath at the mention of “orchidectomy”. The “Royals” – Sun and Blenheim – started a late charge in this round, each with ten points, just shy of the two Wolvercote leaders on eleven.

The result would be decided by the forty-point blockbuster, and habitual long game specialists the Ploughman’s Bunch! were equal top with the Royal Sun on thirty-seven. Congratulations to the Bunch! on their winning total 108, ahead of runners-up the Plough on 105, with third place to the Nomads on 99. Another great night in a friendly pub to mark the mid-season point.

WEEK - 7

It was a Midsummer Night’s dream for four out of five home teams this week, with the visitors lost in the woods. Tim Busby cranked up the level of difficulty, so average scores were slightly lower than recent weeks, but the questions are still fair and varied. Questions on Oxford’s twin towns, Perm and question 1 below, generated discussions on the pronunciation of Wrocław.

It was an in interesting night in Bletchingdon when the Nomads took an early lead and kept it, despite losing round two and the picture round. Both teams showed a poor knowledge of World Heritage sites, a situation duplicated for many. The Nomads had a nine-point lead after round six, and the Royal Sun made a late charge to no avail. Final score Nomads 64 Royal Sun 58.

Kidlington Green 62 Ploughman’s Bunch! 76 – the highest team score of the week, and the highest aggregate too. The Bunch! had a little wobble in the middle and seemed about to have their lead cut to a mere three points, but they rallied. They also won a seesaw give-it-away round with five bonuses shared. The Bunch! started the night well, getting all their own questions right in the first two rounds and very pleasingly nicking a bonus off the Chinnster on Herman’s Hermits.

In a hard-fought match the Blenheim just came out on top, back to their winning ways and moving up to third place in the league. The scores were neck and neck throughout, and still could have gone either way with a handful of questions left, but gaining a bonus on the Blackbird's favourite subject of horse racing tipped the momentum in the Blenheim's favour. At the finishing line it was Royal Blenheim 65 - Blackbird 59.

Plough 70 White Hart Eynsham 58. The visitors had a good start, winning rounds two and three to go three points ahead. Then the Plough regained lost ground in the pictures and the following pot luck round. The final two rounds were low scoring for both teams, giving the White Hart no opportunity to finish as they had started.

Gardeners Arms 61 Masons Arms 58. This was a tense and tight match which went to the wire. After falling seven points behind in the first half The Gardeners clawed back to take it to an anxious final round, which they hung on to. Answers on Pet Shop Boys among others proved valuable – left to their own devices, they’ll probably win. Che Guevara and Debussy to a disco beat, it’s a wild night at the Gardeners, under the enchantment of a midsummer spell.

WEEK - 6

Why does it always rain on me? And why are there so many songs about rain? It was a rainy night in Georgia, and Oxford too, but it takes more than that to postpone quiz night. Here comes the rain again…

Singing in the Rain, The Ploughman’s Bunch! continue in top form, beating Bletchingdon Nomads 85-67, helped by great scores in the pot luck rounds and the pictures. They won round five bonuses on mythology, usually their Achilles heel. The Nomads dug in and drew round six – they had an excellent answer on the Austin Westminster, which Chris knew was used as a police car. But some judicious captaincy from Beth, and solid knowledge from Charles, Jonathan, and David, had already given them more than enough.

For the first time this season the Royal Blenheim really hit their stride in a comprehensive 83 - 62 win at the Masons Arms. Perhaps it was playing in a vibrant pub that inspired them but they had won every one of the first five rounds before suffering a reverse in the sixth, leaving the Masons needing a full house in the final round to win and as soon as the Blenheim answered their first correctly the victory was sealed, a patch of Purple Rain.

Sunshine after the Rain for the Royal Sun, who were fast out of the blocks, into an early lead, then the Blackbird took control of round two and never looked back. Dublin Darragh's knowledge of vegetables and food stuffs was very impressive. On the theme of foodstuffs, an ample supply of whitebait, chips and sauces was supplied and readily devoured. Compliments to the chef. Royal Sun 57 Blackbird 64.

White Hart 63 Gardeners Arms 76 The home team had a decent lead after a couple of rounds, but the visitors stormed back and had effectively won with a round to spare. It was the first appearance of the season for Hayesy, making all the difference for the Gardeners. In a competitive match the Gardeners uncharacteristically managed two big victories in the themed rounds to rain on their parade.

Laughter in the Rain for The Plough, who got a warm welcome, and hot food, at Kidlington Green. At full strength with Ruth back from way out west they were a match for the home team, taking five out of seven rounds in a friendly contest. Sue’s international buffet of curry and chips hit the spot on a rainy night. Final score Kidlington Green 65 Plough 81. It’s raining men!

WEEK - 5

Seventy-five years after D-Day, ten brave quiz teams fought their own battles, facing a barrage of Tim Busby’s questions. It was not quite The Longest Day, but the Band of Brothers (and Sisters) answered the Call of Duty. There is now no team without a win, while the Ploughman’s Bunch! remain unbeaten, and top of the league.

Kidlington Green 67 Gardeners 64. With D-Day commemorations foremost in the news, and in the quiz, the Gardeners Arms rocked up at Kidlington Green with the ever-affable German, Carsten, among their number. He handled the inevitable banter with all the aplomb and humour of a consummate Henning Wehn, also weighing in with some outstanding answers himself. Top man. The Green were a player down and ten points adrift when Susan joined them, and Round three went 12-2 to Kidlington. Then it was nip and tuck before the home side sealed it with the last question. Mentioned D-Day once, think we got away with it.

The Blenheim recorded their first victory of the season against a plucky White Hart. The Blenheim had a narrow lead after the first round, maintaining it throughout the quiz. The White Hart were always in striking distance if the Blenheim slipped up, and it was only a flourish at the very end that made them sure of the win. Royal Blenheim 70 - White Hart 59.

Ploughman’s Bunch! 65 - Royal Sun 60. With regulars restored to the starting line-up, the Royal Sun put last week’s disappointing score behind them but the Bunch! made heavy weather of this one. They were lucky in the last round, only really knowing four of the answers, but scored seven points on those to edge the round and the contest after a nervy second half where concentration was not helped by a large contingent of Morris musicians.

The Masons travelled from their award-winning new home to local rivals The Blackbird, and continued their run of impressive form with a 70 - 50 victory, even though they managed to lose the picture round.

As on D-Day, The Plough had to cross a turbulent channel to park their landing craft on the Nomads beaches of Bletchingdon. A stream of healthy runners slowed their progress as the clubhouse was the finishing line. The home team came alive in the themed D-Day questions, pulling back points impressively, but not enough to catch the visitors’ steady lead, a few points in each round. Final score: Plough 74, Bletchingdon Nomads 63.

WEEK - 4

The summer season is settling in, with two teams getting their first win. There were hard fought matches and strong performances in a holiday week when many teams had people away. Those holding the fort for holidaying teammates had a fine time of it with Tim Busby’s teasers.

The derby match at the Plough Wolvercote produced the usual tears and tantrums when the Ploughman’s Bunch! met the Plough. The two teams were evenly matched for the first five rounds, when there was only one point in it. The Plough owned round six, thrusting to a six-point lead and feeling confident. The Bunch! dented, deflated and defeated that confidence with a storming final round to win it 13-6, and take the match by one precious point 74-73.

Gardeners Arms 58 – Bletchingdon Nomads 55. This was a closely fought game between the Nomads and their hosts. The Gardeners finished with a narrow victory for the home team. Crucial to their victory was their 'guess' that St Lawrence might be the patron saint of cooks. Bitter-sweet also as this was the name of their much-missed team colleague who loved participating in this quiz league, and cooking - inspiration for their first win of the season.

White Hart 69 Blackbird 60. The White Hart managed a strong finish having been two points down with two rounds to go, and also despite having Irish opponents when every other question seemed to be about Ireland. They did manage to steal the question about the former chairman of Guinness, though. Well done to their opponents for knowing the name of Barbie's sister, and even being proud of it.

It was all change for Kidlington Green after last week’s reversal, with a home win against The Royal Blenheim, in a decidedly sporting atmosphere. Kidlington could do little wrong, and on the music front a hearty rendition of the 'Ballard Of John & Yoko' was soon followed by enthusiastic chorus of the Archers theme. The Vicar, along with his correct answer on patron saints, gave a graphic account of the grilling of St. Lawrence. A convivial evening was rounded off with a fine curry from Sue, enjoyed by all. Kidlington Green 78 Royal Blenheim 58.

The Masons Arms travelled from their CAMRA award winning base to the Royal Sun for an enjoyable, but surprisingly one-sided match. The forty-point winning margin may have had something to do with questions which played to the Masons’ strengths - its’s not often you get a Genesis question (the band, not the book). Royal Sun 32 Masons 72, first win representing their new home.

WEEK - 3

Question setter Tim Busby put the teams through their paces again this week, getting down with kids with the opening questions on 2019 pop hits. Blank looks all around, I’m afraid. It was a varied and difficult quiz, fair for all, which produced some good performances.

The evening started with a problem for Bletchingdon Nomads as their question master’s route to the club was blocked. But there was worse to come with their opponents the Blenheim comfortably seated seven miles south in the Gardeners Arms. It could only get better, as it did for the home team, even though they could only field four players and the away team three. In the event it went to the end of the final round before the Nomads clinched it: Nomads 68 - Blenheim 63.

There was a surprise waiting for the Ploughman’s Bunch! arriving at the Gardeners Arms as one of two away teams. The Blenheim had misinterpreted the fixture list, so had to hotfoot it to Bletchingdon, see report above. Although the Bunch! had a final winning margin of eight points, they had steadily increased their lead throughout. They did well on the pictures, a four-point advantage explained entirely by four flags, to see them comfortably ahead going into the last two rounds. Final score: Gardeners Arms 59-67 Ploughman’s Bunch!

The Masons Arms hosted their first home game in a new venue, CAMRA Pub of the Year in downtown Headington Quarry. The White Hart prevailed in a match that was tighter than the final scores suggest, having only been two points up after round four. There were blank expressions at some of the current music questions. No one on either team was any the wiser, even when the answers were given, although it was amusing to hear perplexed question-master Rupert read them out. Masons Arms 51 White Hart 63.

The Plough were at least in the right pub, but nothing else went well for them in a calamitous first round, in which they accumulated only three points. Some stern words from player-captain and performance coach Howard led to pride being recouped on the way to a victory 68 – 48 against The Royal Sun Begbroke.

Kidlington Green Social Club made the journey across Oxford to The Blackbird, where the home team finished with a narrow winning margin 57-53. Kidlington gradually drew ahead, but had a disastrous last round, with a six-point swing to the Blackbird, and victory. Diddley Dave was on fine form for the visitors, but the Blackbird had only four fully fit players, with Frank the Kerryman celebrating promotion.

WEEK - 2 

The Summer League matches started this week, with pub teams happy to be back to their regular Thursday night date. New question setter Tim Busby put the teams through their paces with some tough questions, on topics including TV old and new, with plenty of sport, pop music and films.

Two of the Winter League top teams met in Wolvercote, sharing the honours as so often with these two: Ploughman’s Bunch! 69 Royal Blenheim 69. It was great to see former question-setter James Carr in the Blenheim team, and helping them into an early lead. The Blenheim stormed to an eight-point advantage in round five, thanks in part to impressive knowledge of TOTP dance groups. Then the Bunch! regrouped and went into the last round just one down. They could have brought off an unlikely victory, but in the end settled for the usual draw.

Meanwhile in Bletchingdon both teams had a tough time coming up with the answers, and the final score was Nomads 62 - 40 Blackbird. The main thing is that everyone had a great night and really enjoyed themselves.

Kidlington Green Social Club just about won against the Masons Arms, in a tight, difficult match. The score was 55-54, all turning on the last question, 70s pop. As the scores show, both teams found the quiz very tough, with questions quite outside their knowledge base. No-one in the room, for example, has ever seen an episode of the 'The Big Bang Theory', so the paired questions on that fell on very stony ground. Not their finest hour. The hosts took heart from their resident hippie, Tony Chinn, fresh from Glastonbury and wearing the tie-dyed shirt to prove it!

Royal Sun 62 White Hart 58. A very close game where the lead changed hands four times until the Sun just edged it at the end. Both teams found some of the more recent cultural references a bit hard, though the White Hart had at least been paying attention to 'The Big bang Theory' at some point. Local knowledge of the river in Woodstock (not the festival) proved handy.

The Plough had a warm welcome, as ever, at the Gardeners Arms, ending a friendly night 79-40 winners. Question master Carsten kept firm discipline throughout proceedings, as the Plough took control in the early rounds. They faltered as the questions got more difficult in the second half, with the tide completely turning to the home team in round six. Too late to avoid defeat against a team in form, though. A sizzling sausage salver rounded off the night splendidly.

WEEK 1 - Table Top 1

Here comes summer! Nine keen teams packed into the Kidlington Green Social Club for a tabletop quiz to open the summer quiz season. It’s all change with a new question setter, Tim Busby, for the Summer League. The night opened with a warm round of applause in thanks to James Carr for his many years of setting great questions for the league.

One of the stalwart teams have left their old venue and are now happy in their new home – CAMRA Oxford Pub of the Year – The Masons Arms, Headington Quarry. A great welcome to them, and very best wishes for the coming season.

Question master Dave Dee called the room to order and launched the good ship tabletop with the opening two rounds, one mixed, then a 1966 theme, recent history for some. The Plough stormed to an early lead, winning both rounds by a narrow margin. Their stablemates the Ploughman’s Bunch! found their usual form in a maritime round three, splicing the mainbrace with a mighty force ten, clear of the fleet.

The picture round featured twenty-four disparate Dans, from news story of the day Baker upwards. Newbies The Masons Arms had a great round with 23, only missing one Dan, a score equalled by The Bletchingdon Nomads and The Gardeners Arms. The Blackbird were only one behind, making up ground despite the shortage of sports (and horse racing) questions.

Twenty-four pictures could not distract the players from the delicious aromas wafting from the kitchen, as Sue set out her fabulous banquet of chicken curry, shepherd’s pie, chilli, and a super summer sandwich selection. Twenty thousand calories of isotonic nutrition disappeared in a flash, building up stamina for the rounds to come.

The home team, Kidlington Green, benefited most from Sue’s home cooking, registering the top score in round five, inventors and founders. Round six, “Child’s Play” was anything but, as many of the quizzers were a long way from their childhood. That stamina was being tested as round seven stretched into the night. Dark horses the White Hart hit top form too late with eleven, the highest round score by any team on the night.

With only the forty-point blockbuster to mark, the Nomads and the Bunch! were tied for first place, all to play for, with three others in contention too. The Royal Sun got a great blockbuster score, but in the final reckoning the Ploughman’s Bunch! ran out winners by one point, congratulations to them, and to all participants for making it a great night’s quiz.