"Jonny's Journal"

Weekly Match Reports - Winter 2019/20

(A big thank you to Jonny Peacock)

League Game 16 - Thursday 12th March

 

One match was cancelled this week due to illness, and I’m sorry that’s it for the season, the quiz league is self-isolating. It’s all over a few weeks earlier than planned, like many things just now, and this week’s matches were played without the knowledge that they were the last of the winter season.

The Plough had a keenly contested match at Kidlington Green, winning 79-73 and taking the Premiership title. Kidlington finish top of the Championship, some consolation after leading until the end of round five. It went wrong for the home team in the quiz, but Jo made up for it with a super supper of sausages chips and chilli.

The Royal Blenheim returned to winning ways in Begbroke. Always in command, it looked straightforward until the penultimate round when the Royal Sun reduced a ten-point deficit to three, however early success in the final round eased any worries resulting in a 79-71 win for the Blenheim. The Royal Sun win the Championship Blockbuster competition, though, congratulations to them.

Ploughman’s Bunch! 81-61 White Hart. The Bunch! finished the first round four points down, and only made up two in round two, before romping home 14-4 in round three. The victory was sealed only in the closing stages, winning the give-it-away round 16-2, getting the last nine questions, and the Premiership Blockbuster title.

In Bletchingdon it was nip-and-tuck from the start, and never more than 3 points between the teams; however it was the Chandos Arms that went into Round 7 with a three-point lead. The Nomads kept coming back then slipping behind again. It was level when it came to the Nomads last question, so any result was still possible, but Beverley was the only player who knew the answer. So the final score was a very hard-earned Nomads 73 – 71 Chandos Arms.

The Gardeners Arms winning form continued in a very tight match, 65-63 against the Chequers. The home team made a slow start, playing catch-up in the first half but in round 5 managed to get in front, in the next round it swung back with the visitors a point ahead. The decisive give-it-away round was won 8-5 on the final question.

It was a fine match at the Sun Hook Norton, and the Windrush came out on top: Sun A 59 - Windrush Club 72.

 

The Blackbird overcame the Bell by a single point, 64-63, to win the League One title. The Blackbird were 3 points down going into last round, but science knowledge prevailed, in a good game between two high-spirited teams, played in good humour.

 

And the Sun B were hit by illness and had to cancel their match, but nevertheless finished winners of the League One Blockbuster.

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League Game 15 - Thursday 5th March

 

As the Winter League rolls into its final weeks, the matches are as keenly contested as ever. Good to see the quiz teams getting out and about, enjoying the atmosphere, the food, the questions and the beer (other beverages are available).

Chandos 60 - White Hart 74. In a match that was far tighter than the final scores suggest, the White Hart drew ahead with a couple of strong closing rounds, having been behind in the early stages. The running commentary of the stand-in question master (and landlord) was a particular highlight, and knowledge of old darts and snooker players was as useful as ever.

Gardeners Arms 71 - Sun A 56. A fun match, with the Gardeners setting the pace from the outset and inspired by Fonz’s philosophy of living fast, it was certainly “Happy Days”. A good catty picture round left the Gardeners feline good, but a strong second half from the visitors wasn’t enough.

 

And the Chequers Chippy had a good score: 80-64 against the Masons Arms.

Kidlington Green were the visitors at The Royal Blenheim, and despite the Green's ‘El Presidente’ supping ‘Corona’ the home side were not intimidated, 4 points up at half-time. Come round 7 it was Kidders 1 point up and were the only side to get a 'give' right after the first 3 pairs, crucially 3 bonus points too. The remaining questions were all answered correctly, but the damage was done: 70 – 76 to Kidlington.

Royal Sun 72–78 Ploughman’s Bunch! The Bunch! chiselled out a hard-fought win on an evening that threatened to turn sour for them, but ended with a bright, velvety effervescence. Round five was key, which the visitors took 13-5, more than accounting for their final winning margin, and were helped by knowing all the film answers, Martin excelling in this area on the night.

The Plough bounced back from their defeat last week, beating Bletchingdon Nomads 85-64. The visitors were ahead after two rounds, but the Plough took control in round 5, with six correct answers and three bonuses. It was a good-natured game, with great food, between well-matched teams which ended with the Plough taking the honours.

There was a cracking game in Hooky: Sun B 61 – Blackbird 69. The Blackbird got an early ten-point lead, then a gritty Sun team pegged it back to a three-point deficit going into the last round. A beautiful Beef Stew, in lovely surroundings, made the evening a joy, a visit to this pub is a must if in the area.

 

And finally, it was all even at the Bell Lower Heyford, 61-61 with the Windrush Club.

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League Game 14 - Thursday 27th February

Having lost the opening round 4-11, it looked the usual story for the White Hart (Eynsham) against their illustrious visitors and Premiership front runner’s, the Plough (Wolvercote). However, a 13-2 score line in Round Two set up a six point advantage for the hosts entering the interval.

The Plough chipped away at the deficit and a bonus point on the final question would have secured them a draw. Fortunately for the home team, no one knew any American ventriloquists and the White Hart prevailed 69-68.

There was almost another upset over in Bletchingdon where the Nomads entertained the Royal Blenheim (Oxford City). At 22-12 down early doors, the Blenheim, urged on by Ben Stokes (well, his doppelganger), woke from their slumber and recovered to four points in arrears going into the final stages.

They then led by two with their opponents needing to correctly answer the last question to salvage a draw. The Nomads know their London Underground however, and the spoils were shared, 67 all.

A player short, the Gardener’s Arms (North Parade) nevertheless deservedly took the honours at the Mason’s Arms (Headington) with a pillar to post 62-55 success. Despite their impressive win and incessant chatter, they were treated to a scummy nosh up as well as a fine array of expertly maintained beers as befits a hostelry named City Pub of the Year every year since Moses was in short trousers!

The beer at the Sun (Hook Norton) was on fine form too, it is reported, which may prove fortuitous as one of the opposition from the Bell, the Big H, is a CAMRA assessor. A lovely omelette and chips was also laid on but this failed to inspire H and his fellow Lower Heyfordians and they lost a low scoring affair, 43-51.

Elsewhere, in another match where points were hard to come by, the Windrush Club (Witney) edged out the Sun B (also Hook Norton), 49-46, whilst in Kidlington, Championship leaders, the Green Road Club, overcame near neighbours, the Royal Sun (Begbroke), 68-63.

Captain Conway, Mayo Mick, Frank the Kerryman and the rest of the Blackbird crew love a picture round and the full house they gained in the one last Thursday proved pivotal in their 65-57 victory over League One pacesetters, the Chequers (Chipping Norton).

In the one other fixture from last week’s schedule, the Chandos Arms (Oakley) put in a very solid performance over in Wolvercote against the Ploughman’s Bunch! Entering the final round, they trailed by just two points but brilliant subject selection by home skipper Beth, enabled the Bunch! to lead across the line, 69-62.

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League Game 13 - Thursday 20th February

The Bible featured regularly this week, and the pop music questions were more difficult. This suited some teams, and the average scores were low, but the matches were still keenly contested.

Royal Blenheim 80 - White Hart 49. Despite both teams getting off to a slow start this proved to be a convincing victory for the Blenheim, winning every round. They did feel sorry for the White Hart though, playing against a team with a vicar in their ranks, on a night of chapter and verse on church and bible.

Royal Sun 64 – Bletchingdon Nomads 59: a friendly and well contested game between these almost local rivals. High flying Nomads were first out of the stalls and took the first round 4 – 8, then extended their lead in the second. After an early provision of an excellent platter the hosts revived somewhat to take the next round. All change saw the Sun stop rejecting the correct answers provided by Moz, and lead by one point going to the last round. Unfortunately for the Nomads the Royal Sun thwarted the visitors by their choice of subjects to give away, and ran out unexpected winners.

Sun A made the long journey south from Hook Norton to the Masons. After a low scoring early round the quiz took off and the eventual winners were the Masons, 59-48.

 

The Gardeners Arms won again, 63 – 57 against the Blackbird.

 

And in Chippy it was Chequers 61 - Windrush Club 39.

Sun B ground out a win in their match having ‘treacled’, rather than oiled, their brains beforehand. A 9-0 score line in the first round augured well, but was almost reversed in the second round .... thereafter a steady lead was held but the treacle was solidifying, and Sun B couldn’t even recall the name of the winking, white toothed drummer Dave Clark. Sun B 56 - Bell 40.

The Plough welcomed the jolly team from the Chandos Arms, and were an unwelcoming 13-2 up after the first round. The Chandos rallied later, but never got their heads above water after the flood, finishing 83-54 behind.

Kidlington Green 57-79 Ploughman’s Bunch! The Bunch! took a full team to a favourite venue, and were startled to see that it is to become retirement homes - for aged quiz teams? Charles’s knowledge of pickled onion cocktails saw the Bunch! through round one, and Beth delivered round two. The Bunch! edged both the pictures and round five by a single point, then the Dave Clark Five and Heaven 17 saw them increase their lead despite inadvertently picking pop. That may have demoralised the genial hosts, since the give-it-away round went to the Bunch! 12-4.

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Table Top 5 - Thursday 13th February

 

There was another break from the intensity of the regular matches this week, as eight teams gathered in The Blackbird, and four each in The Windrush Club and the Mason’s Arms for sociable and competitive tabletop quizzes.

There was a Dicky theme to round one – twelve assorted Richards. Home team the Blackbird flew away like a dicky bird, getting their best score of the night, but it was Dick Dastardly of the Bletchingdon Nomads who snuck into an early lead with the top score.

Ooh la la! All things Français in round two suited Francophiles the Ploughman’s Bunch! who were only one French letter short of an alphabet. Newbies the Oxfordshire Yeoman were keeping up with the pack, not taking French leave.

It was all in the family for round three, brothers and sisters. Kidlington Green bounced back after their round two débâcle, scoring a sibling ten with the Sun B. The Royal Blenheim were close behind with their top score, and in the Blackbird question master Darragh kept order as the Red Stripe flowed.

Two dozen pictures made up round four, producing high scores from the White Hart and Sun A, and impressive tallies from the Royal Sun, the Masons and the Chandos Arms. Four birdie photos suited some, but others got their tits in a twist – it was a blue tit, not great tit. Competitors in the Blackbird were treated to a tasty chicken curry with rice from Sarah, perfect half-time food.

Happy memories were stirred in round five: Classic British Sitcoms. The White Hart were game for a laugh, getting the only maximum of the night, Dad’s Army to Mrs Brown’s Boys from the rest. The Gardeners Arms, not mentioning the war, had the last laugh with a good score of nine (nein?).

Round six was a mixed bag, suiting generalists The Plough with ten, and way out west hosts the Windrush club scored well to stay neck-and-neck with Sun B. With only the marathon all-night blockbuster to mark it was tight at the top in a tense finish.

The Bell left it too late for their big blockbuster bonanza to boost their standing, and The Plough slipped with a deflating twenty-eight to finish third. They were outshone by the Bunch! with thirty, to finish runners-up after leading the peloton from French round two. But leapfrogging them were the Bletchingdon Nomads with an impressive thirty-two to take the trophy, thanks to identifying Barnet as the fifth London borough beginning B. Fair enough.

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League Game 12 - Thursday 6th February

Tim Busby cranked up the difficulty of the questions this week, so there were some low scores, but a competitive spirit kept the matches lively.

The Plough won the Premiership clash, beating their great rivals the Ploughman’s Bunch! 63-70. It was all level for the first two rounds, included a top 12-12 draw. Then the Plough pulled away thanks to Howard’s intuition that Professor Yaffle in Bagpuss was inspired by the great Bertrand Russell. A good round six for the Bunch! brought them within three points, but the Plough held their nerve in the give-it-away round to win, and lead the league by four points.

White Hart 71 - Royal Sun 56. The visitors were delayed by traffic on the A40, but made up for lost time by winning the first round 11-6. A couple of strong rounds saw the White Hart recoup the deficit, then draw away later, with knowledge of Bagpuss and the TV works of Tony Hatch coming in as handy as ever.

Match of the day in the Championship took place at Bletchingdon where the Nomads sitting justly on the top of the division entertained Kidlington Green, only one point behind. Fielding another strong side the visitors racked up 23 points in the first two rounds, not much between the sides for rest of the game but the gap created early proved too much for the Home side. 57-71 at the whistle and regime change, for now, in the Championship.

Chandos Arms 58 - Royal Blenheim 74. The Blenheim had to grind out a result against their Oakley opponents, although the winning margin of 16 points may suggest otherwise. Most of the round victories were marginal, and it was only near the end that they could feel they had enough in the bank to secure the victory.

Both teams struggled in Hooky: Sun B left it to half way through the first round to get going. But pulled along by “Thor’s goats” Sun B maintained a slim lead. The low scoring was due to the goats stopping to graze. They certainly learnt more than they knew on this occasion. Sun A 52. Sun B 58.

Blackbird 59 - Masons Arms 51, points hard earned. The Masons were off to a flyer, but a very youthful Blackbird team had the stamina to wrestle the points, and the last two rounds were very fruitful for the home side. The Masons knowledge of Horse racing and Hermaphrodites was very impressive.

Bell Lower Heyford 39 - Chequers 49, by the skin of their teeth, but a disappointing score, the lowest in the league.

 

The Gardener’s Arms won 68-50 at the Windrush Club.

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League Game 11 - Thursday 30th January

 

There were some high scores from the top teams this week, the last days of dry January, but not for the quiz matches.

Wins for Sun B are like Penny Blacks. This was a very close match, the Royals in control after the picture round but choosing the wrong numbers in round six. No one gave it away, and with the last answer being kapok no one had the stuffing knocked out of them. Lovely brain food (whitebait) throughout helped. Royal Sun 62-65 Sun B.

It has been a while since the Blenheim ventured out to Lower Heyford. After conceding an early lead the Bell fought back, but the Blenheim won the later rounds comfortably, the final score being a little harsh on the Bell, who pulled out some impressive answers. Bell 56 – Royal Blenheim 83.

Masons Arms 61 - Ploughman’s Bunch! 82. The Mason’s resources were a bit stretched, and the mighty Quinn didn’t quite make the start. The Masons clawed three points back in round two, but the Bunch! replied with some good answers on the pictures, to go into the second half ten up after some nice food. 12-6 to the Bunch! in round five, and it was game over.

It was a game of two halves in Bletchingdon, with the Nomads leading 30-15 as they went into the picture round, but then the last four rounds were 40-38. So, despite a rally from the Blackbird after the food was served it was never going to be enough, and the final score was Nomads 70 – 53 Blackbird. But the Nomads have some tough games coming up.

A good win for Kidlington Green against the Gardeners, 79-54. Ode to Joy for Kidders - travelling to The Gardeners with the strongest showing for some weeks, edged out in the first round but came back strongly in the next two. A couple of drawn rounds steadied the ship for the North Parade outfit only to be hit hard in the last 2 rounds. The home team calling the numbers rounds in German didn't curry any favours with Carsten reading the questions.

Plough 81 – Chequers 60. A tied first round was followed by a successful run for the Plough, then a convincing win in the final round was not enough for the visitors.

 

It was Sun A 61 White Hart 58 - an exciting, good humoured match, and lovely curry for grub.

Windrush Club 58 - Chandos Arms 53. A fine game between two well matched teams: the result could have gone either way until the end. The win bounces the Windrush back to the top of League One.

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League Game 10 - Thursday 23rd January

 

There were big scores and some one-sided rounds this week, Tim Busby’s questions suiting some more than others.

The Chandos secured their second win of the season with a tightly fought match, taking the first four rounds. However the Gardeners came back and won the last three. The Gardeners were beaten for the fourth time this season by the narrowest margin. Final score Chandos 65 Gardener's Arms 64.

At The Chequers the home team got off to a cracking start winning the first round 12-2. However the Nomads responded immediately taking the second round 4-16. After this bizarre start, things settled down to be more even, the Nomads just edging it: Chequers 64 – 71 Nomads.

Even stevens, 62-62, at Kidlington Green where The Sun A came calling, and a fair result with four rounds drawn. Meltdowns? The Hook Norton outfit had theirs in round five, and for Kidders it was round three, but at least they knew a 'Mooli' was a large radish and not a risqué innuendo from the greatly missed Kenneth Williams, ooh matron! Sue deserves a word too for an excellent chicken curry that hit the mark, ooh Sue!

The White Hart say thanks to the Bell for still turning up with a team of only three players and being so cheerful and good humoured throughout, even if they didn't quite make their self-appointed target of thirty points. White Hart 75 - Bell 27.

Royal Blenheim 86 – Masons Arms 46. Last time these two met the Masons’ shock win put the Blenheim into second place in the summer league. This time the Blenheim took revenge with a thumping victory. After a hesitant start by both teams the Blenheim hit form and sealed the win.

The Plough travelled north to the Sun B Hook Norton, winning 78-52. It was an uneven performance from the visitors, winning three rounds convincingly, and tying the others 44-44. Great beer and quality food was served to the English music of bellringing practice.

The Windrush took a two-point lead at the Bunch!, but that was the peak for the genial visitors. It was high-scoring due to teams’ different strengths – the Windrush chose subjects the Bunch! steered clear of, and they pulled out some excellent answers. It was another enjoyable evening: Ploughman’s Bunch! 87-59 Windrush.

Blackbird 67 - Royal Sun 54. The Sun flew out of the stalls, into a six-point lead after round one. Blackbird, notorious slow starters hit their stride, with the alcohol flowing, slowly pegging the now setting Sun back. The last round was a disaster for the Sun, and the Blackbird ran out winners with a very flattering score line.

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League Game 9 - Thursday 16th January

This week is the halfway point in the winter season, with nine matches played, and it’s still open in all three leagues.

A topsy-turvy match in Hook Norton had a knife-edge finish. A catastrophic round three saw Kidlington Green select wrong every time in a history-making nul points. Kidlington pulled up to within three, then the Sun B wobbled, Kidlington steadied and took the game 65-63. Sausage and Mash washed down with the excellent local ales was a glowing end to the night.

There was another disastrous round three, 0-15 for the Windrush, against visitors Bletchingdon Nomads. Round six wasn’t much better at 4-12, and the Nomads cruised to a comfortable win: Windrush 51 - Nomads 82. A difficult night for the home team but everyone enjoyed themselves.

Ploughman’s Bunch! 85 – Chequers 62. The Bunch! conceded a five-point deficit at the start, but that was as good as it got for their genial hosts. The Chippy team made unlucky question choices, but retrieved some excellent answers. It was an enjoyable evening in Oxfordshire’s frozen North.

Plough 79 – Sun A Hook Norton 58. After a level start the Plough pulled ahead in round two, adding a little to their lead each round until the last, too late for a fightback from the friendly visitors.

Masons Arms 57 - White Hart 70. The White Hart had a good start to lead by eight after the first round, then pulled ahead in the last three rounds. The hosts had two impressive answers, showcasing their knowledge of rugby league and French revolutionaries.

Gardeners Arms 57 - Royal Blenheim 81. After the first round the Blenheim took control, helped by answers on their less favoured subjects such as horse racing and geography. With one round to go they had the luxury of knowing that the Gardeners needed a full house – but that fell at the first, leaving the Blenheim with a comfortable victory.

The Blackbird were delighted to see The Chandos full of diners and drinkers, the local pub being supported, long may it continue. The visitors were off to a flyer with a ten-point lead, which the plucky Chandos were unable to recoup. A very enjoyable evening against mischievous opponents. Chandos 50 - Blackbird 60.

There was a “ding-dong” battle for the Bell at the Royal Sun, ending 59-58 to the home team, an exciting match going down to the last question. It was harsh on the Bell who won four of the seven rounds. Many teams tripped up on the question on “The Royal Hunt of the Sun” (Incas not Aztecs), but truly this was the hunt of the Royal Sun.

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Table Top - Thursday 9th January

Happy New 2020, and how better to start it than with tabletop quizzes in The Plough Wolvercote, The Windrush Club and The Masons Arms. Hello, hello, it’s good to be back – now, who sang that? Oh, sorry… Oasis.

New Year, new format? I don’t think so. Starting in the traditional manner with round one, let’s do the show right here, questions on musicals. Dancing on to the stage to the overture were Sun B Hook Norton, leading the singing with ten. Not far behind, were the Gardeners Arms, high kicking in line, and the Oxfordshire Yeoman, sing while you’re winning.

Round two rushed on to the pitch, with sporty questions. The Royal Blenheim took the medal in this round with ten, and at the Masons The Blackbird took silver with nine. Round three looked way back to 2019, a memory test passed by Kidlington Green and The Plough, only missing one answer each.

There was a gourmet buffet of lasagne, veg Balti and chips with four healthy salads to sustain the eight teams in the Plough, skilfully choreographed by assertive question-master Rupert. After the feast came the memento mori picture round of twenty-four famous faces who died in 2019. The Royal Blenheim got the full set, and a very respectable twenty-two from the Gardeners Arms. There was much hilarity in the Windrush when the question-master confused Ginger Baker with Ginger Rogers – does he play the drums backwards, in heels?

Round five was “W” answers, and The Plough fell of their perch with a paltry six. Top teams were the White Hart and the Royal Sun with ten, a strong nine from the Sun A, and the Royal Blenheim went into the lead with only two rounds to go.

General Knowledge in round six let the Plough bounce back into the lead with the full twelve, and high scores in the Masons from the home team and the Chandos Arms. With eight teams in the sixties (not necessarily their sixties) it would all come down to the forty-point blockbuster.

Bletchingdon Nomads had been steadily accumulating points all night, but their equal top score of thirty-two was not quite enough for a podium finish. The Royal Sun, also with thirty-two, finished third, but The Plough could only scrape twenty-eight to take second place by one point. Consistency is everything in the long game, and the Ploughman’s Bunch! won the prize without having won any of the seven rounds, congratulations to them.

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League Game 8 - Thursday 12th December

 

It takes more than an Election to distract the quizzers from their Thursday night out, and there were some close results this week. Everything stopped at ten as phones were checked for the exit polls… (your choice of emoji here).

There were amazing scenes at the Bell in Lower Heyford, an acoustic struggle against the well-attended folk night. The Chandos were in dominant form and had their first win of the season, a convincing 74-32, a majority of 42.

The return of Tony Chinn to the Green Road Club couldn’t prevent a home loss to the Masons Arms. In a very tight match the result depended on naming the last Eagles album. Final score 61 to the Masons, 60 to Kidlington.

It was close enough at the Nomads to consider a recount. The scores were level, then the lead changed three times in three questions. The Nomads finally edged it 63-61 Gardner’s Arms, a cracking last game before the Christmas break.

The White Hart scraped a narrow 61-60 victory over their determined visitors the Chequers. The home team led by ten points, then the visitors then won the next two rounds to keep the pressure on. This continued into the final round, when they limped over the line with knowledge of the lyrics to “Ernie”.

Sun A 57 - Royal Sun 64. The home team had initially dubbed themselves the Common Sun in response to their regally named opponents, but there was nothing common about the excellent fish and chips served. The Sun won the penultimate round, but the visitors held on in an exciting finish to take the friendly but competitive match.

Blenheim 75 - Windrush 45. A comfortable win for the Blenheim in which they outscored their Witney opponents in every round, but it was a topsy-turvy quiz, where both teams struggled, the Blenheim winning with as few as six points, and as many as thirteen in another two rounds.

Ploughman’s Bunch! 72-53 Sun B. The Bunch! put in a relatively solid display. Beth captained expertly as usual, with excellent support from Baldy Charles and Hairy Jonathan. It was a pleasure to welcome the Sun B, who were well into their stride in the closing stages.

Blackbird 52 – Plough 82. Another great night at the Blackbird, warmed by a tasty chicken curry, not baked in a pie. The Plough were on top form, winning every round and dredging up those Christmas songs and films.

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League Game 7 - Thursday 05th December

 

No team is unbeaten after this week’s high-scoring matches produced some upsets. The mighty have fallen, with some changes in the league tables, and it’s all more open now.

The Plough lost for the first time this season against the Royal Blenheim, at full strength and on top form. The Plough made minor gains in the first half, which was all won back by the visitors, so it was level going into the final round. The Blenheim owned it, winning that round 13-8 and securing a well-deserved 78-73 victory.

The Ploughman’s Bunch! lost too, at the Bletchingdon Nomads. Both teams got full marks in the first round, then it was nip and tuck until round six when the Bunch! had a nightmare losing 14-6. Going into the last question Nomads were two points up, and identifying Deadly Derek Underwood settled it. Final score Nomads 79 - Bunch! 75: the highest, and highest losing scores of the night.

The Blackbird had a great result against excellent opposition, whose music knowledge takes some beating. But the Blackbirds’ cricket knowledge excelled, all down to Frank the Kerryman, surprisingly. The opposition had to do without their beloved Hooky Ale, so they devoured ample pints of Glenn's Guinness. Blackbird 75 Sun A 53.

Chandos 50 - Royal Sun 68. The final score belies the closeness of the match for much of the night. Some unfortunate choice of questions by the home team in round three and solid work by Moz, Simon and How-do on the pictures saw them extend the lead. Food was in plentiful supply and much appreciated. A friendly evening ended with both sides naming one of Donald Trump’s daughters as one of his wives.

Kidlington Green scored a comfortable win at the White Hart Eynsham, 78-63. As usual, it was a nice night at the pub. Although next week Kidlington lose Alex to the election they should have Tony back from his adventure with the Gyptians.

In what is a local fixture for two members of their team the Mason’s played the Windrush Club in Witney. In a match that was both close and low scoring the Masons edged ahead by the chequered flag to win 56-52. And The Bell beat the Gardeners Arms 56-54.

Sun B 68 – Chequers 59. Sun B played northern neighbours The Chequers and scored a rare (for this season) win. The good-natured match was nip and tuck most of the way until round four, when The Sun inched ahead thanks to knowledge of Game of Thrones and trash television - maybe the same thing?

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League Game 6 - Thursday 28th November

 

Another winter night was warmed for the busy quizzers this week. Tim Busby prepared a varied suite of questions which kept the teams on their toes, such as: Who is the patron saint of dancers?

Saint Vitus was dancing as the Gardeners Arms triumphed 65-58 over the Sun B Hooky. Most rounds were even, but picking the numbers proved decisive, as the questions were chosen without the use of any algorithm. Gardeners Arms 65 – Sun B 58.

The Blackbird beat the previously unbeaten Windrush Club 71-63. It was a seesaw game where the Blackbird were down by twelve points after two rounds, but clawed it back by round six. The Windrush imploded, and the Blackbirds flew home. Whiz-kid Stevie, and Tyrone Stevie were instrumental in the victory.

 

The Chequers won 72-67 at the Sun A, despite answering out of turn and giving away an answer. So the Chequers go top of their league, congratulations to them.

With Colin King hors de combat, and David Quinn elsewhere, the Masons didn’t expect an easy time at the Bell Lower Heyford, so their 77-47 victory over the Bell was a little surprising, and it was a good-natured affair in a great venue.

 

Kidlington Green, still managing well without Tony, overcoming the Chandos Arms 83-57.

The first round was level at the White Hart, and the home team took the picture round, but the Nomads edged the other five rounds. So the final score was Bletchingdon Nomads 76 – White Hart 63; there was much merriment and laughter and a good night was had by all.

Ploughman’s Bunch! 80-73 Royal Blenheim. The Bunch! pulled away to win the last two rounds by five-point margins, overturning a three-point deficit. They had been ahead going into the pictures, but the four-man Blenheim line-up nearly got a full house there, and edged further into the lead in round five. Beth captained the Bunch! well all night, resisting Jeremy’s playful attempts to confuse Carrie Lam and Carrie Symonds, and vice versa; but the turning point was probably when the Bunch! earned a bonus on the Lion of Vienna, the great Nat Lofthouse.

The Royal Sun had a storming match at home against the Plough, falling by one point on the last questions. Early service of delicious whitebait boosted the away team, who narrowly won the early rounds, but the Royal Sun came back very strongly to draw level with three questions left. A bonus on multi-married Artie Shaw and Ruth’s identification of Ferris Bueller’s tagline got the relieved visitors off the hook with a 76-75 victory.

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League Game 5 - Thursday 21st November

 

Tim Busby keeps those questions coming, but as Johnny Nash so rightly said “There are more questions than answers”.

The man himself read the questions at the Sun B against the Masons Arms, and saw the first win for the Sun! It was very close, and a good-humoured evening. The Sun B came out strongly and took the first three rounds. The excellent Pasta Bake motivated the Masons, who came back well, then it went down to the last two questions, but the Sun B held their nerve for a 61-58 win.

Another great game played in a good spirit: Windrush Club 68 - Sun A 54, truly a game of two halves (and a few pints). After three rounds it was 30-18 to the Sun, then the picture round saw the Windrush fight-back, pulling ahead in the last two rounds.

 

The Chequers did it again, 69 – 45 against the Gardener's Arms.

 

The Bell, still ringing, on 65 beat the Blackbird, not singing, with 45.

The Plough were on top form, thanks to Howard and Nancy in particular. Kidlington Green missed Tony (checking the pyramids) and won only the picture round. The food hit the spot, as ever, with a veggie option too. Final score was a convincing 84-52 to the Plough.

White Hart 58 – Ploughman’s Bunch! 73. The back room of the White Hart was opened specially for the quiz, giving freedom of expression for full scale banter from the jolly White Hart question master, who had his hands full dealing with his own riotous team, let alone the increasingly well-oiled visitors from Wolvercote. It ended in a somewhat unrepresentative win of 73-58 for The Bunch!, only leaving when the Landlord’s dog demanded its midnight walk.

It was a cold November morning when the Bletchingdon Nomads, in true nomad style, set off in search of a strange land called Buckinghamshire. The first two rounds were virtually even but then the home team had a disastrous round which left the Nomads with a thirteen-point lead going into the second half. Despite pulling some of this back, the gap was too big, and the final score was Chandos Arms 55 – 65 Nomads.

Royal Blenheim 61 - Royal Sun 71, their first win. A welcome return to form of the Sun engine-room of Dot, Simon and Moz, fortunate choice of subjects and plucking answers from the ether saw the Royal Sun build a steady lead over their illustrious opponents. Both teams enjoyed the pizza supplied in the break. Respect to the question master, another Tim, battling valiantly over the cacophony of a busy pub.

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Table Top 3 - 14th November

Let’s get sociable, with an early season break this week for table top quizzes in the Windrush Club and Kidlington Green. It’s always good to get together with like-minded quiz enthusiasts in a friendly competitive spirit.

Questions were clearly enunciated at Green Road by Rupert, eschewing a microphone yet transmitting loud and clear. He got things under control, starting in the time-honoured manner with round one, Food and Drink. Leading the charge to the feast were trenchermen Bletchingdon Nomads with ten, a score greedily shared by the Ploughman’s Bunch! and the Plough.

Matters got more energetic in round two, all things sporty, which suited hosts Kidlington Green, securing a gold medal with seven, and Sun A Hook Norton were not so far behind. He who pays the piper calls the tune in round three, all sorts of music, not just seventies pop. The Chandos Arms whistled a happy tune with eight, moving up to just a semiquaver short of the lead.

Round four tested the visual memory with twenty-four pictures, bringing out the best from the Sun B, top scorers with twenty-two, equalled by western hosts the Windrush Club. The Mason’s Arms scored well too, identifying England 80s goalkeepers, stars called Susan, and company logos. Great food for a cold November night sustained the teams in the Green Road club – Sue set out a super supper of crusty shepherd’s pie, curry and baked spuds. Heaven! With Simon at the bar dispensing frothy pints of Loose Cannon, all seemed right with the world.

A mixed bag of subjects in round five suited the Blackbird who scored well to show off their broad range of knowledge. Round six was the soggily topical “Water, water, everywhere”, producing good scores from newcomers The Oxfordshire Yeoman and old hands the Royal Blenheim and the Chequers. It was all to play for, with forty points (not forty pints) up for grabs in the blockbuster.

The Royal Sun Begbroke and the Chandos each registered a strong thirty-one, but not enough to finish on the podium for either team. Bletchingdon Nomads were disappointed but sanguine, not quite catching up their rivals to finish third on 96, and the Plough fell short of their best to be runners-up on 99. But top of the heap on an impressive one-oh-one were the Ploughman’s Bunch! whose consistency throughout paid off. Congratulations to them, and thanks to hosts Kidlington Green and the Windrush Club, and to all the other teams for making it a fun evening.

It's back to the regular league matches next week, let battle recommence. Thanks as ever to Tim Busby for a varied set of questions.

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League Game 4 - Thursday 7th November

 

Tim Busby cranked up the difficulty of the questions this week, and there were some close matches. After only four weeks there are just two teams unbeaten, so the competition is fierce.

There was one point in it when the Sun A met a plucky but depleted team of three from the Gardener’s Arms, winning 57-56. Great food was put on by the pub, as ever, with lovely pasta. It was always a close game, going down to the last question yet again. There has been no more than two points between the teams in the home side’s first four matches, so keep up the great work Tim Busby.

Questions were well handled by newcomer Punchy Perks at the first win of the season for the Blackbird, beating the Sun B 61-60. It was close until round six, where the Blackbird went seven points clear, then tried to give it away in the last round, but Mayo Michael secured victory on the last question.

The Plough had a scare at Bletchingdon Nomads, getting only four points in round one, outclassed by the home team. It was a relatively low-scoring match for these two strong teams, but the visitors overcame their slow start to win all the subsequent rounds and end 70-54 winners.

Still on a roll, the Chequers visited the Mason's Arms, and came away with a 67-53 victory.

 

And the Windrush Club had a fine match played in a good spirit, beating the Bell Heyford 61-42.

The White Hart raced into an early lead at the Chandos Arms, and were over twenty points up after the pictures. This was significantly reduced when the guests hit a hot streak (or was it the beer kicking in?), but the hosts managed to steady the ship and ended the match as 67-53 winners.

Top score of the night was 80 from the Ploughman’s Bunch! at home against the Royal Sun 45. The visitors were desperately unlucky with their pick of questions, 22-4 behind after two rounds. It was more even for a while, but then they were out of luck again in rounds five and six, where the 12-2 score from round two was repeated.

The Royal Blenheim rocked up at Kidlington Green a player short, and soon found themselves on the wrong end of a score 10-4 (echoes of ‘Highway Patrol’). Kidlington held a narrow lead going into the last round, but a hearty rendition of ‘The Old Bull and Bush’, a home team answer, indicated the result was beyond doubt, finishing 70-60.

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League Game 3 - Thursday 31st October

 

It was All Hallows Eve, with a spooky Halloween quiz in prospect. Nobody had to dress up for Trick or Treat, venturing out into the dark, prepared for a haunted house of horrors. With only a skeleton crew and a Jack-o’-lantern to light their way, they searched for spirits (25ml).

Just like a scary Halloween movie, negotiating a road closure and making the last few hundred yards on foot, the Ploughman’s Bunch! had a good start at the Chandos. They won the tough second round 8-2 with bonuses on Donald Tusk and Philip Schofield, that notorious duo. They headed off into the night, over the eerie Otmoor checking roadside ditches for the dead, on this spookiest of nights. Chandos 53-70 Ploughman’s Bunch!

A grinning candlelit pumpkin face met Kidlington Green at the Royal Sun, Begbroke. Drinks were ordered from a cobweb-strewn bar, and then, as early as round one, it was Trick or Treat as the food came out - Chicken fritters and skin-on chunky chips with dip. Certainly a treat, that saw both teams off to good start. Then came the nightmares, round two for the home side, round three for Kidders to even things up. A screaming finish animated a zombie win for the away side 62 – 65, scrambling the broomsticks eastwards soon afterwards.

The Plough welcomed the White Hart from Eynsham, and went top of the Premier League with a high-scoring 76-65 win. The away team featured as an answer in round one (Richard II on their pub sign) but narrowly lost the first four rounds. They threatened to come back from the dead in the final rounds, and scored enough to win in most other matches on the night, but could not quite match the Plough on good form.

Royal Blenheim 70 - Bletchingdon Nomads 57. The final score looks like a comfortable win for the Blenheim, but that was far from the case. After conceding an early lead they were struggling to find a rhythm until what was to prove to be a pivotal round six, trailing by three points they hit their stride ending it six points in front and then won the last round by five for good measure.

The Windrush Club continued their good start, beating Sun B 60 – 52, and it was Chequers 65 - Blackbird 49.

 

The Gardener’s Arms returned to last season’s form, overcoming Mason’s Arms 69-43 in a team effort, plucking the right numbers and choosing well to ensure victory. And there was a similar result to last week, but with questions this time: The Bell 54 - Sun A 53.

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League Game 2 - Thursday 24th October

Week two, and the quiz is getting more difficult, for both the teams and for the postman. Some of the questions went astray, it was like Postman Pat and the mystery thief (spoiler alert – that was a kleptomaniac chicken). Tim Busby went the extra mile to get questions by whatever means available to all but one venue. Thanks to all those who helped and made the quiz happen.

The Sun B spent hours trying to get to Lower Heyford, as diversion signs had been placed by the Home Guard to fool the Germans. Don't panic! They arrived at the Bell to find no questions, then had a more sedate drive home.

 

The Germans looked foolish at the Blackbird too, where Carsten of the Gardeners failed to name his national patron saint: more like ‘egg on your face’ than Boniface. An extremely close game swung back and forth. In the end, it was a James Bond theme that tipped it, leaving the Blackbird shaken, not stirred on 56 to the Gardeners Arms 58.

Windrush Club 54 Chequers 48 - what a night. The hosts offered many thanks to the Chequers for getting the questions emailed, and to Ian for reading them under great duress. In the match itself, Windrush got their noses in front early, but almost let it slip in the last round.

 

And from the bracing north it was Sun A 55 - Mason's Arms 55. A draw! A tense buttock-clencher which went down to the last question.

White Hart 62 - Royal Blenheim 64. The White Hart must still be wondering how they managed to lose to the Blenheim. After conceding an early lead they outplayed their opponents for the rest of the game until the last round, and even with a couple of inspired guesses from the Blenheim it looked as if it would be enough. But they chose the wrong final question, conceding an away win.

Ploughman’s Bunch! 73-57 Kidlington Green. After the kerfuffle with the questions had been sorted out, thanks to Tim the landlord and Tim the question-setter, the Bunch! leapt into a 13-4 lead. But they were pegged back by losing the pick-a-number round 7-12. It was still game on, but in the second half they won each round by three to win comfortably in the end. Thanks to Chris for marshalling the last-minute printouts, and for his pronunciation of Mel Blanc.

 

Chandos Arms 60 - Plough 70. The Plough travelled to the Chandos - a friendly pub, with great service and delicious food in the busy restaurant. The home team won three rounds well, but never recovered from losing the first round 4-16. And the Nomads edged it, despite only winning two of the seven rounds – although it did go down to the very last question.

 

The final score was Nomads 67 - 64 Royal Sun.

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League Game 1 - Thursday 17th October

At last! The Winter league matches started this week, every Thursday until April, what a great prospect. Question setter Tim Busby tweaked the format too, introducing a random element of nervous number-picking into topic selection.

From outer Oxfordshire (Hook Norton) the scores were Sun B 64 - Sun A 66. It was a close, tense, exciting encounter which went down to the last question on the give-it-away round. And the food, as ever, was very nice.

The Masons hosted near neighbours the Blackbird in a match which started badly for the home team. 11-19 down after the 2nd round the home team finally managed to win 71-67 after a tense final round.

A good night with a see-sawing score saw the Windrush Club's ten-point half time lead pegged back, leaving the Gardeners Arms one point ahead going in to the last round, before the Windrush Club took the round and the overall honours: Gardeners Arms 53 - Windrush Club 57.

The Chequers Chipping Norton started the season well, overcoming the Bell Lower Heyford 76 – 48. There was live folk music playing in the Chequers, which may have inspired the home team.

Royal Sun 67 White Hart 77. A fun evening at the Royal Sun, getting to grips with the new format, saw the friendly hosts advance to a seven-point lead. Then a series of fortunate (or were they well chosen?) picks in the new random round gave the White Hart an 11-2 win. Martin, the resident show tunes expert, was on form throughout. And the White Hart happily defer to their hosts' knowledge of Stormzy and One Direction.

Blenheim 87 Chandos 55. A solid win for the Blenheim. Even as early as the first round the Chandos were facing an uphill struggle after falling eight points behind and it didn't get any better with the home team going on to win every round, eventually victorious by 87 - 55.

Both Kidlington Green and Bletchingdon Nomads were well represented for the opening match at Green Road. The Nomads answered all their 1st round questions and took advantage of a faltering home side who, to the shock of scorer Diddly-Dee, failed to identify the tagline from ‘Terminator’. Final score Kidlington 73 – Bletchingdon 67, great to be back.

 

The Plough hosted a rock and roller derby match - Plough 80: Ploughman’s Bunch! 70 - where the Bunch! were seven up (not the soft drink) after a knockout third round. Then the Plough beat the count and won the final two rounds by nine and seven to overtake their great rivals and finish ten ahead.