"Jonny's Journal"

Weekly Match Reports - Winter 2019/20

(A big thank you to Jonny Peacock)

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 - 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.