Following a gripping contest, which the Ploughman’s Bunch! (Wolvercote) led 49-45 at half-time, their stablemate and principal Premiership protagonist, the Plough, displaying a breathtaking knowledge of New York City to steamroller the penultimate, specialist round, squeaked home by 78 to 76.
Consequently, they moved alongside their arch rival in the table with eight wins apiece, separated only by the Bunch’s heavier weight of scoring.
These two behemoths of Quizland lock horns once more in round fourteen, the outcome of which may decide the championship outcome.
Only a fool would discount Far From The Madding Crowd ‘A’ (Oxford City) from upsetting the duopoly at this stage, especially as they have to play both the leading lights twice. They stayed in the mix after a hard-fought victory over the King’s Arms (Wheatley), coming from behind in the final round to prevail 74-70.
Every bit as thrilling as events in the Premier Section are those in the north, where the lead has changed three times in as many weeks.
Regaining pole position were the Bell (Lower Heyford), courtesy of a 68-58 defeat of the Chandos Arms (Oakley). This timely return to form coincided with losses for newly displaced front runners, the Blue Boar ‘A’ (Chipping Norton), who perished at the Seacourt Bridge (Botley), 59-71, and for previous tabletopper’s, the Blue Boar Bees (also ‘Chippy’), who failed to withstand the challenge of visitors, the Windrush Club (Witney), going down 55-65.
There were notable scalps in this division. Firstly, by the Chequers (also ‘Chippy’), who grabbed their third success of the campaign with a successful road trip to the Black Swan (East Oxford), edging out the hosts 65-61, and secondly, in the eye-catching result of the evening, by the Sun (Hook Norton) who racked up a massive 75 points in putting visitors, the Black’s Head (Bletchingdon), with 51, to the sword. Skipper Vince of the vanquished tried to explain the demolition job on energy wasted battling through fog to reach their destination.
It was a good night for the Green Dragon (Haddenham), which leaves them in control of the east. That setback for the King’s Arms, with a 60-73 reversal for the Eight Bells (Long Crendon) at the Gardener’s Arms (North Parade), was backed by their own 74-63 despatch of North Oxford Conservative Club (Summertown).
The Con Club stays top of the Oxford Division, however, due to the Green Road Club (Kidlington) falling at home to the Hatchet (Childrey), 66-71.
In the west, the Royal Sun (Begbroke) continues to dominate, this after a comprehensive display against FFTMC ‘B’, sweeping them aside 69-37. This was earned despite incorrectly identifying Oxford’s first goalscorer in the historic League Cup win of ’86. ‘Trevor Howard’ was starring in ‘Shaka Zulu’ at the time, somewhere in southern Africa. In the tightest match of the round, the Woodman (North Leigh) salvaged a draw with the White Hart (Eynsham) on the final question. ‘Bill McGarry’ got them to 64 all.