A little too soon after the festive break to encourage full participation but 15 of the county’s finest quiz teams competed last Thursday in the annual Sport Tabletop.
Four of the combatants assembled at The Chequers (Chipping Norton) where, with a score of 150, The Bell (Lower Heyford) prevailed by three over The Woodman (North Leigh), with the hosts a further 14 points back in third.
It was the leg staged at the North Oxford Conservative Club (Summertown), however, which provided the overall winners, in fact the first six home as it transpired.
Not renowned for their sporting knowledge and minus the services of Graham ‘The Pad’, The Ploughman’s Bunch! (Wolvercote) gained a surprising early advantage.
It wasn’t to last. Over the evening, the position of frontrunner changed hands several times. Entering the last round, the home side held the hitherto dubious honour of leading albeit by the smallest of margins from The Plough (Wolvercote), with the next nearest challenger a good 10 points adrift.
Defending champions in this discipline, the Con Club posted a decent effort of 59 to finish on 168, only to see the Plough post 62 and equal their grand total. As is the manner of settling these matters, on count back the Plough lifted the trophy courtesy of that higher score in the final round.
The Green Road Club (Kidlington) took third spot with 155, and the Black’s Head (Bletchingdon) fourth on 154.
A special mention for Far From The Madding Crowd ‘B’ (Oxford City). An assorted crew of undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers et al, their line-up was affected by the holidays, and they fielded just two players. Yet between them they amassed 122 points.
This week sees the return to league action. Reinforced by their strong showing in the Sport event, The Bell has stolen a march in the North. They encounter the very strong Green Dragon (Haddenham). A win for the Lower Heyford unit will etch their title credentials in stone.
It would be expected that all Premiership teams emerge unscathed, but Far From The Madding Crowd ‘A’ face the sternest test as they entertain the Blue Boar Bees (Chipping Norton), lying second in the North. It is not uncommon for FFTMC ‘A’ to occasionally mess up against lower ranked opposition.
Pacesetters in the Oxford Division, The Green Road Club are favourites to remain there with victory over The Chequers, but their nearest challenger, the Con Club, need to overcome The Black Swan (East Oxford) to stay in touch, whilst The Hatchet (Childrey), after a dismal start to the campaign, could leapfrog into the runners up berth should they beat The Windrush Club and the Con Club falter.
In the West, The White Hart (Eynsham) will stay top if they defeat Seacourt Bridge (Botley).