Agonisingly pipped at the post by the Plough (Wolvercote) seven days earlier, Far From The Madding Crowd ‘A’ (Oxford City) responded magnificently with a win over the defending Summer League Premiership champions, the Ploughman’s Bunch! (also Wolvercote).

This pulsating contest went down to the final pair of questions with FFMTC ‘A’ holding their collective nerve to prevail by the slenderest of margins, 80-79. That is now two losses in three outings for the Bunch! and, whilst they will have to face their two principal protagonists again, their clutch on the trophy is visibly slipping. Taking full advantage of their stablemate’s tribulations, the Plough extended their perfect start to the campaign with a 77-61 victory over an in-form and very much rejuvenated Gardener’s Arms (North Parade). The former have now opened up a 2 point gap over their rivals at the top of the Premier Section table.

In the 16 games they played in the Winter Leagues, the Black’s Head (Bletchingdon) emerged victorious on just three occasions. With the current season still in its infancy, they have already matched that total as well as equalling their highest score ever, in week one, before bettering that last Thursday night.

This remarkable improvement appears to have been achieved without the addition of any new players, not that there is any crime in that, so one can only assume that they have turned themselves into a gang of swots, early nights to bed with a mug of cocoa and a volume of the Encyclopaedia Britannica as their sole companion.

Whatever the reason, it’s working. Their latest success, an 80-51 flattening of the Black Swan (East Oxford) has propelled them to pole position in Section One and to new title favourites in the eyes of the Bookmakers. Next up for them – FFTMC‘A’; which should prove a decent yardstick for how far they have progressed. Hot on their heels are the ultra consistent Royal Sun (Begbroke). They maintained their unbeaten record with a convincing defeat of FFTMC ‘B’. The ‘Young ‘Uns’ did themselves no favours by falling twenty points in arrears after just two rounds (surely a record!). They then returned to their bad habit of failing to identify people from their pictures, so a 42-75 reverse may not seem too bad in some ways. Err, perhaps not!

The North Oxford Conservative Club (Summertown) also preserved their perfect start by beating, slightly unexpectedly, their old nemesis, the Green Road Club (Kidlington), 72-53. The latter are never quite on song when Kate goes on vacation.

In the one other tie of the evening, the White Hart (Eynsham) recovered from a 10 point deficit at half-time against the Seacourt Bridge (Botley), to salvage an improbable 60 all draw on the last question.

This was secured courtesy of correctly identifying Jacob Rees-Mogg as the MP for North East Somerset. Good spot.

There is a complete break this Thursday as all in Quizland will be glued to the box praying for victory over Uruguay.