Somewhat surprisingly but nonetheless refreshingly, both themed tabletops staged so far this season have been won by teams from the lower of the Winter Leagues two divisions.

Back in May, the Green Road Club (Kidlington) were triumphant on home soil when landing the Travel quiz and home advantage proved fortuitous again last Thursday evening as the North Oxford Conservative Club (Summertown) confirmed their slightly superior knowledge of British and Irish sport.

However, they did leave it late. Premiership front runners the Plough (Wolvercote) had led from the gun and carried a slender one point margin over the Con Club into the final round of the contest. Not to be denied though, an incredible score of 75 from the remaining 80 points on offer, a significant and decisive proportion of which it has to be pointed out were provided by the outstanding Mr C, was sufficient to overhaul the total posted by the Plough with the Ploughman’s Bunch! (also Wolvercote) a further five back in third place.

Pre-tournament favourites, at their own insistence, the Black Swan (East Oxford), started well but seemed to slip up on the very questions upon which they had based their optimism, Irish sport, and they faded towards the end to finish a nevertheless creditable fifth.

Praise must be accorded the Con Club for staging the event. Thanks also to James Carr, barely recognisable without his customary woolly hat, who made a rare public appearance to read the questions he had so assiduously prepared earlier.

The league campaign kick starts again this Thursday, the highlight of which could well be the clash between the Plough and the Bunch!. For the latter, victory is imperative if they are to maintain any interest in a title race they won 12 months ago, whilst their opponents are looking to extend their unbeaten record to seven.

The Con Club will need to come back down to earth quickly as they take on the Royal Blenheim ‘A’ (Oxford City) from the Premier Division. Meanwhile, first and second in Section One, the Black’s Head (Bletchingdon) and the Royal Sun (Begbroke), meet in a pivotal encounter to determine top dog as the season reaches its mid-point.

By contrast, in Eynsham, the White Hart will be hoping to grab their first success as they entertain the Royal Blenheim ‘B’ in a basement battle, while the Black Swan look to have a scrap on their hands as they visit the in-form Seacourt Bridge (Botley). In the one other tie, the Gardener’s Arms (North Parade) travel to the Green Road Club with both requiring a win to remain on the coattails of their section leaders.