The curtain has come down on the 2011/12 Oxfordshire Winter Quiz campaign, with a presentation night held at the North Oxford Conservative Club.

Sixteen of the county’s finest teams assembled to collect their gongs, and then to compete for the Ted Payne Memorial Trophy, in honour of the gentleman who single-handedly organised the leagues throughout the 80s and 90s.

Unfortunately, the evening did not get off to the greatest of starts for me personally.

Acting as Master of Ceremonies, two awards in, and in full view of the massed ranks armed with their digital cameras, some ham-fisted member of the Green Dragon (Haddenham) dropped a full pint to the ground, the entire contents of which, to huge mirth and merriment, rose and splattered me from head to toe, ruining my newly coiffured hairdo and soaking my best ‘Ben Sherman’.

It was through slightly gritted teeth that I subsequently announced my assailant’s team as the winners of the East Division. (Not bitter, just reeking of it!).

The rest of the prize-giving passed off relatively smoothly, although I detected a somewhat perplexed look on the face of the normally unflappable captain of the White Hart (Eynsham), winners of the West Division, when instructed by awards presenter, Sara Taylor, Deputy Editor of the Oxford Mail, to, ‘move a little closer’.

The resultant ‘clinch’ was not unlike those seen in the very best Katherine Hepburn/ Spencer Tracy movies.

The quiz which followed was deviously constructed under a handicap system calculated to prevent the top sides from adding to their collection of silverware, offering those less worthy a share of the limelight.

Naturally, I had not taken into account the rapacious hunger for the spotlight which his earlier ‘brief encounter’ (got it!) with Ms Taylor had fuelled, and the White Hart skipper inspired his side to a tumultuous win, prevailing over my now ardent foe, the Green Dragon, by three points, with the Six Bells (Headington) and the Royal Sun (Begbroke), a further point adrift, tied for third.

Imagine therefore, the utter desolation Kevin (White Hart captain) must have experienced when finding himself being handed the ‘Ted Payne’ by that hulking great bulldog of a man, the skipper of the previous year’s winners, the Black’s Head (Bletchingdon), rather than from the tender hand of his newly-unearthed and patently more glamorous sidekick.

How to account though, for the absence of Ms Taylor at such a pivotal moment in Kev’s life? Could it be that she was in hiding, licking her wounds? Throughout the evening, this lady had marshalled her troops, the Oxford Mail ‘A’ side, with great aplomb displaying, so I am informed, her own considerable knowledge of popular music.

However, right at the death, and amid deafening roars not entirely dissimilar to those which had greeted my own misfortune earlier, it was announced that the Mail’s ‘B’ team had pipped their erstwhile leader’s outfit by a solitary point.

Oh to be a fly on the wall in the newsroom at Osney Mead the following morning!

Quiz questions are set by James Carr.

PRINCIPAL WINNERS n Premier Section: Chester Arms (Oxford) n East Division: Green Dragon (Haddenham) n West Division: White Hart (Eynsham) n Oxford Division: Kidlington Green Social Club n North Division: Blue Boar (Chipping Norton) n Trophy: Six Bells (Headington) n Supplementary Cup: Windrush Club (Witney) n Colin Ross Memorial: The Plough (Wolvercote) n Mary English Memorial: Six Bells (Headington) n Ted Payne Memorial: White Hart (Eynsham) NEW teams with a passion for general knowledge are needed to pit their wits against other brain boxes this summer.

The Oxfordshire Quiz Summer League, sponsored by the Oxford Mail, starts on May 17 and will involve 12 league games and six tabletops – all played on Thursday evenings. The last games of the summer league are expected to finish in mid to late September.

For league matches sides can field up to five players and six for the tabletops. You will need to let organiser and Oxford Mail columnist David Quinn know by this Friday, if you intend to field a team.

Teams need to find a pub or venue willing to host matches on Thursdays and with so many players involved it could prove a profitable as well as a social and fun evening for your local boozer in these cash-tight times.

For moredetails about the league, email or call 01865 514008 by Friday to register your interest.