THEY fancied a pizza, bit off more than they could chew and will probably never dough it again.

Brave - or foolhardy - regulars at The Queen’s Head in Eynsham took part in a pizza-eating contest.

Managers at the pub in Queen Street staged the unusual culinary competition on Wednesday to celebrate the hostelry’s pizza shack.

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In August West Oxfordshire district councillors granted 12 months of planning permission for the outdoor pizza shack.

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Planning officers said the retrospective plans should be refused as they did not fit the Eynsham Conservation Area.

But landlord Mark Crocker told the council meeting the pizza oven and takeaway service was ‘integral’ to the business, while 206 people signed a petition to keep the oven and in the end it was allowed to stay.

Mr Crocker said: “It was a celebration and 10 contestants took part to see how many margherita pizzas they could eat in 20 minutes.

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“Our pizza chef Ben Needham made nine-inch thin crust pizzas - and the winner Pete Gerrans, who is head butcher at Jolly Foods, ate five which is a lot.

“Other contestants could only manage three to four.

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“Pete was fine - he’s a big bloke - and said if he had had more time he could have carried on.

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“He reckoned he could have polished off another one quite easily. It’s fair to say some of the others were struggling although luckily no one felt too ill."

Mr Needham said: “We made about 30 pizzas and then realised they were really going for it and decided we needed to make some more.”

Mr Crocker said a good crowd came along to watch.

He added: “We will make this an annual contest and Pete will come along to defend his title but he is the only one from this contest who will take part again because we are looking for a bunch of new contestants.

“It worked so well there will be a charity connection next time and we will collect money on the night.”

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The 31-year-old added that the pizza shack was constructed because the pub has ‘the smallest kitchen in the world’.

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He said: “We got the shack to cater for a higher volume of customers and we will probably change the roof and make the chimney slightly bigger.

“We’ve got permission to keep it for the next 12 months and want to keep it permanently.”

Mr Crocker said the pizza oven was driving sales at the pub and there is a two-for-one pizza deal at the Admiral Taverns pub every Monday.

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The landlord added: “Monday nights traditionally can be quite a quiet night but our pizza oven has changed everything - we must be selling about 80 pizzas every Monday - it’s really busy and people buy a drink as well.”

In a separate deal a bottle of Prosecco is sold for £10 so some diners are washing down pizza with Prosecco.Mr Crocker has been running the pub for two years.

He said: “There are seven pubs in Eynsham - it’s a great village.”