IT is like Lionel Messi or Christian Ronaldo turning up for the Dog and Duck football team.
The King Alfred pub has just won the Winchester Pub League for the tenth time in 20 years.
Its line-up includes Kevin Ashman, better known for his role on TV Eggheads and as Brain of Britain and with the record score in Mastermind in 1995.
Kevin has been a member of the Hyde pub team for some 20 years and his extraordinary knowledge gives his team a hefty advantage. He is believed to be the only person ever to get every question right on Mastermind.
But other teams say they have no problem with his taking part.
Mike Sinker, landlord of the Bakers Arms, said: “It is quite an honour to play against him. He is a very pleasant chap.”
Nic Whybrow, landlady of the Crown and Anchor, agreed: “He is very nice as is the whole King Alfred team. He is not star struck; he is very down to earth and does not talk about his fame.”
Pete Byford, captain of the Crown and Anchor, said: “Everyone enjoys competing with him. There is a friendly atmosphere. He is a lovely chap. He doesn’t win everything. We beat him in the cup.”
King Alfred captain Michael Morris said: “When Kevin first joined he had not won anything. His aunt lived near the pub and Kevin came in and we got chatting and he joined the team.
“Now he has become quite famous and he has to cope with people recognising him. At first there were some people who said it was unfair a professional doing quizzes.
“But now people say they look forward to playing a team with Kevin. It is a big challenge.”
But King Alfred is not unbeatable. Mr Morris, of Monks Road, Hyde, said: “We won five times without him and we have lost with him.”
Kevin told the Chronicle: “There are several good teams. I have been playing since the league started, so I have squatters’ rights. I enjoy it, it keeps the brain sharp.
“It’s all done in the right spirit. I can’t recall anyone saying anything.”
The league started in 1994 and is currently sponsored by the Winchester Business Improvement District.