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News and Views
2015–6 Season

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Fixtures and Results
Question Balance
Week 3: 10 November 2015
Week 4: 17 November 2015
Week 9: 19 January 2016
Week 14: 1 March 2016
Week 15: 8 March 2016
Week 16: 15 March 2016
Week 17: 22 March 2016
Week 18: 12 April 2016
Cup Final and Presentations

News and Views: 2015–16 Season

Fixtures and Results:

A League B League C League Cup Plate

Question Balance

The following table shows the number of games won each week by the teams going first and second, respectively, in the Specialist rounds.

Week Date No. of games First Second Draws
1 20 October 2015 11 4 7  
2 3 November 2015 11 8 3  
3 10 November 2015 11 2 9  
4 17 November 2015 11 4 7  
5 1 December 2015 11 8 3  
6 8 December 2015 11 5 6  
7 15 December 2015 12 7 5  
8 5 January 2016 11 3 8  
9 19 January 2016 11 8 3  
10 26 January 2016 11 8 3  
11 2 February 2016 11 7 4  
12 9 February 2016 11 8 2 1
13 23 February 2016 11 7 4  
14 1 March 2016 11 3 8  
15 8 March 2016 11 7 4  
16 15 March 2016 12 4 8  
17 22 March 2016 10 7 3  
18 12 April 2016 11      

In Week 3, the two teams that won by going "first first" were the Weaver and the Ox–fford 'C'.

In Week 12, the two teams that won by going "second first" were the Robin Hood and the Harrington Academicals. The team that got what appeared to be the rough end of the questions and managed to draw was the Sutton Club.

In Week 17, one match was void (see below).

Week 3: 10 November 2015

Three weeks in and things are starting to take shape – of sorts, anyway. Even Eric Pickles is a shape, although I can't think of what you might call it ...

The Ox–fford 'C' – newly energised with the returning Haydn playing his full part – are the only unbeaten team in the A League at this early stage.

The British Flag have a similarly impressive "full house" in the B League, as do the Church House Bollington, albeit the CHB have only played twice thus far.

In the C League, the Pack Horse Bowling Club and Sutton Club remain the only unbeaten teams although again they've just played twice. One more week of League games and then back to the Cup and Plate ...

Week 4: 17 November 2015

Nick's blog has seen a very welcome increase in comments in the last few weeks and many of us playing have joined in and left our thoughts online for the world to see. We must thank "Alan a'Dale", I think, for kick–starting this latest outbreak of healthy interest in what we do on a Tuesday evening.

Please carry on expressing views via that forum, which if you haven't tried it before (how can you not have ...) can be found at www.nicksquiz.blogspot.co.uk. Whilst I'm commenting as well, just a couple of things I want to mention:

More than one Question Master has told me that they've had a tricky time at some games recently where the teams involved haven't been best pleased with some of the questions. As a result, some individuals have given the QM a metaphorical poke in the eye with a sharp stick, often when that QM has either had no influence at all on the questions or has made some vetting suggestions which haven't been acted upon.

A famous film quote (could be a question one day) says that there is "nothing wrong with shooting as long as the right people get shot", which I've adopted as one of my little life rules, but please don't take out your (sometimes quite understandable) frustrations with the questions on those who are not responsible for them, rather give the questions an appropriate mark if that is an option and vent your frustration along with the rest of us via the forum above!

Finally, and again in response to a couple of comments (no more than that so far) this season, can I just remind all concerned to be careful with writing down answers to questions on pieces of paper whilst the quiz is in progress. I'm sure every team does this, i.e. whilst a question is being asked of a player, the other three players are conferring and scribbling down possible answers for as and when they are called upon. Please make sure that the person answering the question can't possibly see what it is anyone else has written down until he or she formally presses the "confer" button.

Week 9: 19 January 2016

Those of you who follow Nick's blog will be aware that the Sutton Club, who were due to set the General Knowledge questions last week, were unable to do so and thus we had to outsource a replacement set, something I don't remember happening before. I've been doing this little job for almost 18 years now and we've never had any team that hasn't supplied questions in all that time and given what I think is the unique nature of last week's scenario, I hope we won't again.

I do have sympathy with the Sutton Club's situation which led to us having to bail them out. All manner of problems combined at the same time to make life difficult for the Club including the staging of the Sutton Club Annual pantomime which also meant a change of venue for the Sutton Mutton team's game (oh yes it did ... ), one team member being on the other side of the world for an extended period and a whole variety of other personal issues which are often easily dealt with in isolation, but not so easily en masse.

That all said, we certainly don't want this to set any sort of precedent. This incident must be no more than a one–off. I also think we should incorporate something into the rules from next season onwards to ensure a penalty applies in future to any team which falls short of their obligations in anything but circumstances that can't be avoided.

The GK this week were set as a favour (and at no cost) for the League by a professional event organiser I know through my previous working life. They were done with less than a week's notice and with not much more guidance as to the sort of questions required than being pointed in the direction of Nick's blog where several years of previous questions can be found.

Obviously, the Sutton Club won't be entering the Cars and Vans 4U contest, but it is a good indication that the questions were pretty well received in that they would have been in the Top 10 of the entertainment table otherwise. The Plough Horntails' Specialist questions did even better and are 6th in the entertainment table so far – my thanks to them, and Dave McGuinness in particular, for sorting out their questions last week.

Weeks 14 and 15: 1 and 8 March 2016

Congratulations to the Church House Bollington, who will be going up to the A League next season. The Wharfies and the Harrington Academicals can now only equal the CHB's points total if they score maximum points in their last three games. As those two teams play each other on 22/03/2016, that can't happen for at least one, if not both of them, so the Church House can finish no worse than second even if they don't win another point this season.

Week 16: (15 March 2016)

Monday, 21 March 2016: Rick Davis

I have some dreadfully sad news to pass on to you which some of you will have seen already from my email of earlier this evening.

One of the League's most well–known characters, Rick Davis, sadly passed away at 4.15pm today. Rick was in Macclesfield Hospital and passed away peacefully, I understand.

Rick was a regular member of the Church House Bollington team for many years and indeed has played for several other teams too. He will be sorely missed and our immediate sympathies go to Rick's family and all his friends, both in this circle and beyond.

Rick's very last game was the Cup semi–final against my team, the Ox–fford, on 16 February this year. It was a great game in which Rick was pivotal (as always) in ensuring the Church House beat us by one point to get to the final. I can't believe that I won't be seeing Rick again or that he won't be there in the Cup Final.

Once I have more details I can pass on, including details of the funeral, I will of course forward them too, but Rick's family wanted all his friends to be aware of what has happened as soon as possible.

[Web editor's note, June 2019: Rick's first team in MQL was the Plough Pioneers. The Pioneers joined the D League in 1999–2000, and Rick joined them the following season. He won the D League individual title by a huge margin, and was instrumental in the Pioneers winning the D League that season (having finished eighth in their debut season.) In 2001–2 they repeated the feat in the C League – the Pioneers winning the League and Rick taking the Individual title. The Pioneers then folded, but Rick was snapped up by the Sutton Club, who had just been promoted from the D League. Rick helped the Club to win the C League title in 2002–3, and in the Individual table he finished as runner–up to Steve Auty of the Waters Green Rams. In 2003–4 those individual placings were repeated in the B League (Rick finishing as runner–up to Steve Auty), but in the team placings the Club went up as champions and the Rams as runners–up.

Both teams struggled in the A League in 2004–5, finishing in the bottom two places, but Rick made a creditable sixth place in the Individual table. In the summer of 2005 Rick joined the Church House Bollington, who played in the C League; he won the Individual title, and helped the CHB to win the C League title. He remained with the Church House until his untimely demise, helping them to promotion to the A League in 2007 and winning three B League Individual titles.]

Week 17: 22 March 2016

The Pack Horse Bowling Club were unable to field a team for their match against the Cock Inn due to all team members attending a family funeral elsewhere in the country. The game was forfeited and the Cock Inn were awarded two points for a default win.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Following on from my previous message, I've been informed that Rick [Davis]'s funeral will be at Macclesfield Crematorium next Thursday 31 March 2016 at 9.20am.

There will then be a reception afterwards at Broken Cross Social Club where breakfast–style refreshments will be served because of the time of day and people having had to set off early, no doubt.

Saturday, 26 March 2016: Alan Levitt

I'm sorry to be passing on yet more dreadful news this week.

I've been informed that Alan Levitt has died suddenly and unexpectedly.

Alan was found at his home yesterday (Friday 25 March) having passed away. His family have now been informed, thus I have permission to pass this message on to you all.

Alan has played in the League for as long as anyone can remember – certainly for many years more than I have – latterly for the Weaver, of course, but he was playing for a legendary Nags Head team when I first met him in the 1990s.

I've no more information currently but I'm sure all our sympathies go to Alan's family and friends at this awful time.

Once I have any more details I can share with you, I will of course do so.

[Web editor's note, June 2019: Our first record of Alan playing in the League is in the 1985–6 season, when he played for the Nag's Head and came fourth in the B League individual placings. We have no individual records from any season prior to this, so we don't actually know when he started; as Mark has suggested elsewhere, he may well have been involved right from the start, in 1982 (or even the knockout tournament in 1981).

In the second season for which we have individual records (1986–7), Alan finished sixth in the A League Individual table. He went on to win the A League Individual title in 1999–2000; between 1991–2 and 2000–1 he was also runner–up three times and placed third on three occasions.

During Alan's time at the Nag's Head, they were A League Champions on at least three occasions: 1990–1, 1996–7, and 1999–2000. They were also runners–up in 1989–90 and 1994–5. (We don't have records for all years prior to 1994.)

After 2001, Alan took a break from the Quiz League. He made one guest appearance for the Brocklehurst Arms in 2003–4, and in 2004 he joined the Crown Principals – finishing ninth in the A League Individual table in his first season. In 2005–6 he made only two appearances, and in 2006–7 just five, but from 2007–8 he was a regular and for the last five years of his life he was ever–present.

The Principals finished as Runners–Up in the A League in 2007–8 and 2008–9. They moved to the Weaver in 2009, and in 2010–11 they were A League Champions for the very first time. They repeated this feat in 2013–14, and in other years they finished third on two occasions and fourth on three. In every year in which he appeared regularly for the Principals/Weaver, Alan Levitt finished in the top six of the A League Individual table – except in 2010–11, when he played only eleven games but still finished tenth.]

Week 18: 29 March 2016

An excellent season saw the Pack Horse Bowling Club win the C League with the Park Taverners also promoted in finishing second. This is the first League win of any sort for the Pack Horse Bowling Club, so many congratulations.

The C League Individual title went to Graham Wallace of the Park Taverners, the first Individual win in any League for Graham.

In the B League the Church House Bollington emerged triumphant at the top of the tree, indeed they'd more or less won not long after Christmas! A suitable tribute to Rick indeed. The Wharfies finished second, thus both teams will play in the A League next time around.

Dave Partington bagged the B League Individual title, his first Individual win in any League and very well deserved.

The Ox–fford 'C were crowned A League Champions for the fourth time in an incredibly competitive League this year – well done to them.

The Royal Oak won the Cars and Vans 4U Ltd Question Setters Trophy for their General Knowledge questions from Week 8, giving them their first win of this trophy. Thanks as ever to Allan Sherratt for his support.

Monday, 4 April 2016

I can now confirm that Alan [Levitt]'s funeral will be a week on Wednesday, the day after the final games of the season.

The funeral will be at 3.20pm on Wednesday 13 April at Macclesfield Crematorium.

There will also be a reception afterwards at the Flowerpot Pub on Congleton Road, Macclesfield, a favourite venue of Alan's and the home of his Monday Night Quizzes for many years. Obviously all are welcome at the funeral and afterwards.

There were a lot of familiar Quiz League faces at Rick Davis's funeral last week; I'm sure the same will happen next week.

I've been asked to try and gauge how many people may attend the Flowerpot, purely to give the pub an idea of what to expect for catering purposes. If you are planning to attend at the Flowerpot afterwards, can you let me know please so I can pass on numbers to those folks doing the organising?

Cup Final and Presentations: 26 April 2016

For the first time ever, I think, since I started playing in the League, I wasn't actually present on Tuesday night. I spent the evening some 25 miles north of the Weaver at the above location where the Champions League semi–final first leg between Manchester City and Real Madrid took place. It's a good job I'm not a betting man as I'd have lost a fortune this season, including on Tuesday where the only score I wouldn't have predicted for the game was 0–0!

As a fourth–generation City supporter (my children are now fifth…) I had to go on Tuesday, having never been to such an occasion before – it may never happen again! My Grandparents would never have believed it ...

My thanks to John, Graham and Marshall for sorting out the evening in my absence and special thanks to Haydn Thompson and Alice Walker, not only for helping me assemble the Cup Final questions but for asking the questions as well.

Thanks also to Olympus Trophies and Sam Baker for all his efforts in providing the trophies – very much appreciated as always.

It has been a difficult few weeks for the League during which we have lost two of our most long–standing and successful players, Rick Davis and Alan Levitt. Rick has played for many years and Alan has been involved since pretty much the start of the League back in the early 1980s. Some details of Rick and Alan's achievements from just the last 15 years of data that I have to hand was pulled together by Matt Rogers as part of his excellent work which was handed out on the night too – many thanks to Matt for all his efforts and the following details.

Rick (since 2001–02)

217 league games (only 11 players have played in more)
Scored 7137 points at an average 32.89
55% of all questions answered "for 3", 11th best of any player who has played 25+ games in the period
Top individual score of 51 with 20 scores of 45 or above
Most prolific season: 576 points in 2013–4
500 points on 6 occasions; 400–499 on a further 7
Has won B, C and D League Individual titles on several occasions
3 top 10 finishes in A League individuals – highest of 6th in 2005

Alan (since 2001–02)

165 games
Scored 5739 points at an average of 34.78
58% of questions answered for "3" – a rate bettered by only 6 players in that period
19 scores of 45 or above (most recently in the game against the Ox–fford at the tail end of 2015)
Top Individual score of 54 in 2008–9
Most prolific season: 582 in both 2011–12 and 2012–13
A League Individual champion 1999–2000 and runner–up in 2001
9 other top 10 finishes (every season when playing regularly)

Given how long the League has been going, it is of course inevitable that we have lost many good friends over the years, all remembered fondly by those of us who knew them, but the loss of Rick and Alan has hit us all hard due to the suddenness of their passing and their comparatively young ages.

I know that words were said and a toast was made to both of them on Tuesday, and rightly so. Wherever they are now, they will always be remembered and none of us can ask for much more than that.

Cup Final

The Cup Final was a closely fought contest with the Dolphin triumphing against the Church House Bollington by 108–98. Well done to all concerned.

The final trophy of this year will be settled at the start of next season as usual. The Plate Final will be between the Wharfies and the Dolphin Dragons; this game will be played at the AGM before the start of next season, sometime in September–ish, date and place to be confirmed ASAP. The Pack Horse Bowling Club and the Sutton Mutton will assemble questions for this game from those not used for the Cup Final.

And there it is. I'll try and get the date sorted for the AGM / Plate Final and some dates fixed for next season as soon as possible, so I'll be in touch. See you all soon ...

Mark Watson

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