The Withington Pub Quiz League




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From Kieran Dillon (22/05/14):

I am certain that we won the quiz league in 1993 and 1994 (as Griffin 'B' I think).  1995's victors were a version of the present day Charas (possibly Swan Vestals or even just plain old White Swan).  1996 and 1997 it was us again, this time as Young Boys Burnage (still our best name and since we were all just about under 40 at the time we could get away with it!).  1998 was the Albert, relying heavily on their ringer, the quiz machine playing Martin.  He transformed them from also-rans into champions pretty much all by himself.  In the late summer of 1998 I went to an antenatal class with my (now ex) wife ahead of the birth of Thomas.  I was delighted when I saw said Martin there with a heavily pregnant partner.  She didn't look like the type who would let him out on Wednesday evenings to go quizzing once the baby was born and sure enough he was never seen in the league again!  If you want to know more about him, our Martin (who was also making a very nice living out of the quiz machines at the time - strange coincidence) may well have more information. 

From 1999 onwards we won the league every year until the Opsimaths' 2011 triumph and I'm afraid I have no idea who won the cup in all those seasons!

We started in the league in 1984/5 I think, as Not The Rest Of The World.  The team then was me, Sean Regan, Mike Delahunty and a revolving cast of three or four others as the fourth and the QM.  We played in the real Roy Grainger bar of the Red (the long narrow bar facing on to Marriot Street) where Roy held court and the punters were served by the incomparable Winnie who could deal with a dozen customers at the same time, dispense all the drinks within a couple of minutes and give everyone the correct change and a smile (on a good day!).  My father had known Winnie when he was a regular at the Red twenty or more years before (this was when Noel Burrows, the Crown Green bowler, had the pub) so God knows how long she had been part of the fixtures and fittings.  Winnie is still unsurpassed as south Manchester's finest ever barmaid in my opinion.

The power in the league at that time was St. Catherine's.  They were Champions pretty well every year although the Gerbils and Barry Whitehead's Red Lion were also very good in those days. Keith Glazzard's Friendship may also have won a title around then. 

We were by far the youngest team in the league and seen as something of a bunch of upstarts who didn't know our place! (When my father used to take part in occasional quizzes at the Knights of St. Columba club on Mauldeth Road (KSC 104) he played under the colours of 'Bolshy Corner' - most appropriate for him so maybe I inherited that attitude from him.

I think St. Cath's had the player universally known as Bernard Levin, although others (maybe Evelyn) may have a sharper memory - she'll certainly know who I mean anyway.  St. Cath's duly did put us in our place for a few years until one memorable evening at the Red when we finally beat them.  It felt like we had won the whole league, although of course inevitably they did that season. This may have been the same evening when the octogenarian Walter threatened to storm out of the quiz and have a heart attack at the same time.  The question concerned The White Horse Cup Final and Walter claimed to have been at it - entirely possible since it was only 60 years previously.  He also claimed that it was in 1924 despite the answer on the paper, and everyone's certain knowledge, that it was 1923.  When we picked up the bonus Walter, getting redder and redder in the face, threatened to a) call the FA, b) walk out of the quiz immediately and c) never play against us or anyone else again.  With the impudence of (almost) youth I said, "Oh fine then have the points if it's that important to you."  St Cath's took the points and we won the game - hugely satisfying.  I can't remember if they accepted a drink off us though, they certainly looked a bit stunned to have lost to such a young team.

Sean was very keen on quizzes at the time and also had us playing in the Rusholme league, where the games took place on Tuesdays.  Regulars in that league were Mark and Cheryl Basset who played in the Welcome and Barry and Martin who were based at the Derby in Ladybarn.  Barry , Martin, Michael and I became friends but as yet not a quiz team.  In the late 80s the Rusholme league folded, Barry went off to Tanzania for 18 months or so and Sean finally lost interest in spending his evenings answering trivia.  Not The Rest Of The World was no more.

I played for the original Griffin team (Wendy Murphy, Simon Hickey and David amongst others) in the 1990/91 season.  I was brought in as a ringer to finally wrest the title from St Cath's grasp. I failed and we lost the league by 1 point.  They should have recruited Martin instead.  Barry came back to England in summer 1991 and either in 1991/2, or 1992/3 the team we are now (more or less) was born. The line up was Barry, Martin, Mike and me and I think we were known as Griffin 'B' for a couple of years before becoming Young Boys Burnage.  Our only other regular players over all those years have been Tony, who now lives down south somewhere, and David (Mike's brother) from the time when Mike moved to Madrid and David's wife agreed to let him out of the house on Wednesday evenings.

I should add that in the 80s there was a sufficient number of teams for two leagues.  The top two teams from each league played semi finals and a final as the season finale at Christie's Social Club on the corner of Cotton Lane and Wilmslow Road.  You weren't thought to have won anything unless you won the play off final, as Ian Anderson once forcefully told me.  We, that's Sean, Mike, me and whoever else, got to two successive finals and lost both of them to....... St. Cath's of course.