Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bad News from Happy Valley


  It was good to be back upstairs at The Church House in Bollington – the pub has gone through some difficulties but is now firmly back on course having returned to its former owners (the Robinson family) after the Enterprise pub chain allowed it to run down. It is quite an old building dating back to Bollington’s growth as a cotton town and is making a name for itself for excellent food and real ale – the specials board looked particularly attractive last night and the three ales were all on top form, especially the Bearskinfull brewed in nearby Congleton (known locally as Beartown).

This was the return leg of the competition and the Church House were keen to make up for losing the first leg played at the Tavern. The two teams were practically neck and neck at the start of the game sharing second place in the League.

We thought the questions were very good if rather hard and scores were lower than usual. Nevertheless it was a very pleasant atmosphere with lots of laughter and friendly banter.

Special mention must also be made for Jenny from the Albion who acted as questionmaster – in addition to joining in the merriment she was very good on tiimekeeping which comes as a welcome change - recently some teams have taken advantage of sloppiness on the part of the questionmaster to gain extra time to sort out the answer. Well done Jenny!!

At the end of the specialist round the Phoenix were struggling 10 points behind (38/48) but began to make up lost ground until at the end of the penultimate round they had a slight lead. But then their luck changed with the final round which just did not go their way. Although they won the general knowledge rounds by 70 to 67 the final score was 115 to 108 to the Church House. Congratulations and thank you for a most entertaining game.

Individual scores were Bob 6/15, Wendy 3/12, Nick 3/6 and Tomo 6/9; conferred points were 13/16 (good teamwork ) and passovers 7/12 – the Church house picked up 6/11 passovers.

A very pleasant evening ended with a generous selection of chinese chicken wings, meat pies, sausage rolls and well-filled sandwiches – thank you to the Robinsons and well done the Church House.

Thursday, January 21, 2010



This would be a tough one!! The Cock currently top of the C League, looking for promotion and Jackie heading the individual merits. Fortunately we were on our home turf with an outstanding selection of real ales to fortify the mind.

The selection of ales has made the Tavern a very popular venue and it is busy every night; but this time the numbers were swelled by football fans watching the Manchester derby (City playing United in the Carling Cup) and the Ladies’ darts team playing at home. It must be said this had its drawbacks as the visitors (in particular) had difficulty hearing the questions.

With a couple of exceptions the questions were very good (objections were raised to questions that required two answers) and it was a very close game. Before the last set of 20 questions the Cock were ahead by just 3 points with 74 to 71 and it all hung on the last round. Split up into the six groups of 20 questions the scores were (the Cock results first as the guests):

16/14, 11/18, 14/14, 12/15, 21/10 – the final round score was 12/19 and the Phoenix won by a whisker (86/90).

Sadly the tensions generated by the close competition and noise problems meant that the game lacked the fun and laughter we usually enjoy - challenges to the questionmaster’s scoring always create bad feeling.

But the beer was excellent and went down well with the fine selection of sandwiches offered by Brian and Tracey.

Hard luck the Cock – it was  a great contest!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Albion rose from where he labour'd at the Mill " - Blake.

The Albion Hotel stands close to the deserted mill that was once Hewetsons, a major force in the town. Specialising mainly in embroidery the firm steadily grew from 1898 until it was employing some 1,000 workers at the end of the 'Fifties and was a great influence in the town's football club. It then steadily declined until it finished trading in 1993.
The Albion Hotel dates back to Victorian times and would have seen the fortunes of the mill change over the years. It is a Robinson's pub and the Unicorn bitter was well kept. It is now home to  a quiz team that has followed a similar trajectory over the years but has now settled down to a consistent and strong team that at the half-way point was one of the teams in joint second along with the Phoenix (see link to News & Views at right).
This should have been the second game in the second half but the previous week's games had to be postponed as half the teams were either snowed in or were inaccessible. It was bound to be a tough game - in the first leg The Albion had won by 15 points and John Hargreaves was standing top of the individual merits.
All questions had been drawn up by The Dolphin Dragons and were well received; the Phoenix gained the edge in the Specialist rounds finishing with a slight lead of 53 to 48. In the General Knowledge the Phoenix hung on to the lead with Tomo in particular playing a very strong game. All the questions can be seen here.
Individual scores were Bob 12/12, Wendy 9/18, Nick 15/9 and Tomo 12/18; conferred points were 3/10 and passovers 2/9 - both teams had played a very  close game and the Albion's passovers were remarkably similar at 2/10. Final score was victory for The Phoenix with 129 to 104.
A strong start to the second leg and we look forward to further challenges.