Wednesday, December 07, 2011

6th December Away to the Park Tavern


Still licking their wounds from the biggest defeat ever, the Phoenix made their way to the Park Tavern.

This pub has not had a team in the League for many years; it has an interesting history having been built in 1825 and after various closures and mergers it became a Robinson’s pub but was allowed to get run down until it eventually shut and it had been empty for over two years. Paradoxically, despite the general decline of pubs throughout the country the revival of real ales has given the Tavern a fresh lease of life; it was bought by the Bollington Brewing Company earlier this year to complement its brewery tap The Vale in Bollington thus securing a presence in Macclesfield. A lot of money has been spent in refurbishment and it is now a very comfortable pub with eight real ale pumps mostly for their own beer but also supporting a guest beer. Brightly decorated and with a very friendly manager and staff the Tavern is a real asset to the town’s ale lovers. All the beers were in top form.

The home team are old friends and we all get along socially – they moved to the Park Tavern when their previous quiz home The Castle closed down.This was also a very special occasion – it was Pete’s 50th birthday!! The small private room where the quizzes are held had been decorated with balloons etc. by the rest of the team and all was set for a most enjoyable evening. Rosie was with us and the Phoenix were buoyant.

Then the questions started.

Mark Twain famously said “All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence then success is sure.” Pah – we soon showed him!!!

The specialist rounds were fairly even with the Park Tavern a nose ahead at the end with 68 to the Phoenix’ 60 – we’ve often closed a gap like that and started the General Knowledge with confidence. Sadly this was misplaced and the Park Tavern continued to draw steadily ahead eventually giving the Phoenix a thrashing for the second consecutive week.

Individual scores were Bob 18/15, Wendy 9/12, Nick 6/9 and Tomo 15/12, with conferred 8/11 and 4/7 passovers. The Taverners picked up 6/11 passovers.

The final score was 154 to 126 to the Park Taverners despite Bob’s and Tomo’s strong scores.

No complaints, it was great fun with lots of laughter, a superb cottage pie presented by the landlord and to round off a most pleasant evening a lovely chocolate cake with 50 candles made by Heather.

A big thankyou to all.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

29th November Away to the British Flag


The British Flag is a longstanding pub just outside the town centre that has recently been purchased from Robinson’s brewery chain although their beer is still the only choice. Nevertheless it is probably the best-kept Robbies house for miles around (rivalled only by The Dolphin) and of particular interest on the night was their new brew Build A Rocket Boys, produced in association with the well-known rock band Elbow who have just released an album of that name.

The team we usually play in alternate seasons as they achieve what the Phoenix aim for, promotion to the A League if only for one season, and this clash was an important one for both teams – equal first at the start of the game with the Flag ahead on points difference. Nevertheless it was a very friendly game with a relaxed attitude to answers  overseen with patience and good humour by the question master from the Plough.

The questions whilst pretty difficult were nevertheless well balanced although the body-parts round created problems for both sides. But this is where the men were separated from the boys, with the Flag running away from the Phoenix with the last two rounds of the specialist.

At the half-way stage the Phoenix were trailing by 24 points (58/34) from which they never recovered. Individual scores were Bob 12/9, Wendy 9/24, Nick 3/12 , Tomo 3/9, conferred 4/13 and passovers 3/9. The Flag picked up 11/11 passovers winning by a huge margin of 36 points with 146/110.

No complaints, as a team they just knew more than we did and it shows in the result. It was a very pleasant evening rounded off with a fine selection of sandwiches. Well done the Flag.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

22 November–the Plate away at the Robin Hood


Whilst not exactly under the greenwood the Robin Hood Inn nestles high in the hills above Macclesfield just on the edge of the Peak District. The inn has stood here since 1810 and would have seen many a harvest worker’s thirst quenched.

For most of the team this visit was a first as this is the first season after many years that the Robin Hood has a team in the quiz league. The pub wears its years well and has a welcoming atmosphere, excellent ales well kept and an interesting looking menu – moreover it has expanded with a thriving B&B business in converted stables. It is also Bob’s local.

The home team are a jovial group and we were made most welcome.

There was a wide range of questions set by The Cock and The Harrington Academicals and the scoring was very close, the Phoenix’ early lead being gradually overhauled until the Robin Hood were ahead by a point at the beginning of the last round. Scoring as follows – home team first:

16/17, 13/17, 18/18,13/14,19/12 and the Phoenix just managed to slink in with a 14/20 round – final score 93/98.

A great game, an excellent evening overseen by Dave from the Academicals all rounded off with a fine tray of chips with onion rings with three zingy dips.

Many thanks to the pub and to the team who will be a great asset

Sunday, November 20, 2011

15 November–Outnumbered!!


This week the Phoenix were at home to the Church House Bollington who must have felt seriously outnumbered – not only was our mascot Rosie present, but the Ladies’ Darts were playing and just as you thought things couldn’t get worse it was the 50th birthday of one of their players so the laughter was even more raucous and loud than usual, not to mention the usual noise associated with a popular old-fashioned pub.

The Church House are old adversaries and we have always been pretty evenly matched – a quick look at the previous three years’ results shows each team to have won three games; this time the match got off to a poor start when Bob put the Phoenix’ names as playing first on both the score sheets throwing everything into confusion – various reasons were offered for this slip. Despite all the distractions, the game was played with good humour and lots of laughter

Mention must be made here of the question master Matt Eagles who managed to make himself heard above the noise and other difficulties and who controlled the game and timing with admirable skill whilst retaining high spirits – the star of the night.

The questions were well thought out and it was interesting to see non-Christian beliefs being brought into the quiz along with some Greek and Roman myths. Even a picture round was very different in that each image depicted a different historical incident with additional material looking for the place or other information. It was interesting to see the new grandfather Bob take over from Tomo as the expert on daytime TV and children’s programmes. A minor complaint was that most of the TV questions were from Sky 1 that is not available to everyone.

However, despite the Phoenix liking the questions, scoring was relatively low with only Wendy maintaining her average for the series.

At the end of the Specialist questions the Phoenix had built up a healthy lead of 10 with 53 to 43, and a similar gap in the General Knowledge.

Individual scores were Bob 9/9, Wendy 12/21, Nick 6/6, Tomo 6/3 with conferred points 10/20 and 10/10 passovers; the Church House collected 7/4 passovers.

Final score 122 to 103 – a most enjoyable game finished off with a selection of sandwiches to soak up the excellent ales on offer – many thanks to Brian and Tracey and again a special word of thanks to our battling question master Matt.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

8th November –The Local Derby


anatomy,bones,healthcare,medicine,necks,spines,vertebrae,x-raysThe first clash of the two Waters Green Tavern quiz teams for quite some time – both teams on home turf and both teams at full strength – including Rosie (although Nick sullenly nursing a fruit juice because of his medication  was a sorry sight).

In sharp contrast to the previous week, the pub was almost tranquil and the quiz proceeded at a fast rate.

Questions had been set by the Park Taverners and the Chester Road Tavern and again showed an imaginative approach with lyrics from the second verses of songs and a geography round based on the Park Taverners’ holiday destinations.

A good guide to the quality of the questions is that nearly all were answered either by the original team or when passed over – very few slipped by and there were no disputes. Moreover it was a very high-scoring game with special mention going to Keith Pointon of the Rams who scored a magnificent 48, only missing a clean sweep of the General Knowledge on the very last question.

Bob, Wendy and Tomo all  improved on their season best  scores whilst Nick slowly managed to clear his fuzzy brain and take part in the General Knowledge.

Graham from the Park Tavern controlled proceedings with humour and firmness in a thoroughly enjoyable game.

Individual scores were Bob 18/24, Wendy 15/24, Nick 3/18 and Tomo 18/15, conferred points were 7/12 and passovers 6/11. The Rams picked up 3/6 passovers.

Final scores (Phoenix first) were half time 67/47 and full time 171/130.

A great game rounded off with a huge dish of fabulous sausages, onion gravy, chips and bread and butter.

Many thanks to Tracey and Brian and to the Rams.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

1st November–Home to The Albion



The rutting season hits the Macclesfield pub Quiz League as the struggle develops for dominance. At the beginning of the evening three teams lined up with maximum points, and the Phoenix (3rd on points difference) were playing The Albion (2nd). In the traditional manner, as the struggle gets hotter, the air would be filled with the bellows and belches of the competing alpha teams as they strive for ascendancy.

Questions for the evening were all set by the Harrington Academicals and were very well received, and special mention must be made of the question master taking the responsibility for the first time, and doing his own timekeeping. This is a hair-raising situation at the best of times, but the situation was made much worse by the ambient noise in the pub – even the Ladies’ Darts were drowned out!! Not to mention the bellows and belches of the two quiz teams!!!But – it’s a pub and a very lively one too so we have to expect that from time to time. So a special word of thanks to our question master.

It was a keenly fought  game without getting too serious with a relaxed attitude to several of the questions and answers and many laughs and jokes.

Individual scores were Bob 9/18, Wendy 15/18, Nick 9/12 and Tomo  12/6, conferred points 5/13 with 7/6 passovers; the Albion picked up 7/6 passovers, final score being 133 to 108 in favour of the Phoenix.

The magnificent selection of beers was absorbed with a great choice of tasty sandwiches – thankyou Tracey.

The team in first place was the British Flag who retained their position with a win over the Phoenix’ sister team the Rams.

Oh and there were a couple of minor southern teams playing in the Champions League but nobody showed any interest

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

25th October–First Round of the Knockout


The first round of the Cup/Plate and the Phoenix were drawn against the Dolphin Dragons from the upper reaches of the A League – not to worry – we’re good at conferring.

Back to full strength with Bob back from the Lake District and Rosie back in rude health following a rather noisy and messy visit tBerry Clough 1o the vet – and also with the home crowd behind them the Phoenix entered the fray with heads held high.

We found the questions to be very good covering a wide range of subjects with no smart-arse “They won’t get this” spoilers, so a big thanks to the Nag’s Head and the Knot Know-Alls.

It was actually a fairly even-matched game with the lead in each of the six 20-question rounds going from one team to the other as follows (visitors first):

12/18, 20/10, 18/16, 11/19, 23/12 and 17/15 – final score 101/90 a difference of 11.

It was a most enjoyable game with lots of laughter and fun  rounded off with a fine selection of sandwiches that included Brian’s famed roast beef and ham. Many thanks to Brian and Tracey.

The Phoenix now march into their rightful place in the Plate with the hope of reaching the final once again.

Oh yes, once again there was a diversion by the FA but Macc beat Bradford 1-0, and United beat Aldershot 3-0.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

18th October–Home to the Plough Taverners


The Plough Taverners are getting quite at home at the Waters Green Tavern since they played there against the Rams only last week – they won that game and not long before that were in the Plate Final so we knew it was to be a strong tussle. They’re a great team and good friends.

Once again the football authorities tried to distract attention from our game by arranging for Manchester United AND City to be playing in the European Cup but we were undaunted – this week we hadBerry Clough 6 Rosie!! Bob was unable to play but Steve manfully stepped in to cover.

The question setters had only two or three weeks to prepare the questions and they were perhaps a little uneven as a result with too many ancient mythology but both sets were generally well received. In particular the 7th of the Specialist rounds Nick found very interesting – unusual for a picture round.The home team had an anxious moment when Nick confused Laurence of Arabia with Clive of India but fortunately the team were not put off and managed to keep the point.

The specialist rounds were very close with the lead shifting from one team to the other but the Phoenix eventually managed to finish with a nose in front at 49 to 46. In the General Knowledge set, in which Steve scored particularly well, they managed to consolidate the lead with 80 to 66 and the final result was 129 to 112.

Individual scores were Steve 3/24, Wendy 9/9, Nick 6/15 and Tomo 15/6; conferred points were 11/14, passovers 5/12 with the Taverners picking up 5/5 passovers.

The question master was landlady Tracey who strictly controlled timekeeping whilst changing barrels and other responsibilities as required.

A very pleasant evening was rounded off with a fine selection of sandwiches so extra thanks for Tracey.

Oh yes – the other games:

United beat Galati 2-0 with two second half penalties by Rooney

City were a goal down after 4 minutes, equalised with an own goal then snatched it in the 93rd minute with a good goal from Aguero. Glad to see City win, especially without the usual whinge about Fergie Time.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

11 October Away To The Lamb


The first game of the new season and the Phoenix were away to The Lamb where the landlord is a long-standing member of the quiz team. It has to be said that since he took over there has been a remarkable improvement – as can be seen, the exterior is cheerful and welcoming and the interior is now brighter, the food is excellent and the pub is clearly a social centre for the village – there was a largish meeting taking place when we arrived and another large group enjoying a meal together. Well done Marshall.

The Phoenix made a tactical error before we even got there! We dropped off our mascot Rosie Berry Clough 3on the way as there might have been problems with so many people dining. It was like playing with a man down! There was some delay starting as Nick spilt his pint over Tomo who must have spent a very uncomfortable evening but eventually we settled down to a friendly but very exciting game.

Along with the rest of everyone in the League we owe a big THANK YOU to Mark who set all of the night’s questions at very short notice, despite all his other responsibilities for the quiz and his work; with customary modesty he said they had been set by the Ox-fford but we all know better!

Having four picture rounds was something of a shock but they were all different and interesting as were all other rounds.

The game was friendly and lively and very close with the lead shifting from team to team throughout so either team could have won it. Mention must be made of Bob’s first score of the season – 36!! Excellent!!

Individual scores were Bob 15/21, Wendy 15/6, Nick 9/3 and Tomo 15/6; conferred points were 9/20 and passovers 2/9. The Lamb also picked up 11 passovers.

Final score Phoenix 130, The Lamb 128 – very close indeed.

The evening was rounded off with a fine chicken dish accompanied with chips – many thanks Marshall and the team - a great start to the season.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

27 September 2011–the Plate Final and AGM


At long last the cold, wet nights of summer are coming to a close and we saw the first stirrings of the Macclesfield Pub Quiz League as the stalwarts of arcane knowledge crept from their hibernation and edged their way to The Weavers and a bitter winter of friendly competition and rivalry.

But what would draw them from their slippers and shawls on this night? Ahhh!!

Manchester City playing Bayern Munich!!!

Manchester United playing the mighty Basel!!

No!!! It is the AGM of the Quiz League and the final of the Plate

An inauspicious beginning – no questions!! They had not been collected from the Waters Green Tavern and an envoy was despatched to recover them. In the intervening 10 minutes the AGM was held, the committee was re-elected, some minor changes proposed and adopted, the statement of accounts accepted and the scene was set. Why can’t all meeting be like this?

The Plate Final was between the Plough Taverners and the Harrington Academicals and served as a prelude to two games in the new season as they will both be in the B League .

The question master as usual was Rick Davies with his characteristic good humour and fairness assisted by Allan Sherratt who kept score and timekeeping. and the questions were very good and showed a lot of thought and care by the Chester Road Tavern and The Lamb.

It was a very close match with very little difference throughout the game but eventually the Harrington managed to hold onto a slight lead and win by 81 to 79 with the plough Taverners kicking themselves for a couple of questions they should have got right.

We now look forward to a new season with optimism and good spirits.

Oh, City lost 2-0 and United threw away a lead to draw 3-3 but no-one was interested by then.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cup Final 19th March 2011


Yes it was the other cup final last night.

Unfortunately Nick was not able to attend and looks forward to an account in News & Views, but the questions are available as usual.

Looking forward to next season – thank you for the interest shown in the blog.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Roger Avery RIP


rogeraveryOn Thursday 7th April, 54 year old Roger was laid to rest at the Macclesfield Crematorium. A former member of the quiz teams at both the The Wharf and the Park Tavern Roger played intermittently for the Dolphin over the past two or three years, and was a regular at the Brewers Sunday night quiz. He was a very keen footballer with interests in music and was learning Spanish at the time of his death.

The very well-attended funeral reflected all these interests and among the crowd were to be seen quiz members, fellow footballers and former workmates. The coffin was draped in his football shirt, and was welcomed into the chapel with recordings of the two goals by Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær in the dying minutes of the 1999Champions League final (that Roger attended in Barcelona) alternating with music by Clannnad. A board displayed a selection of photographs of his life from the Bollington Cross school football team to his teens.

The service was conducted by a family friend (that was a nice touch) and included music by The Beatles (“In My Life”)  and the Rolling Stones (“Tumbling Dice”) and part of the Pastoral Symphony by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Roger’s brother told of some humorous episodes in his life  and other family members paid tribute to his loving nature.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to his Mum and the family – he will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ever The Bridesmaid …


… Never the bride.

The Phoenix were question masters this week and therefore could not improve their score. At 8PM they were top of the B League with the Castle and Nags Head yapping at their heels with the Church House Bollington  with the Church House Bollington very close behind.

Bob chaired the meeting between the two teams who will be leaving the B League. and the match was played with much resigned good humour - the result unimportant. Two good teams will be leaving us, but I'm sure this will be a temporary arrangement. The Albion are always a pleasure to play, with the usual good brand of banter from John Hargreaves and Matt Eagles. The Cock have had a weak season by their own standards and Jackie Hulme summed their season up with a wry comment when the match started - "See!, we can't even win the bloody toss!".

Wendy says the game at the Lamb was played with "end of term" good humour. The Lamb won by about 16 points, despite playing with a beer mat as third player for most of the first half. The questions didn't go down too well, though.

Tomo was at the Castle and it was odd in that they did not want promotion , having once been there for 3 seasons. However, one of their team got a clean sweep in the specialist rounds and the joke was that he was trying to scupper their failure! A good natured match, possibly the last ever in The Castle, which is something of a pity as this old pub is something of an institution in the town and the Quiz League.

Nick was question master at the Nags who were playing the Church House - quite a key match and a very interesting game. Both teams had their own scorer and although there was a check at the end of each round it was a very good-natured game and each round happened to coincide with Nick’s tally (which was fortunate). The Nags had a slight lead at the end of the Specialist but the Church House fought back doggedly and with just two rounds to go it was level pegging. Every question was then keenly fought for with the Nags just edging it with a win of only 2 points. The evening was rounded off with a magnificent supper of Italian meatballs, chips and bread and butter. Great stuff!!

So from being top, just two hours later they were third and no promotion. No matter – we’ve had a great time, our sister team from the Tavern will be joining us next season and we look forward to another great autumn/winter.

BREAKING NEWS – FOR THOSE TEAMS SEEKING A NEW VENUE – the Prince Albert in Newton St will next week become a free house and could well be interested in hosting one or even two quiz teams!!

And finally we could not sign off without a massive vote of appreciation to Mark for his unflagging support and hard work throughout the season.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

15 March


Yes, this week is the last appearance of the Phoenix in the 2010/11 season. Next week we will be question masters and closely watching the results as there is a slender chance that we might be promoted to the A League next season.

The final game was against old friends the New Castle and was played with much good humour as the following exchange will illustrate:

Question “What is the name of the soft spot on top of a baby’s head?”

Ans “fontanella” quickly corrected to fontanelle

Graham “When it’s a girl it’s fontanella”

Nick “I thought that was the G spot”

Graham “That’s where you’ve been going wrong all these years”.

This exchange ignited Nick’s usual weak spot (remembering names) although he was confident enough when asked for Boy George’s surname, answering firmly “Dowd” forgetting the O!! One passover there then!

Special mention must be made of the question master for the night Julian who was flexible but firm and gave a lot of insight into the vetting of the questions.

The specialist rounds were particularly good although at the end the Phoenix were trailing 50 to 52; this deficit was recovered in the General Knowledge questions and the Phoenix managed to edge ahead eventually finishing with 79 to 63 the final score being 129 to 115.

Individual scores were pretty good except for Nick who was no doubt pondering his missed biological opportunities, whilst Bob had a storming run in the General knowledge. Scores were Bob 9/24, Wendy 6/15, Nick 6/3 and Tomo 6/18; conferred points were 14/10 and passovers 9/9. The New Castle collected 6/7 passovers.

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the season and look forward to 2011/12 in the autumn.

The evening finished with a superb supper of sausages in onion gravy with bread and butter and the Tavern’s famed real chips.

Thank you Brian and Tracey for your support throughout the season, the New Castle for a great evening, Julian for running the quiz excellently and our opponents over the season for an excellent series.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Specialist Battering for Pancake Day


P1030049 The Phoenix’ penultimate game, at home to the Cock, Henbury who have frequently caused an upset in the League. But this time we were confident – not only did we have Rosie the mascot, but the Cock were having to play with just three players and a beer mat.

Not wishing to waffle on (geddit?) but the Phoenix playing at home were being egged (!!!) on from the bar. However this did  not last long as the Arsenal Barcelona game started and the bar were distracted. The Cock lost the toss and the Phoenix went first with the Specialist questions. These were fine, but for some reason the Phoenix were not coming up with the answers and there were no big scores – in fact they were struggling and at the end of the Specialist were losing 43 to 36.

A beer break (Easy Rider!!!) and a check on the football score led into the General Knowledge with the Phoenix playing rather better but again there were no spectacular scores – they managed to overcome the deficit and then inch ahead winning that section by 64 to 37.

All credit must go to the Cock for playing valiantly with the beer mat – they did very well indeed.

Individual scores were Bob 3/15, Wendy 9/9, Nick 3/6 and Tomo 6/9; conferred points were 9/13 and passovers 6/12. The Cock picked up 8/8 passovers. Final score 100 to 80 in favour of the Phoenix.

A very pleasant evening was rounded off with a fine selection of sandwiches – thank you Brian and Tracey, and a big thank you to the question master Matt Eagles and the Cock for a great game with humour and good spirit.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

1st March–Home to the Plough Horntails


As the season is drawing to a close and the top of the League is still very much open with several teams struggling to pick up every point, tonight’s game was bound to attract much interest. And as well as Manchester United playing Chelsea, the Phoenix were playing the Plough Horntails. The tension was unbearable.

The Horntails are old friends and it was good to welcome them to the Tavern, although we did not have our mascot Rosie. This seems to have dented the Phoenix’ confidence as they stumbled through the first couple of rounds; eventually however they regained composure and began to inch ahead.

The Specialist questions were very different to run-of-the-mill questions taken from a quiz book, in particular round 7 that was really four questions in one but was very popular. At the end of the Specialist the Phoenix had edged ahead with 56 points to 41.

The General Knowledge were fine but did not have the “bite” of the Specialist and the Phoenix managed to hang on to their lead winning those rounds with 69 to 68.

The game was overseen with good humour and understanding by Heather from the New Castle and the final score was 125 to 109 in the Phoenix’ favour.

Individual scores were Bob 15/15, Wendy 15/3, Nick 3/9 and Tomo 6/18; conferred points were 10/17 with 7/7 passovers. The Horntails won 7/12 passovers.

A great game rounded off with a generous selection of sandwiches – thanks to Heather, the Horntails and as always Brian and Tracey.


Oh … and United lost – can’t win ‘em all!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

22 Feb Cup Semi-Final against the Dolphin Dragons


Inspired by valiant Crawley giving Manchester United a fright, and encouraged by Everton’s defeat of Chelsea in the FA Cup the Phoenix set off for the Dolphin for the semi-final of the Cup in the Quiz League in buoyant mood.


The Dolphin is a very friendly pub, and keeps the Robinsons beer in top condition – perhaps the best In town. It has two teams both in the A League - we were playing the Dolphin Dragons and the other Dolphin team had set half the questions, with the Plough Horntails the other half. The Dragons have been in the A League for many years and among their number is a former Mastermind winner (the third lady to win) an author who recently appeared on TV in the game between former winners.

However we were not intimidated – we had Rosie the mascot and could take on the world!!P1010794

Unfortunately Rosie fell asleep and we lost the first round very heavily with just 10 points to the Dragons’ 21. The rustle of a crisp packet brought Rosie back to life however for the second round that went to the Phoenix with 16 to 9. Dizzy with success and Rosie now very active we won the third round with 12 points to 7 crashing on to round 4 winning by 19 to 15. By now very light headed and after a beer break the Phoenix stumbled in round 5 losing with just 8 points to the Dragons’ 20 followed up in the final round losing 21 points to 10. The final score was 94 to 75 to the home team.

But it was a fine performance, especially by Rosie, and whilst the Phoenix will not be in the final it was a most enjoyable game overseen with good humour by Pete from the other Dolphin team.

The evening was rounded off with a huge cauldron of delicious stew with pickled red cabbage and bread – fabulous.

A big thanks you to the Dragons and to the landlord of the pub for a great evening.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

15 Feb Away to the Lamb


To combat withdrawal symptoms during a whole week between quizzes, the Phoenix as part of a Waters Green contingent took part in a fund-raising quiz at the King’s School in Macclesfield – in fact a total of 22 team members, substitutes, friends and supporters made up three teams with the imaginative team names of Real Ale Madrid, Born To Drink Mild and Tequila Mocking Bird. Although one team was in first position at the half-way mark, none of the teams ended in the first three but it was a great night the only problem being that the beer ran out after about half an hour!! Some familiar faces there and the Hospice made some money – the main reason for the quiz. We look forward to the next one.

The week’s League fixture was an away game at The Lambimage in Sutton and we all commented on what a brightly lit and welcoming pub it is now, with a selection of three real ales and friendly staff – not to mention a landlord who was on the opposing team.

The questions were good and the Nags Head in the Specialist even pulled off the difficult feat of each answer leading to the next question in the Geography round – it very rarely works successfully. The Plough Taverners also did a good job with the General Knowledge set (although Nick struggled with his, even getting his soups mixed up).

At the half-way stage the Phoenix had a slight lead of 50 to 52 and the General Knowledge questions were also very tight with the lead swinging from one side to the other – eventually the Phoenix won that set by just one point with 68 t 67 and a final score of 120 to 117.

Individual scores were Bob 9/18, Wendy 6/12, Nick 12/3 and Tomo 12/6 with conferred 9/18 and passovers 4/11. The  Lamb picked up 5/5 passovers.

The home team have always been known for a good nosh for refreshments but they excelled themselves on the night with cheese baked potatoes, excellent herby sausages and chips – superb!!

Thank you Marshall (the landlord) ,the Lamb team and and the question master from the Nags Head for a great game and an excellent evening .

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tension in The Happy Valley 8th February

This week the Phoenix were playing away at the Church House Bollington. This is a very pleasant pub with a fine reputation for food but has still retained a pub atmosphere with three hand-pumps on the bar with beer kept in good condition.
Once again we knew this would be a tough competition – the Church House were placed 3rd, one above the Phoenix but with a game in hand – and  their team held first and second place in the individual scores.
And once again a first-ever incident – in the Sports round, each Phoenix member scored three – never before has that happened (especially with Nick playing!) – this put the team in a strong position early on and also illustrates that all the questions were the sort that suit the team, particularly the rounds on comics and the arts. The Phoenix went on to play steadily with a slight lead at the end of the Specialist questions of 53 to 48.
The General Knowledge questions were also very good and the scoring was very tight again but the Phoenix managed to creep ahead with 77 to 73 with a final score of 130 to 121.
Individual scores were Bob 9/18, Wendy 6/15, Nick 12/12 and Tomo 12/6; conferred points were 6/16 and passovers 8/10. The Church House picked up 4/7 passovers.
A very pleasant evening with laughter and even an improvised limerick from Bob, rounded off with a fine selection of sandwiches.
A big thank you to the Church House team and staff.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

1st February–The Nags Head Butt


It is good to see that after their wanderings the Nags Head quiz team have found a stable and friendly home at the very lively Nags Head.

The Nags has a rich history being recorded in the 1790’s as a brew pub that would have been very busy with the market outside in the Waters. After some changes in ownership the pub was bought by Bells brewery (taken over by Robinsons in 1949) in 1882 and in 1887 they presented plans to demolish the original structure and build the existing building, a typical market pub with three floors and stabling. Following a fairly recent refurbishment it is a remarkable building standing proudly on the original site with a delightful interior displaying ceiling roses and a fine staircase. It is a very lively pub with a tradition of good bands playing. Interestingly during depressed years laid-off and unemployed weavers would gather here to be addressed by their leaders from the pub window.1

Following their defeat at the Castle in the last game, the Phoenix had slipped to third place with the Nags easing up to second with just two points separating the three teams – this was to be a toughie! The Phoenix arrived to a pub throbbing with excitement – it was quite flattering really to see much interest in a quiz game, but it turned out that the attraction was really football on the big screen in particular Manchester United’s game against Aston Villa. We were playing upstairs in a room familiar to Bob from the folk evenings he had attended years ago.

As a Robinsons pub the beers were the usual choice but they were all in excellent condition especially the Dizzy Blonde, and the staff were helpful and friendly.

The questions had been set by the Castle and the Knot Know Alls and were fine – balanced, imaginative and testing. Sadly they did not go the Phoenix’ way – in particular for Nick who for the first time in memory failed to score at all in the General Knowledge. At the end of the Specialist the Phoenix were trailing 58 points to 52 and the General Knowledge where they usually catch up they lost 60 to 52 – final score 118 to the Nags and 102 to the Phoenix.

Individual scores were Bob 12/12. Wendy 6/3, Nick 6/0 (!!!) and Tomo 9/9; conferred points were 15/16 and passovers 6/10. The Nags also got 6/10 passovers.

A good win by the Nags rounded off with a good selection of sandwiches – with chips!!!

Thanks to our question master, to the Nags team and the Nags landlord and staff.


1. For historical information I am indebted to The pubs and Breweries of Macclesfield in two volumes.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Home to the British Flag in the Quarter Finals of the Cup


A warm welcome back to The Waters Green Tavern to the British Flag who left the B League for the the A League at the end of the last season.

We have met on several occasions and knew we were in for a a tough fight. We are however at our strongest when conferring and looked forward to a closely fought battle.

But before the game began there was some discussion on the previous week’s GK questions – see my comment 3 on last week’s blog. Tomo was also able to reconnect with his former maths teacher.

We were very impressed with the questions and felt it was unfortunate that they could not be marked in the same way as the League matches – it was  clear a lot of time and checking had been done.

Just how close it was going to be was shown n the first round of 20 questions that ended 19 to 18 in the Phoenix’ favour; the next round however the Flag fought back and crept ahead with 15 points to the Phoenix’ 12; in the third round the Phoenix made up the deficit with 15 points to 13 and held the Flag to 16 each in the next round. Level pegging. The fifth round the Phoenix slipped back with 18 to the Flag’s 20 but recovered in the final round with 19 to 17. End result – a dead heat!!! 99 points each – a tie-breaker was required!!

But even that created problems – both teams put in the same wrong answer to the tie-break!! It was only on the second try that the Phoenix managed to get closer to the right answer and took the game.

It was a most enjoyable game overseen with good humour (and even a little lesson on the off-side rule) by Heather and Shauna from the New Castle. Many thanks to them, and to the British Flag for an excellent game and finally to Brian and Tracey for a generous selection of sandwiches.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

18 Jan–Away to The Castle


This clash raised many expectations – the last meeting had resulted in a draw and at the beginning of this week’s contest The Phoenix and The Castle were equal top in the B League. A real battle of the Titans.

The difficulties faced by The Castle pub have been outlined before – there is no proper landlord and the pub remains closed except on Tuesday evening when the caretaker-landlord opens the doors just to the quiz teams and provides bottled beer. However the arena had been well prepared with a very warm heater and the Castle team had been kind enough to purchase a selection of meat pies for the game – much appreciated. The question master was the very experienced Allan from the Church House Bollington.

The scene was set for a very pleasant evening – could anything go wrong? Sadly yes – the questions.

The Specialist were OK if a little eccentric (a whole round on the Black Sea???) but the General Knowledge were not at all impressive – a pity really as several of the questions were valid but would have been improved had they been reworded – for instance give the Chinese names in the question rather than expect us to remember or even  pronounce them. And some answers were just incorrect – two have been pointed out in the questions published (Churchill’s quote and the Talbot) and others open to question.

It is unfortunate really because the obscure reference to News and Views after the heading represented a good idea that may not have been recognised (certainly not by Nick until he was publishing the questions) – several answers were the names of pubs or players in the League - even the Fenix along with Baths, Albion, Harrington etc and Hargreaves, Bogey and so on – but at the same time created problems – Kafka’s The Trial is also about K battling bureaucracy.

Probably the biggest criticism of the General Knowledge questions is the huge number of sport questions – quite disproportionate!!

Normally the vetting teams would be held responsible for the shortcomings but it seems their comments were ignored.

It will be interesting to see how the questions were marked – certainly in our game they had a deadening effect, so much so that no-one showed any interest in hearing the supplementaries.

Except for Tomo who again played a good game the scores were low, being:

Bob 6/12, Wendy 9/6, Nick 9/3, Tomo 12/15 with conferred points 9/11 and passovers 6/6; The Castle picked up 7/7 passovers. They won the Specialist 59 to 51 and the General Knowledge 66 to 53 winning the game with 125 to 104.

Many thanks to the home team for their hospitality and we very much hope that the future of the Castle is soon resolved.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Home to The Albion

After three weeks of excessive celebrations for Christmas and to welcome the New Year, the Macclesfield quiz teams slowly gathered to start the second half of the competition.

After what the Phoenix freely admit was a very lucky string of games against under-strength teams they had finished the first half at the top of the league with the slenderest of leads (1 point more than second and third – see News and Views link at right) but with three of the team in the top ten individual scores

This time we were up against a full-strength team from The Albion who seemed none the worse for the lay-off. After three rounds, the Phoenix were 21 points behind and struggling!! At the end of the Specialist they had managed to pull back only 4 points with the score at 62 to 45.

The Phoenix fared rather better in the General Knowledge rounds that ended 80 to 65 in the Phoenix’ favour – but that was just 15 points pulled back and they lost by 2 points.

No complaints – the questions were fine, pretty well balanced – they just did not come our way in the Specialist. The Phoenix played in a very disciplined manner – in fact I don’t recall a single wrong answer!!

Individual scores were Bob 6/9, Wendy 9/15, Nick 6/15 and Tomo 9/12; conferred/passovers were 10/5 and 19/10 with The Albion picking up 8 and 6 passovers.

It was a great game with lots of laughter ably controlled by the visitors from The Lamb and ended with magnificent refreshments of burgers and onions in gravy with Brian’s renowned REAL chips and bread rolls – a superb feast.

Thankyou Brian, and thanks to The Albion for  a good game.