Thursday, March 29, 2012

“And Now The End Is Here …


… And we must face the final curtain” with apologies to Paul Anka.

Doing it Frank’s Way
For the last round of the season (excluding knock-out competitions) the Phoenix were asking the questions – having clung to second place despite some heavy losses it was clear that this position was in jeopardy as two teams that were joint second each had a game in hand. Sure enough, both teams won leaving the Phoenix wallowing in fourth place.

Nick asked the questions in a very good humoured game between the Park Taverners and the Lamb – the questions did not rate highly and the scoring was generally low, but the Park Taverners pulled through in a very close fought game (97 to 91) that regrettably saw the Lamb relegated to the C League next season.

The Church House Bollington was the other team in joint second and in another close finish (126 to 123) they beat the Plough Horntails widening the “goal difference” over the Park Taverners and thus securing promotion to the A League next season.

It has been a most enjoyable season for the Phoenix with some close finishes, some surprise defeats, a lot of laughter and excellent team work. Also Bob and Wendy were in the top 10 individual scorers with Tomo close behind; Nick was languishing in mid-table obscurity.

Well done to the Church House Bollington, we’re looking forward to playing old friends the Park Taverners again next season along with newbies from the C League the Knot Knowalls and the Rising Sun; joining from the A League will be the Cock-A-2 (the former Castle team) and the Nags Head.

Finally a big thank you to Brian and Tracey for their support and hospitality throughout the season and to all the teams we played for making it such fun.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Phoenix’ Last Chance Saloon


This was the Phoenix’ last game of the season on which their hopes for promotion rested. Playing at home against the Plough Horntails the Phoenix were looking to avenge the defeat when they last met. Despite having lost several games they were still second in the League and hopes were high that they would be able to achieve at last their ambition to be in the A League if only for one season.

The Horntails are old friends and adversaries although there were a couple of new faces in the lineup. The Phoenix on the other hand were at full strength and had Rosie the mascot too.

The Specialist questions had been set by the British Flag and whilst there were no high scores, we thought they were original and very good. At the end of the Specialist the Phoenix were trailing 43 to 45 – not a big problem.

The General Knowledge were set by the new team the Robin Hood and this was their first attempt at question setting – they acquitted themselves well but they need to check the balance – one player got about four music questions!

But it was in the General Knowledge that the Horntails stormed ahead with one of the new faces in particular getting a very high score – they took the GK with 80 to 55.

Individual scores were Bob 9/9, Wendy 6/9, Nick 9/6 and Tomo 6/3; conferred points were 9/23 and passovers 4/5. The Horntails picked up 3/7 passovers.

The questionmaster was Liz Horrocks from the A League who stepped in at the last minute to cover for the British flag who were a questionmaster down – she controlled the game with good humour and it was a delight to see her.

The game ended with a good selection of sandwiches – thank you Tracey, Liz and the Horntails.

But a sad day for the Phoenix.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

13th March–Home to The Park Taverners


Back to full strength this week – including Rosie!! Our opponents are old friends but it was disappointing to find that they were having to play with only three members. On the last occasion we were soundly beaten and we would have preferred to start with a level playing field. This was of particular importance as the Phoenix were clinging on to second place by the skin of their teeth from the Park Taverners and Church House Bollington both having equal points and separated by “goal difference” but with a game in hand.

Tradition was always that the place of a missing player would  be taken by an ashtray, but of course since the smoking ban they are hard to find and the hapless question master had to refer to absent friends.

Special mention must be made of the question master as it was the first time he had ever done it and he also had to control timekeeping which he carried off with considerable aplomb.

The questions had a fair sprinkling of river questions that seemed to excite Graham from the Park and they were very good indeed – I think we marked them the highest of the season. Bob and Tomo both had great runs in the general knowledge. At the end of the Specialist the Phoenix had nosed ahead with 47 to 37 and the General Knowledge finished at 88 to 62, final score being 135 to 99.

Individual scores were Bob 9/24, Wendy 3/9, Nick 9/9 and Tomo 6/21; conferred points were 17/12 with 3/13 passovers. The Park picked up 3/7 passovers.

It was a very relaxed game with lots of laughter and jokes, and Nick said it was the most enjoyable game he had played that season. Brian rounded off the evening with a magnificent chicken casserole. Thanks to Brian, the Park Taverners and the question master for a most enjoyable evening.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

”We shall not flag or fail …” 6th March

Yes this was the return match against the team from British Flag who are not pictured alongside. We knew this would be a tough match as despite a series of losses recently the Phoenix were still second in the League with the Flag holding first place.
Moreover, Bob was off on his hols somewhere and Wendy was laid up on a strict diet of pain-killers (our two best scorers!!) – and Rosie was absent too!! Fortunately we managed to drag Steve out of retirement to play and Eric  was roped in at the last minute.
We thought the questions were pretty good except that several should have had some leeway. There was an interesting spread of classical and pop music and all were obviously carefully thought out.
The Phoenix played well as a team and it was a very friendly and enjoyable game with a relaxed and sympathetic question master from the Plough Horntails.
Tomo showed why he regularly appears in the League’s top 10 and Steve and Eric both played a solid game.
Individual scores were Steve 6/9. Eric 9/9, Nick 3/12  and Tomo 9/15; conferred points were 7/15 with 7/4 passovers. The Flag picked up 8/10 passovers. Final score 134 to the Phoenix’ 105.
A most enjoyable evening was rounded off with a fine selection of sandwiches - thanks Tracey, Gill and the Flag – a very pleasant evening despite the score.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


It has been some years since the Phoenix played at the Harrington Arms. The pub in Gawsworth is an original 17th century farmhouse that developed into a pub whilst retaining the farming business. For many years it was run by the fearsome Mrs Bayley who deeply resented Robinson’s Brewery, the owners, interfering in the way she ran things – she never forgave them for introducing handpumps as she preferred to take a jug down to the cellar. There was always a jar of pickled eggs on the counter and I remember once having the temerity to ask if there were other baps than cheese and onion – “You’d be glad o’ that if you’d been picking potatoes all day!” It was famed as the pub with the 20 watt bulb and known locally as The Slaughtered Lamb.

Sadly Mrs Bayley passed away some years ago and the business changed hands a couple of times. And what a change now!! Bright lights, warm fires and a fine food menu and the farming business is a separate concern. An historical era has finished.

The first round of 20 questions went to the Phoenix with a lead of 10 points, but round 2 went to the Harrington by the same margin; rounds 3,4 and 5 went to the Harrington with a couple of points but they pulled ahead strongly in the final round taking the game.
The questions have raised some problems. I originally took a decision to publish the questions every week to prevent duplication, to resolve any queries and to allow teams to go back to particular questions as required; it was never meant to be a repository for future games. It has been pointed out to me that over 40 of the questions for this game were lifted from a single game played two years ago (see General Knowledge Q49 onwards) which is rather disappointing.
Nevertheless this was not noticed at the time although some questions seemed familiar; it was a most enjoyable game with Bob managing to get one of his notorious jokes in (“I used to hate Jane Austen until I went on a Northanger Management course”) rounded off with a splendid selection of sandwiches including the best roast beef ever!!

Scores for the six rounds were 18/8, 12/21, 9/12, 10/14, 13/15 and 13/19.