Merseyside Quiz Leagues

The World's Largest Independent Quiz Leagues


MQL MEETINGS 2023-2024


Sun 10th September 2023 (online)

Sun 10th December 2023 (online)

Sun 24th March 2024 (online) 

Sun 23rd June 2024 (online)


Sun 21st April 2024 (online)  (This is a postponement from 7th April)

All online meetings commence at 7.30 pm

AGENDA FOR most recent/next mEETING

Agenda for the Annual General Meeting of the Merseyside Quiz Leagues to be held online on Sunday 21st April 2024 at 7:30 pm

1        Apologies for Absence

2        Minutes of the previous AGM

3        Matters Arising

4        Chairman’s Report

5        General Secretary’s Report

6        Treasurer’s Report

7        Assistant General Secretary’s Report

8        Election of Officers
        Including renewal of Vice Presidents

9        Proposals
a    The proposal is that the annual fee for entry into the MQL for each team be raised by £5 to £30.

Proposer: Dag Griffiths, MQL Treasurer
Seconder: Danny Grimes, MQL Chairman (on behalf of MQL Council)

b    MQL Rule 50 currently states
Any published matters, including press, radio, and social media, concerning quiz teams and individual members must not contain any comment or statement capable of causing offence or embarrassment. Questions must not be discussed on social media until at least four weeks after they are played. MQL has the right to impose appropriate sanctions on teams or individuals who contravene these rules.
The proposal is that the section underlined is removed.   This will allow for postponed matches to use the original questions with confidence.

Proposer: Rugby Hounds (Ormskirk)   
Seconder: Wings (S&F)

minutes of most recent council meeting

Minutes of the Council meeting of the Merseyside Quiz Leagues held online on Sunday 24th March 2024 

1.    In Attendance: were Bill Thomas, Bill Morris, Dag Griffiths, Derek Moody, David Hodgson, Angela Doyle, Danny Grimes, Paul Davitt, Frances Mason, Cliff Houghton, Jim Eccleson, Steve Lomas, Pam Baker and Brian Thompson.

The Chairman, Danny Grimes, invited Warrington Chairman, Cliff Houghton to say a few words about the late Brian Bates.  This was followed by a moments’ silence.

Apologies: no apologies were received
2.    Minutes of previous meeting:  These were accepted as a true record of the meeting. 

3.    Matters Arising:  There were no matters arising that were not on the Agenda for this meeting.

4.    Chairman’s report: Danny had been able to watch and /or take part in a wide range of matches in order to meet more players and teams.  He remarked on the quality of quizzing and organisation.

5.    General Secretary’s report:  General Secretary, Brian Thompson had nothing else to report that wasn’t covered in item 9.

6.    Treasurer’s report: Treasurer, Dag Griffiths, reported on expenditure and commented that the finances were such that if the MQL had to wind up tomorrow then as payments to officers was made in arrears then the there would only just be enough to cover it.  He suggested that to build up a small reserve, the annual fees be increased by £5 to £30.  This is the first increase for quite a number of years and this was to be made a proposal for the AGM.

7.    Assistant General Secretary’s report: Assistant General Secretary, Cliff Houghton and co-distributor Frances Mason, reported that sets were being sent out 10 days ahead of playing date and on the whole this had been successful.  With Dag’s agreement Cliff had purchased 500 stamps and Frances will do the same before the imminent price rise.

8.    Area reports:
Liverpool Secretary, Paul Davitt, reported on the teams that had won the Liverpool divisions (Cricketers and Exiles) and which were taking part in the Feeny and Rendon.  Sadly, we would also be losing the Groundhogs team due to pressing family commitments.  32 teams have entered the Riley cup and there were more teams now in favour of EQD in that competition and Paul suggested that perhaps a hybrid of EQD (with the set emailed to the teams) and postal delivery would be needed for a period.  He felt that this would be true of the League as well.  He said that it was still clear that a number of teams did not fully understand how EQD worked.

Ormskirk Secretary, David Hodgson, reported on the teams who had won the Ormskirk divisions (Colly Wobblers and Turks Head Saints) and which were taking part in the Feeny and Rendon.  Handicap knockout and plate finals were tomorrow and presentation evening was scheduled for 5 April.  They would be losing one team next season, and he feared possibly one or two more.

Southport and Formby
S&F Secretary, Dag Griffiths, reported the sad news of the deaths of Gary Buxton (Formby Sports) and Leo Tobin (Ex Pats).  At nearly 88, Leo was the oldest playing member in the S&F league.  Quads had won the Handicap League and Wings and Fisherman’s Rest the Cup and Plate.  

Warrington Secretary, Derek Moody, reported that their post-Christmas Leagues had been won by Ringers and Six Pack.  He also named the Feeny and Rendon participants.   John Hall and Ken Barlow had won the Pairs and the Presentation Night was on 26 April.

Wirral Secretary, Jim Eccleson, reported that their divisions had been won by Tia the Hazel Gnome and Aardvarks.  Their handicap KO is ongoing.  He named the Feeny Rendon participants.

9.    Competitions

•    President’s 
o    Trophy was won by Liverpool breaking Ormskirk’s 5-year run.
o    Once again, a very tight competition for the Shield went down to the last two matches.  The competition was won by Liverpool 2A by virtue of a bonus point gained in one of the two matches that they lost.  Wirral was second. Thank you to Dag for providing 6 sets of questions and to the teams for the other sets and to everybody that took part.
•    MCC
o    The final will be contested by Ringers and Oxton and the Plate Aigburth People and Fisherman’s Rest
Many thanks to Bill Thomas for coordinating this and to the areas for writing question sets.
o    Derek Moody will write the Plate Final and Dag Griffiths the Cup Final*
•    Buzzer Tournament
25 teams from all over the UK took part this year in the 5th Jubilee Buzzer Tournament held in Hoylake on Saturday 10 February.  A team of 11 writers composed over one thousand questions and a team of 14 read and scored on the day.  The winners were a team representing Yorkshire (Lewis Jones, Evan Lynch, Danny Lardner and Gary Moreland).  A team called M and M and M and M won the Plate and Wirral (Jim Eccleson, Ian Jack, Neil Wright, Andy Platt and Pam Baker) won the Bowl.  Our hosts at The Parade Community Centre were once again most welcoming and helpful.  The event made a slight loss this year due to buying the Bowl and taking care of our Readers on the day!  Special thanks to Tournament Organiser, Jon Stitcher and Question Coordinator and Editor, Dan Lawson for their enormous hard work in bringing the event together.
•    Mimir
Thanks to all Areas for organising their local Mimir.  Participation was about the same in most areas apart from Liverpool (13).  Thanks to Derek and Warrington for all their hard work in providing a new venue at Winmarleigh House, which proved ideally suited to the Merseyside Heats last week.  We had only one withdrawal and a full turnout on the night. Congratulations to Angela Doyle (Liv), Colin Foster (War), Dag Griffiths (S&F) and John Wilson (Orm) who will contest the Final at the MQL Finals and Presentation Evening on 15 May back at Winmarleigh House.  4/5 areas represented.
•    Feeny and Rendon Cups
There are 11 teams in the Feeny and 5 teams in the Rendon Cups.  Each Area will write one set, Brian Thompson will write a set for S&F* as they are producing the MCC Final set.  F&R sets are due for 5 April.

10.    Venues: 
Increasingly venues are going to make some if not full charges for our bigger events.  We only have two Areas realistically able to host Mimir (War and Wir).  The Presentation Evening is in Warrington this year and so perhaps S&F could look for a Venue for next year (it has not been held in S&F since 2016).  
As for the pubs and clubs that act as venues for our matches throughout the season.  It is hoped that all Areas will encourage their teams to support these venues by spending some money and, in some cases, making it worthwhile for these establishments to open on Monday and Tuesday evenings.

11.    EQD:
If we are to move towards EQD there will have to be a period of transition.  Teams who are comfortable with the process should help those less keen by showing how it works and the techniques used.  The downloading aspect could be avoided at first by emailing the password protected set to the home team (or both teams?).  It would seem that there is still a number of teams who will not even consider using EQD, although it was pointed out that they would still need to provide half of the password when they play a team who is trying it.  It was suggested that a financial incentive might be introduced.  For example, Warrington may well agree to have their sets by EQD next season, therefore some reduction in their MQL subscription might be made.

12.    Specification For Potential External Writers:
Brian apologised that although Derek had done a fair amount of work on this, the small group hadn’t met.  They will do so in the next month or so.

13.    AOB:
•    Bill Thomas wishes to stand down as MCC secretary and so all present at the meeting were asked to consider being or proposing a possible replacement.
•    The meeting was asked to remember Dave Sinclair (S&F) who is unwell at the moment.
•    A lengthy discussion followed the matter of Question quality.  It was agreed that while comments about sets that are made formally to the secretary are passed onto the setting League, the only meaningful feedback is how a set plays when it is used in several matches.  The analysis should be objective and focus on the measurables of the score, the aggregate score, the number of 2pointers and the number of Xs. 
Each league has to take responsibility vetting and play-testing sets and tracking how those sets score when they used in League matches.  The latter is a big undertaking, but it is a necessary first step.

The meeting closed at 8.40pm 
Next Council meeting: Sunday 23 June 2024 at 7.30pm online 

minutes of most recent AGM

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Merseyside Quiz Leagues held online on Sunday 16th April 2023 (commenced at 7.30pm)

Attendees:  Bill Morris, Colin Foster, Cliff Houghton, Angela Doyle, Derek Moody, Bill Thomas, Brian Bates, David Hodgson, Dag Griffiths, Jim Eccleson, Geoff Poole, Jim McGrath, Paul Davitt, Steve Lomas, Pam Baker, Danny Grimes and Brian Thompson representing sixteen teams and all five areas.

1. Apologies for absence.  Angela Houghton, Frances Mason, Jim Martin

2. The minutes of the previous AGM.  The minutes, having been circulated to all teams, were accepted as a true and fair record of the meeting.

3. Matters Arising.  There were no matters arising not covered by the Agenda.

4. Chairman’s Report.  Chairman, Danny Grimes, asked for a moment’s silence for the following members and associates of the MQL who had passed away in the last year.

Liverpool   Mike Doyle, Frank Smith, Tony Coady
Ormskirk    Dot Heyes, Jim Dawber, Barrie Westmoreland
Southport & Formby    Sylvia Sawyer, Dermot Williams, Mike Williams, Roy Shannon
Warrington    Mike Rhodes, Dave Hatton
Wirral    Bernie McGuigan, Peter Maddocks, Martin Roberts, Mike Devitt

He then continued by congratulating Pat Gibson who in September had become the British Quiz Champion for the seventh time.  Danny also commended the performance of Alan Gibbs (Ormskirk, who was seventh), Sarah Trevarthen (Warrington), Jamie Hall (Warrington), James MacGregor (Liverpool) and Ben Vincent (Warrington) in the same competition.  In November, Sarah went on to become BBC Radio 4’s Brain of Britain making it three wins in a row for Merseyside players.
He reported that he had attended a number of MQL events over the last year, playing in some of the competitions and officiating in others, with the express intention of meeting as many players and teams as possible.  These included the Jubilee Pairs competition, the Jubilee Buzzer competition, the Mimir heats, the President’s Shield, and the Feeny Cup, as well as watching online competitions.  He also spectated some MCC Plate games and matches in Liverpool Division 2.  Danny paid tribute to all who contributed in any way to these competitions and repeated what he had said before about these events showing the MQL at its finest and setting a high standard in all aspects of competitive quizzing and organisation.  
He noted that the Council had instigated the idea of a back-up QP for online competitions and advised teams to informally keep check on their scores during a match and to raise any queries at the end of a round. 
He thanked all the officers of the MQL and all of the representatives of the constituent leagues for their input, support and diligence over the last year in helping the MQL not just to function but to excel in so many areas. ‘We are all truly indebted to them’.
Danny then summarised the ongoing aims of the MQL Council.
- To increase the number of players and teams.
- To publicise more widely and effectively the good name of the MQL.
- Linked into the previous two points is to hopefully appoint a Publicity Officer.
- To monitor closely the situation regarding venues and starting times.
- To ensure that setters and vetters adhere closely to guidelines, specifically in order to avoid any repetition of unsuitable content.

5. General Secretary’s Report.  General Secretary, Brian Thompson, reported that just after the AGM last April we had a very closely fought Merseyside Mimir competition which was played online over 2 evenings.  The Trophy was won by Jim Eccleson.  It was Jim's 4th win and was a new record interval between titles, as his third win was in 1994, 28 years ago!  However, he’s back defending his crown in the 2023 final that is being played next month.  As for the other 2021-22 competitions, the MCC and Plate had already been completed and were reported last year, and sadly, as in the previous two seasons, the Feeny and Rendon Cups were cancelled.
In September, Chris Quinn of Liverpool and Neil Wright of Wirral became the second Jubilee Pairs Champions in an event that attracted 38 participants, and which was hosted by Ormskirk at the Prescot Cables FC club.   The S&F Pair of Jack Gardner and Dag Griffiths won the Plate.
As a mark of respect, all MQL matches were postponed on the day of HM Queen’s funeral on 19 September.
In October, disappointingly only 15 teams elected to take part in the 2022-23 Challenge Cup.  Efforts were made to attract teams including a relaxation in eligibility rules and offering the competition online or face to face.  What little feedback there was, indicated that the main reason for non-participation was that teams cannot or do not wish to raise a team for a second match in a week.  Although occasionally this was also due to venue availability, a factor that is becoming an increasingly worrying issue.  Many thanks to Bill Thomas for administrating and Dave Tilley for writing the sets.  Bill has indicated that he will step down from this role after the 2023-24 season.
Thanks to the efforts of the Question Distributors, Cliff Houghton and Frances Mason, the effects of the postal strikes in the late Autumn and Winter were minimal.  Fran is unfortunately in hospital at the moment.  She is unwell but improving, so I’m sure you’ll join me in sending our best wishes to her.
The fourth Jubilee Buzzer Quiz Tournament took place at The Parade in Hoylake in February.  It attracted 20 teams from all over the UK and Ireland and, according to the positive feedback we received, it was a great success.  The winners were a team called Northern Lights and the Plate winners were Teesside.  Thank you to Jon Stitcher and the team of writers and readers for all their hard work.
The President’s Trophy competition continued online and was won by Ormskirk for the 5th successive year.  Five teams took part in the President’s Shield competition which returned and was played face to face.  It was won in a very close finish by Wirral 2.  Liverpool 2b won the Presidential Challenge
The Merseyside heats of the Mimir competition were hosted by New Brighton Cricket Club and produced four qualifiers for the final in next month at the Annual Presentation Evening.  We are very pleased that this event returns for the first time since the pandemic and will take place at Aigburth Peoples Hall in Liverpool at 8pm on Wednesday 17 May.  The finals of the Merseyside Challenge Cup and the Plate will also be played that evening.
Ongoing concerns about falling numbers and lack of recruitment have now been joined by loss of venues either by closure or by reduced opening hours.  Area Secretaries are currently consulting their teams about electronic question distribution both from the point of view of cost saving and being greener.
Brian thanked fellow officers and council members for their hard work throughout the year in supporting him and in helping the leagues run smoothly.

6. Treasurer’s Report.  Treasurer, Dag Griffiths, presented a financial statement for the season 2022-23.  Even allowing for catching up with Trophy purchases and engraving and the fact that some outgoings were yet to be made, he reported a healthy financial situation and proposed that no increase to the £25 MQL subs was needed.  The statement had been audited by one of the auditors so far.

Auditors (appointed):     Paul Davitt and David Hodgson.

7. Assistant General Secretary’s Report.  Assistant General Secretary, Cliff Houghton, reported that thanks to early posting to counter the effects of industrial action, the majority of sets had arrived on time.  He thanked fellow distributor Frances Mason for her hard work and also Derek Moody for assisting when Cliff had been absent earlier in the year.

8. Election of Officers.  President, Angela Doyle, took the chair for the election of the officers.  All officers had expressed a wish to continue in their roles and with no other nominations having been received Angela proposed that the Officers be re-appointed en bloc. This was carried nem con. 

The Chairman thanked Angela for her work as President as her three-year term was at an end.  Danny then went on to say that, following a suggestion by Bill Thomas, Jim Eccleson had been approached and he had agreed be proposed as the new President.  Jim was formally proposed by David Hodgson, seconded by Dag Griffiths and was then elected unanimously as the 20th MQL President.

The following are vice Presidents who should have been reappointed last year:  Cliff Houghton, Dag Griffiths, Peter Deakin, John Wilson, Ray Oakes, Brian Cunningham and Bill Thomas.  They were duly reappointed.  The following are vice Presidents who are to be reappointed today: Jim McGrath, Brian Bates and Angela Houghton.  This was done.
Danny then proposed that outgoing President Angela Doyle become a Vice President which was carried unanimously.

Therefore, the current (April 2023) Council comprises the following Elected and Ex Officio members:

Chairman:             Danny Grimes        
Deputy Chairman:         Cliff Houghton    
General Secretary:         Brian Thompson    
Treasurer:             Dag Griffiths            
Deputy General Secretary:     Cliff Houghton     

Ex officio members are:
President:            Jim Eccleson
Question Distributor:        Cliff Houghton
Question Distributor:        Frances Mason

9. Proposals.  
The following two proposals had been received.

‘Start time for MQL league matches to be 8pm with a latest start time of 8:45. Constituent leagues can determine their own start times within these parameters.’
[This is an amendment to Rule 24]

Proposed by Warrington QL.    Seconded by Brian Thompson (Gen Sec).
This was slightly amended following a suggestion from Ormskirk Secretary, David Hodgson that the wording for the whole Rule should be included.

‘The start time for league matches should be between 8pm and 8:45pm with an allowance of 15 minutes. Each constituent League has the discretion to determine their own start time within these limits. Should matches be delayed by more than the allowance then the non-offending team has the right to claim the match.’

Warrington Chairman, Derek Moody, gave a background to the proposal that included the problems that teams are encountering with some venues wishing to close early on quiet evenings.  Geoff Poole (Judges, Liverpool) supported the proposal saying that 8.45pm was now too late a start time.

The meeting voted with 16 eligible voters.  All were in favour and the proposal was carried.

The second proposal

‘Rule 25 be amended so that individual leagues can decide that away teams always start first in their own league quiz matches.’

Proposed by Kluggers (Liverpool).   Seconded by Judges (Liverpool).

Brian read out the notes provided with the proposal.
1: That it would mean that all teams have the same opportunity of starting first and second throughout the league season.
2: It would dispense with the current need to mark on the scoresheet which team started first, which often is missed out.
3: Every team will automatically know that they will start first when playing away. (It is unusual for an away team to choose to start second so why not make it standard!)
4: We are not asking for this rule to be across the whole of MQL, (although we believe this would benefit every league,) just for individual leagues to make their own decision for their own leagues.

It was also noted that the proposal has not come from any of the Results Secretaries of the constituent leagues.

The meeting voted with 16 eligible voters.  4 were in favour and 5 were against with the remainder abstaining.  The proposal was rejected.

The date for the 2024 AGM is Sunday 7th April.  The dates for the four required Council Meetings for the new season are:

Sunday 10 September 2023
Sunday 10 December 2023
Sunday 24 March 2024 
Sunday 23 June 2024

The Chairman thanked everyone for their attendance and their support.  The meeting closed at 8.05pm.