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Chairman’s Review of 2020 and message (of hope) for 2021

Well, what a year it has been. The 2019-20 League season ended in February 2020 with Broken Hearts, Hornets’ Rest, Fray Bentos and Victoria Phoenix winning their respective divisions and the Cup about to start. We played the Cup preliminaries before we started to hear news that the notifiable disease we had been hearing of in late February was becoming a pandemic. We all started to worry about how this might affect our keen hobby, but this was all put into perspective when we discovered out beloved quiz colleague Jon Jacob was one of the first victims of this horrendous illness. We all still miss him terribly!

Soon we were all firmly ensconced in a national lockdown and indulging in what quiz we could find on line. For that we are forever grateful for Will Jones and his wonderful WikiQuiz site. The 7pm and 9pm quizzes soon became a regular fixture for a lot of us.

Whilst this was occurring the committee was hard at work considering how to complete the 2019-2020 season and discussing how an on-line Summer League would work. After some consideration we decided we must give it a go and launched the 2020 Summer League entirely via Zoom following its usual format. After some teething issues, this settled down into a well-received and well-conducted league. The regular conferences were topped by Thomas Grinyer's Speakeasy Quizhard and Max Espensen's Full Bauhaus. After an exciting Summer League Cup competition, Evan Lynch’s Generalist Strike took the overall Summer League Cup title (to be named in Jon Jacob’s memory), with Chris Clough's Quiz Side of Paradise taking the plate, Full Bauhaus the bowl and Black Tuesday the Spoon.

Attention now turned back to the Winter League. COVID made it clear that we could not regroup in pubs in the way we wished so the decision was made to complete the 2019-20 season on line with the playoff and final President's Cup fixture played on line. The result of the playoff fixture has since been overturned and the game will be replayed at the end of the current season. The conclusion of the President's Cup season saw a title decider between London and Sussex taking place via Zoom. In this game a superb London performance took the game and title comfortably. Congratulations to Paul Steeples and his team for winning the 2019-20 President's Cup.

A decision had also been made to play the Brain of London 1 and 2 tournaments via the brave new world of Zoom and in consecutive Tuesdays in late September, 64 players did battle over the two tournaments. In BoL2 Josh Mandel took his first individual title with a dominant performance throughout, beating Graham Abbott, Jonathan Elliott and Vincent Bright to the title. Meanwhile in the senior BoL1 field the former Chairman and 2011 BoL1 winner David Lea took his second BoL1 title in a hard and tightly fought final win over David Stainer, Evan Lynch and Kevin Ashman. Congratulations to Josh and David.

Alongside all this activity the Committee was busily preparing for the 2020-21 season. A decision was made that all games in the Winter League and President's Cup would be held on line with the home team acting as hosts. Feedback so far has been that this system was mostly worked well, with a few teething problems and I am exceedingly grateful for the way teams have taken on this with minimal fuss. I think many if not all players will share my view that playing QLL games on line is a shadow of the enjoyment of playing them in person and getting to see and interact with our friends in real life. However, for now, it is all we have, and I would like to thank the teams for their stoicism and camaraderie they have shown. At the halfway stage of the season we see Nomads, Thread Vietnam, Banana Splits, JAN and London atop their respective divisions. And now to the future...

As we can all still see the pandemic is far from over but there are bright signs on the horizon (somewhere) in the form of a vaccine. Our pubs also have a very uncertain future and I would encourage all teams to keep in touch with their pubs and wish them all they can possibly wish for. It will come as no surprise to hear that the Committee have taken the decision to complete the Winter League and President's Cup seasons on line. The Committee is also considering what options we have for BoL 2021, the Cup and Plate and the 2021 Summer League seasons and I ask that you watch this space for more news on those.

In other news, the original teams and reserves for the QLL Buzzer Quiz 2020 have been contacted about a supplementary on-line buzzer tournament we are holding on Saturday 9th January. Look out for possible announcements calling for volunteers to read and score, or about any teams needing replacement players.

Keep your eyes peeled for any other announcements both on the FB Talk page and the QLL website.

And two last announcements from me:

Remember we are all friends and quizzing is a pursuit in which a friendly rivalry goes a long way.

And keep those hands in shot!

Mark Cooper
QLL Chair

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