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How the league was formed.

 The first ever Sports Quiz match resulted from a washed-out charity football match between  Whickham Social Club and the Bay Horse, Whickham, in the early part of 1973.

 The match having been a failure at raising money, it was decided that members from both  teams would compete in a challenge match in which the teams would answer questions on  sport. This was such a success that some of the audience, who were from other pubs and  clubs in the north-east, decided they would like to take part. This resulted in a dozen or so  clubs competing in friendly matches in the following twelve months, which culminated in a  knock-out singles competition won by Billy Garside of the Bay Horse, Whickham.

 In 1974 the decision was taken to start a league, which was sponsored by Whitbread. The  1974-75 season began with eight teams, and was a far cry from the smooth running set-up  which exists today; there was only one question compiler and only one question master with  any kind of experience, matches did not all take place on the same evening and therefore  different quizzes were needed for each game. The first championship was won by  Gateshead Harriers who during that season had Brendan Foster, David Jenkins and Stan  Long as participants in some of their fixtures. These team fixtures also incorporated a  singles competition, the first of which was won by Ian Smith, then of Whickham Social Club.

 The second season saw the Whitbread Sports Quiz League, as it was then called, with two  divisions of ten teams in each. This rapid growth was down to the hard work of people like  Mike Hind, Jack Thomas, Ian Smith, Pete Bright, Dave Craig and Ralph Nevin - the pioneers  of sports quizzing in the North-East. Indeed, Mike can still be found competing for Blaydon  RFC in the current B Division.

 Through the late 70's and early 80's the league continued to thrive and grow, with no less  than 43 teams taking part in the 1981-82 season. Teams from the league competed  successfully at a national level in a competition held by the Sunday People, appeared on TV  in Tyne-Tees' quiz show 'Sporting Chance', and league members took part in BBC Radio's  'Brain Of Sport' competition.

 As the league moved into the late 80's and early 90's, it slimmed down to round about 30  teams. At the end of season 1992-93 Whitbread withdrew their sponsorship and the league  became the North East Sports Quiz League.

(by Dave Westerby).