The Ormskirk and District Quiz League is one of the five constituent leagues of the Merseyside Quiz Leagues since the demise of the Northern League in 2016.
The league was formed in 1970 as the Ormskirk and Burscough Division of the Southport League. Ten teams played in the first season, of which, Royal and Golden Lion, and possibly Red Lion had previously played in the Southport League. The number of teams doubled for the next season when the Ormskirk League became separate, split into Ormskirk East and West, of equal strength. 1972 saw the introduction of two divisions with promotion and relegation. This structure is still in use today.
The number of teams increased gradually throughout the 1970s. There were usually about 28 teams in the 1980s and about 30 throughout the 1990s. There are 19 teams for the current season.
Two local competitions are the Charity League which began in 1973 and the Handicap Knockout which began in 1978, with a Plate competition added in 2010.
There have been other more recent innovations. A single Handicap League covering both divisions was introduced in 2005. This keeps teams interested even though they may have lost the main game. Division Two teams have won in 11 of the 15 seasons so far. A modified scoring system, which allows each player an attempt for 2 points without penalty, was adopted in Division Two in 2008 and now applies in both divisions and throughout MQL.
Seven teams have won Division One, the most successful being Golden Lion, later Rex Lions, with 17 titles. Next comes Old Dog (2000s team) with 9 wins. Unison/Top Nogs/Carr Mill has seven wins. Old Dog (1980s team) had 5 wins. Two teams have 4 wins. Not surprisingly Division Two has seen many more winners, the most successful being Gang of Four with 5 wins. Wellington/Abbey Saints have four wins. NALGO/Sacred Heart, and Rugby Hounds each has 3 wins. Mini-leagues, two for each division ran from 2016 until 2019.
The League celebrated its 50th season in 2019-2020 with an opening event held at Aughton Institute featuring matches between President's Trophy teams - Ormskirk the current champions, Ormskirk past winners and a guest team from MQL. Unfortunately due to coronavirus the season was cut short after the first round of the Handicap Knockout, which also meant the cancellation of the Presentation Night and the Charity League.
The Whippet team at the Greyhound in Ormskirk since 1974, having moved from the Queen Inn where they started in 1970, has played every season. Helenians also began, as Rainford, in the first season taking their current name in 1974.Other current teams who played in the early 1970s are Ormskirk Farmers, Bispham Farmers Arms and Aughton Institute, all under different names. There are 15 current teams who were playing 25 seasons ago!
In Merseyside competitions Golden Lion had much success in the 1970s with Peter Richardson winning the MIMIR Trophy individual competition in 1980. The next twenty years were relatively unsuccessful apart from a first win in the President's Trophy for representative teams in 1989. Pat Gibson's MIMIR win in 2002 heralded the dominance of Ormskirk in the last 14 years, led by Old Dog who won the Merseyside Challenge Cup for six years consecutive years from 2008. Pat has won the MIMIR a record breaking seven times. Ormskirk won the President's Trophy for six seasons from 2011 and have won 10 from the last 14.
The quality of venues is most important, with many hosting more than one team. The support of a good landlord, excellent beer and ideally a separate room are positive features. In the early years the Railway Tavern in the village of Hoscar was a popular venue. The Queen Inn and The Greyhound in Ormskirk, together with the Colliers Arms in Kings Moss have been home to many teams. The Abbey Hotel in St Helens has been a welcome addition in recent seasons. A wide geographical spread of both urban and rural venues is an added attraction.
Many players have achieved success in TV and radio shows. Pat Gibson has won ‘Brain of Britain’, ‘Mastermind’ and 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' and is now an ‘Egghead’. Peter Richardson was successful on ‘Sale of the Century’ and 'The Krypton Factor'. Mal Collier, Andy Francis and Anthony Martin won ‘Fifteen to One’. There are many others, either as individuals or as part of teams.
Administratively the Ormskirk League would not have been the success that it has been without the contribution of Norman Green. He took over as Secretary in 1975 and held this post until his death in May 2009. An incredible attention to detail was a feature of his work and the records that he kept were amazing. He ran the league almost single-handedly for all those years.