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Gone but not forgotten - Bryan Milner


Bryan Milner - Well Bryan Milner, what can one say about Bryan Milner?  Bryan was it has to be said, many things, 'interesting', divisive at times, sometimes controversial, infrequently left with nothing to contribute verbally, but the fact is incontrovertible that he and his Junction team and me and our Station boys are the very seeds of the Five Towns' Quiz League that continues to exist to this day.

Bryan was the licensee of the Junction Hotel on the end of Carlton Street in Castleford and it was when he used to bring his Junction boys and girls along to the Station on a Wednesday night for the quiz night that was set and verbally delivered by our very own Mr Dude Steve Scott, we used to be the two teams every week that were doing battle for the beer vouchers that were usually on offer for a prize.  I tend to think (well ok, I would...), that we won more than they did, but the important thing is that they were stiff opposition and clearly obvious candidates to enter the Five Towns' Quiz League when I came up with the idea in the summer of 1991 and thus it came to be.

Bryan's sense of humour, built heavily on sarcasm and quite often straying into what a lot of people interpreted as campness, was for the 19 quiz seasons that he was involved in the league, one of its main and well-known features.  Everybody knew Bryan and his team and even those who had few good words for him had to admit that he built some good ones over the years.  It is also true to say that for every slight detractor Bryan could count someone who very much liked him and valued his friendship.  Bryan had a period as Chairman of the Five Towns' Quiz League in the early days, just after Clarry Bullough of the Smawthorne Hotel and it was during this period that he procured sponsorship for the league from Vaux Breweries, who supplied the Junction with its wares.

For many years his Junction was the only one from Day One that remained in the same pub they had always been in.  Bryan was known to be a Freemason and after he retired from publicanism at the Junction his team moved briefly to the William Street Club and then the White Lion in the potteries area of Castleford and they went out on a high having won the Second Division in 2009-10, at which point Bryan himself had amassed 257 league appearances.

Bryan was instrumental in persuading the family of David Marsh to kindly give the league a solid silver salver trophy to commemorate David with and this was used for a pre-season Charity Shield-style game between usually the previous season's League Champions and the Knockout Cup holders, from 1992-92 until it was discontinued in 2007.

So in short, Bryan Milner was without doubt one of the legends of the Five Towns' Quiz League and one of the characters on which its foundations are built.

Bryan Milner - died 2016.

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