Savings Banks Institute - National Branch Quiz
At the Savings Banks Institute's (SBI) Branch Officials' Conference held at the New Grand Hotel in Torquay on April 17th 1973, it was proposed by the South Wales & West of England branch, that a Branch General Knowledge Knock-Out Quiz should be instituted. The competition to be played on a regional basis initially, with the winners of the four regions then playing off for a National Trophy. The 'Branches' of the SBI consisting of geographical groups of TSBs.

The Groups were as follows:
    Group 1 (Scotland): Aberdeen; Cumbria & Borders; Dundee; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Northern Ireland
    Group 2 (North West): Birmingham; Chester; Liverpool; Manchester; North Lancs; West Midlands
    Group 3 (North East): Derby, Leicester & Notts; East Midlands; Hull; Mid-Anglia; Tyneside; York, West Riding
    Group 4 (Southern): Devon & Cornwall; Hants & Dorset; London; South Midlands; South Eastern;  South Wales and West of England

The rules provided that teams were to consist of four members, of which one at least should be female. Each contest to be played over twelve rounds with eight questions (four for each team) in each round. Scoring to be on the basis of 2 points for an individual answering their own question correctly, but only 1 point if the answer was provided after conferring with teammates. The opposing team to be given the opportunity to earn a bonus point, where the opposition gave a wrong answer, or failed to answer within the 10-second time limit.
The performances of the  Birmingham Municipal Bank in this competition (1973/74 to 1976/77) were as follows:
    Round 1: defeated Chester 80-64
    Group Semi-Final: defeated Liverpool 70-58
    Group Final: defeated Manchester 69-65
    National Semi-Final: defeated Mid-Anglia 59-47
    National Final: defeated Edinburgh 62-61

The semi-finals and final were held at the Coventry Esso Hotel on Saturday, April 20th 1974. The BMB contested the first semi-final, which was held in a relaxed manner that soon had both teams at ease, resulting in an interesting match with Birmingham slowly drawing away over the first seven rounds. Although Mid-Anglia staged a recovery in rounds eight and nine, the BMB emerged as comfortable winners.

The BMB's Godfrey Boden was the question master for the second semi-final, in which the fortunes of both teams fluctuated round-by-round, until Edinburgh emerged winners over South Eastern by 59 to 57.

In the final, the first round subject of 'Art' produced just one correct answer, and it was of tremendous credit to both Birmingham and Edinburgh that, after such an un-nerving start, they produced the highest scoring contest of the day. Again, the fortunes of both teams fluctuated throughout, and with the scores level the last question went to Birmingham: 'What animal was portrayed by Baloo in the Walt Disney film, The Jungle Book?' Ten seconds elapsed - no answer. The question then became a team question, and after a brief discussion, an answer was submitted: 'A bear'; correct! The BMB team has won by the narrowest of margins: 62 to 61.

(The BMB's triumph in winning the first competition is recorded, with a photograph of the team, at
Image 075. On October 2nd 1974, the BMB team suffered their first defeat, in a challenge match against TSB Central Organisations - the score was 62-58)
(Six groups for this competition: BMB in Group 3 with Chester; Derby, Leics & Notts; and Manchester)
    Round 1: defeated Derby, Leics & Notts 58-51
    Round 2: lost to Manchester 57-66
(Manchester reached the National Final after defeating Liverpool 39-34, but then lost to South West Wales & West of England 48-53)
(BMB in Group 3 - same teams as previous year)
    Round 1: defeated Derby, Leics & Notts 68-53
    Round 2: lost to Manchester (score not known)
(West of Scotland were this year's winners, defeating Manchester in the National Final 41-29)
(For this year, the rule changes included the withdrawal of the requirement that each team should include at least one lady member. The Branches completed the initial part of the competition in four Groups, BMB being in Group 1 with Derby, Leics & Notts; East Midlands; Mid-Anglia; North East; West Midlands; and Yorkshire)
    Round 1: defeated West Midlands 73-58
    Round 2: defeated Mid-Anglia 76-63
    Group Final: defeated North East 72-59

Sixty-two members attended this group final held on neutral ground at Kegworth in the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire branch area. The Birmingham team of Jean Ager, Harry Madeley, John Walker and Robert Edkins took an early lead of nine points. At the end of the ninth round, the North East team of Pat Inerd, Alex Simpson, Bill Surtees and Colin Maxwell had pulled back this deficiency and the teams were all square at forty-eight point each. In a magnificent rally, Birmingham regained the lead and finished strongly to win by 13 points and qualify for the National Final in Warrington.

    National Semi-Final: defeated Northern Ireland 42-37

The Northern Ireland team could have been excused for their slow start after the complexity of their travel arrangements caused by a British Airways' dispute. However, Birmingham's lack of knowledge of mythology in round three gave the opposition an opportunity to take the lead, which they retained for two rounds. It has to be reported with much regret that the least number of marks were scored in the compulsory round on commerce - yet the highest scores were attained in the general knowledge round which included such questions as 'What is an arabesque in ballet?' The best answer came from John Tanner, the timekeeper, who executed the movement with astonishing agility. The final round on the Arts confirmed Birmingham's victory of 42-37 after a well-contested match.

    National Final: lost to South Wales & West of England 44-54

At 8:30pm, the two finalist teams sat down to eight more testing rounds of questions. For the first six rounds, only one or two points separated the teams' scores but round seven on history and round eight on films and film stars added an astonishing 18 points to the score of South Wales & West of England, compared with seven to that of the Birmingham team. Therefore, after a very close match, South Wales & West of England emerged the victors once again, winning 54-44. See Image 075 for a photograph of the BMB team.
(The above details were extracted from various copies of the Journal of the Savings Banks Institute that were supplied by David Glenn)