So there we are.... a great season,
our 40th, draws to an exciting conclusion with a
head-to-head, table-topping, nerve-tingler.
Dunkin' Dönitz are our 2017/18 League Champions
following a tied match at the Turnpike!!
Many congratulations to Kieran,
Barry, Martin and David - but also to Rachael and
her squadron who will surely sail through to triumph
in the league pretty soon.
And not forgetting our Guest setter, Mike Wagstaffe,
who fuelled such an exciting climax with his
consolidated their third position in the table
beating The Charabancs of Fire
by a comfortable 10 points.
was in the losing squad at the Ladybarn Club and
sends this report....
"In the last league match of the
season, there was some good news and some not so
good news for the Charas. The good news was
that we all scored at least one two pointer and so
qualified for the team the next time we meet (funny
how we've all done that since Megson's 'No two and
you're out!' rule came into being). The not so
good news is that we got trounced once again by our
inveterate trouncers, Ethel Rodin (can't recall the
last time we beat them). Ethel led in every
single round by a handful of points but pulled ahead
in the last two rounds to leave us standing.
We can squawk about it as much as we like but the
bottom line remains that they were the better team
because they knew more answers than we did - on top
of which they were the more effective conferrers.
Roll on the cup competition and let us pray dear old
Val Draper will bestow her blessings on us this year
as munificently as she has done in the past! We can
only wait and hope."
At the Turnpike in deepest Withington
this season's two standout teams served up a
concoction to savour as Compulsory Mantis Shrimp
tied with Dunkin' Dönitz in a thrilling
head-to-head. A fitting result that means that
the Dunkers retain their crown by two points at the
top of the table. The tide of history has been
held at bay for one more year. Rachael
sums up after a brilliant campaign by our youngest
a very tense evening at The Turnpike, where there
were never more than three points between our
scores, we fittingly ended the evening with a tie.
Very few steals were given all night and only two
questions went unanswered. Dunkin' Donitz
stayed calm and managed to avoid blurting while we
tried for a few risky two-pointers (which we might
not have attempted otherwise), because we knew we
had to win by 4 points to secure the league title.
Unfortunately, while some of our blurts paid off
royally, a few didn't. Congratulations to the
excellent Dunkers on another well-deserved title.
We are very much looking forward to another season
in this wonderful league."
Somewhat more expansively - as you
might imagine - Kieran waxes thus....
"'Multa parum fabricabimus' - 'We build much on
little' (Google-translated by Barry in the aftermath
of maybe the greatest quiz game we have played in
all our twenty seven seasons).
off the result was the only one appropriate to the
evening. Both teams playing at the absolute
peak of their abilities with the title on the line,
desperately aware that the slightest error could see
seven month's work slip away in thirty seconds.
And we did wonder if, had we lost by two points, we
could accept a drink off our marvellous hosts and
then toast a title triumph. That would have
been a bit caddish frankly.
weren't Arsenal going to the theatre of bricks,
smashed windows and mob violence in 1989 because it
was the Shrimp who needed to win by a specific
margin - but in all other respects it felt just like
that magical night. In keeping with the
analogy and with everything that has happened since
October 4th, it was number 1,150 of an 1,152
question season before the destination of the title
was decided. It was David's question about the 1809
race that had Wizard as its inaugural winner - but
there was no DELAHUNTYYYYYYYYYYYY moment.
Instead Barry and I channelled Alan Smith and
Michael Thomas, and, after what seemed a lifetime's
agony and having dismissed the Grand National,
Cheltenham Gold Cup, Lincoln handicap, St. Leger,
Derby, America's Cup and anything to do with steam
trains, we settled on the 2,000 Guineas.
Martin and David were just spectators at this point
and it felt as if it took me minutes to voice the
short three word answer and even longer before it
was called as correct and the title winning point
awarded - the Donutz one ahead with only three on
the table for the Shrimp. Cue an explosion of
joy and relief from our table followed very quickly
by an apology to our opponents for overexuberant
celebrations. But the Shrimp were as magnificent in
defeat as they had been all evening during the match
and they heartily congratulated us which was way
more than decent of them. I hope I would have had
as much grace had the situation been reversed.
parum fabricabimus'. And boy did we - all
night, as we have all season. 'A Guy Called
Gerald' in Round One, 'The Open' and the 'Old
Vicarage, Grantchester' in Round 4, 'Wapping' in
Round 5, 'Galloway and Alloway' in Round 6,
'Courage' for a priceless bonus in Round 7 and, as
Guineas' in the last round all worked out - not
guessed - after a huge amount of conferring and all
our experience brought to bear to secure points on
the way to retaining the title. And of course
spectacular twos: 'TED' in Round 7 (David), 'Keith
Michell' in Round 2 (Barry), 'Grand Theft Auto' in
Round 5 (Martin) and, blowing my own trumpet, 'David
Leadbetter' from me in Round 2.
seems to be the case every week we were outscored on
twos (16-10) but steals were always going to be key
and we got five of those, only giving up one to the
Shrimp all evening. And we got 19 one-point
conferred answers to our hosts 11. If I
haven't mentioned it before this is how we win
the statistically constipated among you the end of
round scores were (Shrimp score first): 6-6, 11-13,
19-19, 23-23, 30-27, 34-33, 40-38 and ending at
the business end of the evening Shrimps Richard and
Rachael went through every kind of agony on their
own questions, knowing that they had to go for twos
to try to build a lead over us and apologising to
their team mates in advance should they be wrong.
Of course they kept on pulling out two after two so
that we could never feel secure. On our part
we had to keep minimising the damage with those
'team effort' answers. One thing I was very
pleased with was that we scored on all but one of
the first questions (which were Barry's) in each
round so we never let the Shrimp build any momentum
and put us under pressure to have to try long
a night, what a season, what a completely brilliant
way to spend Wednesday evenings all through winter
with nine other teams of harmless obsessives.
Thanks to you all for your fantastic efforts in
question-setting, for the challenge you brought to
us keeping our brains just about functioning as we
approach retirement and most of all for your
excellent humour and your company. Thanks
especially to Tom, James, Richard and Rachael for an
evening none of us will ever forget and for putting
us under the greatest pressure I've known in nearly
thirty years of this silly but addictive and
parum fabricabimus'. Yes we do and we are very
proud that we can still do so. 'The season
comes down to these moments now' as the great Mike
Ingham once said, and having lived through it I'd
like to quote another great who is a hero of mine:
'Please God, never this way again' - Vincent Kompany,
thank you and goodnight."
Finally minutes after the match finished James
from the Shrimp sent his thoughts on a thrilling
"It was an amazing match. We played very well
and Dönitz were just as good. The match was
really even throughout; there was never more than 3
points in it after any of the rounds. We were
2 points ahead going into the final round, but the
Dunkers were just too strong at the end.
It doesn't feel completely like it right now, but
the match was tremendous fun to play and was played
in the best of spirits. Can you congratulate
Dönitz for me once again? The league table
doesn't lie. They have been a fantastic team
for so long now, and the best team won the title."
Meanwhile just around the corner from
The Turnpike at the Red Lion, The History Men lost
to Albert in another extremely close match.
Victorious skipper Mike 'The
Paddle' O'Brien offers this....
"At last a win, although it has to be said that our
one point victory came courtesy of a very sporting
concession by the History Men on the question
concerning the darkness movement. Otherwise it
would have been a tie which would still have been an
improvement on our recent dismal run of form."
....whilst Ivor's view of
proceedings was thus....
failed to do the double over the Albert in a close
fought but amiable quiz night against our old
rivals. Both of us used to be contenders in the
2000s but tonight was a good
lower table contest - and the Albert’s victory
ensures them a place in the Lowly Grail next
season. We have had about 40 meetings over the
years and it did seem like Groundhog Day. We
had a four point lead at half time whittled away to
a two point lead in the last round when the first
blurts of the evening were our undoing. Ashton
was MVP (the most twos); Jeremy continued in his
permanent role as the Jonah (most unanswereds); Mike
with his collection of artefacts (none needed
tonight) skippered and Evelyn in the head-to-head
with me with the last two questions proved the
match-winner. Eveline had a two to win or a one to
draw. She kept her nerve."
Finally Mike H who QMed the evening adds this
"Very good compilation of questions, and a very
close, entertaining contest at the Red, which
Eveline won on the last question.
Had it not been for a blurt by Anne on the Banana
question, and a spot of generosity by myself in the
QM chair on the 'turning out of non-essential
lights' question when I allowed Albert to get the
points for saying 'day' rather than 'hour', the
result would have been a draw or more likely, a
marginal victory by the History Men."
The Opsimaths consolidated
their position as fourth in the table by beating The Bards of Didsbury
at the Albert Club by a mere one point margin.
Interestingly our bogey team for a few years now
have been The Charas and, of course, they managed a
defeat at the hands of Ethel (see above). Had
they won then the Opsimaths
would have jumped a place to third in the final
table. Thanks Charas!
It was a jolly match. With
neither of the teams having much at stake there was
not a lot of tension. I QMed while Nick (back
from Edinburgh), Howell, Brian and
Hilary (on crutches but getting
rapidly more mobile with her new knee) fought the
good fight for the home team. Pitted against
them on the opposition benches were the shadowy
figures of Jim, Tom, Bernard and Lord Hammond of the
Potteries (yes he did bring up the subject of PMT
once more). Nick's return to the home team's
line up was perhaps the crucial factor in such a
narrow victory although it was Brian rather than
Nick who dredged 'Eddington's Number' from the
recesses of his brain to earn a crucial point.
On the final question the Opsimath conference came
up with David Tennant and clinched the vital point
needed for victory.
A very welcome second win of the
season for The Electric Pigs against The Prodigals.
"Great fun in a very noisy Fletcher
Moss - and surprisingly we finished by 10:35."