The Charabancs of Fire looked like
winning their encounter with The Prodigals at
a canter after the first few questions of the
evening. Then came the reckoning for their
breakneck start as they were pegged back and
ultimately overtaken in a high-scoring ding-dong,
affair at The Turnpike.
I was privileged to be a spectator
(The Opsimaths were this week's sitters) as two very
good teams from the bottom half of our table racked
up a feast of points. The display of knowledge
was awesome but in the end only a backdrop to the
performance of Graham in the QM chair. Jitka
our league's longest-serving QM frequently
encourages teams by urging them not to "sleep on the
roses"; Graham's equivalent is a chortle followed by
"plump up your cushions you're going to love this
one". The acme of his act came in Round 3
when, for the East End question, his accent veered
between Arthur Mullard and Phil Mitchell.
What's more the volume of his delivery was enough to
make the hearing aids of the regulars at the saloon
bar vibrate with pain.
As for the teams the star performer
early on was Chara John who knew all about Bernstein
and Nabokov's other lives - but in the end the 16
twos that John, Michael, Jimmy and Danny ground out
could not be matched. A really enjoyable
evening with a massive 81 point aggregate that
The Bards of Didsbury beat The Electric
Pigs in another 'foot of the table' clash. The
Bards have been an enigma this season; hovering near
the bottom of the table yet upsetting the applecart
a fortnight ago by thumping the Dunkers and
effectively setting up the mother of all league
Bards' QM Mike reports on last
night's drawn out contest....
"Much time was spent conferring and the first half
didn't finish until after 9.45. Coincidentally
there were two questions about pop singles I
remember buying 'back in the day'
when I was working at Butlin's: Lord Rockingham's
skiffle number and Forty Shades of Green,
sung by some Irish colleagues .
Nevertheless a very good 9 point win for the Bards,
even though they lost Round 7 by one point to the
Pigs' 6. There were a few instances when both
sides talked themselves out of the right answer
(frustrating to a QM who hears the right answer but
has to keep quiet while the teams carry on
conferring). Altogether there were 6 twos for
the Bards and 9 for the Pigs whilst the 14
unanswered questions broke fairly evenly (8 - 6).
Ultimately therefore the Bards won it on 'steals'.
Ethel Rodin have faded somewhat
towards the closing stages of the season and this
week were roundly beaten by Compulsory Mantis
Victorious skipper Rachael
gives her account....
"I sat out tonight's match so I'm bringing you my
report from the sidelines. This
always going to be a crucial one as we fight to keep
our slender title hopes alive.
The first half proved particularly tense as Ethel
kept up the pressure, at one stage sitting just a
single point behind us. Our luck changed
significantly in the second half as we pulled ahead
to finish 17 points in front. I believe this
puts our combined scores in the range The History
Men predicted in their intro to the paper!
Both teams put up a great performance, with some
impressive conferring leading to correct answers
being dragged from the depths of our collective
James from the losing side of Ladybarn's
premier watering hole echoes Rachael's remarks....
"Ethel were heavily beaten - after being just one
behind at the halfway point.
There was an uncanny stream of about 8 questions in
a row, where all three other members of our team
knew the answer, but the person being asked didn't.
This was then compounded by a series of six or seven
50/50 answers where we unerringly chose the wrong
Albert capitulated to a Dunkin' Dönitz
team who are now locked in a desperate end of
season scrabble with the Shrimps. Kieran
offers his take....
first visit to the refurbished Fletcher Moss and
we're sure that the staff will have got the hang of
this pub malarkey by the time we return to play the
Pigs in three weeks.
Amateur hour behind the bar aside we rather enjoyed
the evening. The Albert had won four of the
last six against us so we were far from confident
going into the game. But we caught Eveline and
co. cold and were ten points ahead after two
rounds. From then on it was down to game management
and a four round slog saw us still ten ahead at the
end of Round 6. Round 7 went, appropriately
enough, seven nil to us and we were home, hosed,
feet up blowing smoke rings.
Highlight of the night was Jeremy, in the absence of
any support from the rest of his team, deciding that
Kriss Akabusi was a reasonable punt at a North
African 1500 metre world record holder. How we
laughed! Actually we all did, including Jeremy, who
along with the rest of his team played the match in
a tremendous spirit even though the paper and the 'unanswereds'
didn't favour them.
Ivor was guest QM and I think he'll be happy enough
with the reception for the History Men's paper
although the random facts bingo round at the end
didn't live up to the preceding rounds.
With the Shrimp beating Ethel then, whatever the
result of our game against the Pigs in three weeks,
the title will be decided in the final match of the
season against the Shrimp at the Turnpike.
Shades of Arsenal going to the Theatre of Total
Delusion in 1989 and no pressure Mr Wagstaffe (who
is the Guest setter for the final round of matches
on April 18th). Before that though we have a very
important encounter with the Pigs on a paper set by
the Shrimp. If there are eight rounds on the
history, geography, flora and fauna of Coventry I'll
cry foul - for all the good it will do me.
And before all of that there's next week's birthday
party and a handily arranged week off so David and I
can watch World Cup winners, Copa America winners,
African Nations Champions, Champions league
multi Premier League champions and serial domestic
cup collectors become utterly terrified and freeze
on the spot at the onslaught of a bunch of
anachronistic fantasists with very bad hair and the
greatest African player in the history of the last
six months of the Premier League. They might
win the game, they might win the tie though I doubt
that even Grobelaar would bet on it, but derision
and contempt is all they'll get from this end of the
East Lancs and they've earned every drop of it.
Football rant over, for now, see you all next week.
'Michael Thomas, it's up for grabs now....'.
Beautiful. Have money on it did you Bruce?"
Somewhat less 'off on one' over the forthcoming City
v Liverpool Euro encounter a becalmed Mike O'B
reports for the losers....
"Ah another defeat! I'm looking
forward to giving the team a pep talk in which I
will misquote Vitas Gerulaitis by announcing that
'no team beats The Albert seventy eight times in a
row'. We were rather thrown by pulling two
unanswerables in our first four questions and sadly