I am indebted to both Richard Bach and David Bodycombe for pointing out to me where I could find the second semi-final on the iplayer. Not only that, but David has once again shown what a gentleman and a scholar he is by promising to send me the two other shows I missed.
This gives me a chance to comment, then, on the second of the semi finals. For all the fact that I already knew the outcome, this proved to be a contest full of interest and excitement. If you read my review of Monday's third place play off you'll know that I was full of admiration for the Chessmen's breathtaking performance in that particular show. So I expected a titanic tussle with my friends The Rugby Men. In effect, it was a real show of two halves.
The Chessmen looked like they were going to carry all before them in round one, as they rushed off into a 6 - 2 lead. However the score in the second round was also 6 - 2, but this time with the Rugby Boys taking the honours, to even the scores at 8 each. I beg your indulgence while I make a rather self serving little digression here. The Rugby Boys scored very well on a sequence of the 4 oldest men on the Bible. I was delighted to see the second one - Noah 950. This is a little bit of a coincidence. I don't know if Mark remembers this, but a few years ago we were in rival teams competing against each other in the Welsh regional CIU finals. One of the features of these evenings is the offer of individual spot prizes during the evening. The second spot prize that evening was for answering the question "How old was Noah when he died ? " As I walked up to give in my answer Mark actually said something along the lines of
" Hard luck fellers, I've got it spot on . . . " or something of that sort. Imagine my surprise then when Chris Brewis announced that I was closest.
Having said that, Mark's team, Maesglas A, beat us by a point to win the competition that night !
As is so often the case the Connections Wall proved to be the real turning point. The Chessmen could see that one of the connections was that all 4 words could be prefixed by the word 'last' , and they tried every permutation of the 5 possible words apart from the right one. As a result they only found 1 connection , and solved three to move their score to 12. On the other hand the Rugby Boys when faced with a similar situation regarding presenters of Blue Peter tried diferent combinations very swiftly, allowing them just enough time to untangle the last two. They scored a maximum of ten , to take a 6 point lead into the missing vowels round.
Crowning off a brilliant performance the Rugby Boys added 7 more to their score in the final round, while the Chessmen managed 5, which allowing for a point deduction for taking too long after buzzing, meant that the two teams were actually pretty even for the round. No doubt about the winners overall though.
Terrific match, thoroughly enjoyable. Well done to both teams - some of the solutions provided were outstanding IMHO.