Monday, 31 August 2009

TV Watch 2 - Only Connect - The Grand Final

The Rugby Boys versus The Cambridge Quiz Society

Well, the Rugby Boys' success in reaching the final has made people sit up and take notice down our way. I haven't had a chance to see it, but apparently the lads featured in an article in the South Wales Echo during the last couple of days. The echo doesn't quite reach as far west as Port Talbot, however my friend who told me about the article said that Mark explained that in his opinion "only Connect" really is the toughest quiz on television, and do you know something ? On the evidence of the last few matches I have to say that he may well be right. None the worse for that either, I hasten to add.

As happened last week , the final presented us with a contest that pitted Youth against Experience. Youth was provided in the form of Paul Beecher, Joshua Karton and captain Sam Spiro, the Cambridge Quiz Society. Experience came from Richie Parnell, Mark Labbett and captain Gary Dermody , the Rugby Boys. Victoria Coren, at her wicked best, began the show, as she has on more than one occasion by having a dig at Wikipedia, or as she likes to call it "a random splurge of rumour and guesswork. " Which come to think of it is a pretty good description of some of the answers that have come from the Clark sofa during this series.

The Rugby Boys won the toss but opted to go second. which seemed a pretty inspired choice as the Cambridge team passed them over a bonus on time differences. With another bonus , this time on pieces of music based on parts of the Bible, which offset one failure, the men from Wales led 5 - 2 going into the second round. I thought there were some brilliant connections in this round - kudos to the question setters. The Rugby Boys impressed me with the ease with which they solved that gules - tenne - or - should be followed by vert. These are heraldic terms for colours, so in the spectrum red, orange, and yellow are followed by green - vert. I was far less impressed when they mistook a commodore computer for an Archimedes, and thus failed to see that Commander James Bond, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and a Commodore computer ( was it a 64 ? ) would be followed by a Rear Admiral, to show rising ranks in the Royal Navy. The Cambridge Quiz Society saw it though, and took a well deserved bonus. The gap had still widened by the end of the round, as the Rugby Boys led by 9 to 3.

The connections wall had proven to be the big difference between the Rugby Boys and their semi final opponents the Chessmen. Tonight, faced with a fiendish wall they managed to find just the one set, although they solved all 4 connections when revealed. The Cambridge Quiz Society, faced with an equally fiendish wall, spotted a connection at once - famous locomotives, but didn't follow through and find the correct 4. They found none of the 4 sets, and solved 2 connections. Alas they used the locomotive solution on the set containing Rocket, rather than the set containing Mallard and City of Truro. So going into the missing vowels round it looked as good as over, with the Rugby Boys holding a lead of 13 points to 5.

Considering that a tough set of Wordsworth poems brought both teams to a virtual standstill in the middle of the missing vowels round, both teams did well to put decent scores on the board. The Rugby Boys added 6 points to their total, while the Cambridge Quiz Society added a creditable 4, bringing the final score in the match to 19 - 9. Commiserations to the Cambridge Quiz Society, but congratulations too on a fine performance to reach the final, especially considering the impressive teams who have contested this series. Many many congratulations to the Rugby Boys, who have struck another blow to enhance the prestige of quizzers and quizzing in South Wales.

Victoria Coren ended the show with a reminder that next week The Rugby Boys will play last year's champions, whom she referred to as "The terrifying Crossworders. " That's a bit unfair. I don't know Mark Grant, but David Stainer and Ian Bayley are both charming ! Richie, Gary and Mark have been outstanding this series, but then David, Mark and Ian were every bit as outstanding last year. which means that we should be in for another treat next week. I have emailed the BBC expressing my enjoyment of this series, and my hope that there will be another series soon. May I suggest that all fans of the series do the same ? This is one of those rare things - a show that is well worth going out of your way to support.

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