Friday, 26 March 2010

Only Connect - Semi Final Preview

On Monday we move into the semi-finals on Only Connect. I’ve been having a little look at the teams’ relative strengths based on their performances in the first round and the quarter finals.

The first semi matches the team who had the best scores in both the first round and the quarter finals , the Archers Admirers, with the team who had the second best score in both the first round and the quarter finals, the Gamblers. I guess it’s the luck of the draw that this ends up being a semi final match rather than a final.
Now both teams have LAM readers among them, so let there be no accusations of unfair bias in the analysis which follows.

The Archers have achieved an average total score of 34 in their first two matches, while the Gamblers have achieved an average of 30. Impressively high in both cases. Looking at their relative performances in the first round, there is virtually nothing to choose between both teams. The Gamblers have twice managed 5 points, while the Archers are a little less consistent with a 2 and a 4. Going on the two teams' last performances I think we can say that both teams will probably get all of their connections, but it’s a question of how many points they’ll do it for. Gambling to go for 3 points off two clues could be a risky strategy but one which might pay dividends. In round two, where they have to predict the 4th in a sequence there really doesn't seem to be so much to chose between the two teams. Still the form guide, when you take both first round and quarter final matches into consideration suggests a slight lead for the Gamblers going into round three. With the walls, the Archers have solved both of theirs, which seems to give them a clear advantage. Yet so much depends on the luck of the draw as to which wall you get, and I wouldn’t like to read anything into this. However the Archers have scored very heavily in the missing vowels round both times. The Gamblers have done well in this round too, but not quite as well. Could just be down to the opposition both teams faced.

All of this makes it a very close contest to call. IMHO the Gamblers need a gap of a good 3 or 4 points going into the last round . They may find it a tall order. Having said that, the Gamblers won’t give away anything to the Archers in terms of bonuses.

Moving to the second semi for a moment, we are in the position of having a clear underdog. The Strategists have an average total score for the two matches of 26.5, while the Hitchhikers have an average total of 18. The Strategists’ superiority doesn’t show in the teams’ scores for the first or second rounds, which are very similar. However when we look at the connecting walls the Strategists have twice completely solved their walls, while the Hitchhikers have not yet managed to do it. The Hitchhikers were very solid on the missing vowels round in their heat, but struggled in the quarter final match, and could have lost . The Strategists have scored very well in their heat, and solidly in their quarter final match.

Its possibly actually a closer match up than it looks on paper. As with the first semi, any huge difference between the relative performance of the teams comes down to the connecting walls. The difference here though is that the Hitchhikers just haven’t shown any form on the wall to date.

SO what are my predictions ? I find semi final 2 easier to call than semi final 1. I’m not saying that the Hitchhikers can’t win, but I am saying that – and this is only my opinion – the Strategists have been the more impressive team in two rounds, and so I feel they are the more likely winners of this semi. Feel free to disagree. As for the first semi, I know that both teams are capable of winning the whole series. I think that there won’t be much in it at all, and it will come down to one or two calls. Put a gun against my head and order me to pick a winner, and I would say that the Archers have the highest scores so far, they’d been slightly more consistent, so they’re what I’d go for. Once again, do feel free to disagree.

Relative performances

Semi final 1

Team/match Round1 round 2 round 3 round 4 total
Archers Admirers –Heat 2 6 10 17 35
Archers Admirers – Quarter 4 7 10 12 33
Gamblers – Heat 5 5 10 11 33
Gamblers – Quarter 5 10 4 8 27

Semi Final 2

Team/match Round1 round 2 round 3 round 4 total
Hitchhikers - Heat 53211 21
Hitchhikers – quarter337215
Strategists – Heat54101231
Strategists – quarter 1410722


Andrew B. said...

A correction: in our heat we scored 2 in round 1, 6 in round 2.

Londinius said...

Whoops again ! Sorry, Andrew, I must have got it wrong in my original review of your first round match - that's where I took the stats from. I'll change it now.