Well, that’s it for another year, and the dream remains just that – a dream. Mind you, we were really just going along in the hope of giving a decent account of ourselves this year – anything more than that would be a bonus. George, one of the stalwarts of our CIU team for so many years, committed the unforgiveable sin of booking himself and his son Mike, who was also a team member in the regional heats, on a cruise , thus making himself unavailable for the finals. Of course, sometimes clouds have silver linings, and we were able to call on the services of Rob M. who last played for us last time we won the Wales and West of England heat. John, despite having a long drive to London the next day before a flight to Hong Kong selflessly stepped into the breach as well, and with Ray from Rob’s all conquering Thursday night team, we felt that we were at least in the shape not to embarrass ourselves.
Mind you, embarrass myself is exactly what I did by missing the right junction on the M5. This is probably why I usually insist on setting off at least an hour too early, and in the long run it didn’t make that much of a huge difference to the journey. Full marks as well to the Galvaston and Crewton Workingmen’s club who were, I think, the original hosts of the event, and have hosted it again for the last two or three years. The buffet is always good, but this year topped them all. The chilli con carne was almost worth driving to Derby for on its own. Still, let’s get on with the quiz.
Question master was once again Dave Cornish, professional QM, question setter, writer, and all round good egg. There’s one thing you can always guarantee with a Dave Cornish quiz, and that is that he is going to make you think. If you want to do well, that is. And rather surprisingly, we were doing just that for the first half of the quiz. We had a good connection round to start, and a good entertainment round. Dave produced a cracker of a list round – he asked us to name the largest 10 independent sovereign states ( in terms of land area ) whose names in English begin AND end with the same letter. What a cracking ask. We surprised ourselves in two ways – firstly, by getting nine out of ten, and secondly , by leaving Albania out of the list ! Great question though.
So at this stage I think we were in joint second, only a point or two behind a couple of teams, including Ashford Road of Swindon. Then the picture round exploded all over us. I’m not criticizing the round. It was perfectly legitimate and fair – in fact the only complaint I have is that we didn’t know the answers to half of them. That’s the way it goes. But you’ll appreciate that our mediocre performance in the round meant we were conceding 4 or 5 points to a lot of other teams, and plummeted to 8th place. We had been ahead of our friends from Newport, Maesglas A, but now they were ahead of us, and comfortably heading off over the horizon.
So the dream was gone , as was any hope of making the podium, and for us it was all about making the best score we could, and seeing if we could overhaul at least a couple of the teams ahead of us. We did so fairly successfully, and climbed to 6th overall. That’s nothing to be ashamed of considering that amonst the five teams above us were former winners Gosforth Empire, Radford Road of Coventry, and our friends Maesglas A. The worthy winners were Ashford Road from Swindon, a terrific team who are always there or thereabouts in the final reckoning, and have won the title before. They were either leaders or joint leaders throughout the whole quiz. Mind you, there was a little excitement on the last question. This is always a who am I question. Get it from one clue, you get 6 points. 2 clues, you get 4 points. 3 clues you get 3 points – you know how it works. On the second clue we realized that it was Chris Tarrant, and handed in. So did Maesglas A. Now, Maesglas A were 2 points behind Ashford Road at this stage, and Ashford Road didn’t hand in. I watched them on the next clue, and they didn’t seem at all certain, but in the end they gambled – and won the quiz by gambling well.
So once again, thanks to Chris Brewis, thanks to Dave Cornish, and thanks to the club for a great day . Yes, I know that I’ve said that I have a dream of one day winning the final ( not totally impossible – we were 2nd once ) , and it’s true, I would. I dearly would. But as I’ve said before, there are much worse places to be on a Sunday in September than bombing down the motorway in a car full of your mates, chucking quiz questions at each other. Here’s looking forward to next year.