John Wheeler, 10th in my table, had secured one of the coveted runner up berths through scoring 29 while coming runner up to Katherine Palmer in Heat 4. This was achieved mainly through a very effective 16 point general knowledge round. So he looked as if he would be in with a chance if he could manage anything approaching 10 on specialist. Alas, the Magna Carta proved to be in an unforgiving mood , and once stuck in a deathly mid round pass spiral he could only manage 4. With the best will in the world that was going to leave him just too much to do in the GK round.
At a relatively lowly 23 on my unofficial table, Sian West looked something of an underdog going into this semi. Decent rather than spectacular scores in both rounds had seen her win Heat 2. Back then Sian had answered on Billie Holliday. Tonight she answered on the Pembrokeshire Coast. Now, I can’t tell you much about the Pembrokeshire Coast other than it’s very beautiful, and Dinbych y Pisgod (Tenby) is one of my all time favourite seaside resorts in the whole of the UK. So I managed 1 point. Sian though really knew her subject pretty much inside out, so much so that it was something of a surprise that she had any wrong. Double figures in a 90 second round is good going, and her 10 was the pick of the specialists in this show.
Mark Roberts was even more the outsider, 30th on my table. Answering on Lord Palmerston he won Heat 13, but a relatively lowly score of 11 on GK suggested he would need a monster total on his specialist subject tonight. The Novels of William Boyd provided him with 6 points, perfectly respectable, but not, I am sorry to say, a monster. I’ve only ever read “Stars and Bars”, a couple of decades or more ago, and I’m afraid that my reaction was that it wasn’t really for me. So I scored a fat zero on this round.
Jonathan Gordon placed 8th on my table, and his first round GK score of 16 suggested that he was not to be lightly dismissed in this match. He won heat 10, won of the best of the first round, answering on French Grand Opera. Tonight he gave us the French Wars of Religion. I did slightly better on this round than on the previous, managing a single point with a lucky guess. Jonathan started like an express train, rattling off the correct answers with impressive speed. However a wrong answer took away his momentum , and he didn’t manage to get up a full head of steam for the remainder of the round. This meant that what had started looking for all the round like a sure fire double figures round leveled out at 7.
This, then, all seemed like good news for Roger, but even better news for Sian, who had a three point lead over both of her nearest competitors. First, though, John Wheeler returned for his GK round. Now, although this may sound a little contradictory, John’s GK round showed just how important it is to give yourself a good platform with your specialist round. John provided a really good GK round. He answered crisply and sharply, and I dare say that he’s a quizzer based on the quality of his answers. He produced a very good 13 point round, and I wouldn’t blame him for looking back on the specialist round and thinking ruefully – if only.
Mark found his GK round rather more difficult, and he never really looked like getting onto terms with the target of 17 that John had set. He finished with 14. Roger came next, and Roger’s GK rounds can be a bit deceptive. He doesn’t always look as if he is answering very quickly, but he doesn’t get many wrong, does Roger. I haven’t counted up the number of questions actually asked in each round, but I dare say that John got through more questions than Roger, yet Roger also scored 13, to set the target at 20. – He could have done with a couple more – I thought – but at least he had a chance.
It’s funny, but Jonathan’s round worked out to be very similar to his specialist round. Once again he began with all guns blazing, and looked a dead cert to reach the target, and go a couple of points better. However once again a wrong answer took the wind out of his sails, and slowed down his progress noticeably. Still, it looked close, and nothing was certain until the buzzer went just before John had a chance to ask the question which might have enabled him to equal Roger’s score. His total of 19 was close, but Roger still led with just Sian to go.
Sian did what she had to do. Getting them right was always going to be more important than going like the clappers if she was going to score the points she’d need to win, and even though some of her answers took a couple of seconds longer to come than she might have liked she never panic, and kept the answers coming. There were enough right ones to give her another 11 points, which took her past Roger’s total with 21. Very well done, and congratulations for reaching the grand Final, an achievement to be proud of. Hard lines Roger – I’m sorry that , for the time being , you didn’t get to join the very select band of double finalists.
|Roger Canwell||The Films of Norman Wisdom||7 - 1||13 - 2||20 – 3|
|John Wheeler||Magna Carta||4 - 5||13 - 2||17 – 7|
|Sian West||The Pembrokeshire Coast||10 - 0||11 - 2||21 – 2|
|Mark Roberts||The Novels of William Boyd||6 - 2||8 - 4||14 – 6|
|Jonathan Gordon||French Wars of Religion||7 – 0||12 - 0||19 – 0|