First into the chair was Ailsa Prosser. Glasgow School of Art! – I shouted, trotting out a readily available fact about the great man, and that was enough to get me a point on one of the questions. Actually I had a couple more, since I’ve been admire of Rennie Macintosh for a few years now. Ailsa’s round was an interesting one. She obviously knew her stuff, but for a couple of questions she just didn’t get hold of the question nat all, answering with something that had already been mentioned in the question. Was it nerves, I wonder. It’s certainly possible. That having been said, her score of 8 was a perfectly serviceable one in the context of the current series.
Roderick Cromar was answering on Sam Phillips and the Sun Record Label. Now, I would have lain odds that this round had nothing in it for me, and I was nearly right. However there was just one question about the Million dollar quartet, and thankfully I knew that Carl Perkins, old blue suede shoes himself, was the missing name from the list. That was it for me. Roderick did better, and 9 and two passes put him temporarily into the lead. Still, it was more of a ‘keeping yourself in contention’ round, than a ‘blowing the opposition away’ round, if you see what I mean.
James Knight’s round, on the other hand, was very much of this ilk. James was answering on The Sharpe novels of Bernard Cornwell. He was asked 14 questions, and he gave 14 correct answers. Speaking as someone who never had a perfect round in five attempts at specialist, I have to tell you that this achievement is very difficult to achieve. I worked my socks off on all of my specialists, and I still got found out by at least one question in each of those 5 rounds. With 14, James had a lead of 5, and looked to be in a very good position indeed.
Paul Gregan faced the daunting task of trying to emulate James’ round, and he was answering on Wainwright’s Guides. I don’t say for one moment that he actually was daunted by the task, but I’m afraid the round didn’t go as well as he would probably have hoped. Before halfway it became fairly clear that he was struggling to get on top of the round, and in the end he finished with a total of 7.
So, to recap, going into the GK round the on-course bookies had stopped accepting bets on James Knight. With a 5 point lead he had a very significant cushion. Now, I was once told by a sage old veteran of the show that while you can lose the show on Specialist, you can win it on General. The rounds to follow would either validate or disprove this dictum.
Paul returned to the chair, and made a decent stab at his GK round. Basically, in a GK round you want to get into double figures, and Paul certainly managed this. His 11 gave him a total of 18. It wouldn’t give him a chance of a win since James was only 4 points behind, but it brought a mark of respectability to the performance, and if you can say that, then the whole experience certainly isn’t a waste of time. Ailsa Prosser’s general knowledge round which followed was really interesting. Ailsa was not answering any of her questions particularly quickly, but certainly for the first minute or so of her round she was answering very accurately. At one stage I thought she could be on for a very significant score. Well, the round lost its way a little bit in the last minute, but even so, 13 is not a score to be sniffed at, and it took Ailsa up to 21. Not quite enough to put James into the corridor of uncertainty, but even so, a useful performance, and maybe just a hint, a foreshadowing if you will, that there was still quite a lot of play in this match.
Roderick began his round 5 points behind James. He needed to go for it, and he did. He missed a couple of rather chestnutty questions, but even so, to notch up 15 was a very good performance indeed. He never lost his composure, kept answering what he did know and guessing what he didn’t. Now, 15 meant that James needed 10 to win outright, and that seemed like just enough to put him into the corridor of uncertainty. The next two minutes would tell.
For the first minute, I thought that he would do it. He was certainly not answering as well as Roderick, and wouldn’t get close to 15. However he did have the five point cushion, and the score was moving. By the 90 second mark, though, it wasn’t moving quickly enough, and the passes were piling up. The last minute was spent with James trying desperately to extricate himself from a pass spiral, and just not quite managing it. For the record, he finished with 7 on the round, for a total of 22. I’m sure there’s little I can say by way of consolation, but I hope that he takes away the memory of a fantastic specialist round, which he certainly produced in the show.
Well done Roderick, and good luck in the semis. Well done as well to Steven Broomfield and Beth Webster who are, if my calculations are correct, now guaranteed places in the semis.
|Alisa Prosser||Charles Rennie Macintosh||8 - 1||13 - 3||21 - 4|
|Roderick Cromar||Sam Phillips and the Sun Recording Label 1950 - 1960||9 - 2||15 - 1||24 - 3|
|James Knight||The Sharpe novels of Bernard Cornwell||14 - 0||8 - 7||22 - 7|
|Paul Gregan||Alfred Wainwright’s Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells||7 - 3||11 - 4||18 - 7|
Steven Broomfield 30 – 1
Beth Webster 28 – 2
Ron Wood 28 – 3
=Carol O’Byrne 27 – 2
=Peter Russell 27 – 2
=Chloe Stone 27 – 2