I can only apologise to those of you who read my previous posting of this preview. Dan Adler very kindly pointed out to me that I had my finalists wrong, and had not done Brian Chesney his due. Brian – I can only apologise. So then, let’s have a look at the finalists: -
As you can see, we have Brian Chesney out heading the table with 24 in his semi, while only two points covers all the other 5 contenders. In this way it resembles last year, where we had a similar situation. One of the things I always look at when I’m trying to weigh up who I think are the most likely winners of a Mastermind Grand Final is the GK scores of both first round and semi. While you can have a ‘lucky’ set of questions in one of the rounds, the chances of a contender posting two good GK scores without really having a very good general knowledge are slight. On this score, I like the look of Brian Chesney and Roderick Cromar, scorers of our two highest semi GK rounds among the finalists. This isn’t, though, always the most reliable of indicators – last year being a case in point. In last year’s final we saw Aidan McQuade post a very good GK score, to move from joint third at halfway, and overcome a three point deficit. Aidan’s GK scores in his two previous shows hadn’t really given any indication that this was likely to happen. So working on that basis, all of our finalists reached double figures in their semi-final GK round, and if one of them hits an absolutely purple patch, then it could be anybody’s game.
There is also the question of previous experience to throw into the mix. I have gone on record as saying that I do believe that it gets easier to handle a round in the chair each time you do it. That’s just my opinion, and as always, feel free to disagree. Still, if there’s any validity to this point of view, then Hamish Cameron could do very well. Hamish is, I think, the most experienced Masterminder of them all, and certainly is either record holder, or joint record holder for the number of semi-final appearences. I’d be delighted for Hamish if he won, and believe me, if he gets it right in GK he can certainly do it. I refrain from tipping him for the win, though, because his scores can be a little inconsistent on GK. Michael McPartland has done his time at the broadcast quiz coalface as well, being a double semi finalist, and a competitor in Only Connect and Brain of Britain as well. Clive Dunning has also contested Brain of Britain, and Roderick Cromar, University Challenge. No shortage of experience then, among our finalists.
As much as last year, then, I think it’s pointless trying to pick a winner from this field. All of them are capable of winning this contest if they have prepared their specialist subject thoroughly, and if the question in the GK round fall the right way. That’s a big if, and if you can predict with 100% certainty who is going to win, then predict next week’s lottery numbers for me as well for an encore. SO nobody gets burdened with the Clark tip this year, because I can’t call it. Who gets burdened with the Clark support, though? It’s very hard for me, because I know for a fact that we have at least 4 LAM readers in the final, any of whom would be a very worthy winner. I don’t know whether Hamish ever reads LAM, but I can’t help wanting him to do well as well. As I think I’ve said before, Hamish was the stand in for my final, despite having posted the third highest score of the semis. I admire his perseverance and determination, to keep going in pursuit of the title despite a number of semi final set backs. As for Brian, I wish him every success as well. Gentlemen, I wish you every success, and can only hope that you all enjoy(ed) your final as much as I enjoyed mine.