Tuesday, 28 April 2009

CIU Final - Some you Lose

- But on the other hand, some you win.

What a couple of days its been since my last entry. Allow me to try to explain. On Sunday I wrote that I was seriously considering going back to Newport on Monday evening. It transpires that I had my dates wrong for the CIU South Wales final, and actually that took place on Monday - last night. The first I knew was when Barry rang me up on Sunday evening just before I left for the quiz in the Pheasant.

On paper, it wasn't difficult to predict how we would do. Yes, my club in Port Talbot have actually won the CIU Welsh final before, but I wasn't on the team that night, as it clashed with the grand final of the much missed South Wales Echo League. However since then we have always featured in the top 3, and gone on to qualify for the Grand Final in Derby - apart from last year when we missed out on the third place by one point. In all the years I've been playing, though, we haven't won.

You see, what has happened is that since we won the title previously, the South Wales final has been designated the South Wales and West of England final. This has meant that the superb Ashford Road A and B teams from Swindon have also contested it too, which has meant that four teams who are potentially good enough to win the Grand final have been playing for three qualification places for that Grand Final. Last year for example, after several consecutive years' qualification, we lost out on 3rd spot by a single point, and didn't qualify for Derby. However I believe that Swindon must have been reclassified somehow and assigned to another area, since they weren't there last night.

So, on paper, qualification for the Grand Final seemed probable. However the win seemed far less likely. Maesglas A from Newport were still there, and we always , and I mean always, seem to lose to Maesglas A by one or two points - just by changing one right answer for a wrong one, or by making a wrong judgement call. Then put that together with the fact that the four of us haven't all played together since the last time that I went to Newport back in February, and you can see good reasons why I didn't think we were favourites to cause an upset. Add to that the fact that the second Maesglas team and the team from Loughor are fine teams in their own right, and you can see the reason why I was steeling myself for another evening of disappointment.

We started unusually well. The only question we failed on in the first round was this
- according to their website, Marks and Spencer now sell bras up to which size ?
The answer is apparently 'J'. No further comment necessary. The first handout round involved naming the 10 largest islands of the Mediterranean. Each correct answer gains half a point, but each wrong answer loses half a point. So theoretically you can get 5 right and end up with no points. We ventured 9, of which 8 were right, and thus gained 3 and a half points. Would that half point prove crucial ? It looked like it as Maesglas A led us by that half a point at the interval, with Loughor and the second Maesglas team neck and neck with us. However Sport, TV and Film, and the picture round saw us eke out a lead of a point and a half.

With the final ten questions to go, we could afford to let Maesglas A outscore us by one correct answer, but not two. We had 1 answer we just didn't know, and one we were uncertain on. We didn't know the correct term for a photographic memory - they did. Lead cut to one point. So it all hinged on one question. -
Who was the first British Prime Minister who was born in the 20th century ?
We discussed Harold Wilson.After the rounds were handed in, but before the answers were given Maesglas A told us that they had opted for Harold Wilson. However we knew that Jim Callaghan was the oldest person to become Prime Minister , and he was 64 when he did. Sir Alec Douglas - Home became PM in 1963 - so surely, surely even if he was 63 at the time he must have been born in 1900 or after. We waited with baited breath - Douglas - Home for glory , and Wilson for another disappointment. Wonder of wonders, this time it was glory !

I know they must have been gutted, because no serious quizzer likes to lose a quiz they might have won, but Mark, Richie, Gordon and Trevor from the Maesglas A, Herbie and the team from Maesglas B, and others all congratulated us like the good eggs they are, and I think they appreciated how much it meant with us being so close before, but always managing somehow to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Having said that, I bet that Maesglas A beat us in Derby.

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