Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Return to Newport

y - o - y - o -y do I keep putting myself through this ?

I'll put my cards on the table here. This is another moan about headstarts and handicaps. Feel free to stop reading now if you think that I'm going to be like a stuck record here.

Right, now that they've gone, I'll get to the point. I enjoyed the CIU so much last week that I thought - d'you know what , I WILL go to Newport on Monday. Even if we get shafted by the handicaps again it will be a pleasure spending another evening in the company of Barry, Alan and George.

A triumph of hope over experience. George and Barry couldn't make it. So it was just Alan, Gordon and myself. Still, - I reasoned - all the more reason for Trevor to take a little pity on us and be at least fair with the headstarts and the handicaps.

No chance.

Every team there were given at least 5 points more than us. Now OK, on paper we're a good team. But to do what Trevor did last night is to virtually say that George - who is a former runner up in Brain of Britain - and Barry who is a fine quizzer too - make no contribution to the team when they are there. Which is of course nonsense. But this is the kind of area of speculation that you get into once you start messing about with handicaps.

It didn't help that it was again the kind of quiz where everyone was scoring at least 17 out of 20 on every round - which meant that to claw back the headstarts you virtually needed to get everything right, which was never going to happen. Still, we also had the unedifying experience of seeing teams who had already been given between a 10 and a 15 point head start actually outscoring us on the 50 point handout. Which begs the question - if they are that good, why the hell do they need to be given a head start in the first place ? If they're not that good - then how the hell did they all manage to score 47 out of 50 on the handout ?

Whichever way you say it, the numbers don't add up. So once again we had the bitter experience of coming 5th. It didn't make it better that we were beaten by 9 points by 2 teams, and 7 points by another 2 teams. One of the two teams who beat us by 9 had a five point head start, so would have beaten us anyway. Somehow this didn't make it any better. If we are supposed to be so good, and so much better than everyone else, how come we are getting hammered once you put the handicaps on. The handicaps are supposed to even things up, but all its doing is making me feel that we can't win before we even start - and Newport is a bloody long way to go for a quiz you can't win through no fault of your own.

Its not the money. Believe me, if the suggestion was made to scrap the prize money for 1st and 2nd, and instead keep all of the money back for the jackpot, I would be the first to put my hand up in agreement. Maybe then we could scrap the head starts - and get back to a level playing field. Because I'm sorry, but pretty much every time I've been to the quiz in the last 10 months or so the handicaps have rarely borne any real relationship to the relative strengths of the teams involved.

For what its worth -

Team A ( no names no pack drill ) had a 5 point start and beat us by 9
Team B had a 9 point start and beat us by 9
Team C had an 11 point start and beat us by 7
Team D had a 15 point start and beat us by 7
Team E had an 18 point start and lost to us by 5.
So by my reckoning, Team A should start with 5 points less than us next time - Team B the same points, Team C a 4 point head start - Team D an 8 point head start - Team E a 25 point head start. It will be interesting to see what he gives out - I bet it bears no relation to this at all. I'll let you know how things pan out next week.

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