Monday, 13 September 2010

The CIU Finals and a Gent and a Scholar

Well, its that time of year again. One of the first couple of Sundays in September always sees the lucky 16 qualifying teams trek to Derby to compete in the national CIU finals. You may possibly recall me saying that its one of my great unfulfilled ambitions to one day, just once, have a huge amount of luck on the day and actually win the whole thing. So, how did we get on this year ?

Well, we’d qualified back in June in fine form, winning the welsh and west regional heat from our friends in the Maesglas A team from Newport, bereft of the services of your very own Chaser Mark Labbett as they were. Maesglas have a fine tradition in the competition, having won it at least three times since I’ve been playing. However, this is not to imply that they were the only strong contenders there. Last year’s winners, Radford Social from Coventry had no intention of relinquishing their title without a tussle, and two fine teams from Ashford Road in Swindon looked likely to have more than a little to say about the destination of the trophy.

Right then, lets make no excuses for what happened. You know that some times in a quiz everything runs for you, you have all the rub of the green, all your guesses come off, and you feel invincible ? We had such a night when we played in the welsh final. I’m afraid that we didn’t have such a day yesterday. Nobody’s fault, we just didn’t know a lot of the answers, and many of our guesses were, to be honest, a bit pants. Which was a shame, because it was an exciting quiz for the neutral observer, I should think, and it’s a shame we couldn’t force our way into the leading pack.

The leaders, for instance, managed a full ten out of ten in the first round. We just didn’t know , for example , which hit from the 60’s mentions both Norman Mailer and Tommy Cooper. In case you don’t, its Give Peace a Chance. If you’ve ever played in the CIU quizzes, you’ll know that one of the rounds consists of a list. You’ll be asked for a list of ten things. Everything you put on the list which is correct earns you half a point, and everything you put on the list that is incorrect loses you half a point. So theoretically you could earn up to 5 points, or lose up to five points. Last year we were asked for the most popular pub names in Britain. We lost a half a point or gained a half a point, I can’t remember which. This year we were asked for the ten countries with the biggest populations, which also have some red on their national flag. Thanks to Sporcle, I know all the flags. Trouble is I don’t know the biggest populations. Well, not all of them. We put 8 answers down, and one, Turkey I think, was wrong. Not bad, but not enough to make any ground on the leaders.

We rallied slightly in the film and TV round, and at this point, the high water mark of our challenge, we were about 2 points behind top spot. That was it though. I’m afraid the picture handout saw us out with the washing again. Still, going into the last round, it was at least very tight at the top, with only a point or so separating leaders Maesglas and Gosforth Empire from Radford Road and Ashford Road A. For the very last question, you get given up to five clues to a mystery personality. Brilliant Maesglas A took just the first clue for the full five points, correctly identifying that if I was born in Bedford in 1960, yet brought up in Wales, then that makes me Carol Vorderman. In the end, they ran out winners, with daylight between them and my friends from Coventry in runners up spot. Third on the podium were Ashford Road A. My commiserations go out to Gosforth Empire, joint leaders going into the last round, but losing third place on a tie break. Very bad luck that. Congratulations to Gordon, Trevor, Richie and Colin of Maesglas for a fantastic win, and a brilliant performance.
Oh, us ? 5th place, and lucky to get that. Still, there was a silver lining. We won a prize for top scoring on the TV and Film round out of all the non podium teams, a handsome gesture which paid for the day for us.

The CIU is a great event. Yes, I have already told you that I’d love to win it, and I would, I dearly would. But it’s a great event to play anyway, and I’ll keep coming back just as long as we can keep qualifying. Congratulations to Chris Brewis and the team for putting together a fine event again.


Speaking of the team, I must make a mention for regular LAM reader Dave Cornish. Dave sets the questions for the CIU regionals and the finals. As far as I know we had never met before yesterday. Before the start of the quiz yesterday I was surprised and delighted when a man approached me, and handed me a package, bearing the words "Life After Mastermind" and the instructions "NOT to be opened until after the quiz ".
– Hello - I thought - I know I’ve upset a couple of people in the past with the blog, but surely letter bombing me is a bit drastic. –

Of course it was nothing of the sort. When I spoke to the gentleman in question he introduced himself as none other than Dave Cornish himself. Back in March I wrote about buying a copy of his enjoyable and well written "How To Run A Quiz " from a car boot sale. Oh, I’m blushing even to think of it. I’m sorry Dave, I’m really sorry. It should be in all good bookshops, and should only be bought from there. Well , to cut a long story short, when I opened the package after the quiz, inside it was a copy of one of Dave’s other books, namely "How To Win A Quiz ", with a very nice little letter and inscription. What a lovely guy. To be honest, if you saw our performance yesterday you’d say that we were in dire need of all the help and advice we could get. However, Dave wasn’t to know that when he gave me the package.

Dave, it was a terrific quiz yesterday, and great fun, even though we were never really up with leaders ourselves. Dave knows how much I love quiz books, so I’m really going to enjoy working through "How To Win Quizzes" – watch this space for a review ! In the meantime, I send you a virtual bouquet, and many, many thanks. It was really lovely to meet you, and thanks for a great quiz yesterday.


Gruff said...

Yes it was a great quiz. The Maesglas performance was superb. We looked over our answers and could only see a potential 1.5 points we missed out on. So we pretty much played at our best and even with those 1.5 points we would have come up short. So Maesglas were most definitely worthy winners.

A couple of people have asked if I am disappointed we came 2nd. Absolutely not. We exceeded our expectations last year by a country mile. Even this year as defending champions our aim was to get hold of either the sport or tv/film prize and anything else would be a bonus. Any team in the top 8 or so had a realistic chance of winning on their day. Then it is up to how the luck of how the questions fall and how well you play. Maesgas were outstanding. Swines! ;)

Kudos to the Gosforth team who took their last round drop to 4th place in a very good spirit. A lovely bunch of guys.

Well done to Chris and Dave for putting on a great event. Congrats again to Maesglas for winning, and to the rest of the competitors for making it a friendly and enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Londinius said...

Hi Gareth

It was nice to see you again on Sunday. Thanks for commenting - and congratulations on a great performance from your own team.