Friday, 30 March 2012

Mastermind - Semi Final 1

Before we start, then, let’s just cast an eye down the list of runners and riders and the form guide. Nick Duffy was the number 3 ranked contender in the first round on my unofficial scoring list – with a total of 31 and an impressive 18 on GK. Julie Aris, our highest placed female contender, was 12th on my unofficial list, with a perfect SS round, and an overall score of 30, only 1 less than Nick. Steve Watson was three places lower on my list, but only one point lower with 29 , and 12 on GK. David Love was number 9 on the Clark list with 30 points as well, and 14 on GK. Last but not least, Stuart Reed, like Julie Aris, was a high scoring runner up with 29 and 16 on GK, at 16th on my list. So all 5 contenders in their first round performances were separated by only 2 points. A close thing, then.

Nick Duffy’s subject was The Novels of Martin Amis. I will admit that I have never read any of these, although my head of department at work has just discovered him and says that his books are brilliant. Nick’s round was good for a 90 second one, but it wasn’t brilliant. 8 is worth the equivalent of about 12 in a 2 minute round, and that’s good. However this was a semi final, and you had the feeling that he was going to have a deficit to make up.

Julie Aris scored a perfect specialist round on the What Katy Did Novels last week of 18 points. Tonight she was answering questions on Lady Jane Grey. Once again, she scored a perfect round. This was a 90 second round, and so if anything her 15 was perhaps even more impressive. To put this score into perspective, this was seven points better than Nick’s round. It didn’t necessarily finish off the show as a contest, but must have given the other contenders some serious food for thought.

West London’s finest, the Who , were the subject of Steve Watson’s specialist round. As a West London boy myself, who used to live not that far from John Entwhistle, I have a very soft spot for the Who. So I was pleased to manage 4 of these. Steve , as you would expect, did a lot better than that. He managed 11, a good performance in a 90 second round, and one which at least gave him an opportunity of bridging the gap to Julie.

British Birds of prey was not one of those subjects I approached with any great hope of gaining many points. Thankfully the windhover was a gimme, and I knew the hobby one from the old chestnut about the derivation of the name of the game subbuteo. David Love though put on a very good show indeed. 13 is good off a 2 minute round. Off a 90 second one it’s excellent. What was more important was that it put him only 2 points behind Julie, and ahead of the other guys with only one contender still to come.

That contender was Stuart Reid. Now, his subject was much more up my street. I loved I Claudius – the books particularly, which led me to read Suetonius, then Tactitus. So I had a few of these – not just the old chestnut of Incitatus. Not that I got into double figures, though. Stuart did, eventually managing 10. 5 points looked like a large gap to make up, but you never knew.

Nick was the first to return for the GK round, and he did what you absolutely have to do when you have a significant deficit to make up. He went for it. He gave it some real welly, and I thought he had some great answers in his round. OK, I grant you that he ended up with 22 and a lead of only 7, which to be honest didn’t look like a lot. But the important thing was that he had given himself a chance. Funny things can happen in a Mastermind GK round, especially if you start to doubt yourself. The situation can change, and to be honest, the GK rounds do sometimes seem a bit harder in the semis.

Stuart found it harder going, certainly, than he had done in his heat. Last week he managed 16 in two and a half minutes. Tonight he couldn’t match that kind of performance, and despite quite a bright start struggled from the minute mark to the end of the round. He added another 6 to take his score to 16. Steve Watson was the next to try to improve on Nick’s total. Pretty soon it became clear that he wasn’t going to match Nick’s GK round, but then he didn’t have to . He had a cushion from the SS round, but that cushion began to look thinner and less comfortable. In the end he came close, but fell one short, adding 10 to his score to finish on 21. Nick was now on the podium for this show, but how far up would he be able to climb ?

David Love ensured that he wouldn’t stay on the top step. David’s round wasn’t as good as Nick’s, but it wasn’t bad. 12 on GK in a semi is a round that has to be respected, and it was enough to put daylight between himself and Nick. His 12 took his total to 25. Which only left one question to be answered – would Julie be capable of putting on the 11 needed for an outright win. Evidence, in the form of her first round heat suggested not – she had managed 12 in 2 minutes then, but this was a new show. However Julie really never managed to get up any head of steam in her round, and the answers proved hard to come by. In the end she had managed to take her score to 19. So well played David Love. A good all round performance, and a well deserved place in the 2012 Grand Final.

Nick DuffyThe Novels of Martin Amis8 – 0 14 - 022 - 0
Julie ArisLife of Lady Jane Grey15 – 0 4 –519-5
Steve WatsonThe Who11 – 110 - 221 - 3
David LoveBritish Birds of Prey13-112 - 225 - 3
Stuart ReidCaligula 10 - 26 - 516 – 7

1 comment:

JohnnyYen said...

Good to know someone's watching. Still proud I've never passed yet, after four appearances and eight rounds.