Andy Tucker – 36 – 18 GK – position 1 on my unofficial list
John Marshall – 31 – 15 GK ( runner up ) – position 8 on my unofficial list
Chris Cummins - 30 – 15 GK – position 12 on my unofficial list
Paul Smith – 28 – 15 GK ( runner up ) – position 18 on my unofficial list
Mike Clark – 27 – 11 GK – position 21 on my unofficial list
A pretty fair spread of contenders. On paper Andy Tucker looked very much the man to beat, but then nothing is ever guaranteed in Mastermind – especially in the semis, where you only have 3 and a half minutes to make your bid for that place in the final.
Chris Cummins, an Only Connect Grand Finalist in series 3, began his bid to add a place in the Mastermind Grand Final to his collection by answering questions on The US Masters golf tournament. In the first round heat Chris scored 15 in 2 minutes on the career of Victoria Wood. Tonight he started very confidently, but a couple of passes and a couple of wrong answers meant that he failed to get into double figures, finishing with 9. Not a disaster at all, but the likelihood was that he’d be a few points adrift going into the GK rounds.
In the first round Mike Clark won through on a nail biting tie break, just surviving a brilliant fightback by Ged Meheran. Then his subject had been Seinfeld, and he’d scored 13. Tonight, answering on the His Dark Materials Trilogy he scored 10, which I would say is proportionately slightly better off 90 seconds than 13 off 2 minutes. He answered every question, meaning that there were no nasty little passes to count against him should it be another match as tight as his first.
John Marshall was unlucky to come up against as strong a contender as John Beynon in his first round. Back then he scored a very impressive 16 in 2 minutes on British Speedway 1945 -1970. Tonight he offered us a change of pace, in the shape of Clyde River Steamers 1890 – 1960. I had two of these. I knew about the Waverly – well I’ve actually seen it at Briton Ferry Docks once upon a time, and I guessed about the Walter Scott one. I venture to say that 12 off 90 seconds was pretty much on a par with his first round score, and it meant that he was going to be in contention going into GK.
Our second highest scoring runner up of this show was Paul Smith. Paul lost heat 4 by a single point , when he answered on Aircraft of World War II. Then he’d scored 13. Ironically this was exactly what he needed to score if he was to take the lead in this round. I was pleased to see that his subject was Classical Mythology. Back in 1981 we held a Mastermind competition in my old school – Elthorne High School – in Hanwell, London Borough of Ealing. I’m far too vain not to say that I won the competition, and my specialist subject was Greek Mythology. I still remembered quite a bit, it seemed since I managed 9 of these, which was the same total that Paul achieved.
Finishing off the first round was our top performer from the heats, Andy Tucker. Andy scored a fantastic 36 in the first round, which comprised of 2 rounds of 18. Back then he scored a perfect round on Robert Bruce Lockhart. Tonight , offering the interesting subject of The East Africa Campaign of World War I he didn’t manage perfection, scoring 11 and no passes. The main, thing, though, was that he was only one point off the lead. Andy, like Chris, has also been a grand finalist in another show, Brain of Britain, no less. You fancied at this stage that he had every good chance of making another Grand Final.
Chris Cummins returned to the chair to set a target. 15 off 2 and a half minutes in the heat was a good score, but not the kind which would necessarily blow the opposition away. Actually the 12 he managed tonight is a good score for a semi final, but being 3 points behind at the halfway stage he really needed a couple more to put the front runners into the corridor of uncertainty. He finished on 21. Paul Smith unfortunately became becalmed halfway through his round, and didn’t manage to reach the target. He finished on 17. Mike Clark managed to get into double figures with his own GK round, posting a healthy 10, but it still left him the wrong side of Chris’ score.
Andy returned to the chair, and immediately set about the business of showing us all how it’s done. His 15 off two minutes was at least as good as his 18 off two and a half in the first round heat, and catapulted him comfortably into the lead with a very useful 26. When you’re not the last one in the chair all you can do is give it your best , and set the highest score you possibly can. Andy did all that and some more.
It was comfortably into the realm of the do-able but very difficult for John Marshall. Within the first half minute or so his tactics became clear. John already had one pass, and Andy had none, Therefore passes didn’t matter to John. Even if he scored no passes at all in his GK round he still couldn’t tie with Andy- he had to beat him. It was a close run thing. After the minute mark John dived into a pass spiral. I thought then and there his chances were gone, and yet he picked up speed again. He was on 25 as the buzzer went – so even if he’d answered the last one correctly he’d still have lost on passes. As it was he didn’t give a correct answer, and so finished in second, having pushed Andy all the way to the tape. Well played gentlemen ! Special congratulations to Andy – a very serious contender for the title. Good show.
|Chris Cummins||The US Masters||9 - 2||12 - 2||21 - 4|
|Mike Clark||The His Dark Materials Trilogy of Phillip Pullman||10 - 0||10 - 0||20 - 0|
|John Marshall||Clyde River Steamers 1890 - 1960||12 - 1||13 - 4||25 - 5|
|Paul Smith||Classical Mythology||9 - 1||8 - 3||17 - 4|
|Andy Tucker||The East Africa Campaign in World War I||11 - 0||15 - 0||26 - 0|