Monday, 22 July 2013

Only Connect - Semi Final Preview

Carts 22 - 2826 – 26 (TB) 15 – 13
Fans 20 - 23 28 – 30 20 – 20 (TB)
Francophiles 23 - 20 27 – 16 -
Celts 28 - 22 23 – 12 -


Celts v. Festival Fans

Carts v. Francophiles

On paper the forecast looks a simple one doesn’t it? The Celts and the Francophiles should contest the final? Well, maybe so. The Francophiles defeated the Festival Fans in their first match, and the Celts defeated the Cartophiles in theirs. Still, let’s not be too hasty in forming judgements. We’ll have a quick look at the teams and see what conclusions we can draw, if any.

The Fans : The Francophiles were actually behind the Fans in their match going into the missing vowels. The GPs pulled back points on the Fans in their second match during the missing vowels. The Cat Lovers trailed the Fans by 3 points going into the missing vowels, and they pulled up to force a tie break. All of which suggests a very useful team on rounds 1 – 3, but one that might be vulnerable on the final run in.

The Carts: The Cartophiles matched the Celts in the first and last rounds of their clash, but were second best in rounds 2 and 3. In their second match they had a little bit of a crisis in the vowels round, having carved out a decent lead in the first three rounds, only to let the Corpuscles pull back in the vowels to force a tie break. In their final match they held their nerve to eke out a two point lead over the Fell Walkers and keep it. If they have a lead going into the vowels, then they seem capable of keeping it, but not necessarily of overturning a lead if they are behind at this point.

The Celts: The Celts’ 23 – 12 victory over the Cat Lovers in their second round match was one of the two really dominant performances from any of the semi-finalists in the first round. The Cat Lovers were good enough to take the Festival Fans to a tie break as well in their next match. In their first match they beat fellow semifinalists the Cartophiles by racking up the points during rounds 2 and 3. In all honesty they don’t seem to have a great weakness, but the Fans are certainly capable of taking them all the way to the wire, and if the missing vowel categories suit, they could even cause an upset.

The Francophiles: After their close match against the Fans in their first round match, the Francs comfortably disposed of the Fell Walkers, in the second really dominant performance of the round, opening out a huge gap during rounds 2 and 3. Having already beaten fellow semifinalists the Festival Fans I fancy that this team should go all of the way. Yet again, though, the Carts are a resilient bunch, capable of springing an upset.

So am I taking the line of least resistance when I back the two unbeaten teams to reach the final? Well, my forecast is not without statistical reinforcement. These are the teams’ average scores :
The Celts: 25.5
The Francs: 25
The Fans: 22.6
The Carts: 21
Well, alright, you can only tell so much from even three matches, so maybe we shouldn’t read too much into this. In fact, you can say that with such a small gap covering all 4 teams’ average it does demonstrate what we’ve thought, namely, that this has been a very competitive series so far, with precious few ‘soft’ teams there for the taking.

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