Right, then, let’s have a look at the table of qualifiers for the semi-finals, shall we?
Now, the first thing to say is that the picture is slightly complicate by the question marks over the repechage places. I have taken it for granted that the same rules have applied this year as last, that the top 6 runner up scores qualify regardless of whether they were second or third in their heats. You might notice that I have given one place to Last Repechage. This is simply because we had three contenders each with 27 and 2 passes, and I don’t know how they will allot the place. Somewhere in the back of my mind I seem to recall someone once mentioning that the next measure would be the number of wrong answers given, but I may have dreamed this.
Well, allowing for that uncertainty then, what can we deduce from this table? Well, I always like to see a high GK score, and it’s nice to see that every qualifier achieved double figures in GK. You have to say that Neil Wright, John Jacob and Clive Dunning all impressed with rounds of 18, as did Cliff Challenger and Hamish Cameron on 17. A special word for Hamish. I may be wrong, but I think that is his 4th time in the semifinals, and I really hope that this time he makes it to the finals – nobody deserves this more. I think he has an excellent chance. A special mention for Beth Webster as well. Beth has contested the first round on a couple of previous occasions, and this is the first time she has reached the semis. Looking at her performance in the first round she has to have a chance of the final this time round, and I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.
While we’re doing shout outs, a mention for Paul Philpot too. Paul is, as I’m sure you know, a dedicated quizzer and blogger, and I’ll be hoping to see him make the Grand Final. I had a lovely email from Roderick Cromar after his win as well, so I’m hoping that he’ll do well. Clive Dunning is a contributor to the blog, and he looks to have a great chance of maybe even going all the way to the title – while wishing in no way to scupper his chances by lumbering him with the Clark tip.
Of course, you just don’t know who is going to be drawn against whom. The team’s first and foremost concern is to make a good show, and this means making the best combination of subjects that they can. This often results in one or two ‘top heavy’ semis, where two or more of the highest scoring first rounders are pitted against each other. Another feature that makes this series difficult to call is the move towards unnecessarily long winded questions in the specialist round. With only 90 seconds allotted to specialist in the semis a contender has even less time and opportunity to adjust to a bad start, which again suggests that the best performers in GK have the best chance of getting to the semis.
One point of interest from looking at the table is that it shows just how remarkable heat 23 was. Three contenders from that one heat qualified – and not only did they qualify, they all posted scores within the top 10. Who knows – if they are all in separate semifinals we might even see all three of them contesting the final.
I’m not going to spoil anyone’s chances by tipping them to get to the final. Some will doubtless do it through preparing thoroughly for their specialists, and keeping their head in their GK. Others will carry all before them in the GK. If I knew who they were, well, I’d have a go at predicting tonight’s lottery numbers while I’m at it. I wish all 30 of them the best of luck, and hope that they enjoy the semifinal experience as much as I enjoyed mine.