Well, here we are at the last heat of the first round. It’s been a long journey, but we made it. Bringing the heats to a conclusion we had four contenders making their Mastermind debuts. The first of these, Paul Hillman, kicked off with the band Joy Division. Rather surprisingly he missed the first question, which asked for the band’s biggest hit – Love Will Tear Us Apart - which was the only answer I actually had. Still, this must have just been nerves, considering he ripped the rest of the round apart, scoring 13 and incurring just the one pass in the process. That looked a pretty good round to me, and left him needing 13 to have an excellent chance of making the semis regardless of whether5 he won the heat or not.
As an interesting aside, we have already seen one contender called Gareth Williams this series. Our other Gareth put up a good showing in Iwan’s heat, not quite managing to get onto the repechage board. Last night’s Gareth was answering on The Battle of the Somme. Good subject. I had about 5 of these. Gareth, needless to say, did considerably better than that. He managed a double figure score, but 10 put him three points off the lead, and it looked like he was going to need a really good performance on GK.
It’s often interesting, although not always revealing, to look at the way that a contender actually sits in the chair. Madeline Grant gave every appearance of being nervous, perching on the edge of the chair, and leaning forward. Yet her performance was anything but. Answering on the novels of EM Forster, she snapped back answers the instant that John had finished the questions. A couple of questions caught her out, but nonetheless this looked to be a very good 12. Off the point a little, it was Forster who gave Only Connect its title. Also, my late Grandmother, God rest her soul, once told me , “Well, I read that “Howard’s End”. I was really disappointed – there was nothing about boats in it at all.” (Under 40s may need to ask their parents to explain that one).
Matthew May had the honour, if such it may be called, of being the last contender in the first round of this series. He was answering on the American TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory. My kids love it but I have watched only a few, and paid attention to even fewer. So I can’t comment on how difficult this round was. Matthew scored 11, but I fancied he was going to be fighting for the minor places in the GK round.
So, first to return to the chair was Gareth. Now, you’ll maybe recall that a couple of times in the last month or so I’ve made the point that you can watch a GK round and recognise a serious quizzer? Gareth produced a performance which left you with the inescapable conclusion that this was a good quizzer. Being 3 points off the lead the simple fact was that he needed as many points as possible to give him a chance. In fact he produced one of the best GK rounds in the whole series, to add 16. With a score of 26, if he was beaten by just one of the other contenders, then he would go through as well. Fabulous performance – a great round.
Matthew couldn’t match it. He tried manfully, and a score of 9 on GK, which is what he achieved, is certainly perfectly respectable. It never looked as though he was building the kind of momentum to allow him to do much better, though. On the other hand Madeline Grant did at times look like she might just at least get up to 26 herself. A couple of wrong answers at the wrong time robbed her of a little bit of momentum, and by the buzzer she was two points short. Not enough for a repechage slot, but a perfectly good performance in the context of this series, and one which would have won some of the other heats.
This left only Paul Hillman. 14 correct answers wouldn’t be enough for the win since he had already incurred one pass in his SS round. However it would be enough to put him into the semis via the highest scoring runner up slots. It would also help avoid the confusion over which of three contenders with identical scores would take the last slot. Well, again, like Madeline it soon became clear that while this wasn’t going to be a round as good as Gareth’s, he was going to go fairly close. Come the last 30 seconds he was behind the clock, and ended with a good score of 12 to take him to 24 – a near miss, but no cigar.
So well played Gareth. I have to say that if he gets the right subject for his semi, he could be a contender.
Congratulations to all 30 semi finalists.
|Paul Hillman||Joy Division||13 - 1||11 - 3||24 – 4|
|Gareth Williams||Battle of the Somme||10 - 0||16 - 0||26 - 0|
|Madeline Grant||The Novels of EM Forster||12 - 1||12 - 2||24 - 4|
|Matthew May||The Big Bang Theory||11 - 1||9 - 4||20 – 5|
Highest scoring Runners Up
Gareth Kingston – 28 – 0
Diane Hallagan – 28 – 3
Marianne Fairthorne – 27 – 2
Alice Meynell – 26 – 0
Alice Meynell – 26 – 0
John Beynon – 25 – 1
One from : -Julia Hobbs / Jeremy Renals/ Susan Sworn – 25 - 3