OK, so, when I started this 10th anniversary series three months ago, I assumed it'd still be running when the new series began, hence why I stopped watching and reviewing eps on Mondays. But, here we are, on the final installment, and not only has the new series not begun, it hasn't even been (unofficially) announced! Thankfully, it shouldn't be much longer now; we know Only Connect is back on the 29th, and I think we're all now expecting UC to be back alongside it. Which means, either TPTB have finally done away with the expanded QF format and the new series is shorter than before, or it's still 37 and we're just starting and finishing later than usual, possibly as TPTB have decided to stop burying the first matches in the summer when everyone's away. Anyway, more on that next week hopefully; for now, let's get this over with...
Match 35, Semi-Final 1: U.C.L. vs New College (15th April 2013)
So, the first semi-final where, controversially, the two unbeaten teams in the series played each other, which, IIRC, Adam or Jim reported here at the time that New College weren’t very happy about. Which is probably why, in future series, where one of the semi-finalists had already played two of the others, the one they’d played longer ago was the one they’d be redrawn against. Anyway, New College took the first starter, but U.C.L. then raced into an early lead and, as Jim (and Dave on LAM IIRC) said at the time, when Mr Dennis identified ‘Lord Kelvin’ for the third starter of the game, a starter where Mr Cappleman might’ve been expected to get first, it looked ominous for New College.
A run of incorrect starters, three of them incurring penalties, slowed things down a bit, before New College got a rally together and pulled within fifteen points. But then, when Mr Hood unluckily lost five when his answer of “they moved from the Conservatives to the Labour Party” was disallowed on a question about MPs who crossed the floor (not all the same direction), that gave U.C.L. more room to pull away. The rest of the show was fairly even (with New College even getting the exact same bonuses that Bangor had gotten in their U.C.L. match!), but U.C.L. maintained their lead to win 195-115.
Match 36, Semi-Final 2: Manchester vs Bangor (22nd April 2013)
The second semi-final, between the two teams who’d lost a QF (in both cases, to U.C.L. no less) en route to the semis, with Bangor the neutral favourites for most on here given Adam’s posting on here and Manchester’s imperious UC record in the years prior. The ‘home team’ started stronger, taking the first three starters to run up to 50 before Bangor got off the mark. The first picture starter was the flag of the Central African Republic, appropriate as that won the Jackpot on that day’s Pointless! (Back in the days when that show was still at its peak) The two teams then swapped starters for a bit, before Adam finally got the music starter he’d been waiting for all series! Two bonuses gave Bangor the lead.
Manchester quickly took it back with the next starter however, before a run of three penalties from Bangor in quick succession allowed them to run away into a 60-point lead. Despite a penalty of their own allowing Bangor to take the second picture round, Manchester remained resolute and saw out the remainder of the match comfortably. Manchester won 160-95, though, as Adam said in the comments of my original post, it could’ve been different if he’d beaten Manchester to a couple of starters he knew, the first picture one included. Still, as Paxo said, it was the furthest a Welsh team had gotten in the series (amended by Adam to joint furthest, though this didn’t make it to screen), and their run was a great one, so well done to them again! Manchester, meanwhile, had a rematch with U.C.L. incoming…
Match 37, The Final: U.C.L. vs Manchester (29th April 2013)
And so to the big one, the final was contested by the two teams who were, on balance, the best two of the series. U.C.L. were the favourites, but it was Manchester who got off to the better start, with a penalty setting their opponents back five as they shot up to 40, with a further penalty subsequently allowing it to increase to 60. The London side did get a run together, Mr Parton taking three starters in a row, including the music round, to reduce their arrears to 15, but Manchester then increased it again with the best bonus round of the series, on two-word phrases that sound like UC buzzer announcements (such as ‘Nottingham Forest’)!
U.C.L. did pull one back straight away, but Manchester then ran away on the buzzer and, suddenly, their lead had reached 100 points. U.C.L. did pull back a starter and a full bonus set, and a penalty from Manchester meant they were, just about, still in the game. But another starter to Manchester killed the game off, and there probably wasn’t enough time for them to pull it back anyway. Manchester won the game and the series 190-140, and received the trophy from the Astronomer Royal Martin (now Lord) Rees.
And that concludes this series! It's been fun watching that series back over again, but I think I'll keep this a one-off and not do it every summer to bridge the gap between series, that would be a bit much. Thanks to all who've read this series, and, once again, everyone who's read and commented on this blog over the past ten years (and three months); here's hopefully to many more years to come!
Will be back next week, or whenever the new series is finally confirmed, with a confirmatory post of my own; whenever that is, see you then...