â€œI have a guest forecaster this week so watch out!â€ exclaimed Ted Warland as he submitted his week 28 scores.
Did he sneak Channel Fiveâ€™s foxy weathergirl Lara Lewington into his home when his wifeâ€™s back was turned? Did he persuade swing-o-meter maestro Jon Snow out of retirement? Questions, questions. Maybe weâ€™ll never know the truth, but Tedâ€™s mystery â€œguest forecasterâ€ plays a blinder. Sunny spells all over: the Gunner claims 11 points, the weekâ€™s top score, to blow away the competition with not a weak front in sight. Overseas games in the Premier League? Forget it! Get with the future, get a guest forecaster.
Tedâ€™s cause is aided by four correct scores for the matches at Derby, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and â€“ along with 16 other predictors â€“ Arsenal, whose 90th minute second goal cruelly scuppered Dave Taylorâ€™s spirited attempt to take a more sizeable chunk out of the formidable lead amassed by Mike Dufficy. Daveâ€™s 10-point week, combined with Mikeâ€™s eight-pointer, reduces the gap between first and second to eight points.
Mike, the first predictor to rack up 200 points this season, also reaches the 40 correct scores milestone, with only third-placed Matthew White preventing a clean sweep of accolades with three more correct results than the Jerseysider.
The Wallerâ€™s strangehold on â€œPrediction of the Weekâ€ continues apace this week with Garyâ€™s remarkable Manchester United 1 Manchester City 2. In the week Manchester remembered those who died in the Munich air disaster 50 years ago, Gary was the only player to predict an away win, let alone hit the jackpot. The Wallers have now won â€œPrediction of the Weekâ€ an incredible 11 times so far this season: Gary four times and, as reported here last week, Marion on a record seven occasions. Do they employ guest forecasters, or is it all their own work?
The draw for Round 2 of The Predictorship Cup has been made, and itâ€™s all thanks to Nick Watsonâ€™s perfectly-crafted Randomizer 16 draw machine. Using the same tamper-proof, suspicion-dousing system as before, i.e. teams numbered 1-16 in alphabetical order, from Blackburn Rovers to West Ham, this is how the draw shapes up:
Round 2 (16th-17th February)
1. BLACKBURN ROVERS (Sally Moon) (6) v PETERBOROUGH UNITED (Steve McHugh) (19)
2. QUEENS PARK RANGERS (Marion Waller) (33) v TRICKY TREES (Alex Iskandar Liew) (15)
3. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (Gabe Bevilacqua) (16) v SOUTHAMPTON (Tom Palmer) (27)
4. WEST HAM UNITED (Wendy Nathan) (8) v EVERTON (Hope Arnold) (30)
5. WEST BROMWICH ALBION (Mark Young) (22) v MANCHESTER CITY (Christine Butters) (4)
6. CHARLTON ATHLETIC (Nigel Birrell) (5) v NEW ENGLAND (Anuradha Shenoy) (12)
7. SEATTLE GOONERS (Maziar Sattari) (14) v NOTTINGHAM FOREST (Matthew White) (3)
8. CLAPTON F.C. (Cathryn Harker) (7) v BUNCH OF LOSERS (Michael Whitty) (40)
* Figures in brackets show current league position.
Highlights include Matthew Whiteâ€™s Nottingham Forest, the highest-ranked team left in the draw, travelling to Maziar Sattariâ€™s dangerously high-scoring Seattle Gooners and a David vs. Goliath encounter that requires Michael Whittyâ€™s Bunch of Losers to head from wherever theyâ€™re based to the London Borough of Hackney to face Cathryn Harkerâ€™s Clapton F.C..
The ties will be played this weekend, 16th-17th February. Only eight teams can make it through to the quarter-finals. Make sure youâ€™re one of them.
Premier League Results (Week 28): Aston Villa 4-1 Newcastle (0); Bolton 0-1 Portsmouth (7); Derby 0-3 Tottenham (7); Everton 1-0 Reading (7); Middlesbrough 1-0 Fulham (12); Sunderland 2-0 Wigan (2); West Ham 1-1 Birmingham (3); Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City (1); Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool (1); Arsenal 2-0 Blackburn (17).
* Figures in brackets show the number of correct predictions for each game.
Highest Score (Week 28): 11 â€“ Ted Warland and â€œGuest Predictorâ€.
Average Score (Week 28): 7.00.
Prediction of the Week (Week 28): Gary Waller (Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City).
Top of the Table (Week 28):
1. Jersey United (Mike Dufficy) â€“ 204 pts
2. Chelsea (Dave Taylor) â€“ 196 pts
3. Nottingham Forest (Matthew White) â€“ 195 pts
4. Manchester City (Christine Butters) â€“ 194 pts
5. Charlton Athletic (Nigel Birrell) â€“ 193 pts
6. Blackburn Rovers (Sally Moon) â€“ 191 pts
7. Clapton F.C. (Cathryn Harker) â€“ 190 pts
8. West Ham United (Wendy Nathan) â€“ 189 pts
9. FC Squan 1980 (Patrick Bevilacqua) â€“ 188 pts
10. Crystal Palace (Dave McAleer) â€“ 188 pts
“The Watford game was fairly awful. They ain’t what youâ€™d call a pretty football team, and we lost. And there was a minor ruck outside the ground – first time Iâ€™ve seen such a thing in decades. Didnâ€™t see whether David Roberts was involved” – Nick Watson after watching Ipswich lose their unbeaten home league record to David Roberts’ Watford.
David Roberts (in response): “Yes, I was the ringleader. Took out a couple of tractor boys, left our calling cards – “You have been dun by the Rookery Firm” – and departed sharpish back west down the A12 into a glorious sunset …”.