The Predictorship: Week 29 – Hope and Glory

Hope Arnold’s lamentable season takes a turn for the better this week as the Tim Howard-loving Evertonian scores 10 points, more than anyone else in week 29.

The Bristol Rovers, Chelsea and Preston games were Hope’s salvation, helping her pick up six points for three correct scores, resulting in progress up the league, where she currently lies 25th, and into the quarter-finals of The Predictorship Cup. More about that in a moment.

With high scores in short supply, Mike Dufficy and Nick Watson should count themselves fortunate to come away with nine points. Mike’s seemingly unstoppable trot to the Predictorship title, for what would be his second league triumph in three seasons, becomes ever more apparent this week as he recaptures his 10-point lead over the chasing pack, led for the first time by Matthew White after Dave Taylor jumps the wrong way with a couple 1-0s.

The big guns are still blazing away in The Predictorship Cup, with the teams currently lying in second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh in the league still in with a shout of stealing the trophy from Cup holder Janet Jones. More about her in a moment too. Bunch of Losers’ narrow defeat at the hands of Cathryn Harker’s Clapton F.C. leaves Hope’s Everton as the lowest-ranked team left in the draw, although, as we all know, after finishing third in the league last season, Hope is anything but rank. Mistake her for a minnow at your peril.

The Predictorship Cup – Round 2

1. BLACKBURN ROVERS (Sally Moon) (6) 6-3 PETERBOROUGH UNITED (Steve McHugh) (19)   
2. QUEENS PARK RANGERS (Marion Waller) (33) 2-4 TRICKY TREES (Alex Iskandar Liew) (15)
3. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (Gabe Bevilacqua) (16) 5-5 SOUTHAMPTON (Tom Palmer) (27) **
4. WEST HAM UNITED (Wendy Nathan) (8) 6-10 EVERTON (Hope Arnold) (30)
5. WEST BROMWICH ALBION (Mark Young) (22) 6-7 MANCHESTER CITY (Christine Butters) (4)
6. CHARLTON ATHLETIC (Nigel Birrell) (5) 8-6 NEW ENGLAND (Anuradha Shenoy) (12)
7. SEATTLE GOONERS (Maziar Sattari) (14) 4-8 NOTTINGHAM FOREST (Matthew White) (3)
8. CLAPTON F.C. (Cathryn Harker) (7) 8-7 BUNCH OF LOSERS (Michael Whitty) (40)

* Figures in brackets show league position on 16th February.
** Replay on 23rd-24th February.

The saga continues … Last week’s revelation that Ted Warland employed a so-called guest forecaster, who promptly secured an 11-point haul for the Pinner-dwelling Gunner, has elicited a response from the man himself (Ted, that is, not the elusive forecaster): “You’ll be pleased to learn my guest predictor has left the country, bags bulging with a suitable bung. As a Spurs fan he’s threatening a return for the Carling Cup final if he gets a ticket!” The plot thickens …

Two knot-tying stories to finish with this week. Best wishes to Predictorship chairman David Roberts and Sheffield Wednesday’s Janet Jones, who get hitched in Harlow on Friday. News has also reached Predictorship HQ that Philadelphia Eagles’ Gabe Bevilacqua has announced his marriage to Katie on 2nd August in New Jersey. See www.gabeandkt.com for more details.

Gabe’s mind has understandably been elsewhere since posting the gleeful news on FC Camena, so much so that’s he’s running the risk of incurring the wrath of the Predictorship’s Punishment Panel, who are now poised to bring him to book for submitting late scores for the last two weeks. However, rather than employing the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule, leniency will no doubt prevail and Gabe can expect a short stint behind bars or several hundred hours of community service relaying the chewed-up turf at a ground of his choice – with his bare hands.

Congratulations to both couples. Here’s to many years of love, health and happiness!

FA Cup Round 5 Results (Week 29): Bristol Rovers 1-0 Southampton (2); Cardiff 2-0 Wolves (2); Chelsea 3-1 Huddersfield (3); Coventry 0-5 West Brom (0); Liverpool 1-2 Barnsley (0); Manchester United 4-0 Arsenal (0); Sheffield United 0-0 Middlesbrough (0); Preston 0-1 Portsmouth (9); Championship: Charlton 2-2 Watford (3); League 1: Port Vale 0-2 Swansea (8).

* Figures in brackets show the number of correct predictions for each game.

Highest Score (Week 29): 10 – Hope Arnold.
Average Score (Week 29): 6.08.
Prediction of the Week (Week 29): Patrick Bevilacqua, Ted Warland and Matthew White (Charlton 2-2 Watford).

Top of the Table (Week 29):

1. Jersey United (Mike Dufficy) – 213 pts
2. Nottingham Forest (Matthew White) – 203 pts
3. Chelsea (Dave Taylor) – 202 pts
4. Charlton Athletic (Nigel Birrell) – 201 pts
5. Manchester City (Christine Butters) – 201 pts
6. Clapton F.C. (Cathryn Harker) – 198 pts
7. Blackburn Rovers (Sally Moon) – 197 pts
8. West Ham United (Wendy Nathan) – 195 pts
9. FC Squan 1980 (Patrick Bevilacqua) – 194 pts
10. Crystal Palace (Dave McAleer) – 191 pts

From Monday’s football “Gossip Column” on the BBC Sport website …

Barnsley boss Simon Davey was confident his side would beat Liverpool in the FA Cup on Saturday after a seagull dumped its load on his head during a pre-match stroll in the city centre. What a load of c**p!

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