Hope Arnoldâ€™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 Hopeâ€™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. Mikeâ€™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 Losersâ€™ narrow defeat at the hands of Cathryn Harker’s Clapton F.C. leaves Hopeâ€™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)Â (6) 6-3 PETERBOROUGH UNITED (Steve McHugh)Â (19)Â Â
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)Â (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 â€¦ Last weekâ€™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!â€ The plot thickens â€¦
Two knot-tying stories to finish with this week. Best wishes to Predictorship chairman David Roberts and Sheffield Wednesdayâ€™s Janet Jones, who get hitched in Harlow on Friday. News has also reached Predictorship HQ that Philadelphia Eaglesâ€™ Gabe Bevilacqua has announced his marriage to Katie on 2nd August in New Jersey. See www.gabeandkt.com for more details.
Gabeâ€™s mind has understandably been elsewhere since posting the gleeful news on FC Camena, so much so thatâ€™s heâ€™s running the risk of incurring the wrath of the Predictorshipâ€™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 â€˜three strikes and youâ€™re outâ€™ 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. Hereâ€™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 â€“ 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) â€“ 213 pts
2. Nottingham Forest (Matthew White) â€“ 203 pts
3. Chelsea (Dave Taylor) â€“ 202 pts
4. Charlton Athletic (Nigel Birrell) â€“ 201 pts
5. Manchester City (Christine Butters) â€“ 201 pts
6. Clapton F.C. (Cathryn Harker) â€“ 198 pts
7. Blackburn Rovers (Sally Moon) â€“ 197 pts
8. West Ham United (Wendy Nathan) â€“ 195 pts
9. FC Squan 1980 (Patrick Bevilacqua) â€“ 194 pts
10. Crystal Palace (Dave McAleer) â€“ 191 pts
From Mondayâ€™s football â€œGossip Columnâ€ on the BBC Sport website â€¦
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!