Barr’d!

It’s a curious fact that when the end of the season approaches the Predictorship table becomes awash with bards and philosophers…

‘The Towers’ snug is packed to the gills with frilly-cuffed lotharios waxing lyrical about wild and audacious predictions inspired by glorious sunsets and wayward gypsy dancers cavorting in the moonlight. Enter Pete Yoder. With a swoop and a flourish (and a rather natty velvet cape) our 12 point top scorer launches into a personal eulogy of verse, narrating blow by blow the searing paradoxes of emotion suffered during his Saturday night in front of the telly. And with 7 correct results and five correct scores, it could be long session.

Less than impressed table topper Saleel Sathe – now 4 points clear, laughs dismissively at the fly-by-night young pretender and waves a lacy hanky dismissively in retort with fellow fop, David Jones nodding sagely in approval. Both Saleel and David pulled in an arresting 11 points this week with David reaching a seasonal high of 11th after predicting 4 correct scores for Everton, West Ham, Arsenal & Newcastle. Saleel is also no stranger to glory, finishing 4th in two of the last four seasons, but the trophy has eluded him… so far.

All eyes turn to the scuffle in the corner if the room where Queen of the Predictorship – Christine Butters is in riotous conversation with fellow 10-pointer, Steven Dunlop-Drake – renaissance man and globe trotter. The great man is regaling an engaged Ms Butters with amusing tales of plundering Portuguese pies at the Benfica stadium with his two year old son this week as Mark Fitch attempts to muscle in on the conversation. Mark is eagerly wetting his quill to take notes on tips for the top, hoping his surprise 10 point this week will see a last minute run of form. Unfortunately, an ill-timed swish of the regal petticoats sends hapless mark tumbling into an upturned barrel of ale and dampens more than his enthusiasm for the week ahead.

Avoiding displaced liquor at the next table, Mark Young sways unsteadily out of the way, clutching his jug of mead and falls into the lap of Predictorship Cup Chairman Matt White. Mark is waxing lyrical about the season in his familiar slurred tones: ‘not much fun at the bottom, but hats off to Stoke – they get the surprise team of the season award…’. But the suggestion falls on deaf ears as Matt, intoxicated with another highest place of the season (7th position), makes a few Hogarthian doodles of the scene before him and belches into Mark’s ear.

Outside at the stocks, Predictors of the Week: David Jones and Roger Taylor (Everton 1-2 Manchester City); Hope Arnold, Rob Dimery, Wendy Nathan and, (pursued by the lyrical Mr Young), Matthew White (Hull 1-3 Liverpool) celebrate with a little target practise and a basket of rotten vegetables.

On the receiving end, a repentant Nick Watson (a punishment for pillorying the Chairman last week) spits out a rotten tomato and offers a little philosophy of his own:

‘This week, I decided to lay off with the insult routine as I asked myself “what would Roy do?” before filling in each of my guesses – a bulletproof scheme I trust you’ll agree’.

With 6 points, Nick’s not going to win any awards but at least he can now go and wash those rotting vegetables out of his hair.

So as the race hots up in the matter of an Elizabethan bed pan (with a score of 33 for the this week’s top 3 – Sathe, Butters & Yoder), it’s time for all predictors to raise their game and joust for the title.