A new bag of nuts is dangling from the bird table in Church Langley and causing quite a stir. With a nip in the air, hungry beaks far and wide are swooping in for a little nibble and to sort out a score or two in the Predictorship pecking order.

… But with an average weekly score of 4.77 in Week 23 there’s not much to celebrate.

Rob Dimery is first to hang from the tasty offering and puff up his scarlet chest:

‘The Robins are in turmoil: Reading dump Liverpool out of the Cup and Gipsy Hill is a slushy death trap. Ah, but it’s OK: this week I jump an impressive 30 places in The Predictorship, with these to-die-for scores.”

“Unfortunately it takes more than 4 points to achieve a feat like that” crows Matt White from a branch above, sitting pretty in 6th place but submitting a similarly dismal selection this week.

Suddenly, there’s a rush of wind above his head as Reading’s Rob Molloy dives straight at him. The crow dodges out of the way and turns to goad this week’s one pointer.

‘Having a Royal tern are we mate?’

As Rob comes in for another dive the birds scatter from the table, startled by a rumbling voice like a distant train. ‘Knock him off and leave him to me’. Boomed the voice.

Wolves man Pete Yoder emerges, 9 point leader for the week and aided by the correct score jackpots Manchester United 3 Burnley 0 & Stoke 1 Liverpool 1. Pete is in the mood to celebrate and a tasty crow may be just the way to do it. Matt makes a sharp exit over the shed, pursued by the wolf.

The birds descend once again to tuck into the tasty seeds: some Posh bird nobody can identify, Steve McHugh, and Dartford Warbler Jill Taylor take a moment to preen themselves after bagging 3 correct scores each (Manchester United, Stoke, Bolton for Steve and Everton, Wolves, Bolton for Jill.

Pretty impressive for a week with only 33 correct scores, including 11 for Manchester United 3 Burnley 0 & 10 for Stoke 1 Liverpool 1.

Meanwhile, the Predictors of the Week gather on Janet’s washing line. No hoper Mark Lawrenson chatters inconsequentially like an old myna with nobody taking much notice about the Everton Man City match, as Jill Taylor flies in looking rather gorgeous after her recent grooming session. Jill can’t contain her excitement as she twitters away to Everton’s a slightly ruffled Hope Arnold about her two award winning predictions at Everton and Wolves. Hope, herself rewarded for her quite excellent Blackburn 2 Fulham 0 prediction is attempting to dislodge a shiny wrapper stuck to her foot, spotted by Liverpool’s Red hawk Joe Zalewski who’s keen foresight also managed to spot the tie at Tottenham; the only non-Spurs win prediction.

‘Hey, watch out for that Hornet!’ chirps Jill. The Chairman’s buzzing around and has spotted Hope’s Toffee paper.
Eagle-eyed Benfica man Steve Dunlop sails down from the roof and symbolically lands on top of the table. All fall silent to hear the King of birds speak, listening for any tips in the weeks ahead:

‘Officially half-way point in the season here with Benfica still at loggerheads with surprise leaders Braga (although interestingly they’re the former team of the current Benfica manager). Not quite so tight for Benfica in the Predictorship, however with the regular occurence of random results in this year’s premiership, there’s no room for complacency!’

‘Wise words’ hoots ‘Wednesday girl Janet Roberts, the amber eyes of the impressive Owl, swivel around the assembled flock.
‘Hey, and get that thrush off my nuts!!

David dive bombs the table as Mark Young flies away.