Jokerwocky

I won’t revisit the sorry stats of the week so ably narrated by Matt Wayne, so here’s an autumn poem to lift your spirits…

‘Twas gloomy and Predictors woes
Did slide and simbre in their ale
All tipsy from their highs and lows,
Much bemoaned with outrage.

“Beware the Jokerwock my son!
The smile that’s white, the olive thatch
Beware the Penguin bird, and shun
The luminous Riddler’s chat!”

He took his vorpal mouse in hand:
Long time the wond’rous web he surfed –
So rested him by the latte stream
And sipped a while in thought.

While at the sorry stats he looked
The Jokerwock with beetroot stains,
Came whiffling through the reference books
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! The tables drew
The vorpal mouse when click and clack!
He sent the mail to all and said
“You won’t corrupt my stats!”

“And has thou tamed the Jokerwock?
Take off your cloak, crusading man,
O cupshious day! The Blues – hooray!”
They chortled as they sang.

‘Twas gloomy and Predictors woes
Did slide and simbre in their ale
All tipsy from their highs and lows,
Much bemoaned with outrage.

... after Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832 – 1898)

The Best is Yet to Come

It’s Saturday 14th September, 1963 and the telly’s on.

The lounge at Predictorship HQ is set out for the assembled Predictors to watch the afternoon’s match as WBA are first out on the pitch to begin their warm-up. Old Trafford is heaving with fans eager to catch a glimpse of new signing, George Best.

Top of the Predictorship pile, Janet Roberts has been re-coiffed to celebrate another successful week with silvery beads woven through her ever-enlarging beehive. However, as Janet sachays through the throng distributing peanuts, Chairman David (this week’s top non-joker scorer with 9 points) casts a menacing glare at the party in the corner discussing their successful Sunderland – Liverpool prediction, John Collins, Ralph Hannah, Alex Iskandar Liew, Steve McHugh, Ted Warland and Joe Zalewski who seem a little too interested in the constantly-swaying mini-skirt before them.

Turning back to the huddle, Ralph, who claims to have stepped out of something called a Hadron collider, is bragging to his bewildered audience:

‘No famous people to name drop this week…although I sat in the front row at Wembley on Wednesday and I think Crouch heard me shout his name…’

The group try to look impressed while glancing around to see if anybody knows what he’s talking about!

Conveniently, the party is broken up by a flustered Nick Watson pursuing a pair of puffed-up Persians with bad attitudes heading between Janet’s legs.

Gallantly swept out of the way by Dave Breeze before disaster strikes, the peanuts (and Janet) are saved. Dave, having played his joker to win a rather ostentatious 16 points to rise 13 places up the table, has been loitering around Janet all afternoon, smirking lasciviously at her with a rather unpleasant painted grin fixed onto his sallow complexion.

‘Shame about that train robbery last month,’ oozes Dave. ‘Poor driver eh? Do you think he saw who hit him?’

Janet smiles back politely and unpeels herself from Dave’s oily grasp.

Predictors of the Week – Rob Molloy, Sally Moon (Aston Villa 2-1 Chelsea) and Joe Zalewski (Sunderland 1-0 Liverpool) who’s just managed to extricate himself from Ralph’s continuing monologue, move swiftly towards their seats as Dave makes his way towards them.

The match is about to begin and Baggie’s boy, Mark Young still languishing at the bottom of the table, can be heard muttering to a red-carded Rob Dimery:

Finally the Moonerazzi has gone too far — as any self respecting connoisseur of high culture knows, “The Great Escape” is copyrighted to West Bromwich Albion fans. I understand she’s been in a dark, dank place with just meager rations for a few weeks, but this is a worse football violation than Sylvester Stallone playing a goalkeeper in “Escape to Victory.” Something has to be done: its time for “The Damned Predictorship United” moment: I’ll understand if you don’t break your china set at the next AGM at Predictorship HQ, but can we at least get a reprimand in the minutes? And by reprimand, I suggest a solitary confinement screening of “A Shot At Glory” while sitting on the cooler floor bouncing a baseball off the wall. If she drops the ball, then the movie goes back to the beginning.’

Don’t you think you’ve been watching too many movies Mark? Don’t get me wrong, but think you might be loosing it a bit.

The Best is Yet to Come

It’s Saturday 14th September, 1963 and the telly’s on.

The lounge at Predictorship HQ is set out for the assembled Predictors to watch the afternoon’s match as WBA are first out on the pitch to begin their warm-up. Old Trafford is heaving with fans eager to catch a glimpse of new signing, George Best.

Top of the Predictorship pile, Janet Roberts has been re-coiffed to celebrate another successful week with silvery beads woven through her ever-enlarging beehive. However, as Janet sachays through the throng distributing peanuts, Chairman David (this week’s top non-joker scorer with 9 points) casts a menacing glare at the party in the corner discussing their successful Sunderland – Liverpool prediction, John Collins, Ralph Hannah, Alex Iskandar Liew, Steve McHugh, Ted Warland and Joe Zalewski who seem a little too interested in the constantly-swaying mini-skirt before them.

Turning back to the huddle, Ralph, who claims to have stepped out of something called a Hadron collider, is bragging to his bewildered audience:

‘No famous people to name drop this week…although I sat in the front row at Wembley on Wednesday and I think Crouch heard me shout his name…’

The group try to look impressed while glancing around to see if anybody knows what he’s talking about!

Conveniently, the party is broken up by a flustered Nick Watson pursuing a pair of puffed-up Persians with bad attitudes heading between Janet’s legs.

Gallantly swept out of the way by Dave Breeze before disaster strikes, the peanuts (and Janet) are saved. Dave, having played his joker to win a rather ostentatious 16 points to rise 13 places up the table, has been loitering around Janet all afternoon, smirking lasciviously at her with a rather unpleasant painted grin fixed onto his sallow complexion.

‘Shame about that train robbery last month,’ oozes Dave. ‘Poor driver eh? Do you think he saw who hit him?’

Janet smiles back politely and unpeels herself from Dave’s oily grasp.

Predictors of the Week – Rob Molloy, Sally Moon (Aston Villa 2-1 Chelsea) and Joe Zalewski (Sunderland 1-0 Liverpool) who’s just managed to extricate himself from Ralph’s continuing monologue, move swiftly towards their seats as Dave makes his way towards them.

The match is about to begin and Baggie’s boy, Mark Young still languishing at the bottom of the table, can be heard muttering to a red-carded Rob Dimery:

Finally the Moonerazzi has gone too far — as any self respecting connoisseur of high culture knows, “The Great Escape” is copyrighted to West Bromwich Albion fans. I understand she’s been in a dark, dank place with just meager rations for a few weeks, but this is a worse football violation than Sylvester Stallone playing a goalkeeper in “Escape to Victory.” Something has to be done: its time for “The Damned Predictorship United” moment: I’ll understand if you don’t break your china set at the next AGM at Predictorship HQ, but can we at least get a reprimand in the minutes? And by reprimand, I suggest a solitary confinement screening of “A Shot At Glory” while sitting on the cooler floor bouncing a baseball off the wall. If she drops the ball, then the movie goes back to the beginning.’

Don’t you think you’ve been watching too many movies Mark? Don’t get me wrong, but think you might be loosing it a bit.

Just any Tom, Dick or Harry?

It’s a day for celebration and with the photos safely stashed away, the Roberts emerge into the sunlight.

‘We won’t be getting any trouble now, my dear’ the Chairman reassures his wife as they stride across the dusty yard to inspect the prisoners.

Janet Roberts idly adjusts the curls around her magnificent green beehive as they approach the dishevelled huts. She hadn’t realised what a powerful aphrodisiac victory could be, but after gunning her way to the top of the table once again she was savouring the adulation with her co-conspirators.

‘Janet!’ Joe Roberts shouts urgently across the yard from the doorway they have just left.

‘What’s brown and wrinkled and never stays where you put it?’

‘Joe!’

Joe and Tom Roberts along with James Bradley have all played their jokers this week and with 12, 14 and 12 points apiece Janet had noticed them behaving a little out of hand. Tom had been particularly surly after scoring 6 points from the first 4 fixtures on the scorecard but just 1 point from the remaining 6 fixtures, and his brother had been making the most of his mood.

‘No – you don’t understand…’ Joe enunciates slowly, beckoning them back towards the office.

Meanwhile, Ralph Hannah (aka The Cooler King) is striding around the Predictor’s hut recounting a chance encounter the previous evening and tossing his baseball casually into the air for effect.

‘Well my scores were decided then,’ admits Ralph, ‘I met Maradona”s daughter last night and she said she would be happy with 1-0, who am I to argue…’

“Then of course, off my guard, The Chairman came up behind me and – well, here I am’.

The Predictors nod sadly at the story, recalling their own painful tales of capture.

‘Keep your spirits up guys’, Pete Yoder (The Scrounger) jumps up, seizing an opportunity to offer ‘support’. I’ve got a small stash of liquor they missed when they picked me up from New Orleans. Guess the drunk act worked huh?’

‘That was no act, Pete’ retorts Andrew Thraves (Intelligence), observing quietly from the corner as usual. You reeked of bourbon when they threw you in here last night… but we won’t hold that against you!’

The Predictors gather around Pete to find out where the stash is hidden, while Andrew goes back to studying his papers. With 3 correct scores (a feat only matched by Janet Roberts) for Finland, Ukraine and Japan, Andrew is slowly heading his way up the table, but not without the finger of suspicion resting upon him. After an unpopular Predictor of the Week award for England’s defeat in Ukraine, morale and Andrew’s popularity are at an all time low. Ted Warland (The Forger) is making his own award for predicting Ireland’s 2-2 draw with Italy and Matt White (Big X) joins him to finalise the plans.

‘What’s Auntie Margaret’s leg doing sticking out of that trunk?’ screams Janet in horror as they enter the room.

‘Get it back in their quick, boys before somebody sees it!’ urges the Chairman, ushering the Tom, Joe and James towards the wrinkled stocking sticking out of the half-open lid.

‘She should have handed over the photos when she had a chance, Janet’ David mumbles distractedly. ‘Come on, let’s get back to the prisoners’.

But as they enter the hut, the room in empty.

Matt pulls The Moonerazzi from the tunnel onto the damp grass.

‘Why are you shaking? I thought you were the “Tunnel King”!’ asks Matt, concerned.

‘It’s not that,’ she sighs gratefully. I think I’ve had a bad reaction to all those beetroots they’ve been feeding us. Never let me see a beetroot ever again!’

Steak Out

A hastily scribbled note on a crumpled list of fixtures was all that remained.

* Top score: 10 – Janet Roberts
* Total players: 40/43
* Total points scored by 40 predictors: 247
* Average score: 6.17 (almost 3 points lower than last week’s 9.05)
* Prediction of the Week: Simon Gold & Marek Phillips for Liverpool 4 Burnley 0
* Jokers played: 0
* Yellow cards: 3 (all 3 scored 0 points as there were no draws this week)
* Red cards: 0
* Sanjiv Sachdev scored 8 points without finding a correct score: clever
* Janet Roberts & Dave Taylor: 8 correct results
* Joe Zalewski’s 1 point is for Sunday’s games only ANOTHER HOLIDAY

‘Holy Poets! The Moonerazzi’s been taken and look at those red stains on the wall!’ Ted Warland turns to Matt Wayne in despair.

‘And that ‘s not the worst of it, Ted’ warns Matt as he strides up to examine the marks.

‘Let’s hope that’s only beetroot, but they are more than meaningless dorbs. Something’s been written in that juice.’

The boys look closer and sure enough, the words slowly emerge from between the mottled plaster:

Here’s a riddle for you: What’s black and white and re(a)d all over? No, not a newspaper: its the Chairman dripping beetroot juice all over his leather outfit at an Alvin Stardust karaoke night… (When oh when is the Moonerazzi going to release the photos?)

‘Holy root vegetables Matt. You know what this means, don’t you?’

‘Yes Ted. And it’s all my fault. With all those Predictors on holidays I let my guard slip and now the Moonerazzi’s being held ransom by my arch enemy.’

‘Yes, that Riddler, Matt. He makes my blood boil.’ replies Ted, spitting at the wall.

‘If only it was, Ted. But that’s not the Riddler – that’s just one of his evil ploys to throw us off the scent.’

‘Look here’. and Matt stoops down to pick something up off the floor.

‘Pie crumbs. I was right. This is the work of the Penguin. And look at my cape. Those violet threads must have come off the wall when I stepped forward to examine it’.

‘Holy top hats Matt. Let’s hope she doesn’t give into his demands. Who knows what could happen if those photos fall into the wrong hands!’

Dig for Victory!

Following the massive top score of 22 from Roger Taylor this week, the ugly rumours of dirty brown envelopes and insider dealings are once again rife in the seedy world of the Predictorship elite.

Yes. Its that time of year again when the Predictorship Country show takes over the fields of Church Langley, and all is definitely not coming up roses.

There’s a stench of foul play in the vegetable tent as rumours bubble around the Chairman’s fine beetroot display. ‘Nepotism. That’s what it is,’ whispers Dave Breeze to Ted Warland who sit 8th and 7th in the table with a very creditable 11 and 13 points this week, as they queue up to weigh in their Maris Pipers.

‘Look at them all,’ Dave continues, allowing a little spit to land on the judges blouse. ‘Two Taylors and three Roberts in the top 6. You can’t tell me that’s a coincidence’.

‘Yes, and look at their hair!’ hisses Ted, nodding in agreement. ‘Chlorine in the swimming pool? I don’t think so!’

Irritated at the chattering behind him, Dave Taylor snatches up his prize-winning root (2nd place with 14 points) and turns to fix the culprits with a dark gaze. Silence engulfs the tent as Dave stretches a blood red smile at the two pretenders. ‘Your time will come,’ sneers Dave, ‘but I’ll be waiting for you’.

Ted and Dave edge towards the exit, only to be blocked by Joe Roberts – this week’s 6th place with a 13 point haul and still to play his joker – who steps out from the shadows at the back of the tent. ‘Riddle me this boys, what is it that no man wants to have but no man wants to lose?’ Joe steps across the door, arms folded as they shrink back into the tent. ‘That’ll be a law suit!’ crows Joe menacingly, ‘which is what you’ll have if you don’t stop your sorry little rumours!’

Ted and Dave lunge past him to freedom sending Steven Dunlop flying as he heads towards the home produce tent with his freshly baked Pasteis de Nata.

But there’s nothing that will dampen Steven’s enthusiasm today as he scrapes the custard out if the grass and back into their fluffy cases:

‘What a week it was!’ quips Steve cheerfully. ‘8-1 victory for Benfica (their biggest in 15 years) and 12 points for me securing second place in the Predictorship, it’s been many a moon since I scaled such dizzy heights!’

And with another 12 points this week to send him soaring into the joker pack in third place, he drags the crest-fallen heroes off to sample his Portuguese delights.

The homemade tent is evidently the hot ticket as Predictors from all over the globe arrive to see who will win the pastry prize.

Mark Young, shifts nervously from foot to foot behind his small trestle, eyeing his steak and kidney pie beatifically and tugging his flat cap over his eyes as stat-man Matt White examines his crust.

It’s going to be a close run contest with hot contenders pulling in 9 correct results this week: Joe Roberts (who only failed to predict the result of the Argentina-Brazil game), Nicola Savage (Denmark-Portugal) & Pete Yoder (Poland-Northern Ireland) and all of whom have an extremely impressive array of puff-pastry treats on offer.

The standards have never been higher, with an average score this week of 9.02 (a new Predictorship record), 13 players who have recorded double-figure total scores this week and an astounding 32 players who have recorded double-figure scores so far this season (that’s an average of 8 a week!) we’re looking at some large egos and big prizes up for grabs.

So if you fancy displaying your vegetables and pastries, you’d better start pulling out those jokers. And with only 4 played so far, the field’s never been so wide open.

Penguins on Parade

… it started with a kiss. No sooner had Janet Roberts seen her husband’s transformation, her fate was already sealed. Fuelled with a passion we can only imagine, she lunged at her beloved’s borsch-stained lips and sealed her fate.

… and as in all good musicals at such a tender moment, the orchestra strikes up, the chorus enters stage left and the lovers begin to gyrate erratically around the boards. Passing the Joker ‘crown’ on to a star-crossed lover is obviously a queue for a big number and Chairman Roberts doesn’t disappoint. Twirling and swirling the lovely Janet, resplendent in her trademark green beehive, through the dry ice as his Nike’s swoosh energetically across the stage, there is hardly a dry eye in the house. A dance of champions as Janet rightly celebrates her 3 point Predictorship lead with a whopping 18 points.

It’s a well deserved night on the town for the assembled Predictorship audience with an average score of 8.55 this week, an amazing 66 correct scores and 13 players reaching double figures. There are a few who, of course, always go over the top on such occasions and others who let the side down.

Sliding between the penguin suits at the intermission, Ralph Hannah (hot foot from Paraguay) and Pete Yoder (hot foot from ‘Vegas) in unfashionably floral attire whisper conspiratorially as Ralph slips a few readies into Pete’s waiting palm. With scores of 9 and 7, could the boys be betting on the final placements already? Judging from the third member of their party, there could be something more sinister afoot. Mark Young, sporting a violet topper and bow tie in the manner of Burgess Meredith, is once again standing out from the crowd. Turning an attractive shade of puce as he sucks heavily on the Marlboro light in his cigarette holder, Mark appears to be pointing out the Predictorship Cup Chairman to his companions.

Matt Wayne, unaware of the discussion, is getting in a round for the week’s top scorers Steve Dunlop and Dave McAleer (both on 12 points). Unusually the conversation is one of regret with Steve, giddy with the Spanish sun, holding back from playing his Joker at the last minute and thereby loosing a potential 24 points. Matt nods sagely,

‘There’s nothing worse than living a life of regret, Steve.

Holy super leagues. If there’s one think I’ve learned in life. Go with your instincts. You never know what might be lurking around the corner.’

Steve and Dave look at Matt suspiciously but, the intermission bell has sounded and Matt is gone. ‘Maybe all those stats have finally sent him round the bend!’ suggests Dave as the work their way back to their seats.

‘He’s certainly been acting a bit strangely this season.’ agrees Steve, ‘Do you think it’s those Turkish sausages he’s been eating? He certainly seems to be disappearing a lot lately.’

The second act begins with moving solos from our ‘Predictors of the Week’ for the Blackburn 0 West Ham 0 score (watched incidentally by Millwall’s John Collins who nipped out at half time to watch some paint dry). Simon Gold (9th place with 9 points) begins with the old Bachman-Turner Overdrive number ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’ and Normanetta No Mates, transformed into Edith Piaf for the evening, brings the audience to it’s feet in a finale of ‘Rien de rien’.

Meanwhile, there’s a strange cloaked figure moving through the lighting rigs above the audience. Little do they realise, the evening and the Predictorship are a long way from being over.

A Dark Night

One glance at this weeks table tells us that the odious rumours were true.

As the everyday folk of Church Langley chattered animatedly over their Friday night barbeques and the aroma of cremated sausages filled the air, smoke was rising from a darker place.

Nobody heard the grate of metal above the laughter as the sinewed figure heaved the manhole cover to one side and emerged, glistening onto the tarmac; his shock of green hair luminous in the harsh sodium light.

Janet Roberts was busy putting the finishing touches to her weekly scores when the door blew shut. ‘David, is that you?’

There was no answer. Why did he never remember to put the latch on when he went out to the bins? Men!

She didn’t hear the creak of the stairs as the figure made his way up to the door and by the time she had turned to see him, it was too late. The telltale beetroot stains smeared wildy around his mouth and up across his face told their own story. The Chairman had transformed and there was no turning back. The Joker had been played.

Rising up the table a mighty 29 places to 2nd the frenzy of excitement has turned the Chairman into a crazed man.

“Looking forward to seeing my yellow bar on the new table!” cackled Roberts to Matt Wayne, Predictorship Cup chairman, on his 14 point coup. It wasn’t the first time Wayne had heard the sinister voice and he knew he had to act. And act fast.

Shadowy figures began appearing in Church Langley as the weekend unfolded: Nigel Birrrrrell arrived with an icy blast, freezing out the opposition with 12 points and rising to third place. Jill Taylor, joined the whispering huddle soon after, wrapping her tendrils around her co-conspirators and tightened her ivy-grip on the top of the table, watched, out of sight from the rooftops by ‘Cat’ hryn Gregory, biding her time with 11 points and only one point behind.

But as the parents called their children inside away from the freakish gathering a roar could be heard echoing through the empty streets as the sleek black Tumbler thundered into the close. Matt stepped out, Teflon-coated and stood menacingly to confront the leering villains.

‘Holy supervillains!’ cried Matt as he spotted Mark Young in a top hat scurrying behind the council bins. ‘Don’t think you can take over this Predictorship with me looking after the good people of this competition’.

WHACK, BAMM, THWACK!

The Caped Crusader slugged the Chairman, sending him reeling into his Mini Cooper.

‘With an average score of 7.6, there are many worthy Predictors and I WILL see fair play’.

SLAM, ZAP, BANG

Poison Ivy, Jill was launched into a particularly unpleasant rockery.

‘And, with only five players failing to record one correct score, the competition will be too hot for you!’ Matt shouted, glaring at the blue man in the shadows.

POW, CRACK!

Nigel Birrell flies onto an open barbeque and starts to met uncontrollably.

‘I name the Predictors of the Week Steve Dunlop, Saleel Sathe and Nigel Birrell – to show I believe in fair play for the Burnley Everton match, but Holy Predictorships – if I catch you all together again, I’ll be flashing my red cards, and you’ll all be sorry!’

So be warned Predictors out there. Play your jokers wisely and fairly or you may be getting a visit from the Black Knight.

Bolt from ‘The Blues’

Out of the 09-10 Predictorship blocks faster than a Jamaican in a pair of smokin’ Pumas… a streak of blue shoots up the table in a premature sprint for the silverware.

Jill Taylor’s Dartmoor Rovers plunges through the tape with a mighty 10 points followed closely behind by the fragrant ‘boys in blue’ Dave Taylor (Chelsea) on 9 points and John Collins (Millwall) on 8 points. John is taken to a photo-finish by newcomer Joe Roberts (Monkey Sheik City) who, along with Jill is still of indeterminate hue. The Chairman requests that you ‘show your colours’ before Week 2 although no more bets are being taken on Joe’s tonal tendencies…

So, is it another case of insider dealing so early in the season? The Taylors have yet to be interviewed regarding their inexplicable early form. Jill Taylor was also the player with the most correct scores for Blackburn, Stoke and West Bromwich.

In other quarters the season’s barely underway before the scent of foul play drifts through the air at Predictorship towers: This week’s rumour is directed at Janet Roberts – the Chairman’s wife, who has been cooking up a lavatorial storm in the pre-season with Rob Dimery’s famous beetroot soup. Maybe a tactic to topple ‘Queen’ Chris Butters from her throne after their Cup Final jousting and last season’s magnificent run of form? According to Rob the tactic is ‘going down a treat’. But going down where? Down the pan apparently if the Chairman’s antics are anything to go by, clutching his celebratory toilet roll in the cheap seats (only 4 points in Week 1) in-case it’s needed for a more sober task later on.

Keen to avoid the whiff of Mrs Roberts vegetable delights Nicola Savage and Maziar Sattari have been taking no chances – Nicola headed off into the woods with her woggle and jerry can and a bunch of adventurous young Guides. Ted Warland was reported to have been sighted in the twilight waltzing Nicola’s young ladies around the camp fire in search of some ‘hot’ tips and, being on equal points with Nicola, this may be more than idle gossip. Maziar went one step further and cut off all means of communication before sending his scores ‘from the middle of nowhere’. With scores of 7 and 6 respectively, it could be that a can of beans and the great outdoors is the key to this season’s success.

So, a sobering culinary lesson for our new arrivals among whom we welcome: Sanjiv Sachev (Doncaster Rovers) who returns after several seasons away and Tom Roberts (The Blessed United) – already ‘souped up’ and staggering in with a luke-warm 5 points.

With an average weekly score of 5.56, 5 yellow cards already and no jokers in the pack (although I could argue that last one with our ‘Emmy award winning writer’ possibly for a whole season) the field is open for another record-breaking competition. So, dust off those green flashes and show us what you’re made of.

Saleel’s Got Talent!

Donning his support tights and plastic court shoes Saleel Sathe takes to the stage to give us his own very special rendition of ‘Memories’ as he takes on the mantle of Predictorship Champion 2009. Saleel’s really been on the ‘boyle’ in the last few weeks (12 points in week 36, 11 points in weeks 37 & 38) which we believe deserves a standing ovation and a complementary visit to Nicky Clark’s.

Despite the rightful celebrations, as with all competitions where there is so much at stake, there are some pretty dirty shenanigans going on behind the scenes. Chairman Roberts (head of the judging panel) has been striding around with menace in his unfashionably high-waisted trousers looking for our noble statistician. Predictorship Cup Chairman Matt White , giddy from his 5th place finish and madly crunching numbers in the wings, is about to fall prey to the the chisel-jawed chairman who knows that to win the 7th place spot over his lovely wife Janet Roberts (who’s just nipped out for a quick blow dry) now’s the time to pile on the pressure.

As Janet saunters back into the theatre, she spots the Chairman shaking hands with Matt White who’s just stashed a bottle of Jack Daniels in his rucksack. It looks as if a deal has already been done. And with the publishing of the table, the sorry truth is revealed – the Roberts’ are inseparable on 257 points, each with 213 correct results and 44 correct scores. However, Matt’s ruling is that David comes out on top by virtue of the fact that ‘D’ comes before ‘J’ in the alphabet. Blimey. I wouldn’t like to consider where those acrylic nails are going to end up this evening!

But the show must go on… and cue Dave Taylor and Pete Yoder tumbling spectacularly across the stage in their best military bib and tucker. Soaring above the rest in their shiny plimsolls with 12 points each in this final week the pressure has definitely helped Pete to turn in a gravity-defying performance:

‘Here are my final picks in hope of defying the statisticians and soaring to the top of table.’

stated Pete as he submitted his scores to land a very respectable third. Sadly not enough to catch the headline acts Chris Butters (top for an amazing 27 weeks and 41 weeks in the top five) and Champion Saleel (top for a mere 7 weeks).

Unfortunately, the judges have lost concentration in the performances and are flicking ink from their Watermans over each other’s designer clothing. It’s raining blue in more ways than one and Matt, in vain, tries to break up the sorry display.

Meanwhile back stage, a stewards enquiry is just beginning into a new vote-rigging scandal as it is revealed that the Moonerazzi and spouse Millwall’s John Collins have finished the season on identical points – separated by only one correct score. Amidst the furore, a News of the World reporter sporting a tiarra has been spotted in the wings hoping to snuffle out a headline but, before he can be questioned, a valiant Mark Young – defender of the Moonerazzi, launches the dustbin hanging from his ears into the face of the hapless reporter.

Drowning out the moans of the bloodied hack the audience take to their feet to welcome the final Predictors of the Week. Hope Arnold and Joe Zalewski have been juggling with fire to come up with an audacious Fulham 0 Everton 2 prediction… and stage left, Rob Dimery, Rob Molloy and Pete Yoder pull their feathery flowers out of the hat with a seeringly accurate Liverpool 3 Tottenham 1.

But no sooner has the applause dies down a heavy thud ls heard behind the Union Jack and as the scenery shifts, a dazed Mark Young is revealed, rambling incoherently following his tussle in the wings:

Is life worth living? On the off chance that it is (its a stupendously glorious day in Connecticut after all as I write from my front porch with the dogs wondering what last day Predictorship magic I’m going to weave…)’

Mark is reliving his fanciful score predictions and is having a hard time coming to terms with the Baggies relegation. Putting in a score for their final challenge (Blackburn 0, West Bromwich 2) it looks like it’s time for another visit to the clinic and grabbing Matt’s Jack Daniels on the way past, Ant and Dec cart him off the stage.

Hopefully the off season is a quiet one for us all as we gather ourselves together in readiness for another thrilling assault in the autumn. And finally, can somebody can stop Ted Warland break dancing? Ted, you’re TOO OLD.

Thanks for reading the reports this season. I hope you’ve enjoyed them.

The Moonerazzi