May The Best Team Win – Episode 11

Gerard Fay © Priscilla makes her presence felt Illustration: Gerard Fay

The Fancy Pheasant was packed and the excitement tangible.

It was the first round of this year’s Quiz Quartet and the Smarty Pints, along with the other teams that were competing from the Flying Duck, had driven to the neighbouring village of Quinton, ready to take on the challenge.

The owners, Jan and Pete, had decorated especially for the occasion.

Bunting hung from the rafters and blazing displays of autumn flowers had been arranged in large vases in the fireplaces.

It wasn’t the Flying Duck, of course, but it was lovely, and it was fun to have a change of scene.

The first round of the quiz was always chaotic. Thirty-two teams from the four local pubs involved met for a head-to-head.

Names were drawn out of a hat to see who would be pitted against whom.

The Smarty Pints were to take on the Quizzee Bees.

Rachel had heard they were very good, and they were on home territory.

It was a daunting start. If they won, the Smarty Pints would be out of the tournament at the start.

“Well, good luck, everyone.” Rachel glanced up to see Priscilla, unfazed as ever.

“I hear you’ve drawn the Quizzee Bees. An unfortunate start, but do try not to let the Flying Duck down.”

Rachel raised an eyebrow and caught Dawn’s eye and her friend grinned.

“You’ve got the Trivia Pursuits from the Fox and Ferret, I believe.” Neil smiled mildly at Priscilla.

“I don’t suppose you’ll have any trouble there, but good luck anyway.”

Priscilla gave a regal nod.

“Thank you, Neil. They went out in the first round last year and, I daresay, will do so tonight.”

She swept away and Graham burst out laughing.

“Well, I wish I had her confidence,” he remarked. “Though I daresay she’s right. I don’t think the Master Minds will lose.”

Rachel agreed. They were an excellent team. How would she and the rest of the Smarty Pints get on?

Her excitement mounted as the landlord rang the bell and a hush descended.

The Master Minds were one of eight teams going first and Rachel and the others moved over to see how they would get on.

“They all look relaxed,” Dawn whispered. “My stomach’s doing somersaults.”

Rachel squeezed her hand.

“We’ll be fine.”

As she listened to the questions, she began to feel better.

The first round was the easiest, after all.

The Master Minds certainly seemed happy. They were putting down answers for everything.

Priscilla wielded the pen with a confident smile, Ali and Cam were laughing and joking, and Ewan looked relaxed.

Forty minutes later, and the four rounds were complete.

Noise escalated as people ordered drinks and discussed the questions.

“Well, that wasn’t hard.”

Priscilla came towards them, a glass of white wine in her hand.

“The one on capital cities in Africa was tough.” Ewan stood beside Priscilla. “I think we’ll be OK, though.”

The results were soon announced and the Master Minds came through with flying colours.

The next set of teams were called up and the Smarty Pints were delighted when two more teams from the Flying Duck made it through.

However, as the results were announced, Rachel’s stomach fluttered.

“We’re up!” Neil smiled round at his teammates. “Remember you’re a great team. Have fun!”

Neil was always so calm, even tonight when he was worrying about Apollo and waiting for an X-ray and some test results.

Rachel took a deep breath.

After a few questions she and her teammates relaxed.

Between them they knew most of the answers and they had a good stab at the few which eluded them.

Whatever happened, Rachel felt they could be proud of their performance.

The time passed quickly and, before she knew it, the fourth round was over.

Had they done enough to beat the Quizzee Bees?

“How did it go, beautiful?” Ewan was at her side with a glass of Prosecco and a bag of crisps.

“It looked like you all did well.”

“I think it was OK. We knew a lot of the answers.”

Dawn nodded.

“I don’t think we’ve disgraced ourselves. The only thing is the other team looked pretty competent.”

Neil smiled at them.

“I’m very proud of my team, whatever happens.”

“Really, Neil, encouragement is all very well, but you have to have a more competitive spirit if you want to succeed.”

Priscilla had been listening and clearly felt it was time to intervene.

“We’ll have to hope that your approach has been good enough to get you through to the second leg.”

Rachel hoped so, too. Participating was a great deal of fun, and if only they could get an opportunity to do better than the Master Minds . . .

Rachel shook her head. That wasn’t likely, but she couldn’t help thinking that it would be wonderful to see the expression on Priscilla’s face if they did!

“We have an unusual situation.” Rachel looked up as the landlord, Pete, began an announcement.

“Before we can give the results, I have to tell you that there has been a draw.”

Rachel raised an eyebrow. She couldn’t remember this happening before.

“The Smarty Pints and the Quizzee Bees will have to answer one last question.

“Whichever team is first with the correct answer takes this round.”

Rachel gasped, and the Smarty Pints stared at one another. It wasn’t over yet.

What was going to happen now?

Would they be able to answer the deciding question or would they go straight out of the competition in Round One?

To be continued…