Pipped at the Post…

November 30, 2007

Well, frustration set in this week. We were able to record our highest ever score – 42/50, and yet were beaten by one point.

This week did however see two remarkable facts come to light… Firstly, Dave Hogarth has a truly enviable array of musical knowledge. Not just music, but comedy songs seem to be his speciality. Dave instantly came to life when we were posed the query “which song contained the line ‘Don’t look Ethel!'”, and when asked “whose love rival was Two Ton Ted from Teddington”, his face lit up as if Christmas had come early. Rumour has it, Dave did a detailed study of “Ernie the Fastest Milkman in the West” back in school, and so had that question nailed down.

And the second fact is that Mark, no matter how hard he tries (and remember, Mark’s a school teacher) cannot spell. One question sumed this up perfectly. “What was the name of the cartoon character who chases the Roadrunner?”. We all know that it’s this chap here….


…but could Mark spell his name? Not a hope. So, picture the scene, the question is asked, slight bit of conferring to ensure we’ve got the right answer, then we look to Mark to write it down. Under the pressure of the three expectant glares from his team-mates he cracks. WHYLY… No Mark, try again. WILY… better, but keep trying. eventually we let him finish the answer and we’re presented with WYLIE KYATE. Evidently, the logic was that WYLIE would rhyme with KYLIE. But to be honest we were too busy laughing to see that. “No Mark, there’s an O in it…” Sure enough, he starts again and we get WYLIE KYOTE. Cue further merriment. Not really sure what the other teams were thinking when we were rolling on the floor in hysterics, so much so that we nearly missed the following question. Eventually we settled with WYLIE COYOTE (for anyone checking, it should be Wile E. Coyote), and we moved on.

However, dear old Eric, the quizmaster with all the patter, won’t let us move on. When he goes through the answers, we get him fumbling around with what are seemingly random letters. “Willy kyata, er, Wilehe… not that’s not right” he mutters in his thick Stoke accent. “Koiata…coyoty…ka…” Eventually he stops… “you know who i mean!” Eric, the Man, the Myth, the Legend.

I think the main consolation from our has to come from the fact that Mark was truly delighted to beat his nemesis – the white haired man with the thick glasses. Looks like a proper Quiz regular around the circuit. In fact, it’s exactly how Mark will look in 10 years’ time…


Well, that and the fact that Eric said he would be available should we want him for a Gladiators quiz night…



November 23, 2007

Wednesday came around again and somewhat lethargically we arrived at the pub. England were losing to Croatia, and the mood was sombre. Things did not improve when our illustrious 4th member, a certain Mr. Hogarth, sent word through that he would not be joining us. Naturally we did what any supportive team mates would do, and immediately set about thinking of excuses and reasons why we could blame Dave for our impending defeat…

So, with the three remaining members attempting to fill the gaping void left by the Chairman, the quiz commenced. Question 1, “Which Actor played Superman in the original films?”ok, Christopher Reeve, that one’s easy enough. “Question 2, Who was Einstein’s mother’s lover’s daughter’s cousin?” – well, not really, but it might as well have been! The quiz spiralled rapidl out of control. Questions about Karl D. Saunerbraun, women getting shot, blood clots and barcodes all left us a little dazed and confused, so when we reached the half way point, it was fair to say we weren’t feeling confident. “Blog moment” of the night came from – you guessed it – Mark Gilbranch, who, when posed with the question “What is Ombraphobia?” replied with “Ombra, that’s a bit like Umbro. What’s the Umbro logo?”


“So, fear of concentric diamonds is it Mark?” For anyone keeping score, it’s actually fear of rain, so he was close…

So the second half of the quiz begins, and it’s fair to say that at this stage the excuses are flying.. “Well, Dave would have known that”, “Maybe if Dave was here we’d have been able to brainstorm that one”, “If Dave had been sat in that seat he could have seen over to the answer sheets on the next table”, “If Dave knows about Campanology, then he should know what a costamonger is!” And so on…

But it truly was a game of two halves, and we roared back into contention after the interval. With such spectacular answers as “Kenneth Graham wrote the Wind in the Willows”, and that the “Graf Spee was the German battleship scuttled off Montevideo in 1939”, we found our confidence building. Coincidentally this was at the same time that news of England pulling back to 2-2 filtered through.

However, England eventually succumbed to the Croats, and we thought we’d succumb to the “quiz powerhouses” who win every week. Dave always says that a winning total is 40 out of 50. We’d got 34. I’ll get my coat…

But then, something odd happened. Nobody admitted to having a score over 40. Or over 35. We’re back in the game! We declared 34, two teams had 33, and another 32. It was tight, so Eric wanted to mark them himself.

The tension builds…

…sweat beads on our brow…

…hearts pounding…

…and then…

“So, this week’s winners, with 34 points is ‘Glad To Be Back'”

VICTORY! Who needs Hogarth and his “you’ve got to get 40 to win” attitude! A bottle of wine and 18 quid was ours! Hooray! In your face quiz geniuses! Champions again….

However, the best was yet to come…

Eric returned our quiz sheet, having clearly marked us as having 33 instead of 34. On top of that, there were at least two occassions he’d marked a correct answer wrong, and when he marked a worng answer right. The latter was interesting – “What was the first product to be barcoded?” We put Tea Bags, the answer – Chewing Gum. Not really similar, but similar enough to fool Eric!

But we’re not complaining – winners again!

P.S. I asked my other half some of the questions after the quiz, to see if she could manage any of them. My favourite was he answer to “What’s the most common road name in Britain?” The correct answer – High Street. Her answer – M25. She’s not normally that stupid, honest….

Introducing our Fearless leader..

November 19, 2007


Matthew Neil Roberts

Age: 25

Occupation: Salesman (in the true “Del Boy” mould)

Playing experience: 3 years college with the Essex Blades, 2 years senior with the Gladiators

Coaching experience: 5 years college (Defensive Co-ordinator with the Essex Blades), 1 year youth (Colchester Gladiators Youth).

NFL team: Minnesota Vikings

Favourite ever player: Robert Smith, Ex-Minnesota RB or Jim Kleinsasser, Vikings TE/FB

How did you get into American Football?

Accidentally taped a game on channel four after the film kept taping after my program, was only 8 at the time and ended up watching Minnesota Vs Cincinnati to pass time at my Grans… loved the game and the rest is history!

What’s your coaching philosophy?

Stress fundamentals, keeping it simple and just plain executing better than the other guys. Team speed is crucial too, you can’t coach speed, and speed kills on both sides of the ball; if guys can’t get to where they need to be your always going to struggle.

Who are your role models within the sport? Is there anyone you aspire to be like?

Not especially to be honest; as long as guys respect me for what I can do, forgive me for what I can’t then I’ll be happy enough.

How would you like to see British football develop in the coming seasons?

I would hope that teams follow the lead of teams like the Gladiators with the off the field work, score boards, DJs, commentators… I think the future lies in the game day experience of paying fans and too many teams, even the best still make little effort. Would also like to see the youth teams really be put on a much higher pedestal than it is at the moment, it really is the future of the game if we are to ever threaten the stranglehold the European teams have over us. Youth football is a vital component of any club’s long term development, so it’s vital that each club and the league look to support youth football and youth programmes, and really encourage kids to get involved. That’s the way the sport will grow in this country.

Where do you see the Gladiators in 5 years time?

In five years I expect us to be either in the top flight, or certainly in Div1 bowl games to be there. If we aren’t at the top echelons of Div1 in five years I will count that as a team, and personal failure. I have high expectations of this club and of each and every player in the ranks. Everybody has a role to play, and when they get an oppotunity i want them prepared and ready to contribute to the team, both now and in the future.

What are your aspirations for the 2008 BAFL season?

First off to get players to really trust in the training and the coaching staff, to get bodies to sessions and start the ball rolling. If guys put in the same effort that the coaching staff and Management Committee will be then there is no reason at all why we won’t finish the year with promotion back to Div1.

Goalie vs. Popstar, Lobster vs. Langoustine, Mark vs. the world

November 15, 2007

Well, this week the intrepid three (Mark, George and I) took on the quizmaster. Our fearless Chairman was absent until the final 6 questions, so this week he’s to blame for the loss. Sorry Dave, but someone’s got to cop it… 

Mark, to his credit, actually performed well this week, with only a couple of “Gilbranch moments”. The first was not a comedy answer as such, but his tense and panicky reaction to the question “What is a freshwater Lobster more commonly known as?” His first reaction was Crayfish, which he scribbled down. Then he paused, crossed it out, and attempted to write Langoustine. It may have been another change of mind, or it may have been the fact he struggled to spell it, but that soon got crossed out too. He starts writing “Cray-” then pauses, and says, “Not sure about this one”. You don’t say. “Well, put it this way, langoustines are seafood”, we tell him. “Right, so it must be crayfish then?” Yes Mark.  

However, Mark couldn’t quite steal the thunder from the real star of the show. Eric, the author, announcer, and arbiter of all things quiz, truly stole the show from Mark, and had us giggling for quite some time. His sheer array of errors, mispronunciations, and incorrect statements really keeps every team on their toes! So, it began on question 2. In his distinctive thick Stoke accent he posed the question, “Which goalkeeper failed to stop Madonna’s hand of God?”. Hang on, did he just say… “I’ll repeat that, which goalkeeper failed to stop Madonna’s hand of God?”  Yup, he did. Apparently one of the greatest footballers of his generation, a diminutive and chubby dark haired dynamo from South America can be easily confused with a tall, skinny, blonde, pop star with ice cream cones on her chest. 

After that, two questions into a 50 question quiz, we had his standard “Ooh, these are easy ones tonight”. You wrote them Eric. If you don’t know the answers, then what chance to we stand? 

“Aside from a very fine eating establishment, what is the Star of India?” soon followed, and then a real cracker. “There are four words in the English language that end in -dous. Tremendous, horrendous and suspenders are three, what’s the third?” Erm, Eric, are you sure about that? Not only have you said three, and asked for the third but you said… “There are four words in the English language that end in -dous. Tremendous, horrendous and suspenders are three, what’s the fourth?” Ok, so he corrected one of his errors. I guess we assume suspenders actually means stupendous… 

So, after Eric stumbled through some more questions, we came to the answers. Sure enough… “It was Peter Shilton who couldn’t keep out Madonna’s hand of God.”  As we chuckled away to ourselves, he let slip another… “The pink and yellow cake wrapped in marzipan is a Battenburger”. At this point someone actually had to tell him he was wrong. “Oh yes, my first mistake of the evening!” No Eric, no it wasn’t. Nor was it his last. 

“The two remaining tenors are Carreras and Domino”. Might need to Google that one Eric. I didn’t tell him that though, for fear he’d try to sing to me. 

Then onto finding the winner, as ever this began with his announcement, “Well, it was ever so easy tonight, so have we got anyone with 45 or more…No? Crikey, I should have played myself tonight! The questions were so easy…” 

As it transpired the winners were the same as last week, and the look Mark gave the bloke as he walked past suggests that Mark has adopted him as his new nemesis. Next week could prove very competitive…

Multinationals, Musicians and Mark

November 8, 2007

Now, before i start talking about this week’s quiz, let me pose a quick question. Which multinational company has a logo consisting of a black “M” in a white circle? Just think on that for a minute… annoying isn’t it?

So, two main events this week, firstly, our annual awards night… but seeing as i didn’t win anything, i’ll just gloss over that. Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all, and the awards were all well deserved (especially the Colchester Gladiators award for academic excellence which went to our beloved Mark Gilbranch).

About now you’ll be picturing something like this…


But keep thinking.

Anyway, back to the important stuff – our quiz night. This week, lacking George, but retaining the services of Martin from last week we entered with high hopes. This confidence was almost jeopardised on question 2 – What is the southernmost point of the British mainland? Our newest recruit chips in with “Well, it’ll be some little island off Cornwall”. No Martin, a little island is not on the mainland. But, we can forgive that as a first offence, and as Dave and I were certain of the answer (Lizard Point) our confidence remained high.

Mark quickly dashed it on the following question, suggesting that Hans Gruber was the Nazi propaganda minister. I had to explain that Hans Gruber was the character Bruce Willis throws off the top of a building in Die Hard. So near and yet so far.

Then question 10, when it was my turn to slip up. “Who preceded Michael Faraday on the £20 note?” Some debate on this one, and Dave suggested Florence Nightingale. I chirp up with “Not sure that’s right. I thought Elizabeth Fry was the first woman on a banknote”. Needless to say the others gently broke it to me that the Queen is, herself, a woman.

Now, you’re probably thinking of something like this…


Anyway, moving on.

Only 5 questions later, Mark made his second blunder of the evening. “What is a sporran traditionally made from?” Quick as a flash, Dave leans into Mark and whispers an answer. Mark’s expression looks confused, and he asks Dave to repeat. He does so, and Mark’s expression still looks befuddled. A third repeat and it’s as if the penny has dropped, and Mark quickly writes what Dave had told him. No Mark, sporrans are not made of Haggis. That’s right, our beloved primary school teacher thought that the humble haggis had been hunted to extinction by fashion conscious Scots. Mark managed to redeem himself a little by knowing that the holiday celebrated in the US on 2nd February is Groundhog Day.

So, we powered throught the second half of the quiz knowing that a team has to travel 3.6m to win a tug-o-war competition, and that cougars are also known as pumas. Or “poooomars” as our favourite quizmaster liked to pronounce them. Finishing with our top score ever of 39/50, we were beaten by 2 points. We actually blame George for this, as we think he’d have known a sporran was made from a Badger, and that insulin was produced by the pancreas. As a musician he may even have known that a not that is neither sharp nor flat is a “natural”. He may even have known the ragtime musician that died in 1917. And those answers would have seen us walk away as comfortable winners. So George, you’re to blame!

So, managed to work out the black “M”? We didn’t either. It had us all thinking, and Martin seemed to be realyl frustrated by this one. Various suggestions emerged, but were dismissed, and Martin sat chuntering away about how annoyed he’ll be if he knows the company but not the logo. As it transpires what you should have been thinking of was this…


That’s right, Motorola. The company that manufacture Martin’s phone. The same phone that sat in his pocket through the entire quiz. Genius.

Quiz night again

November 1, 2007

It’s that time again, Wednesday night, quiz night!

So, this week we were joined by Gladiators Media and Marketing manager Martin Wilmott.

martinw.jpgMartin has done a fantastic job promoting the Club, and is largely responsible for all the photos of the Gladiators appearing around Essex. Liasing with potential sponsors, producing promotional material, and developing a strategy for the Colchester Gladiators is a massive challenge, but it’s fair to say he faced his greatest challenge yet – Flipping Eck’s quiz!

Now, normally Mark leaves an impression with his witty banter and comedy answers, but this time, something else made the statement for him. A bright pink, skin tight jumper…


Now it’s fair to say that Mark’s worked hard in the gym and is certainly looking better, but this jumper had definitely had a good couple of hours in the tumble dryer to get it as tight as it was. But enough of Quentin Crisp’s fashion sense…

Mark’s jumper was actually only the first of his trio of faux pas for the evening. The second was his spelling on the answer sheet – one of the greatest actors of his, or any other, generation was spelt “Errel Flyne”, and apparently the largest lizard on earth is the “Kimono dragon”. Again, let me remind you that Mark is in charge of educating our children.

As ever though, Mark’s general knowledge was stunning. After I’d remembered that Victor Hugo was the author of the “Hunchback of Notre Dame”, Dave had explained that Ernie the Fastest Milkman in the West had a horse named Trigger, George knew that Clint Eastwood wrote, directed and starred in a movie as Josey Wales, and Martin knew that 6 greyhounds were in a race, Mark’s contribution was that the hippo on Rainbow was called George. First class that one Mark.

As for comedy, Gilbranch never disappoints. When he wasn’t asking the elderly couple on the next table for answers, he was getting pilloried by his team-mates all of whom were waiting for inevitable “Gilbranch-ism”. And he didn’t disappoint.

One question was the stand out this week – In the middle ages, long bows were constructed from Yew trees, but what were the arrows made of? Well, that had us stumped. Lots of different types of wood, but what makes the best arrows? We started to discuss it. Dave kcked off with “Oak?”. “Can’t be”, Mark says, “the arrows would be too big!” Needless to say, there was a pause for laughter. When we came to our senses, Martin suggests “Willow?”. Mark’s reaction was to be expected, “but willows weep and droop, they wouldn’t make arrows from that”. Dave, the calming influence as ever, chips in with “it’s a good hard wood, they make cricket bats out of it”. Mark pauses, you can almost hear the cogs turning… “but they’d still be pretty big arrows”. Priceless. Absolutely priceless.