Oh what a gloriously complicated web we have spun, our forecasts to pursue. Nobody has actually ever said that, by the way, but it looks as if it could have been written by someone, don't you think? Why do I write this? Simply put, this is the tightest league in recent years, or at least since Moses wandered up the hill and invented tablet. What a fine invention, by the way and I look forward to Mrs Munro's next batch.
Talking of Mrs Munro, let us first look at the chances of her near-neighbour, Sheriff Wood. Strictly speaking, you would think that Mike was goosed, not to put too fine a point on it, but the recent draw, then win have moved him to three points. Were he to win his last two games against Jenny and a Mr Copland of Balerno, he would move to seven points. "Be still my beating heart" may very well be the thoughts of Mr Gunn of Craiglockhart (I think), for he is on eight points and therefore cannot be caught - by Mike at least. Those on six points need to beware, however, because there is a strange set of circumstances and results that could catapault Mike from seventh place in the league to second. Come with me, if you will, to explore.
First of all, Niall needs to beat Brian, then John and Brian need to peel their game. Susan K has to come to the party and beat John Steven. Mr tablet man needs to peel or (better for Mike) beat Robin and Jenny, in turn, has to beat him. Stranger things have happened! In that, admittedly far-fetched, set of circumstances, Niall moves to 10 or 12 points, Brian and John move to seven, Robin moves to seven or stays on six and Dave Munro moves to six or seven. Along with Mike! As far as ends are concerned, he is in a spot of bother, so he will be looking for a low-scoring game between John and Brian with lots of blank ends; he will be looking to win his two games handsomely, by at least seven ends to one in both games and he will be hoping that Niall does him a favour on the ends count in his game versus Brian. We're talking Roswell here, but...
Jenny Barr can win both her games against Mike and Dave Munro and she moves to eight points. Again, Niall needs to beat Brian handsomely and Susan needs to beat John Steven. It would be great if the John v Brian match was peeled and the Robin v Dave Munro match was also all-square. She then comes second outright at the close of the league.
Can she win it? Brian needs to beat Niall and lose to John; if Susan beats John, then John, Niall and Brian are tied on eight points. Robin could peel with Dave M and lose to Mike W, which moves him to seven points. As far as ends are concerned, Jenny is currently six ends behind Niall, so it would need the same unlikely course of events for her to overtake those above her on the table as far as ends are concerned, but again, you never know...
Dave Munro needs to beat both Robin and Jenny to move to nine points. OK - so if Susan and Brian account for Niall and keep him on eight points, and if Mike Wood beats Robin, then he stays on six points. Susan needs to beat John and if John and Brian peel, or better, if John beats Brian then Brian is on eight points and John moves to seven. Result, Dave wins the league with Niall or Brian as runners-up.
Obviously, all of those on six points are in with a shout of first or second place. There are a number of crucial games between now and the end of the season. The Fleming v Steven and Fleming v Gunn games will be critical. Robin plays Dave Munro and Mike Wood. He personally will be away on double rink duty in his important game versus Dave Munro. If Dave wins that one, he leapfrogs Robin onto seven points. If Robin wins both his games, he moves to ten points and is then reliant on Niall losing at least one of his games against either Susan K or Brian. Of the top four, he and John have already played Niall, so for John, it is the same dilemma as for Robin. Expect money to change hands!
Susan, though out of the running herself, finds herself in the position of kingmaker as she plays both Niall and John. In just about every scenario, these are important games as far as the destination of the title is concerned.
Niall needs three points from four to ensure success. If he loses both his remaining games, then he could be leapfrogged by at least two teams to finish out of the reckoning altogether.
Helpmaboab, but it's cold here in Moscow. This last half hour has fair heated the brain cells, mind you and no mistake! All to play for - and it could come down to ends.