Thurston Rugby Club trio onto next round of Only Connect after strong showing
Three friends ‘united by a soft spot for scrums’ are proving rugby players can be knowledgeable too by advancing on BBC gameshow Only Connect.
Matt Ansell, 43, Tom Cadge, 36 and Oliver Paxman, 38, are collectively known as the Eggchasers and all teammates at Thurston Rangers Rugby Club.
On Monday (November 18) the three put their knowledge to the test when they faced host Victoria Coren Mitchell and rival team the Outliers on the BBC 2 quiz show.
The fiendishly tricky format challenges contestants to spot a link between a series of clues, with knowledge of music, film, sport and geography all being tested.
It was a world away from their usual stomping ground of Robinson Field and like all the best ideas, the three decided to have a go while in the pub one night.
Matt, who is team captain, said: “Three of us from the club decided we were going to put our names forward. We have followed the show for a long time, we always play along at home and wanted to see how we would do.
“We got through the audition process. That was only as far as we thought we would go. We went down to the production studios in Cardiff. We answered the questions and they liked our team chemistry. It was all very exciting.”
Matt, who leads a pub quiz night at The Moreton Hall, said his team mates are also fans of the show but while Tom was very positive, Oliver needed more convincing.
“It has been really pleasurable,” Matt continued. “Everyone at work has been asking about it and it has been fun going to the studio to take part.
“Victoria Coren Mitchell had a chat with us. She was very nice and we found the camera crew were big rugby fans. They were asking about our visit to the Rugby World Cup in Japan - where we went with the hope of trying to see England, but the game was cancelled because of the typhoon.
“Taking part on the show has been harder than it looks on the sofa at home.”
In the first round the team ‘played quite well’ but were on the losing side. But they found redemption on their second round on Monday night by winning the tie to advance to the final eight. They will play in a future episode as the 16 original teams are whittled down to one eventual winner.
As Monday’s episode was filmed before the broadcast, the team found it hard to keep the result quiet. They also suffered the indignity of some of their embarrassing stories being read out by Coren Mitchell as she introduced them.
She read: “Tom Cadge, a law graduate who once reported his car stolen when it was parked outside his mother’s house.
“Oliver Paxman, a keen runner who has been punched by two international rugby players.
“Matt Ansell is an amateur poker player who was nearly run over by Nelson Mandela’s car.
“United by a soft spot for scrums, they are the Eggchasers.”
Matt said: “We did win this time, which we were very happy about as it got us into the next stage.
“We are representing rugby and I think we have done the sport proud.”
More by this authorWilliam Mata