Tuesday, 13 October 2009

University Challenge - Review of the First Round

University Challenge Review of Round One

Ten teams are now out, and four teams will fight out the repechage for the last two slots in the second round. A timely opportunity then to review the first round, and look at the form guide for round two. Lets begin with a list of the winners. The numbers after each team’s name show, firstly the amount of points they scored in their match, and secondly , the total number of points scored by both teams in their match : -

St. John’s Oxford 270 / 360
Newnham Cambridge 260 / 380
St. Andrews 255 / 405
Manchester 235 / 295
Jesus Oxford 215 / 380
Loughborough 205 / 380
Regents Park Oxford 205 / 370
Warwick 200 / 370
St. George’s London 200 / 255
Girton Cambridge 180 / 325
Imperial College 175 / 310
Edinburgh 170 / 325
Kings London 155 / 295
St. Hugh’s Oxford 145 / 280

Repechage Places

University College London 175 / 380
Christ’s Cambridge 170 / 370
Clare Cambridge 165 / 380
Emmanuel Cambridge 165 / 370

So looking at this we can see that Oxford University are sitting pretty with four colleges safely through to the second round proper. Cambridge only have two through, but with three teams in the repechage, then they are guaranteed one more place in round two, and may even take both slots. London University have two sides through, and Imperial also used to be a college of the University of London. Also University College could well win a place through from the repechage.

The finest matches of the first round were probably the highest scoring match, when St. Andrews beat Somerville Oxford, with the teams managing a mighty 405 points between them, and the nailbiting match between St. Hugh’s Oxford and Magdalene Cambridge, which went to sudden death. At the other end of the scale the most one-sided match was probably St. John’s versus Durham, where St. John’s won by the impressive margin of 180 points.

If you look at the scores you’d be forced to say that the top teams don’t seem to have hit the same heights as team’s last year. But let’s face it, last year’s series was an exceptional one, and a number of last year’s teams were actually good enough to have been worthy winners. Still it makes for an exciting series, and its difficult to pick out and out favourites. Ten of the teams are separated by less than 100 points. So while its tempting to look at the table and say St. John’s, Newnham and St. Andrews look impressive, while Manchester have a huge pedigree in the show and can never be counted out, actually its nothing like as simple as this. Most of the teams can say that they beat teams who were not really as strong as they were. That’s not necessarily going to be the case in the next round. Who can handle the pressure better should have a large bearing on the outcomes. Which is one of the reasons why I, for one, can’t wait.

As for Jeremy Paxman, my personal pick of the Paxman moments from round one has to be this : -
“Swaziland ? ! In the EU ?! Are you mad ? !”


Rach Cherryade said...

Hi, always love reading your blog, nice to see such a good write-up of the first round. Even though I've been watching it obsessively (I'm on the Manchester team this year so have a bit of a vested interest!) it's still easy to forget exactly what went on in all the matches so it's nice to see a good succinct description like this. Although you're probably right that there aren't maybe the stand-out teams of last year I think this makes it more exciting as it's so hard to predict what will happen in the next round, though I'm sure it will be very exciting! Our second match won't be broadcast till December 21st which seems like a long time to wait though I was almost too nervous to watch the first one (even though I knew what was going to happen!)

Look forward to reading more of your posts and watching you on Are You An Egghead, good luck!
Best wishes,
Rachael Neiman.

Londinius said...

Hi Rachael

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. I am glad you enjoy the blog. I so enjoy the show, and when people who have taken part in UC and other great shows take time and trouble to get in touch it absolutely makes my week ! I am in such envy and admiration of all of you who have the guts to take part, and I do hope that you have as much fun doing the show as it seems.

I agree entirely about this being an exciting series, and one where I find it impossible to pick a winner at this stage. For which teams are undoubtedly grateful , bearing in mind the curse of the Clark sofa. I shall look forward to your next match, and even though its all already been recorded I'm sure I shall retrospectively wish you the very best of luck.

Best regards

Dave C.

Londinius said...

PS - Thanks for your comments regarding AYAEH. It was a lot of fun !