University Challenge – Round Two – Match 6 – Downing, Cambridge v. Magdalen, Oxford
Ah, an Oxbridge tussle! This much-anticipated match pitted underdogs Downing of Cambridge against the highest scoring team of the first round, Magdalen of Oxford.
In a low scoring first round match Downing accounted for another Oxford college, St. Edmund Hall. Will Winzor, Gareth Haslam, Owen Carter, and captain Stefan Liberadzki scored 160 to Teddy Hall’s 95.
Magdalen carried much of the hopes of Oxford into the match tonight, and they certainly had a team capable of bearing that load, in the shape of James McComish, Kyle Haddad-Fonda, Will Cudmore and captain Matthew Chan. The team had put in one of the finest first round performances for many a long year when they beat Durham by 340 to 120.
On with the show. First to show a touch of class this evening was Will Cudmore. He buzzed in quickly to take a starter on Holy Roman Emperor’s called Fred. The Magdalen mean machine gobbled up 3 starters on Rudolfs. Obviously this was going to be a night when gambling on the buzzer was going to be necessary, so I don’t blame Gareth Haslam for his miscue on Conurbation. However it did mean that Downing were stuck on minus 5 for some time. Will Cudmore took it, which netted 3 more bonuses, and then he took the next starter identifying king Priam. Only a few minutes gone, but already with three starters to his name, this was impressive quizzing from Mr. C. Slipping a little Magdalen could only supply 2 out of 3 correct answers on grandfathers and grandsons. Kyle Haddad-Fonda, whose reputation seems to have preceded him judging by some of the comments after his first round match, took the next starter, identifying a definition of parthenogenesis. No bonuses followed. However Gareth Haslam put Downing into the match by taking the next starter on Uncle Vanya. One bonus fell to Downing on animal migration. Will Cudmore added another starter to his growing hoard by taking the first picture starter, identifying an Italian inscription as being written by Dante and recycled by TS Eliot. Good shout that one. Neither team managed the next starter, but Owen Carter brought a whirlwind first10 minute to a close by taking the next. So at the 10-minute mark Downing had obviously been shaken to the core by Magdalen’s – and particularly Will Cudmore’s – lightning start, but were still standing, and edging their way back into the match. Magdalen led by 100 to 20.
Will Winzor pegged back the gap a little by taking the next starter on the morpheme – lest. One bonus on architects followed. Then Stefan Liberadzki did what all good captains must do, and led by example, knowing his Mensheviks from his Bolsheviks. This led to a good 2 bonuses on Scottish mountains. Then, unaccountably, two starters passed untaken. Shame on neither team recognising Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. It really is a jungle, sometimes, and it does make me wonder how I keep from going under. Please yourselves. Owen Carter was the next to score, anyway, but recognising the name of the skin test for TB. This earned them the hip-hop bonuses, of which they took a pair. Kyle Haddad-Fonda miscued on the next starter losing five, but when asked for a particular word containing – ptc – Downing knew that bankruptcy was the order of the day. The gap was virtually closed, and when Matthew Chan lost 5 points on the next starter, this pulled them level. Great fightback. Will Cudmore steadied the ship with the next starter on the Argonautica, and then James McComish took his first of the night on paper. At the 20-minute mark Magdalen led by 120 to 80, but the second period had definitely been Downing’s.
The last period saw James McComish playing more and more of the anchor man’s role for Magdalen. He took the next starter recognising a self-portrait of Delacroix. Then, after an incorrect early buzz from Gareth Haslam he took the next, recognising terms equivalent to our own PLC. Time was not now on Downing’s side, even though they were still full of fight. They took the next couple of starters, and in particular, this little beauty of a question – the name of which English county can be made from two foreign words, both of them meaning of or from. Stefan Liberadzki knew it was De – Von . You only get questions like this on UC, folks. However it fell to Kyle Haddad-Fonda to apply the coup de grace, and he took the last two starters. In the end Magdalen won with daylight between themselves and Downing by 190 to 125, but make no mistake, they knew they’d been a fight afterwards. JP said to Downing words to the effect of they’d done well early on, but tailed off. Not the way I saw it, JP. The huge difference between the two sides had been Magdalen’s blitzkrieg start. Like Sheffield last week Magdalen’s second round was considerably harder than their first, but they’ll be all the stronger and better for it.
Jeremy Paxman Watch
I rather enjoyed hearing JP make a bit of a meal of the word ‘hiphop’ this week. There was one other comment of note too. With one bonus question on which Downing were struggling he chortled,
“I love the fact that you can’t think of anything – it’s so wonderfully dismissive.”
Interesting Fact Of The Week I Didn’t Already Know
The word widdershins is actually originally a Scottish dialect word.