Tuesday, 30 August 2011

University Challenge - Round One - Match 9

Manchester v. Selwyn,Cambridge

JP started off by paying tribute to Manchester’s excellent record in recent years – many semi-final appearences, and championships in 2006 and 2009. The team consisted of Luke Kelly, Michael McKenna, Paul Joyce and captain Tristan Burke. Selwyn College , he told us, have a very small number of students, and are one of the younger teams in the competition, with an average age of 19. They were Daniel Bental, Jack Oxley, Joseph Steadman and captain Samuel Cook.

Manchester, in the shape of Michael McKenna struck first, as he recognized a series of clues all connected to the word - fort. This brought them two bonuses on cafes. Jack Oxley chanced his arm on the next question, with an answer of eau de toilette. Eau dear. What was required, was eau de cologne, supplied by Paul Joyce, bringing up 2 bonuses on caves. The next question , about birds, was taken by neither team, but unfortunately Selwyn leapt in early, and paid the price , losing 5 points. Paul Joyce took his second starter identifying a particular type of police record as fingerprinting. My favourite Police record was Ghost in the Machine, although Regatta de Blanc was good too. Sorry. After bonuses on plays within Shakespeare’s plays – a very nice set , incidentally - the next starter saw captain Samuel Cook jumping in early , incorrectly identifying a poet as Spenser. Another 5 points gone. His opposite number, Tristan Burke correctly answered that it was John Donne. A very good three bonuses on the cardiac cycle were taken by Michael McKenna. The impressive Paul Joyce took his third starter of the opening minutes when he correctly identified a diagram of a formula one motor racing circuit as Monaco. I knew that one, but I didn’t get any of the other circuits which followed as bonuses. Piling on the agony for Selwyn, Tristan Burke took the next starter on bracken, and a pair of bonuses on Wilkie Collins took the scores to 120 for Manchester, and minus 10 for Selwyn. Looking at Manchester’s performance so far, they seemed likely to break the 300 barrier at this stage, if they could maintain the same form.

Joseph Steadman stopped the rot with the next starter, correctly identifying the planet Neptune. This brought up a good set of UC specials on pairs of place names, for example Liberia and Siberia. This put Selwyn into credit on the scoreboard for the first time, and they were never to go back into the red. Tristan Burke took the next , identifying a set of words which ended with the letters – gm. Then Joseph Steadman undid some of his earlier good work by buzzing early on a question about the proper name of a credence table in church. This was a question which had handle with care written all over it, and Manchester failed to get it either. The next, another UC special , gave a series of clues to words which obviously rhymed - torque being one of them. Jack Oxley leapt in, and gave the actual words, thus losing 5, for the question had a swerve to it. When Manchester were given the rest of the question, it turned out that it wanted the name of a city in Northern England which rhymed with the other words as well, hence York. I don’t think Jack Oxley can be blamed for this. Selwyn were still in there fighting, and if I had been in his seat, I’d definitely have done the same. Still, Michael McKenna’s correct answer brought up bonuses on physics. Neither team could take the music starter that followed, when a less familiar snatch from the score of the film Jaws was played. Neither team managed to answer how long it takes an aircraft flying at Mach 2.3 to cover one mile. Not surprised. Finally Jack Oxley correctly answered that the UK and the Czech Republic are the only members of the EU whose official name has two words. This brought the full set of music bonuses on scores to Spielberg films. Tristan Burke correctly supplied the name of Rene Descartes, and earned a tricky old set on the area of Scotland. Then another 2 starters escaped both teams, on Einstein’s theories, and then fluid mechanics. Paul Joyce recognized characters from Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers , and earned bonuses on 20th century operas. At the 20 minute mark Manchester’s pace had slowed somewhat, but their lead was increased. With 180 to Selwyn’s 25 the show was already over as a contest.

Neither team knew that the spinning wheel was the gadget which came to Europe from China in the middle ages. As JP mentioned the names Mahut and Isner Michael McKenna was first to the buzzer, knowing that the two played out the longest ever professional tennis match at Wimbledon in 2010. A set on rivers of the Midlands proved a little tricky for them. Neither team managed to identify a picture of Jane Seymour. Paul Joyce, who top scored on starters, took another with Gamma radiation to earn the picture bonuses on Henry VIII’s wives. With Manchester’s buzzer fingers just starting to show signs of fatigue Selwyn now found that they could show a little form, as Samuel Cook correctly identified Hannah as the mother of the prophet Samuel. One bonus followed on food hygiene and safety. Daniel Bental took the next starter, identifying the word – combe in English placenames. A bonus was taken on the human skeleton. Neither team managed to answer how many o’s there are in Scarborough, Middlesbrough and Edinburgh . A great starter followed, though, when Paul Joyce identified St. Cyril and 2 other saints as the originators of alphabets. 2 bonuses were taken on monarchs who were on the throne when specific paintings were painted. Samuel Cook took the next starter on Moore’s Law, to earn a bonus on love triangles in literature. Paul Joyce then took the last starter of the show, correctly identifying a linking word as Julian.

The final score was a win for Manchester by 255 to 70. I’m glad that Selwyn pulled themselves up to respectability in the last few minutes. I would always far rather see a team chance their collective arm, than meekly surrender to a faster team. They could have easily gone into their shells for the whole of the rest of the show after that first few minutes. But well done Manchester. A score that certainly marks them out as one of the teams to watch for the second round, albeit that they didn’t break the 300 barrier which they had seemed so likely to do after the first ten minutes of the show.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

This was better. Just after the first ten minutes, Joseph Steadman’s first correct answer for Selwyn was greeted with a chuckle and,
“I was going to say that you’re off the mark, but you’re not. “ Then he put the tin hat on it by saying the ominous words “Masses of time left. “ I’m very sorry, but when JP says something like this to you, then you know that you’re in trouble.
When given the supersonic aircraft question, neither team fancied it that much, and he responded with a tetchy ,” It’s no good sitting there shrugging your shoulders. “
Finally , on the Edinburgh – Scarborough – Middlesbrough question, when offered first 6 and then 5 letter o’s his eyebrows shot towards the ceiling, and his voice sounded incredulous when he informed them, “No ! its THREE ! Edinburgh hasn’t got any. “

Interesting Fact Of The Week That I Didn’t Already Know

The spinning wheel originated in China


Jack said...

It's good to see Manchester back on form after their taking last year off. Well worth it too: seven starters for Paul Joyce, with 23/42 bonuses.

Samuel Cook got two for Selwyn, while his colleagues all got one each. 8/15, with four penalties. To be fair, they were doing exactly the right thing in going in early, and were just unlucky.

Interesting fact: Warwick are the only team into the second round who have incurred any penalties; the other eight teams safely through have not incurred any.

It's true to say though that I haven't been enjoying this series as much as the last. Still early days yet though.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

I agree with your comments about Selwyn. If you lose, then go down with your guns blazing, I always say.

Sorry that you're not enjoying the series so much. I am, although I'd still like to hear a few more bon mots from JP.

HughTube said...

I've been looking forward to seeing Manchester since this exact team absolutely thrashed us twice at a tournament this year. Scoreboard. I think they had an effect on us which made us just sit there silently. Fortunately we managed to beat both Manchester teams at the British Student Quiz Championships though. Scoreboard.
Good to see them doing so well.

doublemm said...

Thanks for the write-up, Londinius. It was really helpful as some of my non-Brit friends were unable to watch.

Mike (of the Manchester team)