Saturday, 29 January 2011

University Challenge - Quarter Finals Match 3

Are we sitting comfortably ? Good, then I’ll begin. This, ladies and gents, was a biggie. You’ll recall that I made my predictions for better or worse of the four teams that would make it through to the semis. Two of them were drawn to clash in tonight’s match. Magdalen Oxford had been possibly the most impressive of all the teams in the first round, although perhaps not quite as sharp in their second round match. Three big hitters in the shape of James McComish, Kyle Haddad – Fonda and Will Cudmore offered captain Matthew Chan plenty of options. Sheffield are, as you’ve probably worked out by now, my adopted team for this season, with at least three LAM readers in their team – our own Hugh Bennett and Tris Cole, and also Andy Bolton, who backed captain Tom Thirkell. On with the motley – sorry, the match.

Tris took the first starter, recognising that the five letter word that JP was looking for was magic. So was his answer. A couple of bonuses were taken on political terms. James McComish started early tonight taking the next starter on Marcel Proust – there was no temps perdu here ! Sorry. They also took two bonuses on Central America. James also took the next , recognising a good gossip when he heard one, and once again two bonuses on novels adapted for the screen. Then 4 consecutive Sheffield starters followed, as my boys began to find top gear. Andy recognised a definition of a prism. Hugh took the picture starter, seeing the late Joan Sutherland . Here’s a thought – had she actually passed away before they recorded the show ? Unpleasant coincidence if not. Hugh took a second consecutive starter with woodpeckers, an exceptionally good anticipation that one, I thought. Finally Tris recognised a quotation from Wordsworth. At the 10 minute mark Sheffield were firmly in the driving seat, and looked good value for their lead, of 85 to 40.

Magdalen are far too good to be just brushed aside, though. Andy added to the lead when he identified the ancient site on Orkney under discussion as Skara Brae. Only 1 bonus on mutinies followed. Then both teams were becalmed for a while, as two starters passed by untaken. Kyle Haddad –Fonda, one of Magdalen’s big hitters, miscued , allowing Andy Bolton to grab the points for the Eustachian tube. Then Kyle Haddad-Fonda found his range. He buzzed in extremely quickly to identify the music of Offenbach on the music starter. He followed this up with the next, on Bretton Woods. James McComish then knew that the small duchy being asked for in the next starter was Cleeves. It was Andy Bolton’s turn to miscue on the next starter, but he was doing the right thing. When the opposition are building up momentum like this, you have to get in on the buzzer. He managed this with the next one, knowing well that the album prize created as an antidote to the Brits is the Mercury Music prize. Kyle Haddad-Fonda took his third correct starter of the mid period next with Charlemagne, a quick buzz which earned JPs approval – not easily done, that. James McComish took the next on the Human Development Index, to release a UC special – a set of bonuses on anagrams of elements. Cracking good set . As dominant as Sheffield had been in the first period, Magdalen had repaid this by the 20 minute mark, with the scores now standing at 135 apiece.

Nip and tuck, then. Not half. Hugh fought back with the next starter on Bombay. No bonuses followed on my home city . Shame on you boys ! Will Cudmore finally got on the scoreboard with the 1001 Arabian Nights. 3 bonuses on pictures from the same followed. Nobody took the next, but then Kyle H-F. answered that apart from black and white there are four colours on the flag of South Africa. Quite right. Will Cudmore took the next, knowing that we were dealing with Shakespeare’s King Henry IV. Magdalen were stretching away. Was it to end like this ? No, , at least, not yet. You have to say, though, with a few minutes left and a 45 point lead they looked like the favourites. Andy Bolton made a crucial buzz with the next to identify glycogen. A cracking pressure answer. Tris took the next with Rebus. With 5 bonuses out of 6 the boys were all square. Hugh took the next starter, knowing that the two primes whose sum makes up the next prime are 2 and 3. Yet no bonuses were taken on shellfish. Kyle H-F., very much the hero of the Magdalen team tonight, weighed in yet again with the word Her for the next starter, and two bonuses on deserts followed. This was undone with a Will Cudmore miscue, which allowed Hugh to inform JP that it was Eisenhower who was president when Macmillan became PM. Just so. That man Haddad-Fonda was back again to save Magdalen with the next starter. Just in front now, there was only one more starter to go. Will Cudmore miscued, supplying the wrong girl’s name - 5 points gone. If Tris, who buzzed for Sheffield got it wrong, then Magdalen would win anyway. “Agnes” he replied, cool as a cucumber. Correct, of course. Sheffield now had a 5 point lead, and no time remained at all as the gong sounded.

My goodness, what a great match. Sheffield, I’m so proud of you ! Many congratulations. As for Magdalen – I know that it must have hit you hard. But you played a blinder too, and I can’t see that you won’t get to the semis as well playing like that.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

No doubt in my mind that JP saw this as a crunch match between two of the top contenders, and he was on his best behaviour in the show. In fact I have to pay tribute to the way he rushed Magdalen through their last set of bonuses to get the last starter in – anyone who says he is automatically biased towards Oxford and Cambridge should understand that on reflection this may well have cost Magdalen the match.

Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week
Insects take their name from the fact that their species are divided into classes – in – sects see ?


Jack said...

Looking at Wikipedia, Joan Sutherland died in October last year, so definitely after this match was filmed. Just one of those unfortunate coincidences that displays the hazards of pre-recording.

Brilliant match though, one of the best ever! So exciting was this match, that I actually had to stop watching because I couldn't take any more!

Both teams had a good night: Hugh got five starters (and no penalties) for Sheffield, Kyle Haddad-Fonda got six for Magdalen. Sheffield made 19/39 bonuses with one penalty, Magdalen made 23/36 bonuses with two penalties.

And yet again, both teams break 200. It's almost as if the show has gone back to the late nineties, when this happened all the time!

Very well done to Tris and Hugh (and Andy and Tom, of course), and hard lines to Magdalen, but I still wouldn't mind betting on you for the semis. According to the Magdalen Facebook page, their next match is against Christ's two weeks on Monday. Now that should be another stormer!

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

Thanks for keeping faith with LAM even though I'm finding technical problems stop me from blogging as regularly as I'd like.

For me it was up with the great St. John's - Manchester match from the quarters last year, and from me that's praise indeed. As I dais, I'm still sure that Magdalen will make the semis.


doublemm said...

What a great match - so many correct answers, so many calm and composed characters, and a nail-biting finish! I was just about to make the comparison to last year's Manchester vs. St. John's, but I see it's already been made.

I think it would be a real shame if either team did not get through to the semis, so fingers crossed.

Thanks for the write-up, Londinius, and let's hope this Monday's quarter final is as entertaining as the previous three.


Des Elmes said...

Aargh!! I go on a holiday to London and Portsmouth (I actually live in the Republic of Ireland) that provides very little time for internet access, and I end up missing what turns out to be another absolute belter!!

Why does Auntie insist that iPlayer is only available in the UK?! Given that that includes Northern Ireland - and also that Irish state broadcaster RTE makes its programmes available online anywhere in the world - couldn't she at least make it available in ROI?

Rant over.

I knew I could rely on you, Dave, for your summary, which is as excellent as ever - so thanks very much.

Magdalen were desperately unlucky at the very end - understandably employing the tactic of taking as long as they could during their last set of bonuses didn't work, and then the pressure must have gotten to poor Will Cudmore on that last starter. Had he not buzzed, we would have had a 230-all tie - and who knows which way the tiebreak would have swung?

Incredibly, this was the fourth match this series in which the losing team scored 200 or more - the 1998/9 series was the last to have as many, or more, such matches. Magdalen's score, meanwhile, was only five less than that achieved by UCL in Sheffield's previous match.

And further to Jack's stats, Tris is still Sheffield's best buzzer with 20 starters; Hugh and Andy both move to 11. Similarly, Cudmore remains best on the buzzers for Magdalen with 14 starters, but Haddad-Fonda and McComish are catching right up with 13 and 12 respectively. Interestingly, Matthew Chan is still to break his duck.

I'm also interested to hear that Magdalen's Elimination QF is against Christ's Cambridge - I anticipated that the latter team would take on York, going by the order in which the QFs were done last year. This means, then, that York will instead take on the losers of tomorrow's match between Queens' Cambridge and Bristol.

And I won't be going on another holiday until at least the end of May, so I shouldn't miss any of the ten matches remaining in this series...

HughTube said...

Thanks guys.

It was a good one to watch back as it wasn't quite how I remembered it, but it was as dramatic. We've had such a great response from everyone.

I think we may be setting a record for the most points against us!

As regards Joan Sutherland, yes she was alive at the time and the round was about current members of the OM. Tris says you can hear the edit where they have made the question more ambiguous.

Dave you're right about the London bonuses, I guess it's a bit unusual to have a team with as few London collections but we should have known them as well as several other bonuses that I was shouting on Monday, it might have been very important.

Des have you not seen it? It's on YouTube if you haven't and want to. Also now everyone can see the draw you can see that the four highest scoring teams were in the same half of the draw for the quarterfinals. I think this is because the draw was predetermined from the beginning of the second round.


Londinius said...

Hi everyone, and thanks for the comments.

Queens' v. Bristol. Well, I have to stick with my prediction, which is that Bristol are the dark horses to make the semis, and in order to do that they really have to beat Queens' tonight. The bad thing is that I'm playinbg a Bridgend cup match tonight, so I won't know until I get home and watch it On Demand !