Tuesday, 11 September 2012

University Challenge - Round One - Heat 7

Manchester v. Lincoln, Oxford

Well, an interesting match up on paper, certainly, featuring, as it did, the latest team from latter day UC powerhouse Manchester University. And as for their opponents, Lincoln , Oxford, well, you don’t write off Oxbridge colleges without so much as a by your leave, not if you have any sense, anyway. Manchester’s team faced with the challenge of living up to the exploits of their victorious 2012 forebears were David Brice, Adam Barr, Debbie Brown, and captain Richard Gilbert. Determined to stop them from doing so were Victor Jones, Michael Hopkins, Hugh Reid, and captain Jackie Thompson, all representing Lincoln, Oxford.

On the first starter David Brice buzzed too early on Buckminster Fuller’s definition of human, thus leaving Manchester on a minus score. Lincoln were unable to take advantage. The next starter on words beginning with L fell to Michael Hopkins. Lincoln earned bonuses on former Soviet republics, of which 2 good ones were taken. Building on the good start Victor Jones buzzed in on Lumen, and this time Lincoln took two bonuses on Maths. A Work by Dave Willets was identified by Michael Hopkins, but this time only a single bonus was taken on stage works. It didn’t seem to matter at the moment, for Lincoln were buzzing Manchester out of it, and to add insult to injury, Manchester had added another 10 point deficit to their minus score. The Picture starter followed, where teams were asked to identify a logo of and animal welfare organization. The fleet fingered Michael Hopkins knew that it was that of Born Free. 3 more of the same followed, but the team couldn’t identify any of them, and neither could I. Neither team managed Neville Chamberlain for the next starter. At ten minutes 65 played – 10. Early days still, but you couldn’t help fearing for Manchester.

Victor Jones got Thyme , although not in the penal sense, thankfully, and Lincoln took their first full set of bonuses on Whales. This was the cue for JP to utter his now infamous words of encouragement –‘Plenty of Time left, Manchester. ‘ Has a team ever come back to win when JP has uttered words to this effect before ? It must have felt like the kiss of death to Manchester when he came out with this one so relatively early in the match. Must have worked, though, for Adam Barr knew shale to get Manchester off the mark. It wasn’t as if they quite launched into full sail yet, though, since they didn’t manage to answer any of the bonuses on comic books. Were Lincoln spooked by Manchester coming to life ? Who knows, but Victor Jones came in too early on the next starter with Apassionata, when Pathetique was required but Manchester couldn’t capitalise. Manchester skipper Richard Gilbert took the next starter with the book The Slap and the team took a couple of bonuses on Maths. By the way, I should probabaly confess now that I was starting to become really engrossed in this match, and lost track of time completely, so the 20 minute point went unremarked by me.

Michael Hopkins steadied the Lincoln ship with a starter on Astronomy, and the planet Venus. Two tennis bonuses were answered to take them through the three figure barrier to 105. Hugh Reid took the music starter on Adagio for strings which brought up a very interesting set of bonuses, with pop tracks which sampled classical works, with the team being required to name the classical work . Almost inevitably 2 were answered correctly. Adam Barr kept Manchester at least in sight of the shore with the Edgar Allan Poe award and bonuses on Chancellor of the Exchequer . Captain Richard Gilbert buzzed in impressively early to answer the next starter that Cote d’Ivoire beat Zambia in a 2012 penalty shoot out. I’ll be honest, earlier in the match I think that you could have named your own odds if you wanted to back Manchester, but not now. Systems of propulsion bonuses brought them their first full house of the contest. Lincoln’s Hugh Reid knew about the Treaties of Utrecht , but all this brought Lincoln was a set of tricky bonuses on pairs of composers who were born in the same year. Debbie Brown took her first starter, knowing that the pinna on the ear takes it’s name from the latin for feather. 2 bonuses on placenames were taken, and glancing at the score I could see that Manchester had actually cut Lincoln’s lead down to 35 points by now. So JP was right – there really was time for them to come back. The second picture starter was a painting by Heironymous Bosch, which neither team fancied. So skipper Jackie Thompson made her bid for the win with a starter about The Hidden Persuaders which brought them the painting bonuses, in two of which they were able to identify which of the specific seven deadly sins were being depicted . Neither team could do anything with the next starter. Richard Gilbert took a UC special starter on anagrams of Litehtenstein, which freed up the obligatory 2 bonuses correctly answered on Autonomous regions of Spain. Manchester were now up to 100 points, and going strong. Michael Hopkins identified potassium and , yes, two bonuses were correctly answered on words that can be made with any of the letters of clueless. Neither team knew about Ninette de Valois. Richard Gilbert struck again with diad, and 2 more bonuses fell on Greek Mythology . The next starter was something about acceleration – I didn’t understand it but Adam Barr knew it was 17 m per second squared. 2 (count ‘em ) 2 bonuses were correctly answered on royal residences. Debbie Brown knew the two US states that end with a silent S are Arkansas and Illinois . More bonuses were taken on various Peoples’ organizations . That gap was now just 10 points. One starter. Adam Barr took what must surely, I thought , be the last starter, on Gauss . All was square, and I expected the gong right at that very second. It didn’t come. JP announced bonuses on Geography. It still didn’t come. He asked the first question. It still didn’t come. Manchester answered correctly – and then it came ! What a match. I feel sorry for Lincoln, although, as JP said, I am sure they will be back, and will be highly fancied to progress from the repechage. But Manchester ! Surely the greatest comeback since Lazarus.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

I found two things of interest in the great man’s performance in this show, following his virtuoso display in the previous one. Firstly, his rejoinders to Manchester – when they lost five on the first question - “I’m afraid you lose five points in very short order.” Then also once Adam Barr took their first starter, to take them up to 0 points -
“Manchester – OK you’re off the mark – well, you’re on the mark now “
Finally the flabbergasted honesty at the end of his -

“I thought there was no possibility there !”

The other point of interest was the seeming soft spot he had for captain Jackie Thompson of Lincoln. He grinned at her, he chuckled, I would almost have said he purred at her at one stage !

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

Dr. (Theodore) Seuss was an alumnus of Lincoln Oxford


Jack said...

One of the best fightbacks ever? I think so too. When Mr Barr got the final starter of the game, leveling the scores, I was just waiting for the gong to sound. And when it did, a split second after that final correct, answer, well...

Lincoln were incredibly unlucky on that one; they looked certain to avenge that crushing defeat to Manchester in the 2008-09 semis. But, as we've seen, a big lead doesn't necessarily mean the match is yours. Surely, though, as you and Paxo say, they have done enough to make the repechage.

The stats: Michael Hopkins' five starters were Lincoln's best tally; the side answered 16/30 bonuses with one penalty. Adam Barr and Richard Gilbert got four each for the Mancunians, who made 18/30 bonuses with two penalties.

This is probably my favorite match of the series so far; the rest have all been steady, but not spectacular.

I hope this is the start of a good period of University Challenge; we shall see next week, with Imperial College London, and Jesus College Cambridge.

Londinius said...

Hi Jack

Have to agree - most enjoyable show of the series so far. These two teams can make a game of it with practically all the other teams we've seen so far.

Dave Bill said...

A pedant notes - Zambia beat Cote d'Ivoire, not the other way round.. :)