Monday, 25 November 2013

University Challenge 2013-14: Round 2: Match 4: Bangor vs Southampton

Er, how do I respond to that?! The same way I always do: with a straight review of yet another extraordinary edition of UC! What a series this is turning into!

On the top row tonight, we had Bangor, who comfortably defeated Aberystwyth in the final match of the first round by 230-110. They remained unchanged from before, and were still:
Owain Wyn Jones, from Abertawe in Swansea, studying Medieval Welsh History 
Daisy Le Helloco, from Dorchester, studying English Literature 
Captain: Catriona Coutts, from Angelsey, studying English Literature with Creative Writing 
Anna Johnson, from Chippenham, studying Marine Biology

Apparently, Miss Johnson's studies focus mainly on 'imposex in the common dog welk'! And yes, she did say that! Paxo was dumbfounded!

On the bottom row tonight, we had Southampton, who lost their first match to SOAS 230-155, but survived to the repechage, where they beat Loughborough 185-80. The unchanged team still comprised:
David Bishop, from Reading, studying Physics 
Richard Evans, from Frimley in Surrey, studying Chemistry 
Captain: Bob de Caux, from West Sussex, studying Complex Systems Simulation 
Matt Loxham, from Preston, studying Respiratory Toxicology

With JOW and LAM reader Richard 'Cromarty(IV)' Evans amongst themselves, Southampton had my support tonight. But, realistically, I did not know who would win here.

Miss Johnson took the first starter for Bangor, and they took a full set of bonuses on statues of fictional characters. Bob de Caux interrupted the next starter incorrectly, dropping his team back to -5. But Matt Loxham made up for that with his first starter of the night, and the side soon pulled level. A misstep from Bangor allowed Southampton to take the lead, and, after the first picture round, on streets in New York, they led by 70-20.

And, from then on, they never looked back. They began to ace the buzzer race, and pull away into a very strong lead. And when they did get starters wrong, Bangor were unable to seize the opportunity. Soon, the lead was into three figures, and Paxo felt the need to tell Bangor there was still plenty of time left. Of course, he means well when he says this, but it is a sure sign that you're in big trouble, and only Manchester last year have gone on to win after being told this (though Pembroke came close).

The music round was on songs that were once banned by the BBC; it was the latest starter taken by Matt Loxham, and his side took all three bonuses, and their lead was now 145-20. The next two starters were dropped by both sides, before Southampton resumed their buzzer race acing. There seemed to be a lot of science based starters again tonight, which probably helped Southampton on the buzzer, as they were all science studiers, while Bangor only had one.

By the second picture round, Southampton's lead had not just broken 200, but smashed it! Owain Wyn Jones finally stopped them in their tracks, and took the second picture starter for Bangor, their first starter since the first one of the match. They side took one bonus, which took the gap to 240-35. There wasn't much chance of Bangor recovering the gap, but could they pick the pace up, and reach respectability?

'Fraid not. Southampton resumed their buzzer work, and their score was beginning to creep towards 300. A starter about Welsh allowed Owain Wyn Jones to pull his side up a bit more, and a full set of bonuses on the UN lifted them out of the 'Sub-50 club', which they definitely deserved to do. But this was as far as they could go; there was no telling how far Southampton could go though, as Bob de Caux was first to the buzzer to spell 'excerpt'.

Another starter from David Bishop, and Southampton reached 300. And it didn't stop there, as there was time for our man Richard Evans to get two more starters, and haul the side to the biggest score achieved on the show since Manchester trounced Newcastle two series ago. At the gong, they had won by a massive 335-60!

What an amazing performance from Richard and co, and a thoroughly deserved epic win! Paxo was amazed too, and remarked on how even their guesses were right, leading Bob de Caux to say he wouldn't 'do a Guttenplan'! Quite!

Spare a thought for poor Bangor though; they definitely did not deserve to get trounced like that, after their good performance in the first round. They were just repeatedly beaten on the buzzer tonight, and there's not much you can do when the opposition is just repeatedly beating you to it. Well done to them anyway.

When they did get to play, Bangor did very well, getting 7 bonuses out of 9; Owain Wyn Jones got two starters in their cause. All four of Southampton got at least three starters; Matt Loxham was best buzzer with seven, and the side converted 32 bonuses out of 52. Both sides incurred one penalty.

I'll say it again: what a series this is turning into! Maybe the much needed change of set was what did it! Whatever the case, I'm sure this won't be the last memorable affair we see this year.

As for Only Connect, Jamie Karran and co were back tonight as well. I won't say how they did though.


  1. Alternatively, maybe the presence of teams who don't lose 70-195? :(

    Not bad, Cromarty, not bad at all!

    1. Oh, definitely not Jim. You were just unlucky in that much, just as Bangor were tonight.

    2. Simply astounding performance from Southampton there. They'd have wiped the floor with us too - in fact I'm tempted to say that nobody from our series could have faced that onslaught. I've not been watching this series much but it definitely seems that ours was somewhat lacklustre by comparison.

    3. I'd like to think that I'd have been able to do a bit better -- with a bunch of science-oriented questions the competition between, say, KCL and Southampton would have been pretty intense -- but "a bit better" means something like 140-255 or of that ilk, so still a thrashing and then some. There's little doubt that the speed of buzzing and bonus conversion rate was such that Southampton thoroughly deserve this massive victory.

  2. Well, that was an exhausting half-hour!

    I think I may write up my recollections from this game in a separate review, as I did with our game against Loughborough, if that's OK - I've got too much to say to fit it all in this box!

    1. Congratulations! An amazing performance tonight!

      And yes, I would welcome it if you did that again.

  3. We watched the last couple of minutes of this match from the make-up room. Afterwards, Southampton were quite taken with having beaten our first-round score. :P But well done, that was a fantastic performance and I'd been looking forward to seeing the whole match for quite a while.

    On the statistics front, Southampton got a massive 291, giving them an average of 214 going into the quarters - and that's with one loss! Bangor, on the other hand, got a remarkably high 182 for a neat average of 200 - chalk that one under "insufficient data". Though as you mentioned, they did actually do quite well when they managed to buzz in.

    Southampton must surely be taken seriously at this point. They've just annihilated a team that were by no means weak in the first round. I'd say at the halfway mark, we have two teams in the quarter finals I'd classify as title contenders and two teams that are maybe half a step or a step behind.

  4. Hi Jack, thanks for the great write-up. I won't say much more as I'm sure Cromarty(IV) will cover it in extensive detail! Just to apologise to Filip if we did seem a bit rude - I think we were all still in shock!

    1. Oh no, not all! You were absolutely justified in being excited about it. It's just that at that point we hadn't yet been told that ours had been the highest first-round score, so we were a bit bemused as to why you were interested in doing better than us particularly.

    2. Hi Bob, and welcome! And many congratulations on your amazing victory on Monday! As Filip says, you lot must now be taken seriously after that. Well done!

  5. Southampton's lead should have been even bigger. Sudan doesn't border Kenya, though S-Sudan does; the question was obviously drawn up pre-2006. They were disallowed a correct answer to a starter.

    1. My Dad thought that too. That's too errors by the setters in a week now; I'll presume you heard the Dvorak debacle last week?