Good evening my friends, and welcome to the University Challenge quarter-finals! The phase with the rules that are a lot simpler than they appear. Simply, you keep playing until you win twice or lose twice. After a brutal elimination round, we have a very high quality group of quarter-finalists, and tonight's match was a testament to that.
Magdalene College Cambridge defeated two Oxford teams en route to this match, firstly Univ. in the first round by 170-130, and then in the second round they beat Corpus Christi 185-115. They were unchanged from those previous games:
James Byrne, from Welwyn Garden City, studying Maths
Adam Davies, from Wichita, Kansas, graduated in History
Captain: Daniel Lawson, from the Wirral, studying Medicine
Kerry Payne, from Little Weighton in Yorkshire, studying Theology for Ministry
Birkbeck won both their first two matches easily, beating Reading 295-50 in the first round, then last week they defeated Open 205-95. The first team to appear in two consecutive non-final matches in quite a few years, they were also unchanged:
Jonathan Taylor, from London, studying Environment and Sustainability
Nicky Clarke, from Leicestershire, studying Early Modern History
Captain: Jonathan Williams, from London, studying Classics
Joshua Mutio, from St Helens, studying PPE
So off we set, and Birkbeck started better as Ms Clarke took the first starter and two bonuses on the Trojan War were taken. The Londoners took a second starter and pair of bonuses before Mr Byrne opened Magdalene's account, and they took a full set of bonuses on place names. Honey badgers gave them a second starter, and they took the lead with two bonuses. The first picture round, on curves, went to Magdalene; one bonus this time gave them a lead of 60-40.
Back came Birkbeck with 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', and bonuses on Olympic snowboarding gave them another two bonuses. Back came Magdalene, and they also took two bonuses, before a second starter and pair of bonuses in a row took them into three figures first. An amusing starter on languages spoken by elves gave Magdalene a third in a row, and they took a full set of bonuses on pairs of countries. The music round, on jazz records produced by Nesuhi Ertegun, went to Birkbeck; another two bonuses pulled them back to 125-80.
Magdalene reawoke as Mr Davies took the next starter, but they only took one bonus on arts writers. Back came Birkbeck with Mr Mutio, and their bonus consistency continued, two correct took them into three figures. Another two starters to Birkbeck and two bonuses from both sets, and they had suddenly leveled the scores. The second picture round, on philosophers who were members of Cambridge University's Moral Science Club, went to Magdalene; two bonuses of their own gave them a lead of 160-140.
Still either team's game, but Magdalene now switched on the afterburners, Mr Byrne taking the next starter and a full bonus set on former African colonies going with it. And when Mr Lawson took the next starter and a second full house in a row, went with it, that was game over. Mr Byrne confirmed this by taking the next starter; just two bonuses followed this time, but it mattered not. Mr Lawson took the final starter, but there was no time for any bonuses. At the gong, Magdalene won 240-140.
A seriously good high quality match between two great teams, both of whom I fancy will reach the semis if they keep playing like that. Well done to Magdalene, who have been getting better with every match; best of luck to them in the qualifiers! Well done to Birkbeck too, who still played very well in spite of their defeat, and best of luck in the eliminators!
The stats: Mr Byrne was the best buzzer of the night with five, while Messrs Taylor and Mutio and Ms Clarke all got two each for Birkbeck. On the bonuses, Magdalene managed a very good 24 out of 33 and Birkbeck an also admirable 14 out of 21.
Next week's match: don't know, but anything I find on Twitter will get retweeted.
Only Connect began its play-off matches with the Whodunnits vs the Walruses. The latter led 5-3 after the first round, but a better second round saw the former sneak into a 7-5 lead. A better wall gave the Whodunnits a lead of 17-12 going into Missing Vowels, and they maintained it with a better performance to win 26-15.
Mastermind was won by Mohan Mudigonda, who won on 18 and no passes against the 18 and four passes of Josh Benfield. The other two contenders finished further back.