Monday, 19 December 2011

University Challenge - Quarter Final 1

University Challenge - Quarter Final 1 - Manchester vs University College London

After a great series so far, and the start of the Christmas specials, the 2011/2012 series of University Challenge gets serious as it reaches a complicated Quarter Final stage. Two teams who have been impressive so far went head to head and something had to give.

UCL made the better start slightly ahead over the first few minutes with some strong buzzes from Andrews. The buzz on Voltarie followed by some strong answers on Art gave them a bit of breathing space as they took a 30 point lead. Mckenna got the next buzz, and a telling off from Paxman, for Manchester but as so many times during the night they failed to capitalise which in the long run looked like it could cost them dearly.

But as ever in University Challenge one clever buzz with a strong set of answers can change the tide of the game and Manchester soon found themselves almost level with a close contest now starting to shape up.

UCL Karran wasted many buzzes during the night with wrong answers and again had allowed Manchester in who this time took the lead for the first time in the contest at around the half way mark. Manchester were benefiting from over eager buzzing on the UCL side and despite failing to make the most of it by not picking up the bonuses they could have had a much greater lead.

It wasn’t long before a buzz by Cook for UCL levelled the scores but UCL Karran again made a mistake by not listening to the question. Karran managed to remedy himself with a key buzz in the music round followed by two answers putting UCL 80-55 ahead. Cook again buzzed in with a correct answer at a key time, turning into the star man for the team, and Karran secured some additional bonus points to move UCL further ahead. A very quiet Machester desk were beginning to slip away.

But at a key point just as always seems to happen in University Challenge, a series of buzzes followed by a barrage of points saw Manchester show some great team work to bring themselves within sight. Manchester seemed to playing much better as a team with a wider contribution from all. 100-95 to UCL with under 8 minutes left and it was well and truly game on.

But step up Cook, when the team was at risk of loosing its lead another buzz with a correct answer slowed down the Manchester momentum and restored a 20 point lead. Picture round followed and UCL Cook again came in with an answer, followed by Karran UCL were taking control at a vital stage. It really was the Cook and Karran show who seemed to be finishing Manchester off between them. Very little came throughout from the other two team members but nevertheless a 50 point lead with only minutes to go and UCL looked solid for their first win of the University Challenge Quarter Final stage.

As soon as the lead was opened and a failed buzz from Manchester occurred the writing was on the wall. At 165-95 there was no way back especially the way Karran and Cook were combining.  Cook himself had two late buzzes to secure the bonuses were with UCL and soon the lead expanded and expanded and Manchester were beaten with sadly no hope of coming through ending up being defeated 195-125.

Karran and Cook from UCL seem like two very able quizzers with a broad knowledge…..UCL could go a long way if Karran can cut out the buzzing when he doesn’t know. Manchester  wasted a lot of points on not knowing the bonus rounds and will always struggle if they fail in this way, but you get the feeling that they will still provide a stiff test for any team they face in the near future. UCL are looking like key front runners though.

I have checked the Tv guide and cannot see the next University Challenge Quarter Final so it must be scheduled for 2012. Either way its been a great series so far and the sooner the better.

With Brain of Britain and the Christmas University Challenge already today, and with Only Connect vs University Challenge and the Millionaire special to come it is turning into a fun night in front of the box.

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