The sight of many contestants in formal evening wear for the final stages of the Inter-House Quiz competition brought back memories of TV panel games in the Fifties, when such was the norm. It was not that Dr Oakley was intent on turning the clock back, but rather the result of a “fixture clash”, which meant that a number of those competing were going straight on to the annual dinner of Model United Nations team. Coincidental it may have been, but it brought a certain gravitas to the occasion – not always evident among the audience.
In the first of the semi-finals, School House easily defeated a below-strength Churchill’s, but in a thrilling second match, the girls of Mary Sidney Hall recovered from a slow start to come very close to overtaking Radbrook. As it turned out, this was the highlight of the evening, for the final was unexpectedly one-sided. On their showing thus far, School House might have been favourites, but for most of the time they were reduced to the role of spectators, as a rampant Radbrook piled up the points. It was a classic demonstration of hair-trigger “buzzing” to deny their opponents the chance of showing what they knew. Having seen them in previous rounds, I can vouch for the considerable fund of knowledge in the School House quartet, but the interventions of Radbrook’s James Brent and Ralph Wade in particular were virtually instantaneous – and hardly ever wrong. With additional contributions from their junior colleagues, their total of 300 points in twenty minutes was a staggering achievement.
Credit for managing this enjoyable competition over two terms goes to Dr Charlie Oakley, who conducts it single-handedly until finals day. Retiring to the technicians’ box to act as producer and adjudicator, he hands over the duties of question-master to Mr Toby Percival, who chairs proceedings with a blend of urgency and good humour. Thanks and congratulations to all concerned.
The successful Radbrook team: James Brent (UVI), Ralph Wade (LVI), Sasha Arridge (IV), Ed Chapman (III).