OAT and EMOAT–2018: report

On 20th October, UK Quizbowl hosted the Oxford Autumn Tournament (OAT) and the Edinburgh Mirror of the Oxford Autumn Tournament (EMOAT) in collaboration with Oxford University and Edinburgh University Quiz Societies. These were first student tournaments hosted by UK Quizbowl, and both went off without a hitch.

Twelve teams descended on St John’s College, Oxford to play OAT, which was based on a US-produced set called Early Fall Tournament, edited by Daoud Jackson and George Charlson to ensure it was appropriate for a British audience. Oxford, Oxford Brookes, Cambridge, Southampton, Imperial and Warwick were all represented at the tournament.

Teams played five games in six-team groups in the preliminary phase of the tournament. A highlight in this phase of the tournament was perhaps Southampton A beating reigning British Student Quiz Championship winners Cambridge A and then almost losing to a team of novices on Oxford C. That Oxford C team came third in their group, meaning they were joined in the top bracket of the competition by Oxford A and B, Cambridge A, Warwick and Southampton A, whose captain, Evan Lynch, top scored in the morning with a very impressive 102 points per game.

OAT-1 Cambridge A team at OAT.

The lower bracket in the afternoon session was filled with closely fought contests, with no team winning all their games. Cambridge B lost a 170–215 nailbiter in round 3 of the playoffs to Southampton B, but won the rest of their games, while Imperial managed to win all their games up until the final game of the playoff. Imperial then lost that final game to Cambridge B, which meant that both teams ended up with the same win-loss record in the afternoon, with Cambridge B having the higher points per game.

In the top bracket group in the afternoon, Cambridge A got their revenge on Southampton A, but ultimately came unstuck against rivals Oxford A and Warwick A, who won that match due to an inspired performance by Ben Beardsley. Warwick themselves lost to Oxford B, Southampton and Oxford A. While their rivals were taking games off each other, Oxford A went about winning all of their games until they reached the final game of the bracket, which was against Southampton A. Had they won that game, Oxford A would have won the title without the need for a final. Of course, they lost rather heavily, 455–155.

OAT-2 Southampton A (left) went up against Oxford A (right) for the OAT title.

That meant there would to be a one-game final between Oxford A and Southampton A. The final was a tense affair, with neither team managing to get their nose significantly in front. Oxford A battled their way to a lead by question 20, but their advantage was narrow enough that if Southampton were to get the last question they would win the tournament. On the last starter, however, Oxford clinched the title.

Top individual scorers in the prelims were Evan Lynch, Joseph Krol of Cambridge A and Ben Beardsley of Warwick A. Congratulations to them and everyone who participated in this tournament, which was played to a very high standard. Full tournament statistics can be found here.

Edinburgh welcomed eight teams to the first quizbowl tournament held north of the border: two teams from each of the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee, a team from Durham, and an exhibition team comprising players from Strathclyde, Queen’s Belfast, Heriot Watt and Cambridge. Teams played in a round robin format, which made for a slightly shorter, but by no means less exciting, day compared to Oxford.

EMOAT-1 Glasgow A (left) battling Dundee A (right) in the first game of the day in Edinburgh.

Every team won at least one game, but Glasgow A emerged victorious overall by beating all their opponents — the game against the exhibition team was fought closely until the very last question, which Glasgow buzzed early on to grab the victory. Durham came second by winning six of their games, followed by the exhibition team and Edinburgh A.

The highest scoring player of the day was Daniel Arribas of Glasgow A, averaging slightly over 60 points per game, but Matt Booth of Edinburgh A, Jack Pollock (Strathclyde) of the exhibition team, and Iain Brodie of Dundee B were hot on his heels with average points per game in the fifties. Even more impressively, the latter two were attending their first ever quizbowl tournament; other strong debuts of the day included Rory McDowell of Dundee A and Matthew Toynbee of Durham.

EMOAT-2 Top 4 individual scorers at EMOAT, from left to right.

We at UK Quizbowl were especially glad to see strong representation from universities new to competitive buzzer quizzing — neither Glasgow nor Dundee have ever had full teams take part at a quizbowl tournament — which bodes well for the future of the Northern circuit. Moreover, the standard of quizzing was very impressive, and we are only looking forward to holding more tournaments like this one in and around Scotland.

Full EMOAT statistics will be available soon; in the meantime, some data is available on the Facebook event.

The photos from the day can be found at the following links: OAT photos, EMOAT photos.

If you have enjoyed OAT or EMOAT, or have not yet had a chance to play a quizbowl tournament, check out the announcement of the 2018 British Novice Tournament: it will be the best chance to get started in quizbowl this year!