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School Challenge Team are National Champions

09 May 2011

Pictured: Oli Clarke, Henry Tonks, Patrick Wernham and Yanbo Yin, Schools Challenge National Champions

What a fantastic achievement! That was a brilliant day and a brilliant performance against the best teams in the country. To defeat last year\'s winners and the mighty Westminster was an incredible feat, and makes us worthy National Champions.

The Story:

Quarter Final vs RGS Lancaster: 890-580
As it turned out, this proved to be our toughest match against the reigning champions. RGS edged into a fairly steady 100 point lead, but the decisive moment of the match, and of the entire day, was a vital passage of play where we overturned the deficit and established a lead of our own. This was before the ugly Chernobyl controversy: although after that episode, we scored 320 points against 60. Go figure.
Yanbo impressed with his lungs intervention, but my trembly hands were testament to the scale and intensity of this particular match.

Semi-Final vs Abbey School: 860-490
A difficult, scrappy and error strewn match. Given that Abbey were only kept in the game by our own blunders, it was a relief to get through this potential banana skin! Nonetheless, a good start and a very strong finish saw us safely to the final, but not without a marked increase in my stress levels. Henry needs to sort out his razors and his sausages.

Final vs Westminster: 1000-640
And so to Westminster, five times winners between 2005 and 2010, at home and in their eighth successive National Finals. It turned out to be our most straight forward match of the day, despite a fairly close start which made my palms sweaty. But then, we got into an absolutely unstoppable mode; in one phase of the game winning 15 starters against only 3! Oli swung into top form, thanks largely to his knowledge of the Eurovision song contest. In the end, Westminster were glum and demoralised as we stormed to victory. I even relaxed in the last two minutes!

EJ Milton