House Challenge

Inter-house quizzing is a mainstay of boarding life and the 2019/20 academic year has been an outstanding one in the life of the College’s budding quizzers, representing both their Houses and the College despite the lockdown. The year got off to a great start when we were fortunate enough to have Egghead and Quiz Champion Kevin Ashman give a talk on his life in trivia to staff and pupils to a full house in the Garnett Room.

Matters got properly underway with the opening fixtures of the annual House Challenge, the long-standing inter-house trivia competition, contested by teams of four from each house and avidly supported by their whole house community. Matches feature 12 minutes of quick-fire trivia, in the style of University Challenge, with pupils answering questions on topics ranging from Shakespeare to Snooker, Chemistry to Cheese and History to Honduras. The goal for all teams is to get to finals day, one of the main features of our annual Prize Day Programme and to have the chance to win the coveted Aglen Trophy.

The Coronavirus lockdown looked at one point like it might cause the cancellation of this year’s competition. We were delighted when we found a format using Zoom which would allow the show to go on, not just at a social distance, but at continental distance, with team members Zooming in from as far as the Eastern Seaboard of the US! The first-ever online House Challenge match was a fiercely competitive affair, played before a live online audience of 70 families, between Elmhurst and B1. B1 emerged victorious and were joined on Prize Day by Mill Mead, New Court and Morris, with Mill Mead going on to win the silverware on a day in which the House Challenge was the only live event. The house support for each team was incredible with more than 100 families tuning in live and many hundreds more watching the recording on the College website.

2020 is the first year that the College has competed in inter-school general knowledge matches, under the dual auspices of RDW and DTC. We started with a three-way contest between Marlborough, Headington and Radley, away at Headington, which Marlborough won despite fierce competition. We have had several games since lockdown too, with the Marlborough leg of the three-way contest taking place on Zoom (another victory!) and most recently a fixture with St Mary’s, Calne.

The future of General Knowledge at Marlborough has rarely looked brighter at both a House and all College level!

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