Eight of Moreton’s Further Mathematicians recently entered the UKMT Senior Team Mathematics Challenge at Rydal Penrhos School, with the A Team crowned overall winners, and thereby qualifying for the National Finals.
Moreton has enjoyed significant success in individual competitions and the two teams of: Phoebe, Pauline, Georgina and Vinna, together with Cherry, Olivia, Yvette and Sammy were the strongest we have ever fielded.
Mathematics is typically an individual endeavour so this competition was a fantastic opportunity for the girls to showcase some of their other skills: teamwork, leadership, cooperation and competitive instinct. If that all sounds more like a Lacrosse Match than a Maths Competition then you are just starting to get the picture. This competition was not for the faint-hearted and our girls fought hard throughout.
Round one was a series of 12 stand-alone problems to be answered in 40 minutes. The girls had completed 10 when, with seconds to go, Phoebe claims to have 'guessed' that the next answer was 40. In truth, it was an instinctive response from someone who just knew what the answer ought to be, like an overhead kick from Pele when he couldn't see the goal but just knew where it ought to be - pure talent! So they finished with 11/12... good but not yet good enough.
The second round was a crossword but with numbers: a crossnumber! To make it more interesting, two of the team get the ’down' clues and two get the 'across' clues: no communication allowed. The teams were allowed 40 minutes - when they were 100% complete after 23 minutes, it was time to psych-out the opposition and leave the arena. If they weren't all gunning for us before, then they certainly were after that.
Round three was the relay round: four sets of four questions where the answer to each forms the start of the next question. This is where teamwork really matters; a single mistake - like dropping the baton - can set the team off on an irrecoverable path. Suffice to say, it all went brilliantly. Only a single error and, as luck would have it, that was on the final question so no knock-on effects.
The final scores saw the A Team as overall winners and through to the National Final (the first time the Moreton Senior Team has made it that far). The B Team came second amongst the B Teams and a highly commendable fifth overall.
The National Final is in London on 7th February.
The girls were absolutely fantastic, our best ever results in this competition, congratulations!
Jonathan Forster - Principal