Unlike in years gone by, we travelled to St Paul’s Boys’ School in Barnes with hope, knowing that if we could perform to the best of our ability we might be able to defeat one of the great powerhouses of school mathematics.

Having chatted to their team before the match, I discovered that their captain has applied to read Mathematics at Trinity College Cambridge. He turned out to be the weakest link in what was a formidably strong team.

Atitiya Vichayanrat and Lucy Mountain scored perfect answers in round one and two, which helped to give us a narrow lead after the first two rounds, and a glimmer of hope. Due largely to time pressure, the whole team made a number of relatively simple arithmetic mistakes in round three, gifting the opposition a comfortable lead. Despite some quite brilliant solutions from Billy Hughes and Joe Barton, we were never able to recover.

Although the whole team were very disappointed not to have won, they know that if they can cut out the basic mistakes, they are a match for any school in the country.

Final score: St Paul’s 52, Emanuel 36

Mr Leadbetter (Teacher of Mathematics)