31 March 2017
Forty top teams from around the UK that qualified through placing in Regional events came together to compete for the National title at the National Finals over 17-18 March. The StoweBots Senior team qualified and competed in this year’s final (sadly the Junior team didn’t gain a place).
Over the first day and a half of the competition the teams were randomly paired against other pairings in matches. Wins and scores were used to rank the teams. On the Friday the team had a tough run and finished the day with six wins and three losses and ranked 9/40 - the robot had been strong all day. We started Saturday’s matches confident in the robot and went on to win every game finishing with 10 wins and three losses in the qualifying games. This placed us fourth in the rankings out of 40 teams. Starting with the first ranked team, alliances were selected for the play-off matches. Through selection we ended up as Captains of the third ranked alliance going into the finals. Sadly the quarter-final didn’t go our way with a slight glitch costing us a key match that would have seen us through to the semi-final. So for us that was the end of the National competition.
Although we didn’t win, we still picked up the ‘National Build Award’. The Build Award is given to a team that has built a well-crafted robot that also shows clear dedication to safety and attention to detail. The robot must have solid structure with robust systems that are well thought out and purposeful, showing efficient use of mechanical and electrical components. To win the award the robot must also demonstrate reliability on the field. It was a great award to pick up and excellent recognition of the team’s efforts this year and the time and effort put in to developing a National Final worthy robot.
We depart for the World Finals in Louisville, Kentucky, USA in the last week of the Easter break. The World Final sees 500 teams from around the world competing with eight teams from the UK. The new season begins in the Summer term with a new game announced at the World Finals. We say farewell to Jonny Reading (Upper Sixth, Grenville) our engineer and the Stoic responsible for our outstanding log book, as well as being one of nineteen World Finalists in the competition to design a new part; to Stuart Milner (Upper Sixth, Cobham), who is our tireless driver and mechanic for the robot and Toby Lawrance (Upper Sixth, Cobham) who is our programmer and the one who makes the robot work. They have been the heart of the Senior team over the last two years and their contributions will be greatly missed. We do have some talent coming through in the Junior years and I look forward to seeing them develop their skills and potential.
Paul Thompson, MiC Robots