Written by Ellis Ian Fields

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

image for University Challenge: Worcester and Newcastle Serve Up A Lass-Led Cracker
No sign of Sinbad.

It has been suggested that we call this match The Battle of the Babes because both sides are skippered by young women - but we wouldn't do that, would we?

Two women on the same show is rare enough... but both skippers?

Congratulations to Worcester College, Oxford, and Newcastle University on a thoroughly entertaining match - and for the not insignificant distaff presence.

And the girls - Worcester's Rebecca Gillie and Newcastle's Alannah Turner - understood that audible discussion is part of this game's attraction... we want to hear the outlandish suggestions and we howl at the screen when the skipper ignores an offered right answer.

None of this whispering behind the backs of hands, please! Other teams take note.

Newcastle seemed to get off to a good start, but once Ms Gillie, ably supported by Messrs Knapp, Bramhill and Metzer, got going it was nip-and-tuck all the way.

We must say that hands were thrown up in horror at Fields Towers when Worcester failed to recognise The Sea And Sinbad's Ship from Rimsky-Korsakov's Sheherezade and also when they plumped for Rossetti as the Pre-Raphaelite Brother who painted Bubbles ("Millais! Millais!")

And whoever it was who placed Pontefract on the River Wye had better not show their face in this proud and ancient Yorkshire town any time soon!

With a few minutes to go, Ms Turner, Messrs Dunbar, Dent and Pang edged Newcastle into a lead but then Worcester seemed to find another gear and cruised home 190-150.

Newcastle, thankfully, are not down and out, as teams need to win two matches in the quarter finals (rules devised by Wittgenstein's granddaughter, according to Jeremy Paxman).

*We still get letters about our references to "spiciness" when reporting on Worcester's previous matches in this series.

"You're a bloody idiot, Fields," writes Mr Orde Wingate, of Chipping Sodbury, who claims to be no relation to the celebrated soldier noted, among other exploits, for the Chindwin campaign during the Second World War.

"What's sauce got to do with anything? If you're going to make Worcester allusions about anything, it should be the town's famed porcelain industry.

"And who cares about these young, long-haired yobs anyway? Why don't you review something useful - such as Antiques Roadshow featuring the fragrant Fiona Bruce?"

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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