Written by Ellis Ian Fields

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

image for University Challenge: Brookes Bumps Christ's Not Natasha.

Historian Ken Lucid writes:

Ellis Fields rings, Tuesday afternoon: "Hi Ken, old mate... you're not reviewing anything for us this week, are you?"


"Did you watch University Challenge last night?"

"Er - yeah."

"Do us a piece on it, will you? The guy who usually does it for the TheSpoof is 'indisposed' or something. They want to know if we can get them out of a hole and as you're our resident academic..."

So... Right. I needed to get next door's seven-year-old round to show me how to work BBC iPlayer so I could remind myself exactly what went on, but...

It was Christ's Cambridge up against Oxford Brookes University in the quarter finals. Thanks to rules question-master Jeremy Paxman described as Kafkaesque, a team has to win two matches to get through to the semis, so even a defeat last night would not be the end for either side.

Anyway, I immediately took to Brookes - skipper Anthony McLarin is doing a history MA. Good lad. And his side were from all over the place, while three of the Christ's side were from London - though smouldering Slav, skipper Natasha Simonova, was a Muscovite originally. (She and teammate Joe Walmswell were over qualified for this show, if you ask me - she's doing an MPhil and he's on his doctorate).

It was pretty much a nip-and-tuck affair - first blood to musician, Brookes's Sherlaw who recognised a description of Kon Tiki, Thor Heyerdahl's papyrus raft.

Poor old Sherlaw was denied his true moment, however. The Leeds lad is studying music - but this week they substituted animal noises for the regular tunes round. Not fair! There were plenty of literature questions for the Cambridge crew.

But anyway, an on-fire Sarah Johnson kept getting starter after starter for Brookes in the mid-game stretch and with about five minutes to go, they had managed to edge a 50-ish point lead.

It's a shame, but Natasha may well have lost Christ's the match when she interrupted a question about the relationship between quotidian and hebdomadal events with an incorrect answer - tough, but it gave the whole question away at a crucial time.

Still, Christ's can still come back. They'd better get as smiley as their lovely skipper, mind.

Result: Oxford Brookes 185, Christ's Cambridge 160.

(Colonel Juan is away).

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

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