Newcastle Uni falls at the second hurdle on University Challenge and loses to UCL

Our geniuses from the Toon miss out by the skin of their teeth

University Challenge presents an opportunity for institutions throughout Britain to showcase the pools of knowledge they have to share.

Newcastle University finally returned to our screens following their last in appearance on the show in 2018, after a successful run in reaching the semi-finals.

Newcastle eased through the first round as they defeated The Open University, 115-195, a match in which they maintained their winning position throughout.

Marching through to the second round, they faced a University College London (UCL) team who squeezed through their first-round tie in close encounter with the University of Sheffield, winning by a narrow ten points.

The quartet of some of Newcastle’s finest academics included, John Ingham, studying a PhD in controlled theory for brain modelling and analysis, Tom Speller, studying medicine, Elizabeth Lamb, studying a Master’s in film: theory in Ppractice, and lastly, the team Captain Sam Keay, studying linguistics with Japanese.

As Jeremy Paxman signalled the start of the quiz, UCL came speeding out of the blocks answering a streak of four ten point questions, taking them to a commanding lead of 90-0.

Newcastle managed to claw their way back into the match after the rapid fire start by UCL, taking the score to 90-60, however UCL further asserted their advantage just past the halfway mark, and improved their score making it 120-60.

What followed was somewhat of a resurgence from Newcastle, after a streak of five ten point questions, for the first time in the match Newcastle took the lead, claiming a 15-point advantage.

With the score at 155-170, it seemed as though they were on the cusp of victory.

However, it wasn’t meant to be, with seconds left on the clock, UCL proved effective in their tempo and managed to stretch themselves to a slender ten-point lead.

As Paxman provided a slim opportunity for Newcastle to regain their lead, they were beaten by the gong, and consequently ended up on the end of a narrow 180-170 loss.

Although their efforts were ultimately in vain, Newcastle did not go out with a whimper and it must be noted they did us all proud.

We move on to next year in the hope of becoming champions of the 2024 edition.

You can watch the episode on BBC iPlayer now.

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