Lancaster bows out from University Challenge with honour intact.


Monday evening may have seen Lancaster’s University Challenge dream draw to a close for this year, but the team exit the process victorious nonetheless. The group of four was the first from Lancaster to reach the televised heats in seven years, and also triumphed over competitors from the University of Oxford in order to reach Monday’s match.

The quartet, which consisted of Iain Dickson (MSc Ecology and the Environment), Alan Webster (MSc Resource and Environmental Management), Ann Kretzschmar (PhD Environmental Science) and George Pinkerton (History, Philosophy, and Politics), lost out to a team from St George’s Medical School, of the University of London, in a second-round match that determined which team would fill one of only five remaining vacancies in the quarter-finals.

In their first-round match, Lancaster’s team lost to Pembroke College, Cambridge, but their score qualified them to compete again in the play-offs between the ‘highest-scoring losers’. They then beat Lincoln College, Oxford, 165 points to 120.

Lancaster were quick off the mark, with team-captain Pinkerton buzzing in before question-master Jeremy Paxman had even finished the initial ‘starter for ten’. Sadly, they were then flummoxed by a series of questions pertaining to the theme of ‘infinity’.

Despite taking an early lead, which saw Lancaster 25 points ahead of their St George’s rivals by the mid-way point, the medics managed to snatch the lead and finish on 230 points to Lancaster’s 140.

Paxman bade the Lancaster team farewell and thanked them for playing, commenting on their positive performance in taking the early lead. St George’s will now progress to the quarter-final stage along with Pembroke College and King’s College, both of the University of Cambridge, and New College, Oxford. There are now only four places remaining for contenders vying to secure a place in the next stage of this series’ intellectual show-downs.

If you fancy your chances against both the country’s intellectual elite and Paxman’s acerbic humour then be sure to keep an eye out for recruitment taking place to form next year’s Lancaster line-up.

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