Newcastle’s University Challenge team go one step closer to record performance

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Newcastle University overcame an impressive Bristol side to go within touching distance of their first ever semi-final appearance on BBC Two’s University Challenge.

After an impressive 215-130 win over the University of Southampton in the second round, a packed Luther’s Bar were treated with an equally convincing 225-130 win against the University of Bristol as Newcastle overcame the first hurdle at the quarter-final stage.

Both sides have reached this stage of the competition in recent years, with Bristol losing their two quarter-final matches last year against Corpus Christi College (Oxford) and the University of Warwick. Fans of the show will remember Newcastle’s run to the quarter-finals in 2016, finally being overcome with a 210-120 loss against St John’s College (Oxford) after a massive 225-115 win against Nuffield College (Oxford) and an excruciatingly tight defeat to the University of Liverpool.

Luther’s Bar was packed with Newcastle students that turned out to support the team | Image: Clara Pettitt

In previous rounds, Bristol had looked impressive, brushing aside Trinity College (Oxford) twice in a row after the Oxford college made it through the highest scoring losers play-offs. Newcastle on the other hand, defeated Sheffield Hallam and Southampton to earn their place amongst the last eight.

The tie was neck-and-neck for the early stages, with the match finely poised at 50-45 to Bristol at around the ten-minute mark. Within four minutes, Newcastle streaked ahead, scoring 50 consecutive points to open up a 45-point lead at 95-50.

Following a small slip of the tongue from Newcastle’s Jack Reynard, Bristol recovered to lead 120-95 in the tight fixture. However, just moments later the third year medical student knew the number of thoracic vertebrae in the human body, sparking signs of encouragement and gratitude from team captain Jonathan Noble.

Captain Jonathan Noble kept team spirits high throughout the tie | Image: YouTube

It was the mark of a top captain that typifies the team spirit in the Newcastle side, as Noble went beyond being one of the best players in the tie to a true team captain. Reynard went on to buzz in to correctly answer several further crucial questions, ranging from the Kyoto Protocol and languages in the UK, to support Noble’s typically knowledgable performance.

Throughout the show, Newcastle continued to work as a team in the bonus rounds, with each of the players chipping in and cracking a smile along the way.

Newcastle will now face one of three Cambridge colleges, Ulster, Edinburgh or Merton College (Oxford) in the next round at the end of February.

Last modified: 30th January 2018

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