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Monday, 11 March, 2002, 21:05 GMT
Somerville wins TV challenge
Imperial (L) and Somerville (R) with Baroness Mary Warnock (centre L) and Jeremy Paxman (centre R)
Twenty eight teams were whittled down to two
Somerville College, Oxford has won this year's final of University Challenge, beating last year's champions Imperial College, London by 200 points to 185.

Somerville took the title for the first time, beating off competition from 27 other teams in the 2001/2002 series.

Click here for the teams

Imperial looked weak in the early stages of the final - at one point the team was trailing by minus 10 points to Somerville's 135.

We were getting a bit worried by Imperial's incredible fight back

Tim Austen, Somerville captain
But the competitors fought back to put the contest in the balance with Imperial on 185 with Somerville just five points ahead.

Last year Imperial beat students from St John's College, Oxford by 250 points to 195 - the team also picked up the prize in 1996.

Captain of the Imperial team Darius Fidgett said: "Obviously we're all very disappointed but Somerville played a cracking game - although Imperial plans to be back next year so they'd better not get too fond of the trophy!"

Somerville captain Tim Austen said: "We were getting a bit worried by Imperial's incredible fight back - we thought we might have to invent a story about our buzzers being broken!"


University Challenge quiz master Jeremy Paxman praised both teams for their performance.

"To get to the final is a terrific achievement," he said.

"Unfortunately for Imperial they made a catastrophic start because they were storming back by the end and they almost did it."

The winning trophy was presented by one of Britain's leading philosophers, Baroness Mary Warnock, who said "this was a wonderful match".

The teams

Imperial College London:
Darius Fidgett (captain) from Hemel Hempstead, Herts, studying computing; Sunil Rao from India, studying information systems; Patrick Hayes from Bury, Lancashire, studying chemistry; Lloyd Kilford from Lowestoft, Suffolk, studying number theory.

Somerville College Oxford
Tim Austen (captain) from Weston Green, Surrey, studying biochemistry; Vicky Wood from Essex, studying English literature; Luke Pitcher from Bethnal Green, London, studying for a D-Phil in classics; Dorjana Sirola from Croatia, studying for a D-Phil in comparative philology.

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See also:

03 Apr 01 | Education
Imperial victory in TV quiz
05 Jun 99 | Entertainment
Paxman slams 'quiz professionals'
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