Sod rowing: Brains over brawn as we win University Challenge

A mere 24 hours of Varsity glory for Oxford came to a crushing end on Monday night, as Trinity College took the University Challenge title with 240 points to Somerville College’s 135.

boat race boo oxford gooo cambridge jeanette winterson obe paxman Rowing Somerville Trinity university challenge

The corduroy-clad team, Ridley, Drnovšek-Zorko and Freeland, led by captain Ralph Morley, secured Trinity’s third win of the series.

This year, they thwarted the attempted hattrick of Manchester University, which won the title in both 2012 and 2013.

Team member introductions provided some light entertainment; from the unpronounceable name of Trinity’s Filip Drnovšek-Zorko barely fitting on its name plaque, to the humorous simplicity of Somerville’s ‘Beer’.


The lads

Oxford had a decent start, interrupting Paxman’s starter for ten and taking a 25 point lead. But after a shaky start in a bonus round on rivers, Trinity were soon propelled ahead by their knowledge of Classical music, German scientists and pictorial depictions of Jane Austen’s works.

Other general knowledge topics ranged from tea production to Canadian provinces.

Highlights include Zorko’s impressive mane and beard, and Morley, who, with a raised eyebrow and boundless confidence, rivalled the sass of Sheldon Cooper. If only he weren’t a classicist, the comparison would be complete.



The banter continued flowing right up to the trophy presentation, given by the writer and broadcaster Jeanette Winterson OBE. In handing over the slightly disappointing trophy, she joked to Morley, “I’m sorry it looks like something from the Hobbit!”

This series marks 20 years since the show’s revival in 1994 with Jeremy Paxman at the helm. He was typically curt, reminding Drnovšek-Zorko, nephew of the late Slovenian president Janez Drnovšek, of the difference between “precocious” and “precocial”.

The show has recently been under fire by critics suggesting the questions are getting easier, though Paxman remains adamant this isn’t the case:

“They’re far more difficult than ever they were previously, and that’s because the overall level of knowledge has gone up.”

The Tab would like to congratulate Trinity on their impressive win. What Boat Race?