History, Politics and Philosophy Department Romp Home to Emphatic mmUniversity Challenge Win

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The MM University Challenge teams, eager to compete

Joshua Weavers, Neil Harrison, Edward Parry, and Team Captain Andrew Jones of HPP; Jacob Hurt, Nathan Baker, Fiona Parkinson and Team Captain Hannah Huxley-Wright of English; Ellen Jannes, Angus Wade, Lynn de Santis, and Team Captain Lewis Jamieson of CrimSoc; Kloe Whelan, William Harrison, Zaynab Salim, and Team Captain Oscar Greco of InfoComms & Languages


Buzzers… check

Teams… check

Picture round… check

Jeremy Paxman… not quite.

This week saw teams from History Politics and Philosophy (HPP), Info Comms and Languages, Criminology and Sociology (CrimSoc) and English competing against each other for the crown of Faculty mmUniversity Challenge Champions. Each team was also playing for a donation to their nominated charity.

The semi-finals pitted all four teams against each other in the usual University Challenge style. Leading the semi-finals was Dr Jesse Edwards, Head of English.

Taking an early lead, CrimSoc snatched the answer from HPP on the location of a standard QUERTY keyboard key. Showing their knowledge specialisms, HPP rallied with answers to folk music history and world flags.

The semi-finals largely became a battle between HPP and the CrimSoc team, each eking a small lead ahead before the other overturned it. Info Comms and Languages had a late resurgence which saw them nipping at the heels of CrimSoc towards the final minutes. English were left slightly bewildered and trailing behind having missed key opportunities to get back in the game with questions on English Literature and Classics.

The Criminology and Sociology Team with the Dean of Faculty

Dean of HLLS Faculty Sharon Handley with Team CrimSoc, Lynn de Santis, Team Captain Lewis Jamieson, Angus Wade and Ellen Jannes

At the end of the semi-finals both HPP and CrimSoc had a clear lead, with HPP just ahead of CrimSoc despite them displaying a good insight into famous landmarks and their geographic locations in the closing seconds.

Both teams took a breather while the set was reorganised and control of the quiz questions was handed over to Dean of Faculty, Dr Sharon Handley.

It was set to be a close final. Only ten points had separated HPP and CrimSoc at finals. Rumours that a member of the CrimSoc team had appeared on ITVs The Chase (and come away with some money) were rife. CrimSoc were strong on their general knowledge, literature and science but HPP seemed to have a knack for history (obviously), arts, music and their knowledge of beers and wines.

HPP were taking no prisoners in the final. They came out of the starting blocks and racked up over a hundred points before CrimSoc were able to put any points on the board. At one point CrimSoc queried whether their buzzers were even working.

The first fifteen minutes of the round were HPP’s. However, not to be totally outdone, CrimSoc did rally in the second half but had missed out key questions in their own fields which could have unsettled HPP in the run of play. Despite a fantastic run of points in the second half of the round, HPP were simply too strong. Finals scores were HPP 165 and CrimSoc 75.

Team Captain of HPP with Dean of Faulty

Team Captain of HPP, Andrew Jones with Dean of Faulty Sharon Handley

HPP were possibly lucky to have a favourable run of questions in their subject areas in the early stages of the final, but their speed on the buzzers, overall general knowledge and team organisation were to be commended. The CrimSoc team were admirable opponents, but just couldn’t interrupt HPP’s flow enough to gain breathing space to rack up their score.

After the event, Dean of Faculty Sharon Handley commended all the teams on their fantastic effort and hoped this would possibly be the ‘start of a process leading to the real University Challenge.’

Post 1992 universities rarely feature on the regular university challenge. However, in 2011 Oxford Brookes made it to the quarter-finals, and with our closest neighbours, University of Manchester, winners of the previous two years, perhaps it is time to step up to the real plate. Maybe some of the Manchester magic could make its way north up Oxford Road, or maybe there is enough talent within the University to make a case for a team. HPP Team Captain Andrew Jones seemed to think so.

“I think we really should go for a real team. There were one or two tonight, and especially in our group, who could compete in any team, and going forward, you never know… we could be going up against the real Jeremy Paxman.”

To the winners a £250 donation to their chosen charity, The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, and a trophy presented by the Dean of Faculty and Head of Department Dr Brian McCook.

Runner up donations were made to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

The HPP Team with head of department and dean of faulty

Dean of HLSS Faculty Sharon Handley and Head of Department Brian McCook, with Team HPP Edward Parry, Neil Harrison, Team Captain Andrew Jones, and Joshua Weavers

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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