Open Eye: We are the champions... again

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The Independent Online
The OU has joined the elite group of universities to have won University Challenge twice, following victory over Oriel College, Oxford, in the final on 27 April. No university has yet won it three times.

The team, with an average age of 46, fought a ding-dong battle with Oriel in which the lead changed hands several times before they ran out winners by 265 points to 210. Open's David Good, from High Wycombe, reading computer sciences, was the star player on the team. The 32-year-old interrupted question master Jeremy Paxman eight times to correctly answer starter questions for his side.

Oriel captain David Stainer valiantly tried to match Good's effort on the buzzer and, along with team mate David Brewis, notched up the second highest number of correct starter questions with four each.

The contest was a David and Goliath affair. Oriel, with just over 300 students is one of Oxford's smallest colleges, while the OU has 165,000. Oriel defeated Cambridge's Corpus Christi, Manchester, Leicester and Bangor universities to reach the final while the OU beat Lancaster, Magdalen Oxford, Birkbeck and Durham.

Question master Jeremy Paxman handed the trophy - an open book fashioned in stainless steel by sculptor Adrian Mokes - to captain John Burke. The team will keep the original trophy for a year before handing it over in the year 2000. A replica of the trophy will be theirs to keep.

Upholding the honour of the OU were John Burke, 39, a part-time postman from Faversham, David Good, 32, of High Wycombe, a software developer; retired lawyer Lance Haward, 62, of London and Sue Mitchell, 51, a teacher from Grimsby.