Our Starter for Ten

After an intense live final back in November last year, a very close Staff vs Students in January and a massive victory against Lancaster in Roses our University Challenge team have already done us proud! Don’t miss their match against Warwick - Monday 21st August on BBC1 at 8pm.

Team members:

Benjamin Maier (Captain): English, 3rd Year from Constantine; Matthew de Sousa: Medicine, 1st Year from Goodricke; Connor Bindler: History, 2nd Year from Derwent; Benjamin Longworth: PGCE (History), Postgraduate from Halifax.

We asked Benjamin Maier, this year’s Captain, a few questions to find out what being on a University Challenge team is really like.

What made you want to try out for our University Challenge team?

“I’ve always been a huge fan of any competition revolving around otherwise useless trivia. I used to enjoy competing in the General Knowledge test at school and my family and I are all huge fans of Trivial Pursuit (and just between us I don’t always win!). We also love watching University Challenge, so when the opportunity came to appear on the show it was one I was sure not to miss!”

You were on the team last year but unfortunately did not get onto the show, why do you think you got onto University Challenge this year?

“Well, I don’t wish to disparage any of my old teammates, who were all great guys and really committed to the team, but I think this year we all communicated with each other a lot better as a unit. I think we were all a bit more distinctive-looking as well this time: if you look at the show, you’ll see us sprouting four different degrees of facial hair!”

What was your favourite part of being on the team?

“I had great fun getting to know all of my teammates, who all live really interesting lives. Longworth’s training to be a teacher, Bindler is a long-distance runner and de Sousa is the very man to ask about all things scientific. I’ve also got to give a shout-out to our reserve William Blackett, whom you can look forward to seeing on TV next year I’m sure!”

What was it like being on the show?

“It was pretty nerve-wracking but a lot of fun. We got to meet Jeremy Paxman twice, once in person and once coming out of the lift, entirely by chance! He may seem scary on TV but he’s lovely in the flesh. We also enjoyed getting to know our competitors, although the gloves came off pretty quickly as soon as the cameras started rolling.”

Would you recommend applying for University Challenge to other students?

“Oh, absolutely. It’s really enjoyable and a great thing to be able to say you did in later years. The application process is very easy and a lot of fun in itself. I would especially encourage all your female readers to apply for a place on the team. The last four years, the team has consisted entirely of men, so this time it should be the women’s turn to show us how it’s done!”


Trials for our next University Challenge team will be happening next term, if you are interested, register at www.tinyurl.com/uoyuc or email universitychallenge@yusu.org to find out more.