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Friday, 10 April 2015 (3064603)
Resort student shines on University Challenge
by Ollie Cowan

A SOUTHPORT student says he is delighted after his University team made the quarter finals of this years University Challenge.

Ben Mawdsley, 22, is an astrophysics student at the University of Liverpool and reached the last stages of the quarter finals on this year’s University Challenge.

Speaking to The Champion, Ben said he couldn't believe his luck when he found out he was going to be on one of the nation’s most loved Television programs.

After going through a series of tests at University level, Ben was drafted into the top 5 which formed the University of Liverpool team, which also consisted of students Degalán Crew, Jem Davis and Hugh Hiscock.

Describing what it was like on set, he said: “It was surprisingly cold! You’d expect to be under the lights but it wasn’t.

”Everyone involved was thoroughly lovely, you have someone who looks after you all day and did your make up!“

Ben and his team had to deal with the University of Sheffield in the first round, whom they beat 155-130.

In the second round, the Liverpool lads thwarted the University of Glasgow 170-105 - brimming with confidence, they proceeded to the Quarter Finals.

The Quarter finals involved three matches in which you had to win at least two, the University of Liverpool took off to a great start and demolished the University of Bristol 175-115.

The second match however, proved tougher than the first where St Peter’s College, Oxford reminded the lads how tough this competition by beating them 245-100.

Sadly, the boys couldn’t repeat their first match and bowed out to Durham 175-100.

Players often have to answer questions on their own and on the spot, being a physics student, ben felt the pressure when it came to ‘his subject’.

Ben continued: ”The First game was pretty daunting, but after we’d managed to win one I felt like the pressure was off then. You always panic when you hear ‘And the next question is on physics…' and feel the eyes of you whole team looking at you.“

Ben didn’t know what to expect when he spoke to the programs presenter, Jeremy Paxman.

He said: ”He was such a charming, polite man – You expect him to be quite stern and sharp like he can be in his interviews, but he was such a delightful person to speak to.“

One moment which was definitely one of the highlights of Ben’s University Challenge career, was the moment he answered a music round question correctly and celebrated by mimicking Ali G with his hands which became a big discussion topic with friends and colleagues.

”I was just happy to get a pop music question right, I couldn't be one of those who didn't recognise The Smiths or Oasis, someone popular like that – which is probably why the relief came out the way it did.“

Looking back, Ben wouldn't change anything.

”By far and away the main element of the whole experience was just how fun it was. Going out was disappointing, but looking back on it you realise that we should be proud of how we did.“

”I played in 5 more episodes of it than I ever expected to, and to the team - I couldn't have asked for a greater bunch to go through it with, and their knowledge amazed me every round.

“The other teams in the main are all really friendly too, with nerves often affecting the way they come across on camera, although you see people opening up as the show gets into the latter stages.

”It’s the people involved that make these kinds of things what they are, and the support from family and friends through it as well as the team getting on so well made it a great experience.

“It's been the greatest pub quiz ever.”


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