Belfast Telegraph

Queen's crash out of University Challenge buckling under pressure during David Bowie round

By Rebecca Black

Queen's University has crashed out of University Challenge following a bruising defeat by Birmingham University.

The team included Patrick Regan from Belfast and Caitlin Newby from Los Angeles, who are both studying for PhDs in Poetry.

They were partnered by team captain Stuart Mathieson from Belfast, who is studying for a Phd in Modern History, and finance student Enda Doherty from Strabane.

Initially, things looked good as QUB took the lead against their Birmingham opponents.

Their giant broccoli mascot became one of the talking points of the show on Twitter, with others also referring to the Queen's team as a 21st century version of the friends from the classic movie The Breakfast Club.

As host Jeremy Paxman asked the first question, Patrick came up trumps, naming the Scottish National Party from a cryptic description after a Birmingham contestant had wrongly guessed it was the UK Communist Party.

Queen's went on to get two out of three of their puzzling bonus round questions on "vandalism and the arts" correct.

Caitlin had another early triumph for the team when she identified a cockroach from a description, and the team scored two out of three in their bonus round on international awards giving them a 40-5 lead.

However, in the second half the tide started to turn and Birmingham took the lead.

Paxman himself raised eyebrows over claims he pronounced David Bowie's name incorrectly as the Belfast team attempted to name the albums three of his songs came from.

Queen's ended up losing by 105 points to 165, and did not automatically qualify for the second round of the competition. However, they may still have a chance if they are one of the highest scoring losing teams.

Patrick told the Belfast Telegraph the team was just delighted to get on the show after passing the tough selection of interviews and tests which hundreds of universities enter.

As for the broccoli mascot, Patrick revealed it was picked because most of the team are vegetarians.

Last year, a team from Queen's was defeated in the second round, while in 2013 the team reached the quarter-finals.

Queen's won the competition in 1981 when they defeated the University of Edinburgh.

Belfast Telegraph


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