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University Challenge adventure ends as UEL are beaten by Warwick

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Quartet proud of having reached last 16 after losing to impressive opponents

The University of East London’s University Challenge adventure came to a halt on Monday night when the four-strong team suffered a second-round defeat at the hands of the University of Warwick.

The UEL quartet, who had reached the last 16 of the BBC2 quiz by beating the University of Glasgow in their opening match last month, found themselves pitted against the highest-scoring team from the first round and could have few complaints about their 195-55 defeat.

Jerushah, the team captain, said, “We would have loved to get through to the next round but, bearing in mind the team we were facing, I don’t think we could have done any more. Even if we added up all the missed chances, I don’t think we could have beaten them.”

Warwick thrashed Liverpool University 235-95 in the opening round and were in similarly unstoppable form on Monday evening. 

“We were beaten by the better team,” admitted Chris, who was sporting a loud, paisley shirt for the second time in the TV series. “Even if we had got all the starters that we knew, I still don’t think we would have won. The questions ramp up in the second round and Warwick were quicker.”

All four team members said they were disappointed their University Challenge campaign was over but happy to have gone so far in the competition.

They were the first UEL team in history to make it through to the TV show, coming through a tough selection process to find the top 28 teams out of the 130 universities and colleges who applied. They were also the only post-1992 university team to be chosen for the current series.

Kelly said, “Warwick were an exceptional team and they did really well. I’m disappointed but not broken-hearted. It was a lovely trip while we did it. 

“I hope the University is really proud of us, students and staff alike. I think it’s an achievement for UEL to be on a national stage like this and for something that’s academic.”

Rachel, the only undergraduate on the UEL team, said, “I’ve had the most fantastic time. If I had to describe this experience in one word it would probably be ‘surreal’. But it’s been really great fun.”

Attention is already turning to next year’s TV series, with all four team members currently involved in selecting a brand-new UEL team for the University Challenge auditions in the New Year.

Rachel said, “Hopefully it’s not the last time that UEL will be represented in the competition. It’s an experience I think most people would love if they gave themselves a chance to do it.” 

Professor John Joughin, the UEL Vice-Chancellor, paid tribute to the team and said their success had been felt right across the University.

“Making it to the last 16 has brought a real sense of pride to staff and students and the team members should hold their heads high after all that they have achieved," he said.

“Hopefully, they will inspire other students to put themselves forward and test their knowledge in future series of University Challenge."