Tonight sees Team Hertford on BBC Two as they take on London Business School in the first round of this year’s University Challenge competition.
The college will be represented by four graduate students from a range of disciplines: Bridget Donaldson (MSc Energy Systems), Matthew Hitchens (BPhil Philosophy), Matthew Lloyd (Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP) and Lucy Oswald (DPhil Astrophysics). Completing the line-up is reserve team member Harry McGrory, an undergraduate mathematician.
Having spent lockdown swotting up and running practice sessions on Zoom, the quintet are feeling confident that they can give our 2018 team a run for their money; three years ago Team Hertford made it to the second round after a nail-biting opening match which saw them tie for points with Clare College, Cambridge in the final seconds of the game. They eventually bowed out to the University of Manchester in their third televised appearance.
“I’ve followed University Challenge since I was a child and have always been fascinated by the depth of knowledge the candidates have,” says Bridget Donaldson. “I tried out for the team every year during my undergrad at Newcastle, sadly never quite making it. I think lockdown gave me the opportunity to brush up on my general knowledge and helped me going into the selection campaign and quiz rounds at Hertford. I’ve absolutely loved the journey with the team and gathering for weekly practices has been a lovely bonding process.”
For Matthew Lloyd, the importance of the team captain role lies in the ability to field suggestions and make educated guesses on bonus questions. “I think I’m a reasonable generalist,” says Matthew, “and apart from my academic interests my specialist subjects include geography and natural history. I’ve also listened to a lot of history podcasts to fill in gaps in my knowledge but please don’t quiz me on pop culture…”