Reading University have won their first ever quarter-final battle on popular television quiz University Challenge, but team captain Michael Hutchinson thinks they can go all the way.

Hosted by Jeremy Paxman, University Challenge has been on our screens for more than 50 years but 2021/22 marks a historic landmark for our local entrants.

First entering in 2003, the University had never progressed past the second-round stage, however this years contestants are on the brink of the semi-finals after beating University of Birmingham 170-135 in the first quarter-final.

Team captain Mr Hutchinson is a Maths teacher at Highdown School in Emmer Green and was thrilled to pick up another win.

Speaking exclusively to the Chronicle, Mr Hutchinson said: “We were really pleased to get through to the quarter-finals and after a bit of research found out we were the first Reading University side to get through to the quarter-finals.

“It’s huge and we are all really happy.

“It’s very surreal watching yourself back, because I have forgotten a lot.

“Yesterday it felt like we were going to lose the way Birmingham ploughed through us at the beginning, but we managed to switch it on.

“It was a great game and a massive team effort.

“Personally, I think I’ve done well but we would be nothing without the team.”


Reading Chronicle:

Above: Reading Univserity team


Having lived and worked in the area for a number of years, Mr Hutchinson felt like he was representing his local area, as well as the university.

The same can be said for all of the team members in this years entry, with all of the members having a close connection with the town.

Mr Hutchinson feels that this could give the team a slight advantage going into the next phase, with the team determined to do all they can for not only the university, but the town.

He continued: “Margret Ounsley has been in Reading for ages so she’s massively linked to the area, I’ve lived here for a few years and I work at Highdown School, so unlike a lot of the other teams where you come from all over, we’re all local to the area.

 “It’s really nice to not only do our best for the university, but also for the town.

“Our teddy bear mascot is called HobNob after the biscuit connections to the town.

“It feels like I’m representing my hometown as well as the uni.

“I think the people of Reading are watching it with a bit more of a spring in their step supporting us so I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

“My students are loving it, they’re watching it and feeding back to me the next day so I think it is cool for them to have a connection with someone on the television.

“I think we have done Reading proud.”



So what is next for the side?

The team have done their bit, with filming done months ago, however the team have to win one more quarter-final to make the final four.

Mr Hutchinson felt before the competition had started that the final four was achievable, and now it is edging ever nearer.

He exclaimed: “I know how we get on, but it is all very hush hush.

“At the minute I can talk about how we get on in the first quarter final and then we take it from there.

“I always thought we could make the semi-finals, but we will have to see how it goes.”

Make sure to keep an eye out next month for the screening of the second quarter-final; and we join the whole town to wish the team the very best of luck.