Sport Services Assistant, Tom Robinson, reflects on a big day for Northumbria Sport
Once again Northumbria stamped their authority on the BUCS Big Wednesday National Finals bringing 4 National titles back up north from the event hosted by Nottingham University. BUCS Big Wednesday is the pinnacle of the student sporting calendar with over 60 of the UK’s top university teams battling it out for Championship & Trophy titles across 14 sports.
This year, Northumbria University were represented by 6 teams in 5 sports with high hopes for all teams to succeed and be crowned National Champions!
First to take to the field were the Men's Rugby League 2nd team, who this year made the finals alongside our 1st team making it the first time a university has had representation in both a Championship & Trophy final in Rugby League. The team didn’t disappoint and started the game positively breaking through for the first score early on. However it wasn’t plain sailing for the team, as Oxford were quick to respond with a try of their own, making the score 6-6. It was Northumbria however who proved to have the better strength, depth and quality, scoring three tries in quick succession to move in to the lead. A dominant second half display saw the side secure a convincing victory over Oxford University 42-10, with kicker Lewis converting 100% in the game. Later in the day, our 1st team lined up against long term rivals Leeds Beckett, a team who like ourselves have been a powerhouse in University Rugby League. The game began tense as expected, but it was Northumbria who broke through first to secure the first try of the game. The team led from thereon, despite continued pressure and occasion try from Leeds Beckett. Finally, the lads managed to pull away at the end, completing the league and cup double! The final score in the Championship final ended 36-18 in favour of Northumbria.
Moving to Women’s Football, the girls faced Loughborough with a 12 game win streak at stake. A long injury delay in the first few minutes to the Loughborough goalkeeper disrupted the concentration for both teams, with the pace of the game taking a while to pick up. Thankfully, our girls started to turn on the style they have been come to be known by this season, and scored two quick goals to take a commanding lead. Loughborough weren’t ready to lie down however and pressed forward to score 2 goals of their own, meaning the teams went in to the changing rooms all tied up at half time (2-2). In the second half, Northumbria started stronger of the two teams and scored early on securing the only goal in the second half. This was enough and the game ended 3-2 and Northumbria Women’s Football were crowned National Champions! Another league and cup double for Northumbria.
Across at the Jubilee Campus Sports Centre, Northumbria Women’s Volleyball were going for back-to-back titles against local rivals Durham, who had already finished above the girls in the league, despite honours even in the head to head games. The girls started the game slow and Durham took an early lead in the first set. Durham were quick to close out the first set and led the final 1-0. Northumbria weren’t there to give up however and started the second set the stronger of the two sides closing it out 25-18 (1-1). Despite a great fighting comeback in the second set, it was Durham that pushed on to take the match 3-1 securing the National Title. The girls still have hope of a National title this season, with their NVL cup final just around the corner. Once again they will face off against Durham, hoping for revenge!
Our final two fixtures of the day took place at the David Ross Sports Village where Women’s Basketball and Men’s Water Polo were going for glory in Championship Finals. Men’s Water Polo faced a strong Manchester Met side, who dominated the Premier North league this season. Their strength and depth proved to be enough to open up a substantial early lead in the game, scoring 6 quick goals. Despite our team’s best efforts and some fantastic saves by the Manchester Met keeper (who went on to win MVP in the game), we went into halftime 12-0 down. A flurry of goals in the second half by Northumbria gave the crowd hope that the comeback was on but Manchester Met were too strong on the day and saw out the fixture 18-5. Still a fantastic season for our Men’s Water Polo 1st team.
Finally, Women’s Basketball took the court with only one thing on their mind, revenge. They were up against Durham who snuck the title last year by one point, in a thrilling final! Durham were quick out of the blocks and took an early lead at the end of the first quarter (12-21). Some sweet play by MVP Kaylie Van Loo and some great play calls by coach Chris Bunten meant we clawed the deficit back and went into our halftime talk down by just four points (37-41). The girls began the third quarter on fire, rotating players in and out with everyone on the team contributing. Durham were knocking shots down but it was Northumbria that were coming up with the response outscoring Durham to end the third (66-62) in our favour. The final quarter swung both ways with both teams leading at different points. After a tense and frantic final 2 minutes (which seemed to take 10 minutes!), the girls stuck together and took revenge over Durham beating them 86-80 to be crowned National Champions. Our third team to secure a league and cup double on the day.
- M2 Rugby League beat Oxford University 42-10
- M1 Rugby League beat Leeds Beckett University 36-18
- W1 Football beat Loughborough University 3-2
- W1 Volleyball were beaten by Durham University 1-3
- M1 Waterpolo were beaten by Manchester Metropolitan University 5-18
- W1 Basketball beat Durham University 86-80
Our fantastic photographers (Stephen Batey & James Matthews) were on hand to snap the winning photos which can be seen here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/26835965@N04/albums/
For all match reports (courtesy of Media team volunteers Oscar & Dan) click here:: https://northumbriasport.com/news
BUCS isn't quite over for the 2018/19 season yet with competitions still to be played in Rugby 7s, Cricket, Rugby League 9s, Golf, Netball playoffs, outdoor Athletics and Futsal finals over the next 6 weeks! Stay tuned to our social media channels for all the details