It has been another great season for Newcastle in BUCS competitions so far, with the university looking set to secure a fourth consecutive top 10 national finish. There have been trophies and leagues won, and there are still competitions in which to claim victory. But, as the season meanders towards its conclusion, Tom Hardwick casts his mind back to some of the most exciting BUCS games to have taken place this year.
Newcastle Men’s Basketball 2’s 107-62 Hull 1’s
Newcastle basketball 2’s have dominated the Northern 3B League this season, rightly commanding a 6-point gap over their closest rivals York. There have been some crushing victories for the side so far, but no win encapsulates their storming season quite as well as the 107-62 triumph over Hull. Newcastle’s performance had everything: 3 pointers were flying in from outrageous distances, the team was creating space expertly with their electric movement, and a couple of dunks were thrown in for good measure. Hull simply couldn’t contain a Newcastle side that exuded composure and confidence, with the likes of Syzmanis, Sanchez-Corella and O’Dowd producing fine individual displays in order to drive the team to victory. The 70-64 win over Bolton in the Northern Conference Cup Final may well be the jewel in the crown of Newcastle 2’s 2018-19 season, but in terms of a performance that emphasises just why this team have enjoyed such a profoundly successful season, look no further than the crushing victory over Hull.
Newcastle Men’s Lacrosse 1’s 10-10 Manchester Met 1’s (11-10 Overtime)
Newcastle Lacrosse 1’s are a team on the cusp of national success, with just Birmingham 1’s standing between them and BUCS Trophy glory. However, it was against Manchester Met 1’s in the quarter finals of this competition that this team produced arguably their finest hour, triumphing 11-10 in a physical, nail-biting contest that went all the way to overtime. Newcastle found themselves 3-1 down after the first quarter but didn’t let their heads drop, and with resolute goalkeeping from Clohessy serving as inspiration for a fightback. The teams traded points, fouls and penalties with Manchester still holding onto a slender lead, only for Lees to fire home a laser-guided last-minute equaliser to force overtime. This seemed to break Manchester’s spirit, making Newcastle’s comeback all the more likely. With 12 seconds of overtime remaining, Ramsbottom duly stepped up, squeezing a dramatic winner beyond the opposing goalkeeper to secure a stunning victory over a talented Mancunian side. This display undoubtedly deserves its place on this list, and if Newcastle are to go on and seal the BUCS Trophy, then replicating some of the spirit and quality present in this thrilling tie will go some way to helping their quest for glory.
Newcastle Women’s Volleyball 1’s 3-2 Sheffield Hallam 1’s
Newcastle Volleyball 1’s have had a tough season, with the Premier North Division pitting them against some of the most gifted teams in the country. The side may have only managed a solitary league win this season, but their victory over Sheffield Hallam 1’s was a demonstration of determination and skill that belies their league position entirely. Hallam initially dominated this tie, claiming the first set 25-11 in a manner that suggested a victory was imminent. This may have disheartened some, but Newcastle didn’t seem affected in the slightest, and with the second set delicately poised at 20-20, Berkem, Shipilli and Nikou drove the team over the line to level the overall score at 1-1. Powerful striking and steadfast defending from Newcastle saw them claim the third set by a score of 25-18, suggesting that an upset was now on the cards. Hallam attempted to tear up the script with a 25-20 victory in the fourth set, meaning that the fifth and final set would be the decider. Hallam raced into an 11-6 lead and it appeared that Newcastle’s efforts may have been in vain, but the home side refused to roll over and accept defeat, and with a renewed effort they brought the scores back to 13-13. Points were scored back and forth between the two sides, but it was Newcastle who triumphed, producing a battling performance to claim a much-needed victory. This team may not achieve league or cup success this season, but this was an underdog victory displayed the kind of heart and passion that deserves commendation regardless.