BUCS PREVIEW: What to expect from Newcastle Uni this season

With clubs still initiating their latest freshers, Sports Editor Alex Hendley looks ahead to the British University and College Sports season, as Newcastle University aim to better last year’s 11th place finish

19th October 2015

As another academic year gets underway, so does another year of BUCS fixtures. For those unfamiliar with BUCS, your guide to British University and College Sport is all here.

Newcastle has over 45 sports clubs competing in the BUCS leagues, and in general they all play on a Wednesday afternoon (why else do you all get lectures off, its certainly not for working) in regional leagues. Last year Newcastle University came 11th in Britain in terms of BUCS points and will this year be pushing to obtain a top ten place within the elite of the country’s student sportsmen and women.

“The firsts have outlined an aim to finish in the top three of the BUCS league and reach the cup finals.”

We spoke to a few of this year’s clubs to outline their ambitions and how they’ve got on so far, including the president of the Rugby Club George Adams, who recently helped Newcastle regain the Clash of the Titans title against their Northumbrian Rivals.

“The firsts have outlined an aim to finish in the top three of the BUCS league and reach the cup finals”, the inside centre told The Courier. Freshers are always a big part of the BUCS teams, as the president made clear: “The freshers have settled in really well and some are already moving their way through the teams.”

After their 13-10 victory at Kingston Park at the beginning of October, Adamson knows the importance of tactics. “Our set pieces have been immense at the start of this season and we’ve won 80% plus of our own set piece balls which is always positive. Improving our game management is a big thing for us as playing in the right areas will bring us points. Line speed in defence is also huge, pressure on opposition makes our life easier as they will make mistakes.”

“morale is high and the season looks promising”

Meanwhile, club captain of women’s hockey Kirby O’Donnell said, “Last season was relatively disappointing given that the previous year had seen us narrowly miss out on promotion to the BUCS premier. We had a lot of that team graduate and so last year was about building upon almost a completely new team. Although the season didn’t go quite as we had planned, things are looking promising for the year ahead.”

On the income of new members, O’Donnell told us “we had a very good influx of freshers this year which has strengthened the team significantly. Serious competition for places on the 1st team has resulted in a vast improvement in the quality and intensity of hockey in both training and matches.” Concerning the opening result of the season, the hockey captain seems very optimistic, “after a 7-0 win over Durham in our first BUCS game of the year, morale is high and the season ahead looks promising.” The hockey ladies will be hoping to extend their winning start to the season when they travel to Sheffield Hallam this Wednesday.

Tasha Robson, President of the Women’s Rugby Club, was very excited for the year ahead. Speaking to The Courier, Robson explained, “last year was a mixed bag. We finished above relegation but managed to score big points against Birmingham which was a highlight of the season. Looking to this season, we are playing against a lot of tough opposition however as always our side has loads of potential which was shown in the second half against Loughborough (15-56 loss). We are definitely feeling positive about the season ahead.” As with all the BUCS teams, Robson had admiration for the fresh crop of sporting recruits at her disposal, telling us, “we are very impressed with the freshers. The seven who were in the squad this week did themselves proud, held their own against a big Loughborough side and really made an impact when they came off the bench. We had over 40 freshers sign up to the club so our 2nd team is also looking strong.”

There was also praise for the high status of the game that the Rugby World Cup has brought to Britain, the Newcastle captain feeling, “it’s safe to say the Rugby World Cup has had a massive impact on introducing more people, especially women, to the game.”

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