University sports teams from across the country will head to Nottingham to compete in finals of their competitions, and Newcastle have participants from basketball, volleyball, lacrosse, rugby and American football.
Nottingham University hosts the competition across various sports facilities in the city. With a total of 57 fixtures this is the biggest of Big Wednesdays BUCS has organised to date.
A busy schedule sees men’s, women’s and mixed teams from sixteen sports go head to head for their respective titles in both trophy and championship competitions.
Sports represented include fencing, rugby (league and union), football and hockey. While many sports clubs such as rowing or swimming have their biggest annual BUCS events separately, for most team sports competing week-in week-out this is the highlight of the season.
However, only a few fortunate teams can make it to their final and the chance to participate in Big Wednesday.
Six teams from Team Newcastle have qualified for finals in Nottingham on Wednesday, the university’s best showing yet at the event. This success is reflected in a current seventh place standing for Newcastle in the BUCS table.
Men’s Basketball, Women’s Volleyball, American Football, Men’s Rugby 1sts and 2nds and Men’s Lacrosse will all be represented in Nottingham in their respective finals.
Fergus Mainland, NUSU's Athletic Union Officer had praise for these teams: “I’m delighted to see so many of our teams head down to Nottingham this week. It’s testament to all the hard work that has gone on this year from the athletes as well as everyone behind the scenes. I know the whole of Team Newcastle will be behind them every step of the way.”
In the Women’s Volleyball Championship showdown, Newcastle’s women will go up against our uni’s ‘sophisticated’ progenitor, Durham University, at 12:30 on Wednesday afternoon. They beat East London Women 3-2 in the semi-final earlier in the month to earn their spot.
Also at National Championship level, Newcastle Men’s Basketball beat Loughborough in the semi-final to reach their final at Big Weekend. This means they too come up against our old rivals from up the Wear, playing Durham. This contest will be one of the last matches of the day at 8:00pm.
In the National Vase competition, Newcastle University Men’s Rugby first team will face Nottingham University’s. Our rugby lads beat Exeter 28-18 last week, setting up the final. The Newcastle boys will be up against it, however, as Nottingham have the home advantage as the Midlands uni is hosting the competition.
The Men’s Rugby second team will also be competing, this time in the National Trophy final. They’re up against Brunel University after beating Durham in the semis. The 2nd XV face off against the Londoners at 14:30 on Wednesday.
In the National Trophy final, Newcastle University’s American Football team face SGS College. They secured their place by emphatically beating Sheffield Hallam Warriors 24-21 in last Sunday’s semi-final. The victory also established the Newcastle Raiders as Northern champions and secured their promotion to the Premier League. They will kick off the competition on Tuesday evening before the rest of the action gets underway on Wednesday.
The Men’s Lacrosse team have also reached the final of the National Trophy. They play Plymouth Marjon at 12:30pm on Wednesday.
A live stream of events will be available online via BUCS website and YouTube channel. Eleven sports are being covered, sadly not including Newcastle’s rugby or volleyball hopefuls. With several teams making the long trip down to Nottingham, students can get behind their friends, peers and coursemates in supporting Team Newcastle at the pinnacle of their season.
Outside of Big Wednesday, Team Newcastle has had success with eight teams winning their Northern Conference Cup Finals. Mens Fencing 1sts, Women’s Football 1sts, Netball 5ths, Men’s Rugby Union 3rds, Men’s Rugby Union 5ths, Women’s Squash 2nds, Women’s Futsal 1sts and Men’s Water Polo 1sts all beat their opponents to end cup runs as champions of the North.
On top of these BUCS competitions, Newcastle’s clubs will be looking forward to Varsity on Wednesday 27th April. The revived competition will see Newcastle and Northumbria Universities’ sports teams battle it out across various arenas to earn the bragging rights on Tyneside. The Stan Calvert Cup saw the unis compete since 1994, but was cancelled in 2019 after Northumbria won for the fifth consecutive year. Team Newcastle will be hoping for better luck this time round.