BUCS 2014 – What will we win?

We look at which teams may be bringing silverware back to Cambridge this year.

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Almost all of the University’s sports teams  compete in BUCS every year. This is the competition where the quality of Cambridge sports teams is truly tested as they measure themselves on a national scale against other universities, not just our ever inferior dark blue counterparts.

In the overall standings this year the current leaders are Loughborough closely followed by Durham and Bath while Cambridge sits in lowly 17th place and Oxford 12th. Cambridge’s position is no real shock considering the complete and utter refusal of this university to do anything of note to support the sporting endeavours of its members.

Regardless of these challenges, some of the University’s teams are performing admirably and with most sports now entering the knockout stages of the competition it’s time to acknowledge those teams who are enjoying national success. National success that is coming despite the fact they are competing with opposition who have a far lighter academic workload to deal with and who enjoy access to better training facilities, better financial support, better (that is any)access to medical facilities, transportation arrangements that don’t just involve the rickety CUSU minibus, subsidised kits and coaches paid a salary by their university.

The men's fencers celebrating last year's national title.

The men’s fencers celebrating last year’s national title

Only two of the University’s clubs are able to boast both men’s and women’s teams in the top tier of BUCS, the first of these is the fencing team. They have enjoyed a number of years at the top of Cambridge sport and yet again the women have topped the Premier South division. This has earned them a home playoff against Durham for an opportunity to progress to the semi-finals while the men will face Newcastle, also at home, by virtue of their third placed finish. Both teams will expect to progress to the semis and the women, with an impressive line-up of national standard fencers, look set to stake a strong claim for silverware.

The fencing club

Used to winning

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the second club with both a men’s and women’s team in the top tier of BUCS is the water polo club. With there being no university pool the club are forced to train entirely in a school pool. Not only is this pool nowhere near competition standard, meaning the club is unable to host home matches, but it also comes at a very high cost. Regardless, the women’s team won the Premier South division and will progress straight in to the semi-finals while the men are due to face Manchester in a playoff for the semi-finals having finished second in their division only to Bristol, last year’s winners. Neither men nor women have won the competition in its current format but both look set this year to mount a strong challenge.

Destined for glory?

Men’s water polo, destined for glory?

The other team with a shot at a national title this year is the Women’s Lacrosse team. They are undoubtedly the powerhouse of Cambridge sport with a set up that turns out successful teams year after year. Having won the BUCS championship last year their defense has begun in emphatic style and they have wrapped up the Premier South division with a game to spare and a remarkable goal difference of 82. Only a playoff against Loughborough stands in the way of the semi-finals.

Last year's title winning lacrosse team

Last year’s title winning lacrosse team

 

Women’s Hockey and Men’s Football have both also competed in the top BUCS division this year but both have had tough campaigns and while the footballers avoided relegation only by virtue of a technicality the women’s hockey team have been relegated. This being said it must be acknowledged the standard at which they were competing in sports that enjoy such wide participation is above and beyond anything that can be expected from a Cambridge University sports team.

The achievements of these teams are remarkable considering the challenges they face and we can only wish them luck in the coming weeks with Varsity matches also fast approaching.

Febraury 26th will be a big day as the fencers, men’s water polo and women’s lacrosse as all seek to come through their playoffs into the semifinals. Both the fencers and the lacrosse team are playing in Cambridge and any support will be more than welcomed.