A freshers’ guide to UCLU’s sports teams

Short, fat, and dirty.


Much like the Max Rayne roaches, UCLU sports clubs are one of the eternal constants of the fresh experience. However, short of dealing with the roiling hellscape that is Freshers’ Fayre, there’s very few places where you can get the low down on our fair university’s sporting elite.

Narrowly losing the London Varsity Series last year to King’s College London, the great and good of UCLU and RUMS (the medics’ teams) are on the lookout for fresh talent to make their mark this year.

American Football

UCLU’s youngest team, the Emperors celebrate their first birthday this year as well as their first year competing in BUCS. Despite constant ribbing from Rugby teams that the American Footballers are pansies for wearing helmets, this is most definitely not a sport for the faint of heart.

The UCL Emperors are also technically a mixed squad so if you fancy using your head as a battering ram (and wearing arguably the snazziest kit at UCL) every Wednesday afternoon your gender will be no obstacle.

Badminton

Last year's women's captain Jay LI

Last year’s women’s captain Jay Li

Badminton are a frankly enormous society at UCL. Boasting over 150 members – both social and competing – they may not be the loudest club in Loop but they’re certainly the largest. Badminton is a mixed society which, as us older and wiser students will tell you, can occasionally lead to team drama after particularly messy nights. However, despite this Badminton may actually be the most wholesome bunch at UCL, a veritable clutch of good eggs.

They’re also very good at what they do, with the women’s 1st team being in the BUCS Premier South league – as well as beating KCL at varsity – and the men’s 1sts in the South Eastern 1A league. The women’s side also battered KCL 5-1 at Varsity.

Men’s Basketball

Last year's captain, Malin White

Last year’s captain, Malin White

UCLU Men’s Basketball refer to themselves as UCL Ballers which is, in all honesty, bloody hilarious and a clear indicator that they most definitely have some very strong chat.

Aside from their hilarious moniker, Men’s Basketball does seem to take itself seriously (in a good way). Their 1st team competes in the BUCS South East 1A division, the 2nds play both LUSL – a round robin London wide tournament – and in BUCS, and they’ve set up an intramural league for those among us who aren’t quite Steph Curry yet.

Women’s Basketball

Last year's captain, Megan Carrie-Wilson

Last year’s captain, Megan Carrie-Wilson

Women’s Basketball are like Netball’s edgy cousins. Where Netball are polished, Basketball are raw. They run with the ball. They’re allowed to make absolutely monstrous shots. They wear shorts. At risk of sounding keen, I might be a little bit in love with them.

On a serious note, Women’s Basketball have always come across as very well organised and inclusive; one of the most international teams at UCL, they compete in Les Parisiennes every year alongside teams like The Sorbonne, Sciences Po, and SOAS. Within the UK Women’s Basketball compete in the BUCS South Eastern 2B league.

Boat Club

There are two types of people in this world, people who admit they’re scared of rowers and filthy liars. Rowers go hard on sports night and still somehow drag themselves out of bed for early morning training, plus they laugh in the face of Leptospirosis.

Boat club are over 150 years old and pride themselves on being one of the most dedicated teams at UCL. If purple leotards, enormous quads, and disgustingly early training sessions are your jam then Boat Club is probably for you. They also smashed KCL 4-2 at Varsity, so that’s one for all the glory hunters out there.

RUMS Boat Club

The first rule of RUMS Boat Club is: you do not talk about RUMS Boat Club. The second rule of RUMS Boat Club is to give up not talking about RUMS Boat Club and freely admit that you are hands down the most incestuous society at UCL. Not that anyone should blame them, as rowers do all have a reputation for being pretty.

Unlike UCL Boat Club who are very much into being one of the oldest teams at university, RUMS boat club pride themselves on being incredibly good at fancy dress. I also hear they’re quite good at winning things, what with being reigning UH Champions and all that.

Fencing Club

Last year's men's varsity squad

Last year’s men’s varsity squad

People who fence all seem to have their lives together; last year both their captains were postgrads (in fact, the men’s captain was in the final year of his PhD). Fencers can probably also destroy grown men armed only with cardboard tubes and they look pretty swish when they’re in their full protective gear.

Both the men’s and women’s first sides compete in the BUCS Premiership South Division which is absolutely no mean feat, and the women’s side won Varsity 135-80. Membership (which is surprisingly cheap) is open to all and they run beginner sessions for those of us who really want to feel like D’Artagnan.

Women’s Football

LUSL Premiership champions, reigning varsity champions, and UCLU’s volunteering club of the year, Women’s Football are most definitely a big name society. The 1st XI competes in the BUCS South East 1A league, the 2nd XI in the South East 4B, and they’ve just set up a 3rd XI so there’s room for all abilities in the club.

UCLUWFC also foster friendly relationships with the other women’s sides at UCL and are the university’s most encouraging side come Varsity – probably as they’re supremely calm about it, having destroyed KCL 6-2 last March.

Men’s Football

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Men’s football after their Pride in Sport match

Probably the only team at UCL who are really excited about the fact that we share a training ground with Watford FC, Men’s Football boast a whopping 7 teams, with the 1st XI competing in the BUCS South East 2B league.

Officially the second biggest sports team at UCL, their 1st XI also won their Varsity fixture, and whilst not quite as dominant as the women’s side in LUSL they still compete in the Premiership. They also have the dubious honour of being quite possibly the oiliest team at UCL, as is evidenced by a very shiny looking shot of them in last year’s naked calendar.

Hockey

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Hockey flashing their Pride in Sport laces

Despite officially being separate clubs, the UCLU Men’s and Women’s Hockey clubs get on worryingly well – even going on tour together. Despite never having quite the same reputation for mischief as the Rugby team, Hockey have managed to carve themselves a corner all of their own in Phineas and are famed for their 4-legged pub crawl (because 3 legs are just too easy).

The Men’s 1st XI compete in the BUCS 2B league alongside the RUMS team and are currently Varsity champions, whilst the Women’s 1st XI are in South Eastern 2A and are looking to avenge their narrow 2-1 defeat to KCL.

RUMS Hockey

Whereas UCLU Hockey are exclusively stick specialists, RUMS Hockey seem to be one of the most diverse bunch at UCL. A former Women’s President made the UCLUWRFC Varsity squad back in 2015, and Men’s Hockey managed to beat RUMS Cricket at their own game – as well as players making an appearance on a Rugby tour to Paris back in February. Much like UCLU Hockey, both teams get along with one another, going on tour together

The Women’s 1st XI compete in the BUCS South East 2B league (parallel to the UCLU side) and the Men’s 1st XI in BUCS South Eastern 2B and are reigning LUSL Champions.

Lacrosse

Lacrosse's Pride in Sport promo

Lacrosse’s Pride in Sport promo

UCLU’s Club of the Year, Lacrosse have most definitely made their mark with over 170 members last year. Lacrosse are as known for their BUCS and Varsity success as they are for their consistently stellar sports night attendance and impressive summer tours. Technically two different clubs (a mixed club and a men’s club) the teams are so well integrated that to many it comes as a surprise that they aren’t all one massive club.

The Women’s 1st XII play in BUCS South Eastern 1A against KCL (who they very narrowly lost to in Varsity). The Men’s 1st X also play in South Eastern 1A and absolutely trashed KCL 8-0 back in March.

Netball

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Netball in action back in February

As has already been established, netballers are the dream and UCLUNC are no exception to this rule. Despite the bizarre stereotype of Netball being a society with atrocious chat they proved us all wrong in their Varsity squad run down and are regularly found in Loop shaming us mere mortals by being both disgustingly pretty and bloody good sportswomen.

The UCLU 1st VII play in the BUCS South Eastern 2A league and have another 4 teams competing across BUCS. The RUMS Netball 1st VII play in BUCS South Eastern 3B league and have another 3 teams.

Men’s Rugby

Some of the 1st XV at Pride in Sport

Some of the 1st XV at Pride in Sport

The quintessential Burlington Berties, everyone knows what they’re getting with Men’s Rugby – usually public humiliation, team gym sessions, and pint downing. However, there’s genuinely a lot more to the club than you’d think with them hosting a ball in aid of LGBT+ charity Stonewall and being BUCS Club of the Year back in 2015. Men’s Rugby are also known for their bitter rivalry with RUMS Rugby, providing us with possibly the scariest derby match this side of Glasgow and three defeats for the 1st XV.

Men’s Rugby currently have 4 teams competing in BUCS, with the 1st XV in South Eastern 1A and are looking to reclaim both their Varsity title and 1st XV crown.

RUMS Rugby

RUMS 1st XV after their UH Cup win in 2015

RUMS 1st XV after their UH Cup win in 2015

Undoubtedly the best rugby side at UCL, the RUMS boys routinely slaughter opposing sides in their unending quest for medic team glory. Popular pastimes include shitting all over the UCLU Men’s squad, reaching the final of the UH Cup, and gloating about how they’re now officially the UCL 1st XV (according to BUCS at least).

When they’re not dishing out some terrifyingly sharp chat (well, some of them at least) or polishing their vast collection of silverware the RUMS 1st XV also compete in the BUCS South Eastern 1A league and they have another two teams on top of that.

Women’s Rugby

UCLUWRFC post varsity

UCLUWRFC post varsity

Officially “more fun than the blokes” UCLUWRFC have earned themselves a team that goes hard off the pitch and then harder again on it. Unlike other teams Women’s Rugby socialise with their male counterparts from both UCLU and RUMS, making a regular appearance at Men’s Rugby Boat Ball and going on tour with RUMSRFC.

Losing last year after winning nine consecutive Varsity titles, women’s rugby are out for blood this season in BUCS South East 2B – though they’d like to avoid any more broken necks or ankles if at all possible.

Snowsports

Officially the largest society in UCLU with over 600 members, one could be forgiven for thinking that Snowsports were exclusively about their infamous trip that they host every year over Christmas. However, Snowsports are about much more than boozy “snocials”. Hosting charity film screenings, their very own ball to rival Rugby’s and training for everyone from beginners to seasoned competitors, they’re a very broad society.

UCLU Snowsports compete in the annual BUCS Alpine Championships and all British University Snowsport Council competitions, with 3 top 10 finishers back in 2013.

Swimming

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Probably the hardest working team at UCL, their BUCS squad trains 7 hours a week and they boast a frankly terrifying amount of national level swimmers. Despite having more training time than some BA students have contact hours, Swim Club also still somehow find the time for regular Sports Night appearances, tours abroad, and socials.

They compete in both BUCS Division 1 and LUSL, and have consistently beaten KCL come Varsity – a feat they will doubtless repeat this year, too.