BUCS: The Season So Far

University of Bristol playing Swansea University in a religation battle
University of Bristol playing Swansea University in a religation battle
©University of Bristol

January was dominated by the England Students who handsomely won 32-16 against Portugal a week and a half ago, but now Talking Rugby Union turns it’s a attention to BUCS action again as we enter the business end of the season for university rugby.

Here is what has happened so far in 2015 and what is to come in the next couple of weeks.

Premier South A

Premier South A provided us with some superb action in the first half of the season and four fixtures have been played in this division so far in 2015.

Talking Rugby Union features Exeter, Bath and Hartpury in this league and last week Hartpury joined Exeter at the top of the table after a 46-5 win over Cardiff Met. Hartpury have played one more game than Exeter and have won six of their last eight matches. Hartpury’s Alex Brown was on the score sheet for the England Students in January and would have been pleased to see his BUCS side maintaining their title challenge.  Hartpury weren’t in action this week and travel to sixth placed Bristol next Wednesday.

Exeter responded to Hartpury’s win by beating Bath 36-12 on Wednesday. It means Exeter are now five points clear at the top and have won nine of their 10 matches this season. They are in pole position for the league title, but still have to play  Bath again which could prove to be a tricky fixture. Exeter host Cardiff University next week.

With this defeat Bath remain 4th and are now 13 points off the top. England Students captain Freddie Clarke's side have seen a decline in their form and have won just once in their last four matches after making an excellent start to the season. Bath have two games remaining of the season and travel to fifth placed Cardiff Met next week.

Premier North A

Into Premier North A and league leaders Leeds Beckett continued their fine form with a win against Northumbria 41-19 last week making it seven straight home wins. They have two games in hand over second placed Loughborough who, in the same week, drew 22-22 with Durham 1sts meaning Leeds Beckett could have won the league title yesterday away at city rivals Leeds University. However, the game was called off due to frozen pitches so they will have to wait until next Wednesday when they travel to Durham to clinch the championship.

Third placed Durham did share the points with Loughborough last week and Durham do have a game in hand which could see them go level on points with Loughborough. Durham are unbeaten in their last five matches – winning four of them – and host the league leaders next week at the Graham Sports Centre.

North East rivals Newcastle University began 2015 with a victory after ending 2014 with just one win in four matches. They beat bottom club Leeds 7-5 last week and are back in action until February 18th when they play Durham 1sts in their penultimate game of the season. Newcastle are fifth in the table and can now only finish as high as fourth this campaign. 

The University of Leeds’ season hasn’t improved much since the turn of the year. They sit bottom of Premier North A and now have just one win in 10 matches this season. Their poor away form continued when they lost to Newcastle last week making it 11 straight defeats on the road. They have two games remaining this season which includes hosting Leeds Beckett and more importantly the University of Nottingham who are just two points clear of them.  The winner of that game could well secure their safety in this division for next season.

Premier North B

In Premier North B England Student’s player Morgan Robinson-Eames will be pleased to see his side Bishop’s Burton College currently lead this division. Last year’s champions Nottingham Trent have been on a decline in the last couple of months. Trent began their title defence by going on a four game unbeaten but since then they have won just once in their last six league games. They were beaten 31-0 by the league leaders last week and were defeated by Durham 2nds 22-17 on Wednesday. Trent currently lie fourth in the table after this defeat and are 12 points off the top. A title defence looks unlikely now, but they do still have four matches left. Trent host Manchester University next week.

Manchester University ended 2014 on a high as they stunned Durham 2nds by winning 24-5 at the Armitage Site. They have played three times already in 2015 and have lost all of those matches to the University of Birmingham, Edinburgh and most recently Worcester. Before Christmas they had lost just once in nine matches, but the New Year has not been good to them so far. They are now sixth in the table.

Northern 1A

The University of Liverpool have won six of their last 10 matches in Northern 1A which sees them in second place. So far in 2015 they narrowly lost 15-17 to fifth place Durham University 3rds, but did beat sixth place the University of Leeds 2nds 14-12 last week.  However, they are 11 points off league leaders the University of Sheffield.

Northern 2A

Talking Rugby Union’s very own Max Ashcroft is having a wonderful season with his team Manchester Met University. They top Northern 2A by five points having won all six of their league games. The only negative is that they were knocked out of the cup by Hull, but nevertheless, they have control proceedings thus far in Northern 2A. They beat Liverpool 2nds 8-0 on Wednesday and take on city rivals the Univeristy of Manchester 2nds next week.

Third placed UCLan ended a run of one win in 20 matches by beating Liverpool 2nds 12-3 in their final game of 2014. They have moved up to third in the league now, but are seven points behind second placed Keele.

And finally Edge Hill who are one place below UCLAN. They have won just twice all season in the league and despite being mid-table they are closer to relegation than promotion. Their game last week away at Manchester University 2nds was postponed and they did lose 0-7 at home to Keele this week. They now lie in fourth in the table and are two points clear of relegation.

One thing they can look forward in 2015 is their Quarter-Final cup tie with Northumbria 2nds which takes place in two weeks’ time.