March 11, 2016, by Laura Estrop
Dreaming big for BUCS Big Wednesday
Wednesday 16 March 2016 is BUCS Big Wednesday, a day that sees the finals of the Championship and Trophy competitions. 10 of our teams will be making the short journey to Sheffield to take on the top teams from across the UK. Competing in the Championships finals we have: Table Tennis Men’s 2nd, Table Tennis Women’s 1st, Squash Men’s 1st, Squash Women’s 1st and Lacrosse Men’s 1st. And in the Trophy finals, we have: Fencing Men’s 1st, Waterpolo Men’s 1st, Rugby League 1st, Squash Women’s 2nd and Basketball Women’s 1st . With Futsal Men’s and Women’s still live in their cup competitions our tally of 11 finalists may well be added too!
To see how our teams and athletes were feeling for their final matches, we caught up with some of the teams during their final week of practice. Let’s start with our Championships teams:
Men’s Lacrosse M1 vs Durham 1
With fresh recruitment of some home-grown talent, as well as international player coaches, the team has developed well over the season with a focus on implementing a team-orientated game plan based on quick ball movement. They’ve faced some challenges this season including two hard fought matches against Durham and a snow covered semi-final, but after each of these with the help of video analysis, they have been able to identify weaknesses in both their own and their opponent’s game to ensure that we have the best possible plan going into the finals.
The team have said: “We are humbled and excited to be a part of the BUCS Finals. Durham is an experienced lacrosse team who play at an extremely high level. Our team is confident and preparing hard to achieve our ultimate goal of winning the BUCS Championship.”
Table Tennis W1 vs Nottingham Trent 1
“We had a massive win against arch rivals Durham featuring a Welsh senior international player in the semi-finals so we are buzzing for the final against our true nemesis Nottingham Trent as we look to retain our BUCS team Gold from last year!”- Yolanda King
Table Tennis M2 vs. Sheffield 1
“As a team we have worked very hard this year to get to the Big Wednesday finals. It’s been a very tough competition with some outstanding matches being played. We are all very pleased with our results and excited to be given the opportunity to represent the university. It means a lot to us as players to be in the final because every team is giving their all to win and no doubt playing against Sheffield 1st in the final will be no different. I personally know a few of the Sheffield players and I know they are of a very high standard so it will be a tough match. It’s always tough juggling university life and the commitment of playing a sport at such a high level so thank you to all the players who turn out religiously every week and those that help out in a pinch.” – James Grayson
Table Tennis M1 vs Nottingham Trent 1
“We are delighted to have made it through to the final for the second year running and we are confident that our training and preparation has put us in a good position to bring home the Gold!” – Liam McTiernan
Squash M1 vs UWE 1
“After the disappointment of being knocked out in the quarters last year, I’m really pleased that the team has got through to the final with a 4-1 win over rivals Birmingham” – Rory Birtwhistle
Squash W1 vs. Birmingham 1
“We really wanted to make the finals this year after losing out in the semis last year so we were really happy to beat Roehampton comfortably 4-0 to make the finals. We are excited and apprehensive to face Birmingham in the finals but we will be preparing as best we can to take home gold!” – Annie Openshaw-Blower
And here are our Trophy teams:
Rugby League 1 vs. Bath 1
“We’ve had a really good run through the previous rounds of the cup, beating some quality northern opponents. We started off with a dominating 58-8 win against York St. John’s, then a 26-10 victory against Manchester University all before facing Manchester Metropolitan in the semis, we also faced them in the promotion playoffs, where after drawing 16 apiece after 60 minutes we ran away with it in the final 20 and eventually won 34-16. We’re now facing a strong looking team from Bath who are unbeaten this year.
Special mention goes to superstar fullback Nathan Hill who has scored 10 tries during the club run and prop Oli ‘judo’ Dale who has four tries, including a hat trick against York. The team has performed brilliantly despite being relatively inexperienced. After already winning the league, we hope to add the Cup which we haven’t won in over five years!” – Thomas Rose
Waterpolo M1 vs. TBC
“This final means everything to us. We’ve put a lot of hard work in this season to get to this point, which has been reflected in our unbeaten season so far in BUCS. We believe we have the talent to beat who ever we face in the final, which looks like it may be Exeter, but we’re going to have to match that with the intensity and effort we’ve brought all season long.” – Samuel Buckler
Fencing M1 vs. Swansea 1
“We’re really chuffed after beating the previously undefeated Dundee team. It will take some serious game play to beat Swansea but if we fence the way we did in Scotland, then a win is definitely possible.” – Gregory Newstead
“It was a long drive up to Dundee for the semi-finals and an even longer one back. After a slightly disappointing final round of matches, we missed our target of promotion it meant a lot to everybody to come away with a win and keep the Cup run alive. Dundee had been undefeated all season before us but everybody really stepped up their game, the team spirit was brilliant and we won comfortably. Swansea are up next, who by all accounts are a strong team too and reigning champions, but coming from different divisions neither side really know what to expect. If our unbeaten Sabre team and our talismanic Epee/Foil anchor Herman ‘The Warmachine’ Chan can continue their superb performances, with the spirited team effort everybody else has put in for support, I see no reason we can’t come away with the cup.” – Mike Bales – team member and assistant fencing coach
The 2015/16 season has been a fantastic one for UoN Sport; we have retained an impressive 3rd position in the BUCS league ,won 10 medals at this year’s BUCS Nationals, and with our new state of the art David Ross Sports Village due to be completed in September 2016, there is no telling where we could be next year. Good luck to all teams competing in the Big Wednesday finals and if you’re free why not get yourself to Sheffield to support the #GreenandGold army!
If you would like to find out more about Big Wednesday and keep up to date with results and highlights, visit the BUCS website. You can also follow all of the action on our Twitter @UoNSport we’ll be live tweeting throughout the day.
Image credit: Alex Wilkinson Photography