York clubs gear up for BUCS season

With the new BUCS season edging ever nearer, Nouse Sport take a look at some of York’s highest-performing clubs and assess their chances for the coming campaign

With the new BUCS season getting underway in the coming weeks, the Nouse Sport team take a look at how some of the University’s top teams will perform and assess their chances of success in 2014-15.

Rugby Union

Image: Alex Byron

Image: Alex Byron

York’s men’s and women’s rugby teams experienced differing fortunes last season. While the women obliterated the competition in the Northern 2B Conference league winning seven of their eight matches and drawing the remaining fixture, the men faced a tough season after their promotion the year before.
Newly promoted to the Premier Northern B division, the men’s rugby firsts battled hard to win five of their fourteen matches ensuring their survival but it will be another tough year for them. But they are more than up for the challenge; with strong leadership they will be looking to build on the experience they gained last season against the likes of Nottingham Trent and Birmingham University.

The women’s rugby team were sensational last season, gaining promotion with a stunning 296 goal difference. After winning Team of the Year at the York Sport Dinner last year, the women’s rugby firsts will be hoping to emulate their brilliant season in the unfamiliar Northern 1A division. Their Roses success and the incredible form they displayed throughout the previous season will stand them in good stead when they take on a tougher division.

Football

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Image:

It’s certainly going to be an interesting year for all of York’s football clubs, after a whirlwind campaign in 2013/14. The men’s football firsts finally realised their dream of promotion last season, securing the Division Three title with seven wins and a draw from ten games, edging out nearest rivals Hull despite suffering a points deduction due to a mix-up in registering with North Yorkshire FA.

The step up to Division Two will be tough for UYAFC, with the likes of Leeds Met firsts lying in wait for them this season, so they will have to be on top of their game. Despite losing some important players, including keeper Luke Bradley and captain James Davies, the spine of a very good side remains in place, from Dave Belshaw at the back to Josh Bew up front. UYAFC firsts are well-balanced, play attractive, passing football and will have confidence in their ability; their attacking style of play will suit Division Two and so they will not have to adapt too much to a new style of opposition.If things go to plan, then the firsts, under the coaching of Pete Renton and the captaincy of Dave Belshaw, will continue to thrive as they embark on life after promotion.

Meanwhile, the women’s firsts will be confident of a good season in Division Three; after consolidating promotion in 2013 with a third-place finish last season, the girls will be growing in confidence. Life in the higher division was tough at first, but an excellent run of results at the business end of the season saw them shoot up towards the top end of the league. A number of key players, including Vanbrugh Sports Reprsentative Charlotte Brown, remain at the University, and their experience from the last couple of years will be crucial. As the women’s sport continues to expand on campus, there is an air of optimism and they will have their eyes set on promotion.

American Football

Image: Alex Byron

Image: Alex Byron

Despite not being the most mainstream sport in this country, American Football is one of the fastest growing sports on campus. York Centurions club president Jack Coppack spoke to Nouse about his ambitions for the forthcoming season.
“Last season saw us achieve a mid-table finish in the league. Two of our losses were extremely close games, with the difference being in only a couple of plays. This year we’re looking to close out games more effectively. With an emphasized focus on the team’s general strength and fitness we’re hoping that this year’s Centurions will be able to build on last year’s positive platform.
“With a reshuffling of divisions this year we find ourselves in very strong position to make a push for promotion. Key games early in the season will decide our fate in this year’s shorter seven game season. However, as always, the main goal of the season is to win Roses. After an excruciating loss last year by just one score, there’s always one eye on the biggest event in the York Sport calendar.”
Jack also adds that if you want to join the Centurions then you don’t need much experience adding, “If you’re committed, hard-working, and like the idea of playing a fast paced, hard hitting sport then don’t be afraid to give it a go.” The American Football taster day is on Sunday 5th October and is open to everyone.

Water Sports

Water Polo have been one of the University’s most consistent performers since the York Sport Village opened in 2012. It was a hugely successful season for the Women’s water polo team, strolling to the league title and also winning their Cup competition, securing a large haul of points for York in the process.

It was unfortunately a tougher campaign for the men’s team; under Gabriel Cramer’s captaincy, they won promotion in 2013 but struggled last year, and were releagted towards the end of the season. Both sides will be looking forward to enjoying successful campaigns again in 2014/15, and we recommed keeping an eye on their progress highly. Watching from the viewing gallery at York Sport Village is superb fun.

They will be hoping to make an immediate return to Division One this campaign, with the fantastic facilities on offer here at York. The University of York Swimming Club only competes in BUCS one-day events, but enjoyed a successful period last season. They also performed strongly in individual events, breaking a series of records throught the year. Swimming is not the most popular sport on campus, but if they can attract a large number of Freshers with some of the best swimming facilities in North Yorkshire, they can look forward to another successful year in BUCS competition.

Lacrosse

The Lacrosse Club was up there as probably the most successful York club in 2014, as they enjoyed the benefits of Focus Sport status. After both the men’s and women’s teams came incredibly close to promotion in 2013 before ultimately missing out, last season was when things eventually came together for the club.

The men’s team strolled to their league title, finishing was a 100 per cent record across seven fixtures and with an impressive goal difference of 179. Particular highlights were a 35-0 thrashing of Sheffield Hallam seconds at home, and a convincing 31-0 victory away at Hull firsts. Additionally, the men’s firsts also lifted the Northern Conference Cup, prevailing 6-5 over Durham seconds to cap off a perfect season.

Such an impressive display was replicated by the women’s firsts; they also won the Division Two title with a perfect record, and a goal difference of 125 from eight matches. Their league season was also capped off with victory in the Cup, beating Newcastle seconds 19-6. Although both sides have lost some influential players to graduation, the spines of both firsts teams remain in place. The women’s team in particular have already been strengthened with the addition of some talented Freshers, including players that have trained at international level.

Lacrosse continues to expand exponentially on campus, with the introduction of a College League at the start of 2015. It is certainly an exciting time for Freshers to become involved, with the club still on an upwards trajectory. Life will be tough for both first teams as compete in higher divisions, and they will have to adjust to a more professional style of lacrosse. However, if they find their form, both clubs are capable of avoiding relegation.

Futsal

The Futsal Club are another one of York’s clubs that have stole the headlines recently after a tremendous few years of top-quality competition. Just over a year ago, York travelled to Europe to play in the Futsal European Championships, and performed admirably.

In 2013-14, they finished second in the BUCS Premier Northern Division, being narrowly pipped to the title by Northumbria University. They also made their debut in the FA National League North Division 2 and gatecrashed the league by storming their way to promotion – and they weren’t finished there. To cap off another brilliant season, York also made it to the FA Futsal Cup semi-finals, and were unlucky not to make it all the way to the final.

The women’s club has been equally successful; last season was their debut campaign, and despite a disappointing showing in the Cup, they showed their strengths by finishing second in the league to secure promotion. York have earned a reputation for playing some outstanding futsal under the excellent guidance of manager, Junior Roberti. The men’s club have lost some of their key players; Club President James Briars and team captain Alex Tringham, have both graduated and will definitely be missed.

However, with some new talent throughout the side, they will again be strong and difficult to break down. We anticipate that both sides will once again be in contention for league titles, and it will be a disappointment if at least one of York’s teams does not finish the season as title winners.

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