York Sport Union have revealed the six clubs awarded with Focus Sport status for the 2015/16 academic year.
After 15 applications were received, Lacrosse, Futsal, Swimming & Water Polo, Fencing and Men’s Rugby Union have all retained their status. In the only change from last year’s selection, the Boat Club have replaced Football in the final spot.
The scheme, part of York Sport’s performance programme, provides certain benefits with the intention of helping the chosen clubs to achieve high levels of performance and to contribute to the development of the sport across beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
These benefits include matchday physiotherapy, sports science analysis and strength and conditioning support.
The Boat Club, current Roses Club of the Year, are the newest addition to the programme. President Nick Brightman said of the news: “We are delighted to have been selected as a Focus Sport for this year. With the arrival of a new performance coach and further investment from the University in new facilities, we’re hoping that it will take the club to a new level.”
At the other end of the scale, Football, inclusive of both men’s and women’s clubs, will be without these benefits after just one year on the scheme.
Despite slightly disappointing Roses displays, all four men’s teams achieved respectable mid-table finishes last year, while the women’s first team won their BUCS league comprehensively.
Women’s football president Sophie Jermy commented: “We would like to congratulate those clubs who have become Focus Sports this year, who are all deserving of the award. We’re very disappointed that we won’t be part of the programme, but hope to have some positive discussions with the York Sport Union about how we can develop further. We intend to work hard to succeed regardless of Focus Sport status and hope to have a very positive year on and off the field.”
The five clubs who have once again been chosen were subject to a Focus Sport review at the end of the last academic year to reflect on the progress made under the scheme and their overall development. However, the York Sport Union are keen to clarify that this was not simply a process of renewal, but that all 15 applications were judged objectively.
Grace Clarke, York Sport President commented: “The clubs were chosen based on a number of criteria as they truly were the best applicants.”
Lacrosse were added to the programme into 2013, after York Sport agreed to increase the number of Focus Sports to five. They saw their men’s and women’s first teams establish themselves in highly competitive Northern 1A leagues last season under the scheme.
President Alex Bell was pleased with the renewal: “The benefits of Focus Sport, for another year, can help us achieve our aims of having two teams promoted by the end of this season.
“For example, beginners can learn how to play lacrosse and, if they are interested in doing so at a higher level, attend the workshops on sports physiology to get a wider understanding of the game.”
Futsal provided the Black and Gold with the highest number of BUCS points last year. The club commented: “We are delighted to have our Focus Sport status renewed. “This extra support from the University allows our players to prepare, train and recover in an increasingly professional way. Successive seasons with this status will allow us to work towards our aims, one of which is to return to the National League.”
The Swimming and Water Polo club have an impressive recent record of sending swimmers to BUCS National competitions. President Beth Richards said: “We are delighted to be a Focus Sport this year. Throughout the years we have strived for excellence in both training and competitions and the continued support we receive from the York Sport Union often allows us to exceed our expectations.
“This led to our record books being rewritten in the past year, as we qualified for a national BUCS relay final. Our Women’s water polo players competed in the BUCS Northern 1A league this year for the first time and defeated tough opposition to finish third.
This year our swimmers aim to reach more BUCS finals at the national championships and continue to break records.”
The Men’s Rugby Union club endured a difficult season last year, suffering relegation from their extremely difficult Premier North league without winning a game. Under coaches Alex Crockett and Lee Denham and the Focus Sport programme, they are hoping to bounce straight back.
The club said: “We’re extremely pleased to have been granted this status for another year. Strength and conditioning sessions form an essential part of our game and it helps us gain a physical edge from our First XV down to our development sides.
“We look forward to developing all areas of the club, not only through BUCS but also at Roses, where we want to retain and improve on last year’s whitewash.”
Grace Clarke said of the process: “With 15 incredibly strong applications for just 6 places, it is safe to say that the decision was incredibly tough.However, the clubs that were successful are extremely deserving and I am really excited to work closely with them to ensure that they get the most out of the programme.
“With strength and conditioning sessions with our new instructor Rob Milner, discounted physio sessions and sports science workshops, I have no doubt that they will benefit greatly from these resources.”