Both the North and South Premier Leagues were of an excellent standard last season as each university put forward strong, competitive sides week in week out, which undoubtedly provided countless fantastic matches for spectators to watch. Although there were some great victories, there were a number of nail-biting matches that enabled a very exciting league for everyone involved.
Nottingham and Loughborough finished mid-table in the Northern Premier League after a number of victories and a number of losses. Durham consistently fielded a strong team that had a fantastic season, remaining unbeaten for most of the year. However, in their final match they were outplayed as Birmingham’s remarkable side proved to be unstoppable as they were crowned champions of the league. Unfortunately not all teams were as successful and Newcastle were relegated after losing in the playoffs to Edinburgh. After a brilliant performance last year, Leeds have been promoted to the Premier League and will face the challenge of competing against last seasons strongest sides, Birmingham and Durham.
In the Southern Premier League, Cambridge maintained a high standard of performance throughout the season, attaining some impressive wins, which thereupon meant they were to be titled the reigning champions. Consistent sides from Bristol, Exeter and Oxford, saw them finish in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place respectively with virtually no points separating them and a very narrow goal difference. Cardiff however, were unable to match the strong sides of other universities and were relegated from the Premier League. As a result, Southampton will take their place this season after beating UCL in their playoffs and being rewarded with a promotion to the Premier League.
Looking forward to the upcoming season, Birmingham and Cambridge will be aiming to retain their positions at the top of the Northern and Southern Premier Leagues respectively. Undoubtedly, the arrival of Leeds and Southampton in each league also promises to change the league dynamics. It will be exciting for both players and spectators to see how they fare against the Premier League’s existing sides, including the defending champions. Additionally, it will be interesting to see how this years sides compare to last years as each team gains new players to fill in the places of players who were lost.
In particular, Loughborough will be fielding an extremely strong team in the Northern Premier League this season with five senior England players, one under-nineteen player and one who represented Canada. No doubt this team will prove as a challenge and potential threat for the champions, Birmingham and runners up, Durham.
Aside from the BUCS Premier Divisions, Leeds triumphed over Manchester in the annual Christie Cup tournament. A strong rivalry has developed over the years between the two teams and it is without question that Manchester will be eager to win the title in this season’s Christie Cup as well as wanting to maintain their place in the Premier League.
Written by: Elspeth Brown
BUCS Tables/Fixtures: Link