Wednesday, April 6, 2022

BUCS Water Polo double for Scottish Universities

Scottish University Water Polo teams made history in the BUCS Premier Championships last month as University of Edinburgh Men and St Andrew University’s Women claimed a double victory for Scotland for the first time.

Both sides clinched their league titles with final wins after impressive league campaigns which saw Edinburgh top their league, and St Andrew’s clinch second – in the first BUCS league since before the Covid pandemic.

Finishing top of the league was a first for Edinburgh University in the Premier League and they also finished the league phase with a 100% record, again making a little bit of history. Saints placed 2nd in the BUCS Premier North League in what was an impressive showing of grit and determination following pool closures.

After each team’s league campaign ended, play-offs beckoned – with the play-off winners becoming overall champions.

Edinburgh’s top of the league finish gave them home ties in the play-offs which they took full advantage of, beating Durham 21-13 in the quarters and Sheffield Hallam 10-9 in the semi-finals.

The final itself was part of Big BUCS, with Edinburgh playing Nottingham at their home venue, with the ‘neutral’ final quickly turning into an away day for Edinburgh. This, however, didn’t appear to faze UoE at all and they came out 15-10 winners – after a comfortable first half, which saw them 7-1 up after the second quarter.

Edinburgh Men’s Water Polo team have only made the final twice before but have never actually won it so making the final with a 100% record over 13 games was another historic achievement by the team.

This result meant they made history at both the university - by becoming the first men’s Water Polo team to become BUCS Champions from Edinburgh – but also on national level as they became the first Scottish university to be crowned British Champions in Men’s Water Polo.

Edinburgh Head Coach, Alasdair Campbell said: “I am incredibly proud of what the guys have achieved this season. To win BUCS is brilliant but to win it by winning every game along the way is an incredible achievement and to top it off, their performance in the final was one of the most complete displays I have seen.

“What people won’t realise though is their success has all been down to the hard work and commitment they have shown since day 1 so they fully deserve their place in the history books.”

“I would also like to thank the Sports Union who have supported the guys throughout their journey this season”

For St Andrews women, the campaign was challenging due to the closure of their training and match facility in Dundee followed by the closure of their training pool at St Leonards in St Andrews. This meant that Saints had to play several ‘home’ games ‘away’. They still, however, managed to come second in their league – and into a strong place ahead of play-offs. 

The Fifers drew Newcastle in the quarter finals, and a strong performance and convincing win saw Saints progress to a daunting away trip to face Manchester in the semi-final. Saints played their best game of the season to defeat a strong Manchester side to claim their place in the BUCS final and the undefeated University of Durham.

Saints raced out to a lead in the first period against Durham on the back of goals from Mackenzie Wiley and Amelia Peters and some excellent goalkeeping by Katie Campbell. Durham came and more more into the game, but half time saw Saints still in front 6-4 with Wiley and Amelia Downs adding to the goal tally.

The third period saw Durham close to 9-8 but some strong goalkeeping from Mikaere Todd helped ensure that Saints ran out 12-9 winners to seal the National Championship for the second time. 

St Andrews Head Coach, Ian MacCallum said "It has been a really challenging season but I can't say enough about the determination and resilience of this team, I am delighted the seniors have ended their career at Saints Andrews as National Champions, it really has been a team effort and I would like to pay tribute to our coaching team Alison Rintoul, Allan Gartshore, Scott Teister, Gregor and  Ross Whitaker and all of the staff at Saints Sport that have supported us this.

Saints team Captain Bekah Kaufman added: "We have worked so hard all season for this, I am so happy that we performed on the day and will be bringing the Championship back to St Andrews".

EDINBURGH FINALS TEAM

*Thomas Cameron, Yalin Gulen, Ramon Fernández, *James Melville, *Luca D'Adderio, Nikos Zavitsanos, *Finlay Nesbitt, *Guy Broadhurst, *Rory Nesbitt, Sandy Aitken, Filip Hannel, *Dominique Zahra, *Bill Moores

*In Senior Men's Squad

ST ANDREWS TEAM

Katie Campbell, Bekah Kaufman, Amelia Downs, Kate Mackie, Caitlin Donnelly, Mackenzie Wiley, Claire Henry, Brynn Walsh, Maya Weerasinghe and Mikaere Todd.

For more information on Water Polo in Scotland, click here