Manchester’s University sport – a preview
By Harry Deacon
As the 2019/20 academic year draws ever closer, the new British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) season comes with it, and the University of Manchester has its fair share to be excited about in the coming weeks and months. Here is a taster of how our university teams fared last season and what they will face in the coming year.
To kick things off, after winning their respective divisions last year, the women’s first and men’s second badminton teams will be facing tougher competition in higher leagues this time around. The women’s first team has moved up to the Northern Tier 1 and will face Newcastle University in their opening fixture, while the men’s second side face a trip to Keele in the Northern Tier 2 division as they look to build on last season’s successes.
The season’s glory didn’t just belong to badminton, as the men’s and women’s basketball first teams also finished top of the pack. This year the men will be hoping to replicate their year, finishing as champions of the Northern Tier 1 for successive seasons.
However, last year was not full of success stories. The Mixed American Football side only managed two points last year but they will be hoping to bounce straight back up to the top division. Their opening Northern Tier 2 fixture sees the team taking on the long journey to Aberystwyth in search of a promising start to the season.
As for cricket, last season saw both the men’s and women’s first teams have mid-table finishes. Admittedly with English weather being how it is, the cricketers will have to wait a while before they can once again play on the outside wicket.
Solid mid-table performances were also had by the men’s and women’s football firsts. Tough away matches against Leeds Beckett and UCFB lay wait in October for the footballers who will be aiming to go one better and push the top teams of their respective divisions down to the wire this upcoming season.
With hockey having the most teams out of any sport at our university, the achievements of both the men’s and women’s firsts should be mentioned. Both sides managed to retain their status in the Northern Tier 1 in what is an extremely competitive sport. Away fixtures at Sheffield and Durham await the men and women, respectively, in what will kick off another testing season against opposition of the highest quality.
Elsewhere, the women’s first team fencing, lacrosse, squash, and table tennis sides should be in for more promising seasons, after all the teams were relegated last year and are, thus, playing in lower divisions this time round. The men’s tennis firsts also find themselves in the same boat.
However, with the men’s first team fencers winning their division, they will have to adapt quickly to life in the Northern Tier 1 if they are to avoid the drop-zone.
All in all, there is evidently too much going on to even break the surface of what is to come in the following academic year for those representing the university in their sports. What is certain, however, is that there will be many more twists, turns, brilliant victories, and agonising defeats as the new season gets underway.