3rd March 2011, 10:12
Swansea defeated as domestic Student season ends
Despite the dominance of UWIC in the league phase of the BUCS Wales &
Despite the dominance of UWIC in the league phase of the BUCS Wales & West League, it was Swansea who lasted the longest in the knockout competitions that followed.
UWIC's reward for being the runaway winners of the league phase was a place in the BUCS Trophy competition alongside teams from the higher Premier and Super 8 leagues.
Swansea, Glamorgan, and Aberystwyth went into the third tier BUCS Shield.
Glamorgan and Aberystwyth's appearances in the knockout phase were to be short-lived as both teams fell to their heaviest defeats of the season at the initial stage.
Glamorgan were given an 86-6 thumping at the hands of Oxford University who were undefeated in their last three games, and Aberystwyth made it eight games without a win when they lost 48-22 at home to Chester.
Swansea however managed an excellent 28-8 victory at home to Premier South strugglers Birmingham and progressed to the second week of competition full of confidence after claiming the scalp of their higher ranked opponents in the previous round. Here they were drawn against the University of Warwick, a team from the Midlands Division with a similar playing record to themselves. With home advantage and on the back of four wins Swansea fancied their chances, but nobody expected the emphatic manner of their victory. They destroyed Warwick 56-6 to set-up a Quarter Final trip to Oxford Brookes a team who had had two very close games with Warwick earlier in the season.
It was during this second week of competition that UWIC were due to enter the fray and continue their excellent season. They had been drawn away to Northampton University, a team ranked higher than them in the current league structure, but of whom they had managed to get the better of in their meetings over recent years.
Northampton's form in the Premier South had been patchy at best. They had managed four victories, but also suffered several defeats including a 78-0 whitewash at Exeter University. UWIC were confident of going to Northampton and getting a result as their form this season had been outstanding and player moral and numbers were extremely high. However, after Northampton were unable to fulfil the fixture on two occasions, UWIC were not awarded the "walkover" but were instead forced out of the competition via the "toss of a coin". Hardly a fitting end to what had promised to be a very fruitful season.
This left Swansea University as the sole flag bearer for Wales Rugby League going into the Quarter Final stage, and although they lost a very close match away to Oxford Brookes 18-10, they can be very proud of their efforts in being the last Welsh University side left standing in the knockout competitions.
Swansea University Club Captain Deri Galvin said: "Rugby League in Swansea has reached new heights this season. Our cup run has contributed to that and there is a great feeling in the camp despite our eventual loss. I'd like to congratulate the boys on becoming the most successful Rugby League side that the University has seen to date. With most of the squad staying on next season things are looking promising, it's just a shame we couldn't carry the banner further for Wales in the knockouts!
Next up for the best of the student players are the Home Nations Internationals which will be held in Glasgow between the 18th and 22nd of April, and then many of the students that stay in South Wales over the summer will be encouraged to participate in the 2011 Welsh Conference.
By Paul Hart, Media Officer UWIC Rugby League.