Thursday 19th July 2018

Edinburgh Finish Top Three in BUCS

The University of Edinburgh has secured third place in the British Universities & Colleges (BUCS) league points table making them the most competitive University in Scotland and top three in the UK alongside Loughborough University and Durham University.

We caught up with Ross Simpson, Head of Sports Development at The University of Edinburgh Sports Union, on how excited he and the team were at finishing top three. 

First of all, congratulations on placing third in the BUCS points table for another year! How many years have Edinburgh been no. 3 now?

This is the fourth year in a row we have managed to achieve 3rd, but it was tighter than ever this year with Nottingham, who finished 4th.

Was there a point in the season when you didn’t think you would get there?

For the majority of the year we sat in fourth and it is always hard to know what another university is going to do at different events, so it was certainly looking tough at a couple of points.

What were some of the highlights throughout the competitive year for UoE Sport, that also meant some more points in the table?

One particular highlight was watching our Womens squash team make the semi final of the Championships, which was played here in Edinburgh. The semi final was tied at two matches all with Birmingham, and in the 5th and deciding match it was 2-2 in games and 10-10 in points in the deciding game. Carrie Hallam, one of our scholarship athletes dug exceptionally deep to take the match and send the team to the finals for the first time ever.

Some other highlights included both our Mens and Womens fencing teams made the championship finals, with the Women beating Durham, which was another fantastic effort, and also our Mens hockey team winning the trophy on penalties against a strong Cardiff side.

Did you personally get to experience any some of the highlights? 

My personal highlight of the year was watching the climbing finals at BUCS Nationals in Sheffield. It is an amazing event and the atmosphere is electric. Our Womens team picked up gold, but the highlight was watching Ajda Remskar (4th year maths student) complete all 4 climbs in the final without one fall, while none of the other 3 finalists made it up any of the climbs without falling, showing how hard it was.  

What does it mean for Sport at The University of Edinburgh placing no. 3 in the UK? 

We are always proud of the work, effort and achievements of all our students, coaches and staff here at Edinburgh, and the third place is a nice reward at the culmination of the year for everyone’s labours. It gives us something to aim for each year as a collective, and on an annual basis improve on.

How about the students? Do you think this brings a sense of unity together for the sports working towards a common goal? 

The students at Edinburgh love competing on a domestic and national stage, and thrive on competition. There is definitely a sense of unity at Edinburgh that everyone knows they are competing under the one banner of Edinburgh to achieve a collective goal. We also internally have a League of Our Own that allows all the teams no matter what league in BUCS they sit in to compete with each other on a points table, which brings some friendly rivalries (this year’s winners, because they won their league and cup were – Womens fencing 1’s, Netball 3’s and men’s table tennis 2’s).

It is fantastic to have Scotland represented in the top three spots on the league table – can you see other Universities, or colleges even, creeping higher up the table?

Scottish Universities and Colleges have been on the up for a number of years thanks to the work of SSS and the investment that we have seen into HE/FE sport. The perceived barriers of BUCS Premier Leagues and big championships are not there anymore, so I believe that everyone can compete at the top end of any BUCS competition, and many Scottish institutions do.For a student coming to the University of Edinburgh looking to participate in competitive or recreational sport, where is the best place to go and when?

Our Sports Fair during Welcome Week (12&13th September) is the best place to meet the 65 sports clubs we have, see what Intra Mural activity we have or sign up to our recreational programme – so that would be top of the list in terms of where to go. We pride ourselves on the offer we have at Edinburgh at all levels, so we guarantee that there is something for any student coming to the university, whether you are an Olympian or you want to try a new sport for the first time.

Thank you so much for your time! One final question, do you see Edinburgh progressing into 2nd place sometime in the near future?

We are ambitious and competitive so it would be daft of me to say that 2nd was not in our sites, and we are now closer to second than 5th.  Our competitors are always raising the bar so it is a big ask, but we are constantly looking at how we improve our offering to students and how we all improve our performances.