Monday 23rd March 2020
Conference Finals 2020 | The Report
Check out our full report, reaction and results from the BUCS Scottish Conference Finals Day in St. Andrews. Including photos, interviews and highlights!
St. Andrews played host once again to the largest Scottish Student Sport event of the year – The BUCS Scottish Conference Finals. Over 500 students and staff headed to Fife for what proved to be a fantastic day of competitive sport, with 17 finals taking place across 10 different sports.
Check out our highlights, photos and our snapshot of a day that will live long in the memory of those involved.
Full results and photo albums for each sport can be found at the bottom of this page!
We started the day with the Netball Plate Final in what was a closely fought encounter in the Saints Sport Arena. After the first three quarters only one goal separated St. Andrews 4s and Edinburgh 6s. But the final quarter proved decisive with Saints running away with it scoring 5 goals in quick succession to clinch the first piece of silverware on the day. Special thanks to Natalie Bright and Zanele Vimbela of the Strathclyde Sirens who watched both Netball matches and presented the awards at the medals ceremony.The Women’s Netball Cup Final saw the battle of east versus west as the University of Glasgow 1s took on the University of Edinburgh 5s. The first quarter was tightly contested with the lead changing hands several times, Glasgow ultimately leading 14-10 going into the second quarter. An inspired Glasgow reshuffle saw the west side take control of the game in the second half. Both sides shot really well and kept fighting throughout the match, but in the end Glasgow ran away with it winning by 56 to 29 thanks to a strong second-half performance.
Anyone for Tennis? The Tennis Women’s Cup Final took place between the University of Edinburgh 1sts and the University of Glasgow 2nds in another battle of the east versus west. Starting with four singles matches, the University of Glasgow took a comfortable 3-1 lead with the crucial doubles games still to play. Glasgow sealed the victory winning both doubles matches, taking the score to 5-1 and the cup back to the west coast.
In the Men’s Cup Final the University of Dundee made light work of their opponents beating the defending champions the University of Stirling 4th team. The Tayside team showed great composure, execution and nerves of steel at crucial points throughout the matches, winning comfortably in the end 4-0.
2020 was the year Table Tennis returned to Conference Finals day. Battling for the crown this year was Edinburgh University 3rds against St. Andrews 2nd team. The match was a fantastic advert for student table tennis with both sides showing real quality, but it was Edinburgh who got the upper hand and ran out comfortable winners in the end, taking the cup back to the capital.
To football now, where three more finals took place – the first of which saw an all Heriot-Watt encounter with the 3rd team playing the 5th team.
This was a stodgy affair, with the two teams from the Watt battling the elements (heavy hail and rain) almost as much as their opponents. The first half threw up few chances with both defences playing well and neither front-line showing that lethal touch required to swing the game either way. The real moment of the second half came when the heavens opened and hailstones plummeted to earth with fury. The yellow ball was brought out but this didn’t help the strikers much – the tie finishing goalless after 90 minutes. After 120 minutes, still, nothing could separate the teams so it came down to who could hold their nerve in the dreaded penalty shootout. In a tense finish, it was the 3s keeper who was the hero on the day – saving the 12th spot-kick in sudden-death and giving the 3s the victory with the score finishing 6-5 on penalties.
In the Men’s Cup Final, St. Andrews 1st team had the benefit of home advantage as they welcomed Strathclyde University 1st team. The game drew a large crowd of spectators with plenty to play for. In a game of fine margins in the end, home advantage proved pivotal to Saints as they ran out 2-0 winners with Flynn Gray putting in a man of the match performance. 🎥 You can hear from the winning coach in an interview here!
The Women’s Cup final saw a resurgent RGU return to put last year’s cup final defeat behind them. In between them and the cup was a strong University of Dundee outfit.
The game was end-to-end which saw Dundee take an early lead before being pegged back to 1-1 going into half-time. With 20 minutes to go Dundee again took the lead and looked as though they were heading to victory only for the cup to be stolen from them in the final 10 minutes. A mistake from the Dundee goalkeeper gave RGU a life-line as they pulled it back to 2-2 with five minutes to play. Then came an eventful finale; RGU striker Derrian Gollan (Dez) was brought down after rounding the keeper whilst one-on-one. The referee showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Dez stepped up to take the decisive penalty. Her effort was brilliantly saved the keeper, diving to her left but Dez was quickest to react slamming home the rebound to send the RGU team delirious and seal the victory. A deserved 3-2 win in the end for a side driven by the disappointment of the previous year.🎥 Check out the winning goal here!Hockey
Staying outside, there was plenty of action on the hockey pitch, with three matches taking place back-to-back throughout the afternoon. The first of which was the ICG Women’s Plate Final which saw an all Edinburgh University derby take place – the 6th team looking to take the crown off the current holder the Edinburgh University 7th team. In the end, the 6s were too strong for their opposition running in 5 unanswered goals, consisting mainly of a mixture of rebounds and short corner strikes. Iona Grant earned her player of the match award scoring a hat-trick as her side ran out comfortable 5-0 winners.
The ICG Women’s Cup final featured the ever-predictable, unpredictable Scottish weather with all four seasons occurring in the one game. The game had rain, sunshine and was temporarily halted by hailstones before Abertay were crowned the winners. The Abertay attackers were in fine form with both Katie and Lucy Murray scoring hat-tricks and proving too strong for Glasgow University 3rd team. The west side did get a consolation goal back in the latter stages of the game giving their supporters something to cheer.
The Men’s Hockey Cup Final was the third and final hockey match of the day – University of Edinburgh 3rd v University of Dundee 1st. Unfazed by the hail, rain, sun and all the other elements from earlier in the day, both men’s sides turned up and deliver a thoroughly entertaining spectacle. Dundee opened the scoring early on through Danny Kidd, but their lead didn’t last long as Edinburgh quickly equalised through Henry Morse-David. Dundee went into half-time in the lead with a goal courtesy of Aaron Martin. The second half was a much more cagey affair with both teams trying to break each other down. Edinburgh drew level with just 10 minutes left on the clock – this triggered an almost instant response from the Tayside team as Danny Kidd scored to put Dundee in front again before Cyril Varghese added the cherry on the top to put the game beyond all doubt.
Unfortunately, the Lacrosse fell victim to the heavy hail downpour and just after half time the pitch was deemed unplayable – meaning the tie between University of Glasgow 2nd and Strathclyde University 1st was postponed.
Whilst the heavens opened outside, crowds flocked and the decibel levels rose inside, and in particular – the sports hall! Spectators emotions were put through the wringer in the Badminton Cup Final between Glasgow Caledonian University and Heriot-Watt University. There was fantastic talent on show throughout the day and after a number of singles, doubles and mixed doubles match up still nothing could separate the sides at 12-12. In the end the result was determined on a countback with Glasgow Caledonian winning more sets across the total match meaning they were crowned Conference Cup Champions. Credit to both teams who played their part in one of the most exciting and closest matches of the day.
Following on from the Badminton, up next was Volleyball. The Women’s Cup Final saw the University of St. Andrews 2nd play host to the University of Edinburgh 2nd team. The match was highly competitive and exciting throughout with the visitors taking the first set. Despite being cheered on by noisy home support, Saints couldn’t make their home advantage count and came up short in both the second and third sets, meaning Edinburgh took their conference crown back to the capital.
The final game of the day in the sports hall was the Men’s Volleyball Cup Final featuring the University of St. Andrews and Abertay University. This time the Saints made full-effect of their home advantage and gave their supporters plenty to cheer. From the first whistle, both teams fought for every point putting on an incredible display of student volleyball, but the Saints held their nerve at the vital points and came through in straight sets against a determined Abertay side who pushed them all the way.
In the rugby, unfortunately, the Women’s Cup Final was won by default after Glasgow Caledonian forfeited the night before their match with Strathclyde. Credit to St. Andrews Women’s Rugby team who offered to play a friendly match against Strathclyde instead, meaning their journey wasn’t wasted and Strathclyde were still able to enjoy the day and celebrate in style.
The Men’s Cup Final saw University of Dundee 1st take on the University of Edinburgh 4th team. Dundee were clearly up for this one and were relentless from the outset. They scored 43 unanswered points against an Edinburgh side who battled hard and gave their all for 80 minutes against a team ranked two tiers above them in the BUCS leagues.
The day finished where it started – back in the arena for the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Cup Finals. Up first was the Women’s Cup Final which saw the University of Dundee take on the University of West of Scotland (UWS). Dundee took the lead in the first quarter and extended their lead in the second to 20-13, before a tactical time out from UWS allowed them to regroup and come out stronger – levelling the tie at 24-24. At the end of the third quarter only one point separated the sides at 40-39 in the favour of Dundee. It was anyones game in the final quarter but it was Dundee who raised their game, adding a couple of vital scores and with thanks to some good game-management they eventually ran out winners by 7 points.
The final game of the day was a cracker, played between UWS and Napier University in front of a full house in the Saints Sport arena! This was a David vs Goliath match-up; UWS returning as reigning cup champions and high on confidence after finishing the 2019/20 season with a Tier 2 title and promotion to tier one. On the other hand, Napier currently sit bottom of Tier 3, with two games in hand. However, this gap in league standings was not reflected on the court.
Only one point separated the sides after the first quarter. In the second, UWS began to pull away much to the credit of their guard Jonny Bunyan who hit back-to-back 3 pointers as the team from the west began to open up a lead. Credit to Napier however who did well to pull the scores back level as clocked ticked past the half-way stage. The quality on show was fantastic with both sides making big shots under the basketball and from beyond the arc – the 3-point shooting of Jonny Bunyon again keeping UWS ahead. With the game coming to an end Napier hit a big 3 pointer to cut the deficit to only 3 points with 39 seconds left. Napier had another couple of opportunities for 3 pointers but couldn’t get another to land and UWS were able to use their experience – slowing the clock down to retain their conference cup crown, much to the delight of their travelling supporters.
Overall the day was a huge success and a great advert for student sport. Huge amount of credit is due to those who helped make the day run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Shout-out to Saints Sport for all their help and support on the lead up to the day and during the day itself – we are delighted to be able to use the fantastic facilities St. Andrews have to offer and we love coming back here each year.
To all our officials, volunteers, umpires and referees without whom none of this would have been possible. Further thanks are extended to the fantastic media team of Oscar James, Calum McGee, Richard Lundy, Hollie Christie and Molly Johnston who all provided fantastic coverage of the event throughout. Full photo albums from the day can be found at the bottom of this page!
Special thanks to the team from Edinburgh College who provided many of our athletes with a free sports massage throughout the day, and to COAST Ambulance and Medical team who were on hand to deal with the few bumps and bruises suffered throughout the day.
Shout-out to the men on the mics – Chris Purdie and DJ Ellingtone – who created a real buzz of energy and excitement through the outdoor medal presentations and in the arena!
Finally to you the athletes! It was our pleasure to welcome you to St. Andrews, thanks for giving it your all playing your part in making memories that will last a lifetime. See you next year…
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