By Tomas Hill Lopez-Menchero and Ed Lord
It was a historic BUCS Big Wednesday for Team Durham, as a record-breaking 18 sides made the journey down from the North for university sport’s showpiece event in Nottingham this year.
Even more impressive was the fact that 13 teams were victorious in their finals, amounting to eight Championships and five Trophy/Vase titles in everything from women’s hockey to men’s fencing.
Quentin Sloper, Director of Experience Durham, praised the quality throughout Team Durham’s ranks and said the importance of this success could not be overestimated.
“One of our key targets is to be Britain’s Number 1 Team Sport University and we secured that status for the fourth year in succession,” he said. “It’s easy to take success for granted but, in truth, it gets harder each year. We won so many close contests including penalty flicks and tiebreak shoot-outs!
“The BUCS Finals constitutes the climax of the season and it was great to see so many alumni and parents supporting our teams.
“I cannot praise our coaches and support staff enough – they work tirelessly to enable our students to maximise their potential and yesterday yet again proved that the work really does pay off.”
Palatinate Sport take a look at the 13 teams who brought home gold for Durham on a historic day of BUCS finals.
Women’s hockey 2s
Two impressive hockey victories bookended this remarkable day for Durham sport.
The women’s hockey side secured the first cup of the day against their Premier North B rivals Birmingham in the trophy final. They went 2-0 up thanks to a fine brace from Emma McIntyre and never looked like losing the lead, even after a late Birmingham goal.
Women’s badminton 1s
Women’s badminton faced stiff opposition in the form of hosts Nottingham in their trophy final, who took a 2-0 lead after the first two singles matches.
Durham fought back to level the scores overall, before asserting their dominance in the two doubles matches which followed. It finished 5-3 to the Palatinates, and the comeback win provided an early sign this would be Durham’s day.
Men’s tennis 2s
With Durham represented in all four tennis fixtures for the second year in succession, it is fair to say they were the team to beat. The 2s secured a clean sweep in the men’s and the women’s clashes, but met some tricky challengers.
The men were up against Imperial College, and it all came down to a tie-break shoot-out in the final doubles match, with the scores poised at 6-6. Durham prevailed by a 2-0 margin, ensuring their status as national champions.
Women’s tennis 2s
The women’s trophy side faced Bath after a nervy tiebreak shoot-out victory against Loughborough in the semi-finals.
Bath wilted under the pressure, however, making this an easier test for Durham. An emphatic 10-2 overall victory underlined the Palatinates’ dominance and meant both sides won their match-ups.
Men’s rugby 2s
Arguably the most impressive cup result came in the men’s rugby vase clash against Hartpury.
The second XV raced into a 30-5 lead, only for the Gloucestershire side to cut down the scoreline to 30-26 with four minutes left to play. Despite a late penalty try for Hartpury, the Palatinates held on for a 37-33 win and a deserved league and cup double.
Women’s football 1s
There was even more success for Durham in the Championship finals.
The women’s football 1s went into their tie against Northumbria having been crowned Northern Premier champions for the fifth year in a row and boasting a season-long winning streak in both the league and the cup. They maintained that record with a comfortable 2-0 win against their local rivals to lift the BUCS trophy for the second year in succession.
Women’s lacrosse 1s
The women’s lacrosse team capped off their incredible season with a staggering 13-4 victory over Cambridge in the national finals.
Not only did this secure them their fourth consecutive National Championship trophy, but it maintained their unbelievable 100% win record across the entire season, truly marking them as the best in the country.
Women’s table tennis 1s
Impressive victories against Edinburgh and Nottingham Trent had set partnership Angharad Phillips and Megan Phillips up for the final in women’s table tennis, where they faced Nottingham University.
After a tense five-game thriller in the second match for Angharad, they were able to record a remarkable 3-0 victory and be crowned national champions.
Men’s fencing 1s
The men’s fencing team followed suit with an impressive 126-117 victory over Edinburgh.
Although they trailed for the majority of the match, they were able to finish strong and add the National Championship to their trophy haul, having already been crowned Northern Premier Champions earlier in the year.
Men’s tennis 1s
In tennis, the men’s 1s enjoyed a much more comfortable victory after they defeated Stirling 8-4 in the finals.
Not only were they able to avenge the women’s 1s, who had been defeated by Stirling earlier in the day, but they managed to get revenge on the team who had just beaten them to the National League title by only a single point.
Women’s basketball 1s
The women’s basketball team produced a classic spectacle against the Northern Premier Champions Northumbria in the national finals. In such a tight affair, either team could have won it, but Durham prevailed and were able to take revenge on Northumbria, winning 84-83 and claiming the national title.
Men’s hockey 1s
The newly crowned Premier North champions faced Nottingham Trent in the final of the men’s hockey. Having let a 1-0 halftime lead slip, Durham were able to hold out for a 1-1 draw at full time, taking the game to penalty flicks.
In the end, the Palatinates were able to call upon heroic goalkeeper Ollie Payne, who produced some vital saves in the following shoot-out, which Durham won 3-1, leading them to be deservedly crowned national champions.
Women’s water polo 1s
In the pool, the women’s water polo team, who had already won the Northern Premier Division, hammered Newcastle 16-3 in the North-East derby. The gold medal helped make up for the disappointing loss that the men’s water polo team had suffered earlier, as well as finishing off an already successful season with more glory.
Photograph: Abi Cottam via Twitter