BUCS Review and University Outdoor Nationals 2024 Preview: Scotland

Coverage, Preview, Review

With UWMON 2024 just a few days away, taking place in Nottingham, let’s take a look at which Scottish teams have qualified and how they’re placed going into the weekend.

As per usual procedure, Scottish university men’s and women’s teams have been coming up against each other at BUCS league games and tournament days throughout the academic year to earn spots at outdoor nationals.

First up is the women’s division. With Strathclyde sadly unable to field a team again this year, there were 6 teams in the Scottish women’s league: Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, and St Andrews 1 & 2. Perhaps unsurprisingly, final standings mirrored results from indoor regionals, at least for the top half of the league, with St Andrews snagging the top spot, Glasgow coming in 2nd and Edinburgh 3rd. With three spots available, these teams have qualified for division 1, which seems fitting as they were a cut above the rest; many of their league games finished 13-0 and 13-1. A more surprising result was St Andrews’ annihilation of Edinburgh, a women’s team which has recently performed consistently well, with a final score of 13-0. The St Andrews vs Glasgow ‘final’ ended 13-7. 

Dundee led the lower half of the league, followed by St Andrews 2, then Stirling. The Dundee vs St Andrews 2 match was the only close game in the league, with Dundee coming out on top, 6-5. Dundee and Stirling are heading to division 2, while St Andrews 2 has not taken up their spot; after they were unable to field two teams to indoor nationals, it’s likely they realised two outdoor teams would be nigh on impossible.

Looking towards the weekend, St Andrews is seeded 2nd, in the position they finished last year, which places them in what should be a relatively comfortable pool. Glasgow is seeded 6th, meaning they’ll face reigning indoor and outdoor national champions, Birmingham, in pool play. Edinburgh starts the weekend in 14th; hopefully they can climb the ranks as they managed to at indoor nationals, when they placed 10 spots higher than their initial seeding. In division 2, Dundee and Stirling are seeded 4th and 5th, respectively, out of only 7 teams in the division, where we hope they can assert Scotland’s dominance over some English teams.

Now for the men’s side of things. As more men’s than women’s teams are fielded, 2 tiers of the Scottish men’s BUCS league ran again this year, with tier 1 acting as a qualifier for divisions 1 and 2, and the teams in tier 2 fighting it out at a qualifier event for spots at division 3 nationals. 

Firstly, in tier 1, St Andrews convincingly topped the league, with the ‘final’ being the only game they came away from with less than a 9-point lead. Edinburgh saw similar results throughout the league, coming away in 2nd after a 6-11 game against St Andrews. The remainder of the league, however, did get a little spicy throughout the year. Heriot-Watt started out strong, beating Strathclyde in a tight match which finished 14-12. Next, Strathclyde beat Glasgow, winning the (very windy) local derby 11-8. Old habits die hard, we guess. Glasgow waited months for their chance to come up against Heriot-Watt, in a last-chance attempt to qualify for division 1. At the end of the game, Glasgow managed to come away with the win (12-10). With these teams caught in a results triangle of-sorts, Strathclyde fell to the wrath of St Andrews 2 (6-9), taking them out of the running for a coveted division 1 spot. Glasgow appears as 3rd on the BUCS league results, despite having scored a few less and conceded a few more goals than Heriot-Watt throughout the league. Either way, as Heriot-Watt is not sending a team to Nottingham, Glasgow takes the third spot to division 1, and St Andrews 2 and Strathclyde are heading to division 2. 

All three Scottish teams in division 1 are seeded in the top 8 going into nationals this weekend due to impressive Scottish performance last year (and whatever else the magical UKU algorithm considers). St Andrews are seeded 6th, Edinburgh 7th and Glasgow 8th. By the end of the weekend we imagine there will be greater separation between these standings, but hopefully all teams will remain in the top half. In division 2, St Andrews are seeded 4th, and Strathclyde 11th. Will Strathclyde upset rankings as they did at indoor nationals? All is to play for. 

Teams in the tier 2 league (Aberdeen, Edinburgh 2, St Andrews 3, Stirling and Strathclyde 2) have been competing both to be promoted into the tier 1 BUCS league, and to win one of two spots to compete in the Men’s National Shield, aka division 3 nationals. Stirling came out on top of the BUCS league, with convincing wins against all the other teams. This doesn’t come as a surprise following their indoors breakthrough this year. Edinburgh 2 placed 2nd in the league, winning a relatively close game against Aberdeen (11-8). However, when it came to the shield qualification event, the knockout style meant that Aberdeen won their side of the tournament and Stirling the other, so they’re both heading to division 3 nationals. Strathclyde 2 came 4th, and St Andrews 3 finished 5th in the tier 2 league. Division 3 will begin with a regional play-off game, Stirling vs Aberdeen, to seed the teams before pool play begins. 

Best of luck to the teams travelling to Nottingham at the weekend! We hope Windfarm doesn’t live up to its name and that you do Scotland proud! 


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