Bleed Palatinate Bulletin
March 13th - Palatinates Break More Team Sport Records....
Winning national championships continues to get harder and harder but despite this fact the Palatinates will contest an unprecedented 18 national finals next Wednesday having once again risen to the challenge set by the rest of the UK.
As ever it is important to put Durham’s success into context by considering how we have fared against our competitors and at Championship (top tier) level the statistics really do help to make it clear just how difficult it is to end up ranked as one of the top two teams in the country.
Championship Finalists Durham:
These statistics do not include American Football, Futsal, Golf and Men’s Rugby Union where the Palatinates remain hopeful of further progress in the coming days and weeks. There could yet be more to come before we transition into the summer season…..
Championship (Top Tier)
With Men's and Women's Fencing, Men's Water Polo and Women's Table Tennis having already booked their place at the season ending finale it was the turn of 12 other first teams to put their seasons on the line.
Women's Basketball have had a topsy-turvy year to say the least but the priority from the outset was to sort the problems out by mid-February and they have done just that, beating the number 1 seeds in the South in the quarter-finals by 20 points before seeing off rivals Edinburgh by just two points in the final four.
Women's Football traditionally dig big holes for themselves in BUCS semi-finals but that wasn't the case this year as the Palatinates dominated Stirling from start to finish. The 2-0 score-line does not do their performance justice. Many of the squad will now turn their attention to the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday before next Wednesday's BUCS showdown against Northumbria!
Men's Hockey did not have their best day at the office and were trailing Bath University going into the second half. An early equaliser for Durham signalled the end of Bath's day as an attacking threat as the Palatinates peppered the visitors goal. However the winner was not to come and hence penalty flicks determined the outcome - Durham scored all five as they moved into their first BUCS Championship Final in five years!
Three times defending champions Women’s Lacrosse made life a little difficult for themselves in the first half and with a lead of just one going into half time nerves were jangling. However, our senior players stepped up to the challenge ensuring Durham defeated Birmingham 15-10.
Despite an alarmingly slow start Men’s Lacrosse had a more comfortable afternoon and were winning by 4 by half time. They extended that lead to 10 before taking their foot off the peddle however a 7 goal victory was more than satisfactory as they moved into their ninth BUCS final in succession.
Men’s and Women’s Tennis competed against Bath and Exeter respectively and were pushed for much of the afternoon. The 12-0 and 10-2 score lines do not tell the story but the Palatinates are now through to the finals once again where they will both take on Stirling.
Women’s Volleyball looked like they could be on their way out when they were 2-1 down in sets away at the University of East London. However the Palatinates responded to the challenge in quite outstanding fashion winning the 4th and 5th sets comfortably and booked a place in their fifth BUCS final in succession.
Women’s Water Polo were expected to have a very difficult semi-final against St Andrews who had pushed the Palatinates in both league games. However, after going up 5-0 in a few minutes Durham never looked back – final score 10-6 Durham!
Unfortunately there were two casualties and Women’s Hockey were desperately unlucky to lose 2-1 away to Loughborough whilst Men’s Volleyball were outplayed on the day away at East London. They will both be back and still have national league campaigns to finish.
Trophy/Vase (Second Tier)
With women’s badminton 1s and women’s hockey 2s already through to the Trophy final it was now the turn of three others to fight for their place and no one disappointed…..
The Tennis Club will, for the second year in succession, compete for all four major national titles as the men’s and women’s 2s won their semi-finals in contrasting fashions! The men cruised through against Leeds Beckett winning all four singles but the women ended up at 6-6 against Loughborough and had to rely upon a tie-break shootout to book their place at Nottingham.
Men’s Rugby 2s have also secured their place after putting in an outstanding performance against the University of South Wales 1s. The 54-19 score-line does not flatter the Palatinates at all.
There are more BUCS Championship knockouts as American Football, Golf and Futsal all compete for a place in the semi-final and final respectively.
Our Boat Club will be competing in the Boat Race of the North against Newcastle whilst our Women’s Football SuperLeague Club host Everton in the FA Cup quarter final!
February 8th - Paltinates Gear Up For BUCS Knockouts....
The beginning of February has, as always, created an extra sense of excitement and anticipation around Maiden Castle with the Team Sport winter league season about to come to an end and the year-defining Championship and Trophy knockouts just around the corner.
The Palatinates will have a record-breaking 27 teams progressing to the National Championships with a further eight still in contention in the National Trophy (second-tier competition).
Whilst Basketball (m & w), Golf and Rugby Union (m & w) still have places to compete for over the next couple of weeks the league season is already over (or at least decided) for many, with 16 of the 27 teams having secured a top 2 National Championship seeding – the next two Wednesday’s will determine whether one or two more join the list.....
The success of our students, coaches and support staff is put into greater perspective when considering how we have compared against the rest of Britain and whilst it is what happens over the next 7 weeks that will ultimately be remembered the Palatinates have, thus far, led the way nationally by quite some way.
TOP TWO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SEEDINGS
PARTICULAR CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR SEEDED TEAMS
American Football: who need a win from one of their last two games to secure the number 1 seed position but have already done enough to be seeded 1 or 2.
Indoor Cricket (w): who go into the National Super Eights weekend later this month seeded 2 and determined to go one step further than 2016/17 where they were runners-up.
Fencing (m): who are well placed to defend their National Championship and go into the knockouts as the number 1 seeds.
Fencing (w): who have built on their outstanding run to the Championship Final in 2016/17 and now have a chance to do it again having secured their position as number 2 seeds.
Football (m): who had another thrilling league campaign and are now also the number 2 seeds.
Football (w): who secured a 100% league record and have every chance of defending their National Championship.
Futsal (w): who are still competing for the number 1 seed position but have already secured the second seed berth.
Hockey (m): who won an incredibly competitive BUCS Premier League for the first time in five years and are now number 1 seeds going into the knockouts.
Hockey (w): who secured a number 2 seed position and can definitely go all the way.
Lacrosse (m): who won their 100th consecutive BUCS match during the league season and despite significant competition from elsewhere, remain the team to beat going into the knockouts.
Lacrosse (w): who reigned supreme again but know that stiff competition is coming from the South as they go in search of a fourth national title in succession.
Tennis (m): who had to settle for the number 2 seed position behind Stirling but still believe that, come March, they can win their fourth national title in a row.
Tennis (w): who went one better than the men but also know that they will have to be at their very best to retain their national title.
Volleyball (m): who, for the first time, beat arch rivals and volleyball powerhouse Team Northumbria and have a genuine chance of winning Durham’s first ever men’s volleyball national title.
Volleyball (w): who have thus far come up second best to their local rivals but know, from past experience, that it is all about what happens from now on that will be remembered.
Waterpolo (m): who, for the second year in succession, have had to settle for a second seed position behind Manchester Met. As was the case last year the three-times defending national champions are going to have to find another level if they want to retain the big prize.
Waterpolo (w): who have swept all before them but, in truth, know that there is little between them and at least two other teams as they go in pursuit of a second successive national title.
With the knockouts fast approaching, alongside the 4s and 8s Rowing Head and a series of other Individual Sport Championships, the next seven weeks will be pivotal