High Performance Programme Newsletter March 2011 The BUCS Championships 2011 were recently held in Sheffield and proved to be a very successful event for Cardiff University and the members of our High Performance Programme. It must be noted that over 150 Higher Education Institutions take part in BUCS so it is a very competitive environment and to reach the finals is an achievement in itself. The first team to compete were Ladies Hockey who had qualified for the BUCS Trophy final against Manchester. Cardiff had a good run to the final after a another successful league campaign but Manchester would prove a tough test after competing well in a strong Northern Premier league all season. The game started as a nervous affair but the vocal travelling Cardiff support soon helped the team settle and Cardiff took a deserved 1-0 lead into half time thanks to a well worked goal from a penalty corner move involving High Performance Programme member and 1st Year Dentistry student Sophie Clayton. Manchester came out for the second half a different team and finally found a cutting edge that saw them equalise after a succession of penalty corners of their own. This seemed to inspire the Cardiff team who went on the front foot and scored 2 quick goals with no answer from Manchester who let frustration get the better of them resulting in a player being sent to the sin bin. Unfortunately Cardiff couldn’t take advantage of having an extra player and Manchester scored against the run of play to make the score 3-2 going into the final ten minutes. As time ran out Cardiff defended superbly with some brave goalkeeping and defending as Manchester forced penalty corner after penalty corner. The final whistle was welcomed by a great reception from the outstanding travelling support and the team were presented the trophy by BUCS CEO Karen Rothery. Congratulations to the whole squad on a successful season and outstanding performance in the final resulting in some well deserved silverware. The Fencing finals took place in the English Institute of Sport and Cardiff were again represented in the Ladies Trophy final. The Cardiff team have had a very successful season and only missed out on winning the league after a narrow 2 point defeat against Bristol. After this result the team worked extremely hard to ensure the season didn’t fizzle out and had a great run in the knockouts resulting in them reaching the Trophy final. The team that travelled to Sheffield was made up of Natalie Brown, Lucy Ridsdale (HPP Member and 1st Year Criminology student), Joanna Chen HPP Member and 3rd Year Law student) and Natasha Lewis-Oliver. A mention must also go to Abi Difford (HPP Member and 2nd Year Maths student) who has been an integral member of the team in the last 2 years but unfortunately couldn’t make the trip. The opposition in the final was Glasgow University who themselves had a successful league season and included a Scottish international in their squad. Given the Cardiff team themselves have plenty of international experience they had nothing to fear but had nonetheless identified potential dangers in Glasgow’s line up. After the first weapon (Foil) Cardiff had taken a solid lead before entering the Epee and Sabre rounds. The team knew they just had to match Glasgow and that’s exactly what they did with both Epee and Sabre being closely fought contests. As a result Cardiff won the Trophy with a resounding 129 – 116 points win. Another fantastic result for the University and congratulations must go to all those involved in another successful year for the Fencing Club.
Other team events which Cardiff University were represented included the Men’s Volleyball Championships Final 8’s, the Trampolining Championships, the Snooker Championships and the Ultimate Frisbee Division 1 finals. Men’s Volleyball have had a very successful few years and finished a very credible 4th place in last year’s finals. After being unbeaten in winning the BUCS Western Conference this year the players went into the final full of confidence and wanted to improve on last year’s placing. Group games were won against Imperial and Queens Belfast before a close defeat to a strong Leeds Met team who were full of international players from across Europe. This left the team with a tough semi-final draw against reigning champions Sheffield Hallam. Unfortunately Sheffield proved too strong but the Cardiff players still had an important Bronze medal play-off match against Bournemouth University to look forward to. After beating Bournemouth in the league earlier in the year Cardiff knew what to expect and didn’t let complacency get the better of them and won the match 2 sets to nil. This gave them a well deserved improvement on last year in the form of a Championship Bronze medal. The Snooker Championships were held just up the road from Sheffield in the Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds. Cardiff University have always performed well in the event but this year was to prove even better than normal. After performing well at the recent Midlands Universities Championships the team felt they were in with a good shout of bringing home some medals and they didn’t disappoint. The Individual Championships had a large amount of entries so for 3 of the 4 semi-finalists to be Cardiff University players was a great achievement. Congratulations to HPP Member and 1st Year Politics and Economics student Mark Green who went on to win the Gold medal on his BUCS debut after beating Mike Walsh (York University) in a closely fought final. Huw Carpenter (Cardiff University) and Layton Brookes (Cardiff University) shared the Bronze medal. Mention must also go to Luke Turford who also won a Bronze medal in the Individual Trophy. After such success in the individual events the players were confident of further glory in the team finals. After successfully negotiating their way to the final Cardiff were up against last years losing finalists – York University. The final went down to the wire with the 2 individual finalists (Mark Green and Mike Walsh) battling it out in the final frame. Fortunately for Cardiff Mark Green kept his nerve to confirm Cardiff University as BUCS Snooker Champions leaving York with another final defeat to get over. Well done to all those who travelled from Cardiff in what was a hugely successful event. Cardiff University’s Trampolining Club have been very active in recent years in terms of club development, hosting events, working in the community and producing some successful athletes. Training is based at the Sports Training Village – Talybont and the club hoped the hours put in this year would produce results in the BUCS Championships in Sheffield. In the Ladies Individual Advanced competition Cardiff’s only qualifier was Elly Blackwell. The final contained 20 athletes and Elly lead by example by winning an outstanding Silver Medal, only missing out on Gold by 2 points. This was a great start for the squad and the other team members were spurred on by Elly’s success. The Ladies team included Elly along with Holly Bryant and Bethan Mercer. Each athlete must contribute to the team score and all 3 girls performed well resulting in high enough scores to win a Gold medal and be crowned BUCS Ladies Team Champions 2011. The Men’s team were not quite as successful in finishing a credible 5th but only missed out on a Bronze medal by an agonising point. All in all a fantastic Championships for the Trampolining Club to add to the University’s success in Sheffield!
The final weekend of the Championships saw both individual and team events taking place. The Cardiff University Ultimate Frisbee team (No Frills) travelled to Mount St. Mary’s playing fields and performed well to finish 8th in the top division and round off a successful week for Cardiff University’s teams. Individually, International Judo player and HPP Member Natalie Powell (2nd Year Biomedical Science student) took part in the Judo Under 70kg weight category. After narrowly missing out on Gold last year Natalie was determined to go one better in 2011. After qualifying for the final again Natalie didn’t let herself down and remained focussed to achieve her goal of winning the Gold medal. This can be added to Natalie’s numerous successes across Europe and has resulted in her being invited to represent British Universities at the European Universities Sports Association Championships in Sarajevo this Summer.
Two other BUCS Finals were held at the same Championships in Sheffield but at different locations.
The Water Polo finals were held in Sheffield and the Swimming Team finals in Loughborough. Cardiff University were represented in both and again brought home some medals. The Women’s Water Polo team, which contained Great Britain Under 20’s player and HPP Member Jen Myo, were hoping to defend the Championship they won last year and had looked imperious in the qualifying rounds over the last few months. Unfortunately some dubious umpiring decisions left the team with a mountain to climb but they still managed to come home with a Bronze medal which should be deemed as a success. The team was disappointed which shows the high level of expectation they have reached and will no doubt be back to try and regain the British Universities title next year. Also, the Swimming team travelled to Loughborough University for the BUCS Team Championship finals. The event hasn’t been contested by the Cardiff University team for some years, so this year the swimming team were determined to make an impact. In February, they shocked the Southern Universities, by winning at the brand new sports park at the University of Surrey gaining a place in the Finals to be held in Loughborough. Cardiff, the only team from Wales to gain a place in the Finals, were loud and proud in supporting and focussed on the competition at hand. Hard training leading up to this event meant that the Cardiff swimmers were fitter and better in their strokes through the water which was showing in the results as in many of the races the commentator had already announced Cardiff as the winners by half way through the final length. Even with all of the individual success, Cardiff were not on for a clear win. Tactical racing ensured a small lead going into the final double-point-winning relays but Glasgow and York were not far behind. Excessive motivation came from men’s captain and the girls team reacted admirably. Against very tough and very good swimmers, Nichola Gordon-Jones, Lucy Jenner and Ceris Westlake swam excellently and Libby Hetherington (HPP Member and 1st Year Marine Geoscience student) bought home the win. It was then down to the Men’s team. Led out by Rory Hollings, Cardiff led from the start. Jack Thomas who’d swam brilliantly all day made it look easy. Chris Campbell (HPP Member and 1st Year Medicine student), extended the lead and Glyn Chisholm-Jones displayed the fact that Cardiff are a cut above the rest in the pool by winning the Division Gold medal at their first attempt. Congratulations to the team and good look to those who have been selected to represent Welsh Universities in Belfast at the Celtic Nations!
Head of Sport at the University, Stuart Vanstone commented ‘To date, this has been an outstanding year for Cardiff University Sport. We finished 8th in the BUCS Championships medal table and are currently lying 10th in the overall BUCS ranking table which puts us in a good position to achieve our aim of beating last year’s final position of 15th. Credit must go to the students who travel the length and breadth of the country to represent the University week in and week out as well as those individuals who compete in the one off BUCS events. Our High Performance Programme athletes have made a major contribution this year and their performances have produced a record number of medals in individual events. It is not easy to combine high level sport and academia but to date the students have shown great skills in terms of time managements and organisation as well as showing their commitment to represent the University.’ During the weekend of 11th-13th March, Moelfre near Oswestry, played host to the annual BUCS Mountain Bike Championships. High Performance Programme members Sam Shucksmith (1st Year Mechanical Engineering) and Ruby Miller (1st Year Occupational Health) were both part of the Cardiff University team that travelled to the event. Sam is awaiting knee surgery but is still managing to compete and finished in a very credible Bronze Medal position in the Men’s Downhill event. This result proved vital in terms of the Men’s team event as Cardiff finished 1 second ahead of Heriot-Watt University to clinch the Team Gold. Since this event Sam finished in 3rd place in the second round of the British Downhill Series (Expert Category). We wish him well for the remainder of the Summer and the World Cup in Fort William at the beginning of June. In the BUCS Ladies events, Ruby Miller represented the University in the Cross Country and came away with a Bronze Medal with only a few seconds splitting the top 4 racers. Ruby must be congratulated once more as this is the 3rd BUCS event she has won a medal at already this year after performing well in both the Track and Cyclo Cross Championships. Ruby is currently part of a 2 week training camp in Italy with her new team – Horizon Fitness Racing. The cyclists will be staying on Italy’s East Coast and experiencing some of the best rides in Southern Europe in preparation for a busy Summer ahead! Clay Pigeon Shooter Natalie Davies (2nd Year Physics with Medical Physics) recently competed in the Welsh Inter-Counties Skeet Final as Captain of the West Glamorgan team. The event took place in the South Wales 2000 site in Blackwood, Newport in what some may say was a typically monsoon like day of rain showers in South Wales. However, the weather obviously didn’t disrupt Natalie’s performance. In what the Welsh Clay Target Shooting Association website describes as a brilliant display of shooting Natalie brushed most of the other shooters aside in winning both the Captains High Gun and the Ladies High Gun Trophy. Natalie also had success in the team event with the West Glamorgan Ladies becoming Welsh Counties Team Champions for the first time in recent years. Natalie is also an active member of the Cardiff University club and his made a major contribution in her time as a Cardiff University student including winning both individual and team BUCS Medals.
The recent improvement in the weather is a good indication the Cricket season canâ€™t be far away! In Cardiff, we are lucky enough to have a MCC funded University Cricket Academy. The MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) believes talented young cricketers should not have to make a choice between their cricket and their education - they should be able to pursue both. The Club therefore funds and administers six university cricket academies in England and Wales - the MCC Universities (MCCUs) - which give young players the opportunity to receive top-level coaching and playing opportunities whilst furthering their education. The Cardiff MCCU is made up of the best players from Cardiff University, UWIC and the University of Glamorgan. This year Cardiff University have 7 players in the squad which is our best representation to date. The side has already played two high profile friendlies against Glamorgan and Somerset. Special mention must go to Will Jones (1st Year Accounting and Management) who scored an impressive 53 against Glamorgan CCC and Hamza Siddique (1st Year Religious Studies and Archaeology) who held the teamâ€™s innings together against Somerset CCC by scoring an outstanding 118 off only 173 balls. Both Hamza and Will were also involved in another friendly against the MCC Young Cricketers team. The Cardiff MCCU side won by 8 wickets with both Will (74) and Hamza (62 not out) again making major contributions. Congratulations to both players on their start to the year and we wish the whole squad luck for the next few weeks as they try to balance their exams Congratulations to 3rd Year Politics student William Hayward on his selection and debut for the Senior Wales Korfball squad in recent the Home Nations event in Nottingham. Korfball is a mixed gender team sport, with similarities to netball and basketball. A team consists of eight players; four female and four male and a match can be played indoors or outdoors. The game originated in the Netherlands which explains how they have 7 of the 8 World Cups that have taken place to date. However, it is played worldwide and is becoming more and more popular in the especially within Universities. Will represents the University team recently took part in the BUCS Championships but unfortunately missed out on qualifying from their pool to the knockout stages.
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With a busy Summer of training ahead Will is looking forward to playing for Wales in his first Korfball World Cup this Autumn in Shanghai, good luck!