ISSUE 9 DECEMBER 2013
Matthew Jenkins p6 Rugby Feature
p4 Interview: Nick Bandurak
After their blistering start to the season, Tom Kelly interviews rugby men's 1sts club captain Fred Gulliford about the club's fine form.
Felix Keith interviews sport scholar Nick Bandurak, who is currently in India playing in the Junior Hockey World Cup for England U21s.
p7 Equestrian report
The equestrian team have had an excellent start to their campaign. Lily Blacksell looks at how the different teams have fared in their respective competitions.
p3 Golf round-up
The golf club captain, Luke Gorman, rounds up the first semester's golfing fixxtures.
6th December 2013 - 23rd January 2014
Editorial Information Editors David Morris Felix Keith
Proofreaders Molly Garfoot Bethany Tilston Ellie Jarvis Ella Parsons Sabrina Dougall Toria Brook-Hill Michael Smith Lucy Moseley Emily Trivette
Photography Editor Charlotte Wilson Photographers Meurig Gallagher Will Siddons Jack Schofield Michael Jevon
VP Sport reflects on a great first term of sport
The Lion would like to thank: Vicki Harris UBSport Published by Redbrick in association with and part funded by UBsport Copyright (C) Redbrick 2013 Redbrick strives to uphold the NUJ Code of Conduct. The views expressed in Redbrick do not necessarily reflect those of the editors, the Guild or the publishers. If you find an error of fact in our pages, please write to the Editor. Our policy is to correct mistakes promptly in print and to apologise where appropriate. We reserve the right to edit any article, letter or email submitted for publication. To contact us: Redbrick Guild of Students Edgbaston Park Road Birmingham B15 2TU 0121 251 2462 firstname.lastname@example.org www.redbrick.me Redbrick is printed through www.mortonsprint.com 01507523456
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LETTER FROM THE EDITORS Welcome to the ninth edition of The Lion, Redbrick Sport's biannual pullout. It's been an excellent start to the year for all of Birmingham's sports teams. We are in a good position to maintain our challenge at the top of the BUCS league. As we move into December, our personal highlights have been the progress of the University men's rugby club which we got to experience first hand at Bournbrook. The University's representation on a national level has also been very encouraging, with hockey leading the way in that field. Anyway that's enough from us. We hope you enjoy the issue.
Felix Keith David Morris
Vicki Harris VP Sport
A warm welcome to this year’s first edition of The Lion, your very own fullcolour pull-out focusing on anything and everything to do with sport at Birmingham. Time has flown by since starting my position as your Vice-President (Sport) in mid-July over the summer, and I have been enjoying every moment of it. I am one of the seven full-time sabbatical officers of the Guild of Students, elected back in March 2013, and my work involves leading the strategic direction of student sport, being a representative voice and support for all sports clubs, and working with UBSport to make sure you get the best out of sport during your time here! This term, sport at Birmingham has been off the scale and now is a better time than any to take a look back at the season so far and pick out some of the highlights. The academic year started off with a huge buzz as we kick started term with the highest turnout at a sports fair in welcome week at the end of September. An incredible 3,500 students joined university sports clubs. This was no doubt down to the hard effort all the clubs put into recruiting new members to get involved with Birmingham sport. Shortly after, our first #BUCSWednesdays matches began with our hockey men 1sts starting the season at the beginning of October against Loughborough’s 1sts in the first Premier North match on our Bournbrook pitches, ending in a promising 2-2 draw. The following week, the men’s rugby union teams joined the season, but the big kick-off for most clubs was October 16th which saw 46 of our teams compete home and
away matches across 17 different clubs. Over the past two months we have had some fantastic triumphs, and some gentle disappointments. But, at the moment, we are sitting strong in fourth position in the BUCS league tables, with a total of 1576 points behind Durham, Loughborough and Nottingham. A decent term indeed, and an exciting place for us to be in going into term two of the academic year. Off-pitch, I was elected Student Chair of the BUCS West Midlands regional group, an exciting opportunity for me to represent our region on a national scale within the BUCS Advisory Group. So far I have attended both AG meetings in London and Derby, and am working with other student sport officers to give us a strong voice and increase student and sabbatical engagement within BUCS. I have been working to develop a sport accessibility and equity strategy, focusing on improving our accessibility scope at Birmingham. I have also been organising elections for sport club representatives onto a newly created Sport Advisory Group, a consultation and engagement working group which will work with me to review the current representative structure of sport clubs within UBSport, and create the model for a new Sport Committee, to be elected in June 2014. On Tuesday 10th December, all sport club committee members, student volunteers, scholars and any sport club member are invited to attend a unique combined Sport Forum and Proctor & Gamble (P&G) Employability session. Sport Forum is an open forum which meets once a term to share progress updates on major sport developments and discuss big issues that affect you, and
the P&G session will be a workshoptype session regarding the skills and experiences that are developed through leadership positions within sport. I am really happy with the work done so far this year. There have definitely been some big challenges from which I have learnt a lot, and some which are yet (but soon) to be fully resolved. I am confident that everything is going to plan. I am looking forward to the 2nd sports fair in January, working with the new Sport Advisory Group, continuing my projects on accessibility in sport and of course the upcoming officer elections, when you get to decide who will be the next Vice-President (Sport) and the next officer team in a cross-campus vote that takes place in March. Look out for the first edition of my new VPS Newsletter to be released soon, and as ever, please feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any problems or questions about anything! Best Wishes, Vicki
6th December 2013 - 23rd January 2014
Golf club excelling in the league after fantastic start to season Luke Gorman The start of a new season brings with it a new squad and higher expectations and so far, for the University of Birmingham golf team, the start of the 2013-14 season could not have been better. The first team, so far this season, have excelled in the Northern Premier League with three wins from four with the narrow one point loss at home to UCLAN being the only blemish. A mouth-watering top of the table clash against bitter rivals UCLAN is set for 4th of December with team morale very high after defeating another rival Northumbria on their own patch at the weekend. An exciting second half to the finish is a prospect! The University 2nds and 3rds both play in the same league – Midland 1A and currently, both teams occupy first and second position in the league after a great start to the season. The 2nds versus the 3rds match was always going to be a competitive game, with both teams evenly matched. In the end the 2nds narrowly came out on top with a 3.5-2.5 victory thanks to some gutsy lower order performances. The return fixture is penned in for the end of January and that is sure to be another close encounter which will decide which Birmingham team finishes the season top of the table. The 4ths also had a fantastic start to the season, with four wins from four games, including an away win at Woodhall Spa against rivals Lincoln College. The team is blessed with having so many good golfers
and it is always very difficult to select the team with everybody playing so well! Their next fixture is a friendly against the Midland Academy at the Forest of Arden with 12 players playing, which is sure to maintain that competitive edge that we strive for before finishing for the Christmas break. There are also a number of tournaments across the season for individuals to stake their claim and qualify for the BUCS Student Tour finals at Machynys Peninsula Golf Club in April 2014. Our very own Matthew Fieldsend just missed out on claiming victory at Saunton Golf Club in October, losing on count back to eventual winner Laurie Potter from Exeter. However, Matt backed up his 2nd place in Devon with a solid 7th place finish at Woodhall Spa, ultimately cementing his spot in the Student Tour Finals in April. Well done Matt! Other outstanding performances include top 10 finishes from Nathan Gilpin and Rhodri Harston at Saunton and Emma Newlove who finished 2nd at Woodhall Spa in the ladies tournament. All three have enhanced their claim to finish high in the order of merit and book their place in the season ending Tour Finals. With plenty more league action, cup matches and individual tournaments still to feature in the new year, golf at the University of Birmingham is moving in the right direction with big things expected from the club.
Judo team finish fifth in London Emily Snell On Sunday 24th November 2013, the University of Birmingham judo team fought at the London Universities and Colleges Open, securing fifth place out of the 45 universities taking part. The team brought back a medal haul of one gold and nine bronze medals - more than any other university competing! The first group of the day to compete were the high grade girls. Hannah Randall and Fia Barnes were up first, both competing in the under 63 kgs category. The girls had tough pools against GB squad competitors, but Hannah managed to progress into the semi finals and clinch the bronze medal. This was a great comeback performance after over a year out of competitive judo. Next up was vice captain Emily Snell in the over 78kgs division, who after some intense fighting with much heavier opponents, also took the bronze. The low grade girls then followed with Angela McIllmurray fighting in the under 57 kgs and Natalie Ravenhill in the under 78 kgs - both girls also won bronze medals, showing great consistency. Spearheading the boys' victories was David Foster, who progressed smoothly through pools in the under 81 kgs high grades and went on to win gold - the best result of the day. Michael Feldman took the high grades over 100kg bronze while, at the other end of the weight spectrum, Sean Barber stole
the bronze in the under 60kg division, despite being matched against higher grade players with a lot more experience. The low grade men’s division saw Ben Maddox win his first ever medal at a judo competition, claiming the bronze in the under 81kg. Jez Nicholls followed suit taking the bronze in the under 90kgs and Guy Walsh took bronze in the under 100kgs. Honourable mention goes to Ade Adepegba and James Lee who did very well fighting in their debut competitions, as well as established member Assen Babachev and new competitor Roderick Eneh who both fought well against tough pools in their respective categories. Captain Angela McIllmurray said ‘Obviously we were disappointed not to retain the trophy but, considering the challenging level of competition in the high grade groups and the number of beginners we took this year, I'm really pleased with the teams' result - in particular with the size of the squad that we sent, as the more competitive practice we get, the better we can prepare for BUCS. Having our coach Fitzroy Davies with us this weekend has been incredibly helpful Charlotte and we've Wilson already got some targeted technique sessions planned now that he's identified weak spots in our fighting. We're now looking forward to competing at Warwick University in January before BUCS in February.’
6th December 2013 - 23rd January 2014
Interview: Nick Bandurak The University of Birmingham sports scholar is away in India with England U21s at the Junior Hockey World Cup. Felix Keith caught up with him from Dehli. Firstly, congratulations on your call up for the England U21s for the Junior Hockey World Cup. When did you hear about your call up and did it come as a surprise? Thank you very much! We were just finishing a day of fitness testing at Bisham Abbey before heading to France for a series when the coach pulled me to one side and said I'd earned a place in the squad. It was a surprise for me personally; you never wish to get too built up before a selection such as this, however hard that may be, and I therefore didn't allow myself to believe that it would be a possibility in the weeks preceding the decision.
How are you finding India so far? India is fantastic! It's such a massive cultural shift in comparison to what we're used to at home. The temperature is obviously a key factor to deal with (it's 27 degrees today!) but everyone here has been fantastic and really enthusiastic about making a great impression and helping out the squad in whatever way they can. We're fortunate in that we're based at a five star hotel just outside Delhi so everything is taken care of for us and the food is amazing!
You've been drawn in a group with South Africa, New Zealand and Malaysia, what are the team's aims in the tournament? We have set a number of different aims throughout the tournament so that however it may pan out after the first few games, we always have targets and aims to strive for. Provisionally our primary focus is to make it out of our group, after which we simply move on to our next goal which is simply to win our quarter final, but we're simply taking it one game at a time. South Africa , New Zealand and Malaysia make for tough opposition with styles of play from all over the world, so we'll face a number of different tactical and technical challenges. We are the lowest ranked team in the tournament as a result of our last performance at a World Cup and recognise the expectation of us to improve this global ranking as well as our ranking within Europe. We also recognise that when we play our game to the best of our ability there a few teams that can match
us which gives us real confidence going into our first game.
How much of a step up is playing for England compared with club hockey for Cannock and playing for the University? Playing for your country is obviously a massive step up in comparison to playing back at home. Playing BUCS at Birmingham is great and offers chances to express yourself and enjoy playing in that environment, whilst Cannock offers opportunities to play at the highest level against the best players. Ultimately though, the intensity of International hockey is the biggest step up - the higher intensity, particularly at this level and throughout this tournament, is the biggest difference.
Also in the squad are fellow representatives of the University, Sam French, Tom Pinnegar and reserves Will Byas and Tom Morris. How has it been having them in the squad? Having such a large Birmingham contingent in the squad is fantastic. It makes such a massive difference having such close friends in a squad of any kind and so the opportunity to have guys that you live with and see every day at university out here as well only serves to strengthen the tightness of the group
How do you think the University has helped your development as a player, for example you being a sports scholar? The University has been great - The high performance centre has been fantastic in terms of offering support for physio, strength and conditioning, which has been key for me personally. This first semester in particular they have been fantastic with regards to monitoring our work loads in training sessions to ensure we're as fresh and ready as possible for the matches we've had in the build up to this tournament. My course has also been very accommodating with regards to granting me additional time and assistance in completing assignments where I would otherwise have been struggling! It is obviously great for the
University to have such a large contingent in the U21 squad and in spite of recent accusations, it cannot be denied that, coupled with the representation at the Women's Junior World Cup earlier in the year, UOBHC is at the very top of its game, delivering both prestige and accolades to the University.
and something I've learned a lot from, however playing in this environment at one of the best hockey stadia in the world takes everything to a whole new level.
What are your personal ambitions and aspirations as a hockey player?
Realistically, it has always been hockey for me, however I played as many different sports as I could growing up. I used to play football for Wolves until my hockey became more serious and I played a fair amount of cricket, squash and badminton at school. I have a massive interest in Basketball although unfortunately have never really had the opportunity to get involved and play!
My personal ambitions and aspirations as a hockey player stretch as far as my capabilities will allow. This is my final tournament of the age-group process so after this year I need to focus on my performances for Cannock and trying to make as many plays to help my team as possible. For now though , at least, I have no thoughts at all anywhere beyond the next two and a half weeks and looking to make this Junior World Cup as successful as possible for both the squad and myself.
What is your personal highlight so far? I have been very fortunate with my hockey over the years, however this experience is without a doubt my biggest highlight. Playing on the continent is a fantastic experience
Has it always been hockey, or have other sports interested you?
Would you like to see the profile of hockey raised on a national level, because although it is big at University level, it is perhaps not so widely known about? I think raising the profile of Hockey across the nation can only serve to benefit the sport as a whole. There have been some fantastic events recently and the success of the Olympics has certainly aided the sport. It's great to see the success of the senior women's squad in Argentina on Sky Sports and it's this kind of exposure that will help push Hockey forward.
6th December 2013 - 23rd January 2014
Top 5 Uni Teams With Birmingham's sports teams enjoying a very impressive semester across the board, David Morris picks the top five team performances. 1) Women's Hockey - It has been a fantastic semester for all four of the women's hockey teams with two of the four going unbeaten in their first set of games. The 1sts, 2nds and 3rds all sit top of their respective leagues, with the 4ths second behind the 3rds. While all the teams have been in sparkling form, arguably the pick of the bunch has been the 1sts who have picked up six wins and two draws in their opening seven games.
2) Men's Fencing 1sts - The men's fencing 1sts have had an excellent start to their season, winning every single one of their seven games to date. This form has seen them storm to the top of the table, where they sit nine points clear of their nearest rivals. They also have a far superior goal difference to anyone else in the league with the total standing at 298, 214 points ahead of the second highest scoring team. 3) Women's Netball 1sts - As with the men's fencing team, this netball side have secured seven straight victories at the beginning of the campaign. They stand nine points clear of second place, with a phenomenal goal difference of 125. They will be looking to continue their excellent run when they return after Christmas.
1. Nick Bandurak in action against Nottingham. 2. Men's ultimate frisbee team. 3. UBU celebrate after another successful campaign. Jack Schoﬁeld
National success for Ultimate frisbee Helen Roberts The first semester of the university year is the indoor season for Ultimate. This year the squad fielded teams for men’s, women’s and mixed regional tournaments. At the men’s regionals the UBU first team finished top in their group on the first day beating UEA, Lincoln and De Montefort. This placed them automatically in the semifinal against Nottingham, on day two of the tournament. The boys had to work hard against Nottingham and were rewarded with an 8-5 victory. The final was a tense game against Cambridge, with the two teams trading points the entire game. Cambridge unfortunately took the regional title away from the Birmingham boys by clinching the winning goal in a sudden death point. Birmingham came away ranked second in the region and heading to Division One at Nationals. A few weekends later, the boys made a good start to their national’s campaign. Two out of three pool games were won, beating Sussex 2nds and Southampton. Dundee took the win in the final pool game in a sudden death point after some poorly timed drops from The UBU team. In the next stage of the competition, the boys struggled to replicate the
flow from earlier games and both these games were lost ensuring Cambridge and Dundee came away with the wins. If they lost their last game they would not finish in the top eight, meaning no BUCS points. Luckily the quality of both offence and defence increased and UBU came away with the win. Birmingham then faced Manchester in the fight for a position in the top four. After playing some of their best ultimate, UBU were able to steal the victory in a convincing win. The fight for top two, against Cambridge, was a hotly contested game, however just as with regionals, Cambridge were able to come away with the win. The game for third place was against Exeter in which UBU cruised to victory securing the bronze medal. The girls’ team had an even better start to their indoor season than the boys'. After smashing their pool games at regionals, beating UEA, Lincoln, Oxford and Loughborough, they headed straight into the final against Nottingham already guaranteed a place at nationals. The girls were crowned regional champions with high hopes for nationals. The national campaign again started well with victories over Plymouth, UCL, Aberdeen and Newcastle in the pool games to secure a
top eight position. The quarter final against Sussex again proved little challenge, as Birmingham came back to win the game convincingly. This secured the girls’ position in the top four. The semi-final against Edinburgh was a tense game with Birmingham coming away with the win after a seemingly endless sudden death point. The last game of the day, the final, was a tough fight against Dundee, last year’s national champions. From the outset they appeared the stronger team despite some huge defence from the Birmingham lines. Despite a valiant effort final score was a very close 7-9. Birmingham’s girls took the silver medal position after only losing one game, the final in their season. In between the men’s and women’s regional and national competitions, mixed regionals also took place. The two teams Birmingham sent looked a force to be reckoned with from the outset with the first team winning all their games. This meant a first place in the region and a trip to Division One for the nationals. The second team also played extremely well making it into the top eight and finishing the tournament in sixth place, thus also making Nationals in Division Two - the first time a second team has ever made it to mixed nationals.
4) Men's Table Tennis 1sts - Another of Birmingham's sides to have won every single game of the campaign to date, the table tennis boys have been on fire. Sitting comfortably at the top of the table the team have recorded victories over every team in the league, something which will fill them with confidence going into the second half of the season. 5) Men's Squash 2nds - While the men's 1sts have also won every game, it is the form of the 2nds which has been particularly impressive, securing seven victories from as many games. The side are a long way ahead of their nearest rivals in the table, Birmingham's men's 3rds, something which highlights the competitiveness of sport at the university.
6th December 2013 - 23rd January 2014
Rugby club making big steps forward Tom Kelly
Online Sports Editor
There is an undeniable sense of positivity surrounding the University of Birmingham men’s first fifteen, and with good reason. From frittering around in a relegation scrap in the closing stages of last seasons’ BUCS campaign, Birmingham now sit happily at the top end of the Premier North B league. Whilst sitting down with club captain Fred Gulliford to discuss what has passed since September, it is at first difficult to put your finger on just what has changed over the summer months, there has certainly been no great shift in personnel. ‘We’re a lot more about the team now,’ said Gulliford when trying to discern why his side’s fortunes have flipped. ‘We are a lot closer as a group this season, and it certainly shows on the field.’ This is undoubtedly true. You do not have to spend too much time watching this side to see a true cohesion that has been missing in previous seasons. Across the field, there are partnerships flourishing. Whether that be a second
"We are a lot closer as a group this season, and it certainly shows on the field." row pairing of the lineout commander Sam Markey alongside the enforcing presence of Jamie Rose, or the creative pairing of Robbie Keith and Sam Corlett in midfield; Birmingham’s first fifteen are evolving into an accomplished rugby side. The season started with a tight and nervy win away to the BUCS powerhouse Loughborough, a victory that has really instilled a sense of belief inside the ranks. An impressive physical domination of Durham a week later firmly placed Birmingham as a frontrunner for promotion to the A league and helped build a momentum which has continued throughout the semester. It is, perhaps then, of little surprise that Gulliford was quick to mention the role of those off the field for the early season successes. A brutal pre-season training programme set out by head coach Mike Umaga and strength and conditioning guru Ray Jakeman produced a side which has been able to physically better their undercooked opponents from the first whistle. However, there is far more to this side than physical conditioning. The scrummaging capabilities of Sam Dowell-Bennett alongside Lewis Hook and Ben Branfield plus the lineout prowess of Markey, with more than a little help from the first team captain Tom Vooght, have seen Birmingham become the dominant force at the set piece on most occasions. Vooght’s ability to lead by example from the blindside flank has epitomised Birmingham’s drive and tightness as a squad. He operates in a well-balanced back row featuring the scavenging abilities of Dan Wood and the bulldozing power of Ciaran Moore. As a whole, the Birmingham pack at full strength has few weaknesses, and has often provided the kind of platform that Gulliford and his backline would dream of. As an attacking force, the men of Bournbrook have rarely disappointed. The development of a points difference that currently betters its nearest rival by 80 is a clear testament to Birmingham’s ability to turn pressure into points. The superlative goalkicking of Wood has certainly aided such an impressive accumulation of points; however, it has been the sides try-scoring abilities that have caught the eye.
"As an attacking force, the men of Bournbrook have rarely disappointed." The switch of position for Andy Matthews has rejuvenated the powerful winger whose pace and strength has been a constant threat down the right wing. Whilst the creativity of Keith and Corlett in the centre and the guile of Osian Davies from full back has helped form a diverse attacking outfit. It is an attacking force which has racked up bonus point victories over Manchester, York and Edinburgh. The latter of which saw George Yeoman’s cross for a well-documented hat-trick, rumoured to be one of the fastest in BUCS history. It has not been all plain sailing for the
first team however. An undefeated run came to an end in the first week of November, as the side went crashing out of the cup in the first round away to Leeds Met. However, every cloud has a silver lining, and it was that mentality that Gulliford was keen to put across: ‘It was a disappointing loss but not too surprising as we rarely do well in the cup competition,’ said the scrumhalf, ‘it’s enabled us to focus on the league and on promotion which can definitely be seen as a positive.’ The side certainly responded well to cup disappointment as they saw off York with ease, but a second defeat in three games away at Sheffield Hallam enabled their nearest challengers Nottingham Trent a chance to catch up. With just one-point separating them, the league’s top two sides went headto-head at Bournbrook on Wednesday which saw Birmingham come out on top to reopen
a gap between themselves and the chasing pack. Next Wednesday’s game at home to Loughborough sees Birmingham pass the half way stage of the season in an exceptionally strong position. ‘It’s really up to us’, responded Gulliford, when asked about the prospect of promotion, ‘we’re in a great position but a lot can change from now.’ There is certainly a long way to go, but if this small squad can avoid the kind of injuries and disruptions that can derail seasons, it could be a great year to be part of the rugby club. The Birmingham men’s first team are set to face off against the University of Birmingham Medics side in the Gallowglass Shield in a battle of Bournbrook on Friday 13th December at 19:00 GMT. Be sure to head down to the Bournbrook pitch to show your support.
6th December 2013 - 23rd January 2014
Women's water polo make unbeaten start to the season Rebecca Bates The University of Birmingham women’s water polo first team have kicked off their season in a hugely impressive manner. Yet to lose a game in the U-Polo league, in which they face off against regional teams, there have been some hugely positive performances in the first round of BUCS games which has produced a great deal of excitement amongst the girls about the year ahead. The side competed in their first round of BUCS on the 9th November and, after losing a number of key players from last season and having limited full team practices, the girls were apprehensive. Playing a mixed team of experienced players, together with those that had only been playing for a matter of weeks, the girls had to play three consecutive matches. Led by captains Kate Teasdale and Charlotte Noble the team were put through their paces against some of the best teams in the country. Despite the lack of time that the team had to prepare in, they cruised through their first match of the day beating Cardiff Met 14-0. Next up they faced Bath but once again were unfazed by their opposition, thrashing them with the score 19-1 to Birmingham at the final whistle.
The star performance came from the captain, Teasdale, who racked up an impressive nine goals After getting off to an outstanding start, the girls then faced Cardiff in their final game which promised to be their toughest of the day. Knowing they were about to face a team full of GB players and National League players, Birmingham knew they would have to dig deep to avoid a big loss. Relying on their experienced goalkeepers, Charlotte Noble and Sammy Owen, as well as playing a tactical game built around strong defence, the girls held on tight. Birmingham ended up narrowly losing the match in the last quarter 5-2 to their rivals. Cardiff were ultimately a stronger team, but the Birmingham side put up a good fight taking great encouragement from their performance. Birmingham go on to face Cambridge, Oxford and King's College early next term. The team would like to thank their coach Stuart Baxter for his continuous time, effort and encouragement, without who's help, they would not have performed so well. The water polo club is organising a fundraiser quiz taking place on the 21st January at The Lounge in Selly Oak. Tickets will be sold at the beginning of next term follow @ UoBWaterpolo on Twitter or like the Facebook page University of Birmingham Water Polo for more information!
UoB equestrian club riding high Lily Blacksell UoB Equestrian club is riding high this term. Having been crowned national champions in June, the club were keen to keep up the momentum this academic year. For starters, they welcomed a new development squad into the club, aimed at helping less experienced riders to improve. The competition squad have also been working hard, training with A team captain and scholar Lottie Kennedy. This looks like it could be paying off, the A, B and C teams have started as they mean to go on, with a hattrick of wins both at home and away. The A Team’s success was against the odds, as the horses at their hosting venue were very over excited, riders were falling off left, right and centre. Not so for Birmingham, however, who were in the lead by 60 points after their dressage, a position which they maintained to win the competition. The 27th November saw the B Team's home competition take place at the South Leicestershire Riding Establishment, where they welcomed the Warwick and Nottingham Trent university teams. The dressage phase of the competition got Birmingham off to a strong start. There's always a balance to be found between accuracy, riding style and effectiveness on the horse, and with two of Brum’s team having to deal with 'stroppy mares' as the judge put it, it was important they got this one right! The jumping phase came next, and the course had plenty of tight turns to keep the competitors on their toes. Once again, the horses in this round all had their quirks.
Particular congratulations must go to Jess Long, who managed to remain seated on her ride, Bart, even though he'd succeeded in bucking his two previous riders off (into a puddle) after the last fence! Chris Milton managed a stylish clear round, which helped him towards his individual first place. With jumps being knocked down and riding style varying greatly, it was up to the judge to award each rider their scores, which were then totted up collectively for the final result to be announced. Having gained such a strong lead in the dressage phase, Birmingham remained in poll position throughout the day. Despite good performances from the other riders, Brum’s group score was a tough one to beat, and they finished the day with a team first and individual fifth, fourth, second and first from Lily Blacksell, Jess Long, Lisa Reid and Chris Milton respectively. The C team is currently competing in a friendly league, one which they are trying to get recognised by BUCS. The fact that complaints were made about a Birmingham rider being ‘too good’ at their first competition is a real testament to the hard work and high standard the club maintains. In between all this training and competCharlotte Wilson ing, we have found time to make our annual naked calendar, available from Week 10! This year’s calendar is in aid of The Midlands Air Ambulance, a great cause and vital service. For updates on our competitions, calendar and any other club news, like UBSport Equestrian Club on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @UoBEquestrian.
6th December 2013 - 23rd January 2014
University of Birmingham's sporting year in pictures. Photos by: Will Siddons, Michael Jevon, Meurig Gallagher and Charlotte Wilson.