BUCS northern conference finals to be hosted at Man Met with three uni teams competing
- MMU will host BUCS Northern Conference Finals on Wednesday along with University of Manchester
- Man Met represented by three teams in respective finals on the day
- Rugby union chairman Cillian Neal has faith in his side but knows MMU need to be at their best to win trophy final
- Man Met student sports manager Joe Wharton says hosting the event is great opportunity for university and students
Man Met will team up for with the University of Manchester to host the 2022 BUCS Northern Conference finals day on Wednesday (9 March).
This will be the first time both Manchester universities have hosted the event since 2018.
The northern conference finals involves teams at tier 2 or below BUCS sport who compete in their respective conference cup, plate or bowl finals.
There will be up to 30 finals over the day, with 11 of these being hosted at MMU's Platt Lane sports complex. Other locations include the Armitage Centre, Sugden Sports Centre, the Northern Tennis Club, and Reddish Vale Golf Club.
MMU student sport manager, Joe Wharton, said: "It’s great to be able to show off our facilities across the city. We previously hosted with UoM in 2018 as not many other institutions in the north west can host for the large number of fixtures.
"It increases the universities' reputation and sporting profile to be able to host such a high profile event. Institutions from all over the north of England will be in attendance.
"We also have a number of student volunteers assisting with on the day running of the event. It’s a great for them to gain some practical experience.
Joe highlighted the importance for students of all ability to have the opportunity to compete in a finals day.
He said: "The ethos of the conference cup finals is to ensure students who may not be at the highest performing leagues/ cups in BUCS have the opportunity to experience a finals day.
"We hope that the joint event with UoM will be able do to this on Wednesday.
He said joint hosting made it a special occasion for the universities.
"There is a three-way cycle between the north west, Yorkshire and north east," he said.
"This year, like 2018, it was the north west's turn to host the event."
Across the day MMU will be represented in three finals:
- The womens lacrosse 1st team face Durham University
- The mens rugby union 3rd team face Newcastle
- MMU golf 1st team face the winner of UCLAN or Sheffield Hallam
Men's rugby union club chairman and third team captain, Cillian Neal, said he was proud to reach the trophy final.
"For the four years I've been at MMU I can't remember a rugby team getting to the cup final," he said.
"For a third team to do it this year with the team made up of mostly freshers is a statement to the boys' drive and passion.
Its been an honour to skipper these boys this season
"Every single one of the boys knows it's a privilege to put on the jersey each week, and the commitment has put us, deservedly, in the final."
Cillian, who will miss the final with a broken hand sustained in the semi-final victory over the University of Sunderland, is still looking forward to the game ahead.
He said: "This would have been my final game for MMU had I not broken my hand in the semi-final but the feeling of excitment and nerves is still there.
"We know it will be our hardest game but me and the boys want this win, so we're cautiously excited."
MMU will have the rare advantage of being the home side for such an important game as the trophy final.
Cillian said: "Having the final at Platt Lane is a huge boost, we know the whole club, friends and family will be out to support us.
"Having the crowd behind us will give a vital extra edge on the day."
Looking ahead to the game, the fourth year skipper is under no illusions that MMU will face a stern test in a travelling University of Newcastle team.
He said: "Newcastle University is one of the best rugby union universities in the country. It's safe to say we will have our work cut out for us.
"We expect to go into this game as the underdogs but I believe if we get the mental edge early we will give them a tough game and ultimately come away with the win in a tight game.
"Our winning mentality has meant we've come away with wins in tight games this season and I think it will prevail in this game."