On Wednesday the the final team for the 2014-15 BUCS premier league was determined when the Sussex women beat the ladies from Swansea in a 5-set play-off match. That gave Sussex two wins and first place in their 3-way round-robin, which also included Surrey (who Swansea had previously beaten). That means the women’s southern premier league for next season will comprise:

King’s College London

There was also a playoff on the men’s side. It was between Bath, Cambridge, and Warwick. There were two spots on offer because although 5 teams qualified by virtue of making Final 8s, UCL apparently declined the promotion (Imperial must have also declined as they should have been in the playoff as well by dint of their 3rd place finish in the South East conference). Bath lost both its matches, meaning the southern premier league for the guys next year will be:

East London

Interestingly, Warwick was originally considered as being a northern team according to what BUCS posted earlier. Don’t know why that changed.

Although only the 3 teams from the Northern conference made Final 8s, and thus automatically achieved promotion to the northern premier league for next year, there was no playoff for the remaining spots. On the men’s side, since all three of the top finishers in the Midlands conference were considered southern teams, the three best teams from the Scottish conference fill out the 6 places, making it:

Sheffield Hallam
St. Andrews

On the women’s side, Loughborough finished 3rd in Midlands, so they should have joined the three Scottish teams – Edinburgh, St. Andrews, and Glasgow – in a 4-way playoff to determine who joined Northumbria, Durham, and Lancaster in the northern premier league. No such playoff happened, so one of those teams must have declined promotion. I don’t know which, though.

These new premier leagues pose some challenges. The map below shows the dispersion of the teams in the women’s southern league.

BUCS Volleyball Women's Southern Premier League 2014-15

I’m thinking right about now the planners aren’t too excited about having Exeter in the premier league given it’s location relative to the other schools. It’s over 4 hours drive between Exeter and Cambridge and more than 3 hours to most of the others. Even the trip to Bournemouth, which is Exeter’s closest opposition, runs about 2.5 hours. It’s not much different on the men’s side.

I talked with a couple of people at Final 8s about this stuff. It would make sense for the teams who have both men and women in the premier league to have both genders play on the same dates to simplify travel. We also talked about using triangulars or some other multiple match format to cut down on the travel. One coach suggested pairing schools for a Saturday/Sunday type of schedule.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what BUCS comes up with.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

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