Hartpury Finish Top Of BUCS Rugby National League
BUCS Rugby National League
Photo by Alexandre Brondino on Unsplash

Hartpury Finish Top Of BUCS Rugby National League

Seth Nobes February 17, 2023

Hartpury eased past Loughborough to ensure they ended the 2022/2023 BUCS Rugby National League season in first place.

A win was all the side from Gloucestershire needed to confirm the top spot, with an eighth bonus-point victory of the season proving the cherry on top of the cake.

They ended the season with a four-point cushion down to Edinburgh in second. Hartpury’s record of nine wins in ten games demonstrates how deserving of the pole position they are.

Best in the league, in every department

After finishing second in the BUCS Rugby National League, Hartpury went into the 2022/23 season hoping to go one better. It was Durham who topped the table last season.

The area in which the Gloucestershire university struggled the most in 2021/22 was their attack, only managing 206 points which was fourth best in the league.

There was clear improvement this season, with Hartpury leading the way with points scored with 320, a league best, and over 100 better than last season.

The team also boasted the best defence in the league, having only conceded 137 points. Edinburgh in second had the next best, conceding more than 50 points more with 188.

Getting the best of old foes

There was a seven-point difference between Hartpury in second and Durham in first at the end of the 2021/22 season.

The difference between the two sides last year was the fact Durham got the better of their title rivals in both the home and away fixtures. This contributed to two of Hartpury’s three defeats in the 2021/22 campaign.

Therefore, Hartpury would have been well aware of the importance of the fixture when Durham travelled to Gloucestershire for the opening game of the 2022/23 season.

Hartpury were looking for a statement victory, and they certainly did that with a 66-0 thrashing.

It could not have gone better for the team, earning a bonus-point win, and a shut-out against the defending champions. It was clear to the rest of the league that Hartpury meant business.

The top of BUCS Rugby National League

Hartpury continued to earn statement victories as the season went on, earning another seven wins, and only being defeated once by Exeter in early November.

They went into the last game of the season knowing a ninth win of the campaign would secure first place.

They were not without pressure, with Edinburgh in close pursuit. One slip-up could see the side fall at the final hurdle.

Their opponent was Loughborough, the second team out of two who could claim they defeated Hartpury last season. They faced off in the first game of the 2021/22 season, with Loughborough earning a convincing 37-15 win.

The opportunity presented to Hartpury could not be more perfect. A win against Loughborough would complete the redemption arc.

In the end, everything went to play, with a 32-12 dominant victory exemplifying why Hartpury were fully deserving of a first-placed finish in the 2022/23 BUCS Rugby National League.

What next?

Despite finishing top, Hartpury still have work to do if they want to be the 2022/23 champions. Despite finishing top of the league, Durham did not win the National Championship, bowing out at the semi-final stage.

A win would see Hartpury successfully defend the title they won last season.

The six sides in the BUCS Rugby National League are now entered in a knockout tournament, starting at the quarter finals. Given Hartpury finished top, they earn a bye into the semi-finals (as well as second-placed Edinburgh).

In the quarter-finals, third-placed Exeter will play last-placed Durham, with fourth facing fifth as Cardiff Met go up against Loughborough.

The semi-finals will then consist of Edinburgh going up against the winner of the former, and Hartpury the latter.

The two victorious semi-final sides will then face off at the Stone X stadium to see who is crowned the champions of the 2022/23 Women’s National Championship.

Read next: Promotion Hopefuls Confirmed For BUCS Super Rugby Playoffs

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Seth Nobes is a freelance writer for Freshered, focusing on university sport. He is currently studying for an MA in Sports Journalism, as well as the NCTJ diploma, at St Mary's University, Twickenham after graduating with a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Birmingham. Seth is also an editor for the Sports Gazette, with a keen focus on cricket. He has written and commentated on a wide variety of sports, ranging from football and rugby, to sailing and judo, for publications such as Vavel, Deep Extra Cover, Burn FM, and Redbrick. He is also a long-suffering Watford fan, for his sins.