One Point Separates First And Second In BUCS Premier National Rugby
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One Point Separates First And Second In BUCS Premier National Rugby

Seth Nobes December 28, 2022

Edinburgh lead Hartpury by a singular point as the BUCS Premier National heads towards the business end of the season.

Both teams share an identical record after seven games, both having lost just once in seven games, with six wins apiece.

Hartpury ran out victors when the two sides faced off in mid-October, but the importance of bonus points is shown as it is Edinburgh who sit top of the tree.

Little in it at the top of BUCS Premier National

The quality of both Edinburgh and Hartpury is apparent, with each team’s impressive record worthy of top spot.

However, Edinburgh have dominated in several of their matches to this point, with the manner of their defeat to Hartpury of great importance also.

In the BUCS Premier National, losing teams have the opportunity to obtain a bonus point if the margin of defeat is seven points or less. Hartpury trumiphed, but the match was a low-scoring affair, with the Gloucestershire side coming out on top 15-12.

Without this bonus point, it would be Hartpury who sit top, meaning it would not be Edinburgh who hold the mental advantage of being in first.

Despite dominating for most of their games, Hartpury let their guard down when they faced Exeter, and were uncharacteristically out-of-sorts as they were defeated 39-19.

They were unable to pick up the all important losing bonus point, which could prove costly given the quality they face in the title race.

Exeter best of the rest

Hartpury and Edinburgh need to make a habit of looking over their shoulder, with Exeter making a strong claim that they should also be considered as part of the title race.

As mentioned, they have inflicted Hartpury’s sole defeat, and sit just four points off the top of the table.

Edinburgh were able to get the better of the Devon side, but Exeter did claim a losing bonus point. It looks like a defeat on the opening day to Cardiff Met could prove costly, given how impressive the top two look. Again, the blow was softened somewhat as a losing bonus point was acquired.

The win against Exeter makes up one of Cardiff Met’s three victories this season, with the Welsh side sitting comfortably in fourth. They are eight points behind third, but ten points ahead of fifth.

Given their record, fourth seems the most agreeable place for this Cardiff Met side. In their seven fixtures, they have played teams below them twice, winning both, and teams above them on five occasions, losing four.

Durham heading for BUCS Premier National exit door

Down at the bottom of BUCS Premier National are two teams whose seasons have gone in a drastically different direction to that of Hartpury and Edinburgh.

Loughborough sit in fifth, having picked up just the singular win this season, when they faced the side below them in the table. They may be encouraged by the fact they have picked up three losing bonus points, but an improvement is definitely required for the second half of the season.

They do have both the second-worst attack and defence in the league, although this is somewhat unfair to focus on given their points scored and conceded are much closer to those above, then Durham below.

Durham’s record to this point in the season currently reads played 7, lost 7. They have only managed 32 points so far, and have conceded 242. This is more than double the defensive record of both Hartpury and Edinburgh.

To make matters even worse, Durham have only been able to pick up one bonus point, in their defeat to second-bottom Loughborough.

It seems likely it will be Durham who will face off the winner of a playoff between first-placed team in Premier North and Premier South for a place in next season’s BUCS Premier National.

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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.