Although we are only half way through the domestic volleyball season, the student volleyball calendar has seen most of the domestic competition already completed. Scottish Universities leagues operate within the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) framework and therefore the top two leagues have 5 teams which play home and away – fixtures normally being completed by Christmas.
In the men’s competition the top of the 1st Division couldn’t be tighter, with both Edinburgh and Strathclyde sitting on equal points having still to play their final match against one another – a winner-takes-all game on 12th February. Strathclyde, having lost the first header 3-2, will be hoping that home advantage will help them to the win that would give them their first ever Scottish Universities League title.
In the men’s 2nd Division there is a struggle between Glasgow and St Andrews to return to the top tier, with Glasgow sitting just above St Andrews but having played one game more. However St Andrews will be confident of securing promotion, having beaten their West coast opponents 3-1 in their first fixture in Glasgow. In the 3rd Division Stirling look to have done enough to climb back up the ladder, but with a final match against Edinburgh II to negotiate the league may yet take another twist.
In the women’s 1st Division a strong Napier team looks to have done enough, having only dropped points against their nearest rival St Andrews, who will be rueing their surprise defeat by Aberdeen earlier in the campaign. The surprise of this division is the position of Dundee – finalists in the overall BUCS Championship twice in the past four years – who prop up the league with one fixture remaining.
In the 2nd Division not surprisingly, Edinburgh I sit unbeaten, having only dropped 2 sets in 7 matches and will return to Division 1 following their first ever relegation last season. A similar situation exists in Division 3 where Strathclyde sit unbeaten with only fixture remaining, assuring themselves of promotion.
On their return from the festive break, teams get the opportunity to test themselves in the Scottish Universities Cup, which takes place on 19th February – the men’s event at RGU in Aberdeen and the women’s at Stirling. This year the Cup takes on a new look, with the winners of the East and West regional events for Scottish Colleges being invited to test themselves against the university sides in what is a fresh and exciting development in student volleyball. Up to 16 teams will be involved in each event, providing an excellent showcase for the energy an d talent which is a hallmark of the student game.