Southampton University were crowned National University and Colleges champions for the second time after defeating Leeds Beckett University in the final. The side, which has two Team UK players in its ranks, ended the day undefeated, the only blemish a draw against Leeds in the group stage.
In the end Southampton’s experience was the difference as the side beat Leeds 29-23 in the final getting revenge for defeat in last year’s decider. Team UK coach and Southampton shooter Stuart Blakemore said: “I’m glad we managed to regain our title after losing it last year. I think the fact it was such a short format was challenging as we had to be on our toes all the time and we couldn’t rest on our laurels. The format of the tournament saw each side play each other twice in short matches, before a final between the top two sides and a third place play-off between third and fourth. It looked set to be a Southampton-Portsmouth Hampshire derby in the final until Leeds grabbed a dramatic draw against Southampton in their final group match.
Portsmouth had to settle for third, beating Southampton’s seconds in the play-off with Portsmouth’s own second team finishing in fifth. Team UK defender and Southampton sports bursary student Scott Mills was delighted with the way his side played in the decider.
“The final was controlled by the stags throughout with solid defence and quality shooting from all players,” he said. “I look forward to defending our title next year.”
Pete King, Head of Competitions was pleased with the day’s play:
“It was a tightly contested day with the best university teams in the country on show. The Southampton Leeds final was thrilling and it was easy to see why so many of these players are challenging for an international place”.