The University of the West of Scotland's (UWS) first team finished top of the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) 3A League. They finished with 21 points closely followed by Edinburgh's 2nd team with 18 points. A very competitive league, but their can only be one winner and that was UWS. We caught up with the President of the Sports Union at UWS, Jonathan Cranstoun, to find out how they did it.
The level of skill along with the improvement and dedication of the team has allowed them to overcome their opponents in the league and prove themselves to be amongst the best. Jonathan commented, "The team have developed throughout the past few years, developing a close bond with each other, which has been a key part in the success of the team. Working closely with the university and their scholarship programme has allowed the club to attract some top players to the university." Having the opportunity to bring strong players onto a university squad allows them flexibility within the line-up as they know that each and every player can come onto the pitch at any moment and show that they deserve to be on the team.
Although the team finished top of the league, the season was very competitive throughout, with their closest challengers being their biggest test. Jonathan said, "The biggest match this year must have been through on the east coast on the first of March against Edinburgh 2nd team. We knew we had to win this game to secure the league and our biggest win of the year. We have had a rivalry this year with Edinburgh so it has been great to come away with the win." UWS ended the game 4-2 against Edinburgh, away from home. Being able to comfortably beat your strongest competition in the league must have been a great feeling and cemented them as the best team in the league.
Last season, the squad finished first in the BUCS 4A League, and finishing top of the next division means they can only hope to continue the climb. Jonathan said this about the changes between seasons, "We haven't had much change apart from attracting new players as we have had the same main squad for a few years now, which is a key reason for our success. Next year will be a big challenge for the club as we go into Division 2 and will be losing a few of our key players so we will have to focus on recruitment during freshers." Having the option to recruit fresh faces, can help to reinvigorate and bring a keen and exciting atmosphere into the team.
Picking a star player can be a hard task in such a team based sport like football and Jonathan was asked to do exactly that. He commented, "Our star player this year has to have been Scott Murray, he scored three out of our four goals during the league clinching match against Edinburgh when we were down 2-1 at half-time." Being calm and collected under pressure is the quality of a star player who can go far in football. The whole team raillied around each other and were able to pull out a victory after a half-time deficit.
We hope that The University of the West of Scotland continue to find success throughout the BUCS 2A League with fresh faces and veterans of the league working together to find the victories they are after.