It was agony all round for the UEL men’s basketball first team at the weekend when they were eliminated from the BUCS Final 8s at the quarter-final stage – and also lost their captain, Dougie Bennett, to a fractured ankle.
Hopes had been high that the team could build on their stellar record in the BUCS Premier South league this season, when they went undefeated in their first year in the top division.
But, despite the bonus of home advantage, the gathering at SportsDock of the country’s eight top university basketball teams proved a disappointment for UEL, who were beaten on Saturday by Durham University, champions of the Premier North league, 76-59.
UEL restored a measure of pride on Sunday by defeating Loughborough 84-76 in the BUCs points play-offs for the losing teams, though not before Bennett, UEL’s Scotland international and team captain, landed awkwardly after completing a shot and fractured his ankle. The match was halted for an hour as Bennett was treated on court before being taken to hospital.
“The guys picked up the second day and it was a great team performance against Loughborough,” said Jonathan Campbell, UEL Head Coach.
“It was a little bitter-sweet for us as we felt we had not performed to our best the day before but to see how professional the guys were to pick themselves up and beat a very good team is a credit to them and the strength of character in the team.”
The victory over Loughborough means UEL finished the season ranked fifth overall in the country.
“It was a great learning experience for us and we hope we will have another chance next year,” said Campbell.
The UEL men’s volleyball first team were also vying for national honours in their corresponding BUCS Final 8s held at Bournemouth University.
After comfortable victories over UCL and Cambridge, UEL missed out on a place in the final after suffering a narrow defeat at the hands of Northumbria in the group stage.
It meant they went into the semi-finals instead and, in another closely fought match, UEL were edged out by Sheffield Hallam, last year’s winners, to finish the championships in fourth place overall.
“The UEL men’s team reaching the semi-finals of the BUCS Volleyball Championships makes it the best result in the history of team sports at UEL,” said Tomasz Morawski, Volleyball Head Coach.
“It’s an improvement from last year’s fifth place and is confirmation of UEL being amongst the top volleyball powers, ready to challenge the most established teams in the UK.”
Notes to Editors
The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.