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Pride In, Derby Out, 6 teams saved from Relegation and 1 Awarded a Promotion!

The provisional Uniball League structure for the 2020-21 season has been released and there are a number of big changes.

Prem As Expected

The Prem North and South have had no changes other than the relegations and promotions. So Leeds Gryphons have replaced the Coventry Uni Jets in the Prem North and Cardiff Cobras have replaced the Hertfordshire Hurricanes in the Prem South. All other teams have stayed in the same conferences with no shifting between them.

Names and Structural Changes Across The Divisions

The 1A North conference is now called 1A Borders and 1A Yorkshire & Lancashire now called 1A North. This completely makes sense as it aligns the naming of the conferences from Div 2 to their Div 1 counterparts – 2A North links to 1A North, 2A Borders links to 1A Borders. No such changes were required in the South as the naming was already aligned.

A big change is that there will now be 6 teams at the Div 1 level in each conference, last season there were only 5. This, in turn, means that Div 2 will also have 6 teams in each conference, where they had 7 or 8 last season.

To facilitate this change, all of the teams that were relegated from Div 1 to Div 2 last season have been saved from relegation and will be staying in Div 1. The 6 teams that were promoted from Div 2 to Div 1 last season (Manchester Tyrants, York Centurions, Leicester Longhorns, Sussex Saxons, Bristol Barracuda, and ARU Rhinos) make up the rest of the numbers.

A New Player Has Entered The Game!

As announced back in July, SGS College Academy Pride applied for inclusion into the BUCS league structure for this upcoming season. They were successful in this and have been placed straight in at the Div 1 level. Their inclusion does not impact any of the previously stated decisions apart from the fact that the 1A South West conference has 7 teams instead of 6.

It’s not clear how this will play out in terms of how BUCS will address the extra team for next season – it could be that they have a double relegation this season, it could be that they increase the other 5 Div 1 conferences to 7 teams, or they may just keep that one division as 7 teams. I think they are more likely to balance the number of teams in each division out as it makes tiebreakers simpler to work out for the playoffs.

No Derby Braves

This is a real shocker and I seriously couldn’t believe it when I first noticed but the Derby Braves are not in the structure for the 2020-21 Uniball season! Derby are one of the powerhouse teams in Uniball with a great program that has produced some fantastic athletes.

I honestly thought this was a big administrative slip-up but after contacting Derby they confirmed that it was indeed true. The Derby Student Union have not entered the Braves into BUCS despite a majority of other sports being entered. The team absolutely want to be part of the league but are bound by the decision of their Union. At present the team still aren’t sure what the reason is behind this decision, initial thoughts would point to COVID and the physical nature of our game, however the team at Derby believe that money could be a factor.

Speaking to BUCS Competitions Coordinator, Neal Kingston, he explaines taht Derby could send it a late entry for inclusion but that there could be no guarantee of it being accepted at this stage. Heartbreaking stuff for all involved, we sincerly hope this gets sorted out.

In response to Derby not being included, the Liverpool Raptors have been awarded a promotion from 2A North to 1A North. So positive news for them.

Potential Changes

The Reading Knights were the only team that moved conference, they go from 1A South to 1A South West. Herts Hurricanes are placed into 1A South following their relegation, I think they should have gone into 1A South East, with Brunel changing from 1A South East to 1A South and the Reading Knights staying in there too. Geographically this seems the most logical structure. However, it may upset some in 1A South West as SGS Pride would be the 6th team instead of an ‘additional’ 7th.

The other thing worth questioning is why give the Liverpool Raptors an awarded promotion to Div 1 when you’ve just added SGS Pride as a new team in Div 1? I understand that they are in separate North and South structures but surely the answer here is a conference switch for a team between the North and South? Looking at the map, the most logical option being moving the Worcester Royals from the 1A South West to 1A Midlands.

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