Category: National University League

Oxford Claim Dual National University League Minor Premiership Honours

After a blistering performance in the final round of the National University League, The University of Oxford have been crowned minor premiers in both the Men’s and Women’s Division. The sides will now face the University of Birmingham in the NUL Grand Finals on March 9th.

In its inaugural season, the National University League welcomed teams from Oxford, Birmingham and Cambridge as well as a combined Universities of South Wales side as they battled it out over four rounds of fixtures.

Heading into the final round, the men’s Grand Final line-up was already assured, but a dominant Oxford win over Birmingham ensured that it was the Dark Blues who clinched the minor premiership.

And it was a case of anything you can do, we can do better as the Oxford women leapfrogged both Cambridge and Birmingham to seal a place in the Grand Final, securing the minor premiership in the process.

“We’re thrilled to not only have participated in the inaugural National University League,” said University of Oxford Australian Rules Football Club president Romy Minko, “But to be finishing at the top of the ladder in both divisions is the icing on the cake!

“Both teams have trained hard this season, and I know for a fact that every player contributed to this end result. We knew that the girls needed to grab a result in the final round, and they did exactly that. Bring on the Grand Final!

“A big thank you to all the other clubs and to AFL England for bringing the season together in the first place!”

Round 4 also saw the culmination of the competition for leading goal kicker. Pauline O’Malley’s Cambridge side had a bye for the final round, and she knew it would be a tough ask for anyone to catch her. Oxford’s Stephanie Filbay had a crack, kicking seven goals over the course of the round to bring her total for the season to nine, just short of O’Malley’s tally of 12.

Final Standings

Pauline O’Malley (Cambridge) – 12 goals
Stephanie Filbay (Oxford) – 9 goals
Meg Davies (Birmingham) – 8 goals
Lila Wielemans & Lottie Colquhoun (Birmingham) – 5 goals

In the Men’s Division, Ben Doherty was six goals clear of the rest of the field heading into Round 4, courtesy of the 13 goals he kicked in Round 2. In the end, Doherty took the title with ease, adding a further 16 today – eight in each match.

“He’s been a real asset to the club,” continued Minko. “As much for his leadership and encouragement as his goal-kicking prowess. It’s well deserved.”

Final Standings

Ben Doherty (Oxford) – 29 goals
Tim Haskett (Oxford) – 15 goals
James Williams (Birmingham) & Josh Davey (Universities of South Wales) – 7 goals

The attention of all teams now turns to the Grand Finals which will be held in Oxford on Saturday, 9 March. There will also be 3rd place playoffs in each Division, bringing all four sides together for the first time.

NUL All-Stars to Face Irish Universities Side

AFL England is delighted to announce that a team representing the National University League will take on an Irish Universities team this year as university football continues to grow across Great Britain and Ireland.

The International University Test Matches will take place on April 20th in Dublin, and feature both Men’s and Women’s fixtures.

The NUL All-Stars team will be selected from some of the best players in the National University League’s inaugural season. More details about the selection process for the All-Stars will be

“I’ve seen first-hand the passion and enthusiasm on display by each of the member universities in the National University League,” said NUL coordinator Will Shillibier. “I am delighted that this will be recognised and rewarded with the opportunity to represent England and Wales abroad.”

This fixture is the latest in the AFL England ‘All Stages, All Ages’ strategy which is committed to providing footballing opportunities to players, whatever stage they are at.

“After a very successful inaugural NUL, we wanted to test them against the best Ireland has to offer,” said AFL England President Jason Hill. “In the lead-up to the AFL Europe Championships and International Cup 2020 I’m sure both our National Teams will be looking on the games, and wider competitions, to see the up and coming talent that our Universities have to offer.”

Ireland has shown itself to be consistently one of the best European footballing nations, winning the nine-a-side Euro Cup in 2011 and 2012, and the 18-a-side AFL Europe Championship in both 2010 and 2013.

At a university level, the UCC Bombers are three-time Fitzpatrick Cup champions in the men’s tournament while the UCC Crusaders have won every women’s tournament since its inception.

AFL Ireland Women’s Coach Mike Currane said “This is another very exciting development for European & global international football. It’s also massive for Irish Women’s football particularly being announced at the same time as the first ever AFL Ireland Women’s Universities Cup. The games will provide another opportunity and stepping stone towards full International Australian football for students. With university football in its infancy but growing in both regions this represents a very exciting step, providing us as National Coaches another opportunity to test and develop players.”

Meanwhile, Irish Warriors Head Coach Brian Currane added that the fixtures will play a “big part” in the National Team Development Program.

“I am delighted to be involved in this exciting announcement as it comes at a key time for the growth of AFL Ireland. With the Universities having a large pool of up and coming talent, this is a great opportunity for them to experience full 18-a-side football and to represent the Irish Universities team.”

 

Brummy Marvelous! Lions Men into NUL Grand Final

Birmingham turned up the heat on home soil as they won all four of their games to jump to the top of both the Men’s and Women’s division.

After a bye in Round 2, the two sides jumped straight back into the fray as the men’s team kept up their unbeaten record.

A total of seven individual goal-kickers saw them see of the Universities of South Wales (UoSW) team, and they followed that up by soundly beating Cambridge. Four goals from James Williams and three for Ciaran Jeanes across the round helping their side secure a spot in the inaugural NUL Men’s Grand Final with a round to spare.

Birmingham University Women’s Team

Meanwhile, in the Women’s Division, Birmingham are also sitting in top spot, after four goals from Neave Dent helped them thrash the UoSW by 58 points, the biggest margin of victory in the Women’s Division this season.

They then put in another dominant display keeping Cambridge goalless in a rematch of the first-ever NUL match.

The Birmingham teams now have a combined record of 7-1 across the two divisions this season, and haven’t lost an NUL match since the opening game of the season against Oxford Women in November.

Meanwhile, the UoSW Men’s team recorded their first win of the season with a 7.10 (52) to 4.9 (33) defeat over Cambridge in the battle for third place in the Men’s Division.

Soundly beaten in both Round 2 matches – including a 110-point mauling at the hands of Oxford – the team bounced back and reversed a 51-point loss against Cambridge into a 19-point win thanks to three goals from Josh Davey, who scored five across the entire round.

Cambridge University Men’s Team

It was a disappointing end to the regular season for the Cambridge sides, with a win apiece for both their men’s and women’s sides.

The women now sit second in the ladder behind Birmingham on percentage only and will have a nervous wait ahead of Round 4 to see if they can hold on to a spot in the Grand Final.

For the Cambridge Men, they were the beneficiaries of a 50-0 forfeit win over UoSW, but still missed out on a spot in the Grand Final

Round 4 takes place in Cardiff on February 16th as the regular season draws to a close. With the top two teams confirmed in the Men’s Division, all eyes will be on Oxford to see if they can overtake Cambridge in the Women’s Division and also make it to the Grand Final.

Round 3 Results

Men’s Division
Birmingham 11.12 (78) def. Universities of South Wales 2.5 (17)
Birmingham 9.6 (60) def. Cambridge 3.6 (24)
Cambridge def. UoSW (forfeit – 50-0)

Women’s Division
Birmingham 10.8 (68) def. Universities of South Wales 1.4 (10)
Birmingham 4.9 (33) def. Cambridge 0.1 (1)
Cambridge 6.4 (40) def. Universities of South Wales 2.11 (23)

Round 4 Fixtures

Men’s & Women’s Division

Universities of South Wales vs Birmingham
Universities of South Wales vs Oxford
Birmingham vs Oxford

National University League Announces Tom Wills Medal

7th November 2018 – To mark the inaugural season of the National University League, which features teams from Oxford, Cambridge and Birmingham University, as well as a combined team from the Universities of South Wales, AFL England is proud to unveil the Tom Wills Medal.

In Australian rules football, the best and fairest is the player adjudged to have had the best performance over a season for a given sporting club or competition.

The medal will be awarded to the player deemed “best and fairest” in the Men’s Division of the National University League during the home-and-away season.

There will also be a best and fairest medal for the Women’s Division.

Tom Wills

Tom Wills was born on the 19th August 1835 in New South Wales. At the age of 14, he went to England to attend Rugby School, where he excelled in sports, most notably in rugby and cricket.

In an 1851 letter to his father, Wills said: “I know that if I [study] too hard I will become quite ill. We hardly get any play during school time.” The letter was the size of a broadsheet newspaper, the majority of which was devoted to the school’s cricket scores.

Despite not matriculating at Cambridge – against his father’s wishes – he did play for the university’s cricket team, most notably in the 1856 Varsity match against Oxford. He later became a notable amateur cricketer in England.

Wills returned to Australia after his schooling, and on the 10th July 1858, in a letter to a magazine, he advocated for the winter game of football as a way of keeping cricketers fit during the off-season.

Less than a month later, on the 7th August 1858, the first football fixture was played between Melbourne Grammar School and Scotch College. Both the match and Wills himself are immortalised in a statue outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The inscription reads that Wills “did more than any other person – as a footballer and umpire, co-writer of the rules and promoter of the game – to develop Australian Football during its first decade.”

 

National University League Fixtures Announced

With the start of the National University League less than a month away, and after extensive consultation, the fixtures for the inaugural season have been announced.

Several changes have been made to the original schedule published back in August. This is due to clashes with events such as the Movember Cup and the Fitzpatrick Cup, as well as future Great Britain training days.

Changes were also needed in order to accommodate a new team to the league, representing universities from the South of Wales, bringing the total number of teams involved to four alongside the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Birmingham.

The 2018/19 season will take place over four rounds, held in Cambridge on November 10th, Oxford on December 1st, Birmingham on January 19th and finally in South Wales on February 16th, after which the teams ranked first and second in the ladder will face off against one another on March 16th in the Grand Final.

2018/2019 Fixtures

Round Date Venue Team 1 Team 2
1 November 10th Cambridge Cambridge Oxford
Cambridge Birmingham
Oxford Birmingham
2 December 1st Oxford Oxford Cambridge
Oxford Wales
Cambridge Wales
3 January 19th Birmingham Birmingham Wales
Birmingham Cambridge
Cambridge Wales
4 February 16th Wales Wales Birmingham
Wales Oxford
Oxford Birmingham

 

Click the links below to see each team’s fixtures

Men’s Division

Women’s Division

University of Oxford University of Oxford
University of Cambridge University of Cambridge
University of Birmingham University of Birmingham
South Wales Universities South Wales Universities

There are of course two divisions – men’s and women’s – and the fixture list is the same for both divisions.

For more information like the National University League page on Facebook or email info@aflengland.org