Category: National University League

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