Tag: NUL

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.”

 

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.”