Excitement builds as University of Stirling football and tennis teams bid to be crowned best in the UK
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The University of Stirling’s sporting prowess will be in focus next week when its student footballers and tennis stars bid to win the top UK university titles in their respective sports.
The University – Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence – will compete in four national finals on British Universities and Colleges Sport’s (BUCS) Big Wednesday (22 March), the finale of the UK universities sporting season.
Three of the finals will be in the National Championships – the premium cup competitions in UK university sport – with the men’s first football team playing Durham University, and the men’s and women’s first tennis teams taking on the University of Bath. Meanwhile, the men’s second tennis team will also compete against Bath for the National Trophy.
It caps a hugely successful period for sport at the University – with Stirling swimming sensation Duncan Scott becoming the most decorated British Olympian at a single Games; Scott and fellow athletes winning a record number of medals at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham; sports scholars securing a haul of medals at the Winter Olympics in Beijing; and student footballers making history in the Scottish Cup.
Cathy Gallagher, Executive Director of Sport at the University of Stirling, said: “Securing a place in four national finals at BUCS underlines Stirling’s long-standing designation as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence. Yet again, we are dining at the top table of university sport and our ongoing success is testament to the high-performance environment at the University, comprising state-of-the-art facilities, world-class coaching, and our sector leading sports scholarship programmes.
“I wish all our athletes and coaches the very best of luck next week and they travel to the finals with the support of the entire campus community.”
Stirling’s men’s football team won the BUCS Premier North Division – the top league in UK university sport – for the third successive season earlier this year. On their way to the National Championships cup final, they have beaten Nottingham Trent University (4-0) and University of Nottingham (3-2). They will play Durham at Basford United’s ground, in Nottingham, at 4.30pm on Wednesday.
It is the latest in a run of successes for the men’s team, managed by Chris Geddes, which made history when they played Dundee United in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup in January – attracting high-profile support from football legends Sir Alex Ferguson, Lilian Thuram and Craig Brown. Geddes’ side have also enjoyed a successful season in the Lowland League, currently sitting just six points from the top of the table, while still in contention for the South Challenge Cup, Lowland League Cup, Football Nation Qualifying Cup, and the Queen’s Park Shield.
The men’s tennis first team saw off the challenge of the Universities of Exeter and Loughborough on their way to the final, while the women’s first team beat Aberdeen, Nottingham, and Durham. The men’s second team have recorded wins against Stirling’s third team, St Andrews, Dundee, and Nottingham in the National Trophy so far.
The tennis finals will take place at the Nottingham Tennis Centre from 9am on Wednesday.
University of Stirling: the training base of Olympians
The University of Stirling was made Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence in 2008 and crowned The Times/Sunday Times UK Sports University of the Year in 2020. Since then, the University has further enhanced its sporting prowess by unveiling a new £20 million Sports Centre, comprising a fitness suite, strength and conditioning suite, performance gym, exercise studios and a three-court sports hall. The investment – which complements the existing National Swimming Academy – ensures that Stirling will remain the choice of medal-winning Olympians and Commonwealth Games athletes for years to come.