BUCS championship winning squad.

Men's hockey win BUCS championship final

The University of Exeter saw off Durham University to win the PWC British Universities and Colleges Sport Men’s Hockey Championship Final at Abbeydale Sports Club in Sheffield on Thursday 15 March.

Exeter ran out winners in an incredibly close encounter which finished 4-3. The crowds gathered in anticipation to see the winners of their respective BUCS Premier Leagues, in what promised to be an excellent game for the neutral. Ultimately, the game had everything including an extraordinary comeback and a nail-biting finish.

The pace of the game was electrifying in the first 10 minutes and both teams attacked well. Only the woodwork and some smart saves from Exeter keeper and sport scholar Chris Rea (England U21) could deny Durham the opening goal as they came close from an early short corner. Exeter then forced a double save from the Durham goal, before sports scholar and England U21 forward Nick Cooper made it 1-0 to Exeter on the 15 minute mark.

Excellent defensive work from Exeter kept it at 1-0, despite some fast-flowing attacks from Durham on the right wing. Durham levelled with five minutes to go in the first half through a penalty flick by Scotland international and Durham talisman Daniel Coultas. However, they subsequently lost defender Thomas Whitworth to a yellow card shortly after this. Moments later, Exeter made the most of their man advantage by taking the lead again through Cooper to go into the break 2-1 up.

The teams were evenly matched in the second half until Cooper rounded off a superb hat-trick with a fine finish 10 minutes in. Nonetheless, Durham were not beaten, and made it 3-2 with Coultas getting on the score sheet once again. He then completed his own hat-trick to draw Durham level to set up a tense finale. Neither team sat back in the closing stages as they both went on the hunt for a winner.

With minutes remaining a well worked short corner for Exeter finished with man of the match, sports scholar, Tom Carson (England A) smashing the ball into the left corner of the goal sparking jubilant celebrations from the Exeter support. In the nervy final minutes Durham pushed for an equaliser but Exeter held on for the win and took the Championship for the second time in three years.

Nick Beasant, Assistant Director of Sport and 1st coach, commented:
"to regain the BUCS national title is a special achievement and caps off a fine University season for the entire men's 1st team squad. The belief, composure and overall team performance is a real testament to the preparation led by Director of Hockey Chris McInroy and to each player's dedication throughout the season. This has been typified throughout by captain Olly Deasy; a special mention must go to Nick Cooper for his open play hat trick and to Man of the Match Tom Carson".

Date: 22 March 2012