BUCS Finals 15/16: Team previews – Stirling Clansmen v Birmingham Lions

This week we had a little chat with the head honchos from all the programmes competing this weekend to give you guys the opportunity to get to know them, and their programmes,  a little better.

Only a few years ago the Clansmen were wallowing in the lower echelons of Scottish Uniball teams, but then the introduction of a new, rigorous programme and great cooperation between the programme and Stirling University led to a meteoric rise to where we are today: The Clansmen sitting as back-to-back National Champs, and clear favourites for a threepeat this weekend.

Head Coach Victor Peredo stepped up to fill some massive shoes this year, so lets see his thoughts on the Clan’s season:

The Clansmen have built momentum as the seasons gone on... Image shared via Stirling Clansmen, no infringement intended.
The Clansmen have built momentum as the seasons gone on…
Image shared via Stirling Clansmen Facebook page, no infringement intended.

How would you summarise your season in ten words or less?

Good results come from hard work and full commitment

What’s been the highlight of the year so far?

There are three. One was coming back for a win against Durham on week 3. Then completing an undefeated regular season and now getting into the final.

Is there one play from the entire season that stands out in your mind?

There are two plays that stand out for me. Both when we played Durham at home and both in the second half. On offence James Lightbody caught a deep pass and was quickly wrapped up by Durham’s DBs… however, his desire to turn that game around he never stopped moving his legs and he broke a good number of tackles for the TD that put us back in the game.

Then, on defence near the end of the game when Durham was about to convert 2 points to win the game, Ashley Hopkinson intercepted the ball in our endzone and returned it the length of the field for a score.

What were your expectations of the players and team coming into the season? Have they been met? 

I knew what a good team we had, I but never thought of an undefeated regular season or getting into the final. Not that I didn’t want that, but we were not thinking ahead. Just one game at a time, but always working to that end. I am super proud of the hard work our guys have put in and I think we have exceeded my original expectations – but I am not surprised because I know how talented the guys are.

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Expectations have now changed though and we will try to meet them with a victory on Sunday.

Let’s talk about playmakers – on and off the field. Has a certain member of the coaching staff excelled? One of the game day crew particularly stood out? And who’s been really balling out on game days?

Any other week I would give you a few names. Right now we have come together as a team. Everyone has pulled their weight. From the captains to the rookies and from the coaching staff to the Clansmen Alumni and from the University of Stirling which has given us their full support all year.

And I think our success is a result of the full commitment of everyone involved.

A talented roster makes the Clansmen a threat in all phases of the game. Image shared via Stirling Clansmen, no infringement intended.
A talented roster makes the Clansmen a threat in all phases of the game.
Image shared by Stirling Clansmen Facebook page, no infringement intended.

Your previous game – take us through it. What went right? What went wrong?

It is hard to describe a semi-final. Top 4 teams so we expected a tough game. We played a tough game against a great team and now we are in the final. The final score was 43 to 13. Overall everything went right.

What’s your preparation been like coming into this game? Are there any roster issues, significant injuries that have you concerned, or aspects of your opponent’s game that you think will be particularly challenging?

We are just staying focused on this weekend. We are not thinking about the past two years. We are just thinking to dominate each down both sides of the ball. The group is as tight as it can be going into the final – everyone is healthy and ready to go.

And finally, what do you want to tell the world of BUCSball ahead of this game?

We have played Birmingham Lions on the playoffs every year since 2013. Every single one of those games was played with intensity and every single game was played hard by both teams. So I expect this one to be a hell of a game!

 

And what do those Lions have to say about these wildlings from north of the wall?

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Nick

Nick 'Willy Tee' Wilson-Town hails from the South West where he's spent the last decade bouncing around various teams at the university and senior level. He came to fame on the now departed unofficial forum thanks to his regularly irreverent Uniball predictions and general 'BUAFL wafflage'. Follow him on twitter @WillyTee1