BUCS | Snows incoming, temperatures plummet – what does this mean for playoffs?

The cold easterly wind, dubbed the ‘Beast from the East’ hits our shores and Storm Emma this week, just in time for the postseason!

Expectations are that temperatures will plummet, and particularly the east side of the country should see snowfall through the middle of this week and the South and South West towards the end.

While the worst of the weather is expected to have passed by the weekend, all it takes is one overly cautious groundsmen or facility manager, or this cold snap to last a little longer, and we could see precious postseason games going adrift.

So, what can be done?

First up, confirm if you’re playing this weekend. We’ve put our take on the playoff seedings and fixtures up and touch wood the official ones should be out later today, or tomorrow at the latest.

If you’re a home seed (i.e. one of the top four seeds in each of the five playoff groupings) strongly consider whether your normal gameday venue is certain to be available.

Are you able to book an alternative, all-weather venue, as it’s a ‘special occasion’?

Does your opponent, or perhaps another local team have a 4G pitch they’re either not using this weekend, or that you could arrange back to back fixtures on?

If you’re currently slated to be playing your first postseason fixture away, it may be worth your team checking in with your opponents to confirm whether their venue will definitely be available at the weekend, and if not, offering up your own venue, or a neutral venue with 4G facilities.

Make sure you keep both BUCS and BAFRA abreast of any and all updates to fixtures.

Notify BAFRA Operations, BUCS and BAFA.

And if we simply can’t get the game played?

Never a good outcome, and this is where it gets quite messy.

Last year there was one instance of this, when the Leicester Longhorns venue was rained off in the preceding week and they were unable to reschedule the fixture. Despite having the tiebreakers to finish ahead of Coventry within their own conference, the tiebreakers for the postseason are slightly different and it cost Leicester the walkover, despite having beaten the Jets during the regular season.

So let’s have a look at the relevant regulations:

REG 13.9 In the event that a knockout final is postponed due to bad weather, the deadline for completing the fixture will be the playoff deadline as stated in Appendix 3.

S’far as we can tell, the deadline for each round of playoffs is the Sunday of each week:

AMF 12.1 In the event that it is not possible to complete a knock-out fixture prior to the Monday of the following round due to circumstances beyond the control of both teams, the winner shall be decided by following the procedure in the BUCS General Regulation 13.10.2 on a win/loss/tied record – Set 2 of the ‘Tie Breaker’ document.

As such, you wouldn’t be able to play on the following Wednesday, for example. We assume this is because it leaves other teams affected by the possible outcomes too little time to arrange travel, etc.

Therefore, get it sorted on Sunday, or perhaps even Saturday (if pre-approved by BUCS office, per BUCS Reg 13.7) else it’ll be determined using postseason tiebreaker criteria…

AMF 12.1 currently refers to  13.10.2, but BUCS REG 13.10 discusses the Northern Ireland Universities Sports Committee?

As such we’re working assuming we need to look at 13.11.2, which appears to use the same terminology as 13.10.2 used last season:

“REG 13.11.2   When establishing the next best first team or best performing team the following process will be used:

  • A mini league table consisting of the relevant teams’ performance against the top three teams of each respective league will be created for comparison.
  • If this does not produce a single team then the teams that are ‘performance tied’ shall have the top 4 teams per league compared, then top five teams and so on until a clear ‘best performer’ is determined.
  • This process shall also be used in relation to other regulations where a best performing team must be determined.

REG   An exception to the application of REG 13.11.2 will be if teams involved in calculations to establish the best performer from opposing leagues have completed the same number of league fixtures. The performance from those league fixtures will supersede the need to create a mini-league, initially using league points attained. If this does not determine an individual team the appropriate performance indicator to the sport will be used.”

 What would this mean for each individual fixture? We wouldn’t want to even begin guessing.

We can’t stress enough, notify BAFRA Operations, BUCS and BAFA of any Weather or travel issues.

BUCS are looking into options of what can be done and should announce something tomorrow.  The key is to let them know your game status ASAP.

Club committees? Get on it. Don’t leave your postseason down to the regs!




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