Between confusion and cold weather, the BUCS postseason was thrown into turmoil this past week. Teams that were in, were suddenly out, and with the majority of fixtures across the three tiers delayed? Everything got shaken all about.
Following mounting concerns that the majority of fixtures were not going to be able to go ahead, finally on Friday the BUCS office sat down and came up with a number of solutions to hopefully compensate for the loss of games this past week, without overly interfering with the already set schedule dates - such as the Championship Finals weekend, etc.
Owing to the differing circumstances in each level of the game, the proposed solution was slightly different in each tier.
So let’s take a look at the situation for each of the three tiers:
Premiership - Championship
This one’s fairly simple.
All four Premiership Quarter-Final fixtures ended up being delayed because of the weather. Luckily, the top tier already had a bye week built into their postseason schedule, the 18 March, and so the first two rounds of the postseason have simply been shifted back a week.
Quarter-Finals will instead take place this weekend (10/11 March), Semi-Finals on the 17/18 March, and then provisionally, the BUCS National Championship is still set to take place on the weekend of the 24/25 March - venue and date announcement incoming!
Division Two - Conference Cup
Aware that this is ‘out of order’, but getting it out of the way because this is simple too.
Originally scheduled to wrap up on the 18 March, the whole postseasons essentially been pushed back a week.
The results from this weekend still count (Bangor 20-16 Huddersfield, Brighton 14-0 RHUL) it’s just that the other six fixtures have until 11 March to be played, while Bangor and Brighton enjoy a bye week.
The regional Div Two Championships will then be played out on the 24/25 March, rather than the 17/18 as originally planned. While is may clash with some term dates, overall it seemed the better solution than missing the majority of the first round of the postseason.
Division One - National Trophy
This is where it potentially gets messy.
Division One actually has the lengthiest postseason, thanks to the fact you have two separate ‘regional championships’, that decide which teams get promoted, and then these culminate in the North vs South National Trophy Final. That’s four rounds, to fit into four weeks of schedule.
As such, there were no ‘spare’ weeks built in, and so BUCS offered the teams a choice:
i) Push the schedule back a week, at least decide which teams get promoted ahead of previously set ‘end’ of the season (25 March), and then try to find a chance to play the National Trophy Final sometime ahead of 16 May,
ii) Stick with it as is, and accept that games unable to be played this weekend will be decided by tiebreakers.
The catch here, however, is that for the first option to stand ALL SIXTEEN postseason teams have to agree to it in writing by 1700 this evening (Monday 5 March).
As things stand, this is looking increasingly unlikely, with a number of programmes having shared with DC that their preference is to stick with the schedule as originally laid out.
Particularly, teams with a large number of players that play summer league balling, either in the UK or abroad, are concerned that an extended season will interfere with their players’ commitments, and that essentially what we’ll see is the National Trophy game abandoned, or played out by depleted rosters.
Obviously, nothing’s decided until this evening, so it could still go either way…
If a unanimous decision isn’t reached what would this mean for each fixture?
So, first things first - a proviso. This is just our best interpretation of the BUCS rules and regulations. This is not in any way official, and as proven in the past week? We can be VERY wrong in predicting how BUCS will interpret their own Regs.
Still, we’ll give it a shot.
First up, the two Division One fixtures played this weekend will stand as scored… so long as they’re reported to the league office ahead of the deadline. Ha.
Kent progress over Reading (30-7) and Sheffield move past UCLan (19-0).
The other six fixtures will be resolved by tie breakers as laid out in BUCS Regs:
“AMF 12 Un-Played Knock-Out Games
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.”
This is now slightly out of date, but one assumes it refers to 13.11.2:
“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 184.108.40.206 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.”
We have six fixtures as yet unplayed:
- UEA Pirates v Brunel Burners
- Kingston Cougars v Cardiff Cobras
- UWE Bullets v Plymouth Blitz
- University of Nottingham v Sheffield Hallam Warriors
- NTU Renegades v Northumbria Mustangs
- Edinburgh Napier Knights v Hull Sharks
In all these cases the teams have played the same number of games, and so REG 220.127.116.11 kicks in, and it’s as simple as most league points (i.e. most wins) wins.
Based on this Kingston (14pts v 8pts), UWE (14pts v 12pts), Nottingham (16pts v 8pts), and NTU (12pts v 10pts) progress.
For UEA/Brunel and Edinburgh/Hull the teams are tied on wins/points - 12/12 and 10/10 respectively, so we move to the next determinant, the ‘appropriate performance indicator to the sport’:
“AMF 13.4 Separating Teams Tied on League Points: Exception to BUCS General Regulation 9.9.6 – goal variation will not be used. American Football shall utilise average points conceded as a distinguishing factor at this point within the differentiation process. If this process does not produce a definitive team a coin toss shall be conducted.”
As such UEA (6.00 average points conceded) would take the win over Brunel (6.88 APC) and Napier (7.38 APC) would take the walkover against Hull (14.50 APC).
Notably, of the eight matchups, by our interpretation of the Regs, the only lower-seeded team that would have progressed past their opponent through a tiebreaker would have been the Rams over the Sabres, who instead fell short when they took to the field on Sunday.
Alternatively, perhaps this fan theory explains the whole situation?
Got further queries or spotted any mistakes? Let us know!
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