Sport Editor Joe Liddicot reports on the BUCS Super Series event for netball, Intercept, taking place this week
One of the biggest events on UoB’s netball calendar takes place this week as Intercept rolls around this Wednesday (22nd February). The fixture is the annual BUCS super series event for netball and will be an evening of netballing excellence and entertainment for all attendees.
In last year’s event, the Lions triumphed over Exeter with a comfortable 58-31 victory, and they’ll be hoping to do the same in 2023 to keep the crowds happy. However, the opponent for this year’s clash is still unknown just a week ahead of the match. What’s certain is that it will be either Hertfordshire University or The University of Manchester who travel to Birmingham for the fixture. The two sides face each other a week before Intercept, with the winner securing their place in the fixture.
Hertfordshire will be the favourites in the match, being the reigning BUCS champions, while Manchester are yet to win a game this season. In their last faceoff in November, UoB came out 24-71 winners over Manchester. Should Hertfordshire triumph over Manchester, it will set up a mouth-watering rematch of last year’s BUCS Final. Unfortunately for the Lions, they lost that match by a mere three points, and will undoubtedly be seeking revenge should Herts Uni be their opponents on Wednesday.
The match itself holds importance for the Lions’ season, it being the Quarter-Final of the BUCS competition. A win would secure a place in the Semi-Final and boost hopes of going one step further than last year to clinch the trophy.
The squad certainly has the talent to win it all, with two of the players being members of Vitality Netball Super League teams. Kira Rothwell as part of Saracens Mavericks and captain Ruth Hughes for Severn Stars. While a lot of the squad play for Central Warriors U21, a high-class team renowned for developing young talent. Unfortunately, Rothwell won’t be playing in Intercept due to her commitments to the Mavericks, but the squad is more than capable regardless.
Aside from the match, which starts at 6PM, there are plenty of other forms of entertainment on offer. Including a raffle, games for primary school children who are attending, and an appearance from UoB alumnus Ellie Rattu, who is a current England Roses player. The Birmingham Pussycats will be performing at half-time to keep the crowds happy while the netballers are off the court. No doubt their performance will be just as impressive and exhilarating as the netball on display. Entry to this festival of fun is free, so there’s no excuse not to sample the entertainment available.
UoB’s netballers have been in fine form this season, losing just two games thus far. Those two losses were both at the hands of Loughborough, who may present a stern challenge down the line for the Lions. However, the focus this week will not be on Loughborough – they are an issue for another time. For now, all attentions are trained towards Intercept and securing a place in the Semi-Finals. It’s sure to be an entertaining affair, and the Lions will be full of confidence that they can come out victorious.
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