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Tournament Report: University Nationals 2024

Anita Sivakumar

7 Apr 2024

Southampton claim the national university championship title two years running!

Guest reported by Anita Sivakumar  The 2024 British Roundnet University National Championships were held on Saturday 16th March at Warley Rugby Club in Birmingham. This was one of the biggest national tournaments in the past few years, with 80 players participating - what an achievement! A big thank you to our volunteers Richard Chapman and Apurba Subedi for organising the event and making it an epic success!


One shield, 10 university teams [Southampton, Sheffield, Birmingham, Exeter, Bath, Nottingham, Leeds, Oxford, Law, and Bournemouth] who all came together to fight for the most prestigious squad title. Last year, Southampton teams triumphed on top, placing high, and scoring the greatest points, Will they do it again and be crowned “University National Champions 2024”?

5 women's teams entered this year, which we are keen to increase in the coming years; 4 from Sheffield, and 1 Birmingham team. Huge respect for Sheffield for bringing 80% of the women’s division teams and promoting the university women’s roundnet scene well! The format was a round-robin system. Then the top two teams battled in the finals for 1st and 2nd place. And the 3rd and 4th would do so for 3rd place. The women’s finals were much closer than anticipated, as Sheffield originally lost 7-15 to Birmingham in the pool play. It was a tight 3-setter with a few lethal drops and many strong booms, and the outcome was a hard-fought victory for Birmingham - could it be down to home advantage? Podium positions were Kezi Wroe/ Anita Sivakumar with 1st place; Rebecca Huang/ Liv Chan with 2nd place; and Tilda Sly/ Cristina Garcia Rapoport with 3rd place. UOB winning opened up the squad shield title race and made it all to play for in the Open Division.


The open division had 6 groups of 6 teams. The third place teams in each group and the top two women’s teams then played an exciting knockout game to compete for the top bracket where the majority of squad points could be earned. The open finals were the last matches of the day - it was the closest and most enticing to watch! Both teams fought well in a breathtaking final to 3 sets, that featured several nasty aces, defensive touches, and deadly hits. Ultimately CEO and Rat Dad (Sheffield) took the win! The podium was as follows: Joe Kerridge/ Cullen Shepherd with 1st place; Daniel Blackledge/ Matthew Russell with 2nd place; and Tom Newby/ Keaton Kaess with 3rd place. This added 20 points to Sheffield and 18 to Southampton. A win in the open did not guarantee an overall squad win, as it would all come down to points from every team collected from their performances throughout the day.


Here are the final squad point standings for each university for places 10th to 3rd:

Oxford: 1 point.

Bath and University of Law: 3 points.

Bournemouth and Leeds tied: 9 points - Bournemouth finishing well with only one team! Nottingham: 11 points - also only with one team!

Exeter: 16 points

Birmingham: 46 points,


So now it was between the reigning champions and Sheffield who were looking to overthrow them. Sheffield were strong contenders getting a total 54 points. However, despite not fielding a team for the women’s division, by having 6 teams within the top 16 Open Division, 3 within the top 8, Southampton eked out the victory with a total of 62 points to retain the Squad Shield and Title.


The Squids are now back-to-back champions! Will they carry on this legacy in 2025? Sheffield and Birmingham, for sure, will be wanting to fry some calamari.


A massive thanks again to volunteers Richard and Pumba; without their help hosting this tournament, setting up, packing away, with advertisement, commentary, etc, this day would not have been possible!

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