In a statement released on the 13 January, it was announced that the 2020/21 BUCS season had been cancelled, in light of the restrictions implemented as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Up to this point, the league was set to recommence at some point in Term 2, but “the unpredictable nature of nationwide lockdowns and restrictions” means students will have to go without organised university sport for this academic year.
This was ultimately an inevitable decision in light of the ongoing lockdown. Due to the nature of the league system, students regularly travel across the country, which is hardly conducive to keeping the number of cases down.
The University of Warwick’s Rugby Union 1st XV captain, Max Humphries, echoed this sentiment: “We can appreciate the gravity of the crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic represents, and I think that all of us at the club accept that in the grand scheme of things this is a small sacrifice to make to help stop the spread of the virus.”
The statement also highlights the disappointing nature of this decision
However, despite its unavoidability, the statement also highlights the disappointing nature of this decision, especially for those who are coming towards the end of their time at university, for whom teams have been like “a second family.”
For those players, the ceremony and emotions that would have surrounded their final few appearances in Warwick colours will be a great loss. Max, a final year student, said: “It is obviously gutting for us at the UWRFC to have had our season cancelled – not least for the final year students who have had their very last season of university-level rugby taken from them.”
For players at other stages of their university lives, this will also be a blow. This will have greatly affected first-year students the most, as their university experience had already been greatly limited.
The impact of this is highlighted by Max: “The incoming freshers have been deprived of the small instances of hardship, cooperation, and humour that in turn develop lasting friendships with the old boys and each other, leading to a lack of connection and identification with the club itself,” he said.
The loss of BUCS fixtures this year has left a large void
There is some hope, as well, that ‘individual’ events will take place in Term 3, as the COVID-19 situation continues to change, offering some hope of a light at the end of the tunnel. For cricketers as well, the Term 3 Outdoor Cricket league is the only competition that remains on the calendar.
Within a few short months, we can hopefully look forward to lying out on the grass in the hot sun, benignly enjoying some summer cricket as the stress of exams (or 7-day take-home assessments as they are now known) become a distant memory. The loss of BUCS fixtures this year has left a large void in university life, and we can but hope that next year the full vitality and excitement that surrounds weekly fixtures will be returned to those who represent Warwick.