Tom Millington on the attack against Durham

The wet weather failed to dampen the prospects of some of Edge Hill University’s sports teams as the business end of the BUCS campaign draws ever closer – with women’s hockey and basketball teams able to celebrate league titles.

The men’s firsts’ hockey team have also put themselves in pole position in their division, shrugging off a delayed journey to championship-rivals Bangor which saw them arrive only 20 minutes before kick-off to come away with a 4-1 victory.

Ross Gordon and Levi Racs in the first half, and Jac Horwood’s second-half double were the men on target for the visitors, with Bangor netting from a short corner late on for their consolation. The result puts Edge Hill top of Northern 3A, a point clear of their opponents having played two games fewer. They travel to Lancaster seconds next time out – who themselves still have faint hopes of top spot – knowing victory will secure the title.

The women’s hockey first team are already celebrating success, securing a second successive promotion – this time to Northern 2A – by seeing off Lancaster seconds 4-1 with a clinical display. Anya Lewis, Abi Hall (2) and Nadina Skinner were the scorers, with skipper and England Universities’ Anna Hollis also influential throughout.

Alas, the seconds couldn’t make it a winning double, going down 2-0 to Manchester thirds on a day when all teams involved sported red and helped raise over £150 for UK Sepsis Trust in honour of Edge Hill seconds’ Beth Jones’ grandmother, who passed away of the condition.

In a brutal rugby league Trophy encounter, the Tigers won the war of attrition to secure a 24-16 victory over their top-of-the-table Northern 1A rivals, Durham firsts, to progress to the quarter-finals. Forwards Harry Phillips and Josh Mousdell caught the eye, laying the platform for the backs who often found the going tough in the conditions. Nathan Taylor celebrated his England Universities call-up by getting amongst the try scorers, with Cory Bennie (2), Mousdell and Adam Carr also crossing. Greg Antonio, on debut, claimed the Man of the Match honours.

Conor Jones makes inroads during the Trophy triumph;

Taylor, who impressed in a recent North v South trial game, was recently handed a national call-up alongside team-mate Lewis Fairhurst, who helped England win the Four Nations last summer and who is on the books of North Wales Crusaders. Taylor reflected: “I’m ecstatic, the feeling of being selected for your country is one I never thought I would feel. I have got to give a lot of credit to my coaches, people like University coach Callum Donaldson and my community club coaches, who have pushed me to develop and enable me to achieve these sort of goals.”

In basketball, the women made up for the men’s firsts’ 115-35 defeat at Keele firsts by defeating the same University’s female counterparts 60-48 to secure the Northern 3A title. Behind at half-time, a strong third quarter was key in the Ducks making it seven wins from seven against their nearest challengers, with Danielle Murphy contributing half of their points total.

Both men’s football teams went down to defeat: the firsts’ faint Northern 2A title hopes being banished 5-3 at Lancaster firsts, while the seconds were edged out 2-1 at home by Northern 4A league-leaders Salford firsts.

The men’s tennis team claimed an impressive 10-2 success over Manchester thirds to keep their Northern 3A title hopes alive, but there was defeat for the American football side, whose play-off hopes have now been dashed after a 9-0 loss at Lancaster Bombers.