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Another fencer
-15th February 2008, 23:32
I notice that the BUSA rules and regulations have been changed so that the Premier leagues are no longer English and Welsh, but are now national. As a result (and reflecting the promotion of Edinburgh women last year) Scots teams are now an integral part of the Northern PL.

I thought last year that this change was inevitable given the change in the points weightings (BUSA now give points for position in the league as well as knockout results) meaning that PL points are much more valuable. If the Scots didnt get this, their overall positions would have suffered.

However, as discussed last year this is not really a desirable solution - it means that NPLs can stretch from Worcester/Warwick in the South to Aberdeen. The expense must be crippling for clubs and AUs alike. (This isnt an attack on the Scots, it is merely an observation of reality).

I personally favour the scrapping of wednesday matches and having regional qualification weekends and progression to the BUSA champs. Our sport really isnt suited to Wednesday day trips and this latest absurdity should hasten the demise of the roadtrip. Failing that, BUSA should introduce a Midlands PL so that road trip distances fall back to the merely idiotic from the absurd.

UWBF
-16th February 2008, 06:54
The distances are getting to great, however I don't understand how our sport is any less suited to a Wednesday afternoon than any other sport. I have a mate at Edinburgh and I can honestly say that I think that running their league over one weekend means that the Scots miss out on the best part of BUSA.

Red
-16th February 2008, 08:01
I can see far more problems getting everybody to agree on a weekend or two than simply doing these on a Wednesday.

Another fencer
-16th February 2008, 09:08
UWBF - total travel time = 10 hours, sabreur total fencing time = 60 seconds. Ergo less suited. (But I also think that a lot of sports need to shift to tournaments - some like football need leagues because of recovery time.)

Red - A single weekend decided beforehand (probably clashing with a minor open) is easy if centrally imposed - everyone knows when they are needed - rather than a mad scrabble to get people on a wednesday (you know what I mean). A single qualifier weekend, I would regionalise North, Midlands, South. Lots of universities in one place. I would also introduce the US ABC strip system, so each university would get far more matches done and reduce the influence of one strong fencer on outcomes. Then finals done at BUCs (which is already a weekend). I would use the results of the qualifiers to seed the BUSA individuals, which would reduce/eliminate the ridiculous and arbitary results and seedings in the individual finals.

Then to keep up interest, relatively local leagues on Wednesdays if some universities wanted them - so that everyone gets the chance to perform even if not on the national university circuit.

UWBF
-16th February 2008, 18:36
I agree with a lot of your points Another Fencer, where never going to agree on the Wednesday afternoon thing though, mostly because I just love the road trips :) .

Your comments on the local league are interesting, do you not think the conference leagues are as local as it's ever going to get? Also what is local? It is an hour and a half for our nearest BUSA match.

Red
-16th February 2008, 18:50
Also what is local? It is an hour and a half for our nearest BUSA match.

All of ours are within an hour and a half - except UEA...
Things like the Medical School at Leicester are the only real hurdle to get over on Wednesdays - the emerging problem is the absurd inclusion of the Scottish Universities in the English (and Wales) Premier Leagues.
If the standard of fencing at Scottish Unis is that bad, fix it! The scots have a dedicated student body set up - use it to improve the standard of fencing/coaching at scottish unis rather than forcing Birmingham to go to Aberdeen.

UWBF
-17th February 2008, 18:50
The reason the Scot's want to be included Red is not because their league is poor. I suspect their conference is an awful lot stronger than the English and Welsh ones. BUSA changed at the start of this year, in previous years teams only got points towards the overall championship if they qualified for knockout. BUSA decided to change this so that every team gets points relative to their league. Simulations from last year showed that this had little effect on the top of the overall table but made the bottom of the table much more competitive. This means that it is now of far more value for the Scots to be in the Prem because their Universities will get more points towards the overall championship.

I've also heard on the grape vine that BUSA invited them to join the Prem before these changes.

Hope that all makes sense.

Red
-17th February 2008, 19:18
The reason the Scot's want to be included Red is not because their league is poor. I suspect their conference is an awful lot stronger than the English and Welsh ones. BUSA changed at the start of this year, in previous years teams only got points towards the overall championship if they qualified for knockout. BUSA decided to change this so that every team gets points relative to their league. Simulations from last year showed that this had little effect on the top of the overall table but made the bottom of the table much more competitive. This means that it is now of far more value for the Scots to be in the Prem because their Universities will get more points towards the overall championship.

I've also heard on the grape vine that BUSA invited them to join the Prem before these changes.

Hope that all makes sense.

Kind of.
Why not add a Scottish PL? For the men, this could work but it doesn't look like there are enough women's teams...

IainW
-18th February 2008, 09:51
The thing about the scottish conferences is unlike, say the northern, the two conferences are different tiers, with promotion/relegation between them, compared to the northern which is a geographic split.

So it's already like the premier leagues in England, yet without the points bonus... So for Scottish unis there are now 3 tiers to move up/down.

The whole system seems really quite complicated at the mo, and also very different across the leagues. I've fencing in the northern for a few years, and now in the scottish, and both approaches have plus/minus points.

Weds afternoons are good, as you get regular competition fencing, and the road-trip thing which is nice. But no uni *ever* gets their ideal team to all the matches (indeed, any matches?) as wednesday afternoon fencing invariably means "all of wednesday" for away matches. It's far easier to get your uni's best team together for a one-off weekend of fencing.

And I'll second the sabre point above. I reckon I must have done about 6 hours travelling for maybe 30-60 seconds fencing in the past...

silvercross
-18th February 2008, 10:06
I'll be a stick in the mud for the sake of being one:

I've already used the US model before, and received a fair bit of stick for it ('We have no budget', 'The distances are greater', 'the bloody yanks this and that'), but it seems to echo (in a small way) what AF is saying. Look for example at UPenn's Schedule:

http://www.pennathletics.com/SportSelect.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=1700&KEY=&SPID=607&SPSID=10604

One of their longest trips is roughly 150 miles (or 300 round trip) (unless you count the national finals, which is 1,000 mile return trip to Columbus). But the matches get done on a saturday (come to think of it, most US athletics takes place at the weekend).

Run a BUSA league on the weekends? You theoretically could, except that those fencers in the national league pools would riot saying 'fencing in Dubai is more important to me that a BUSA match' (and AF you know this is true).

I'd probably recommend BUSA try get unis to be more flexible in the scheduling. As for the premier league, nah... I'd much rather see Division I and Division II firmly entrenched as permanent divisions in BUSA Fencing. until that gets done, there's no point in wanting a division of Premier Leagues.

aber ollie
-18th February 2008, 10:39
Aberystwyth's upcoming matches read:

Championship: Bristol (home) if win, then Cambridge (Away)

Playoffs: Southampton (?) if win, then Bath (?)

Despite these all being miles away and possibly all in about 3 weeks as well as a varsity match against Bangor (2 hrs away) I still prefer the matches being spread out throughout several weeks. This is because not only does 'having a bad day'/ being ill/ work commitments only mean possibly losing one match, but selecting the 'perfect' team can take a few matches to get right anyway.

scottishsabreur
-18th February 2008, 12:02
I can see far more problems getting everybody to agree on a weekend or two than simply doing these on a Wednesday.

People don't have to agree on a weekend. If its set by BUSA it should be a case of, this is the weekend for the qualification...if you're not there...tough! We manage it fine in Scotland so I don't see why it should be an issue in England and Wales.

As suggested previously, I think it would work better if each region was divided up sensibly and the qualifiers from each region went on to fence in the Trophy/Championship? Did it not work like this before?

(I'm not really that involved in Student fencing so if I'm wrong or am stating something that has come up previously I apologise)

silvercross
-18th February 2008, 14:22
Has anyone stopped to think that with so many '2nd teams' entered this year into the competition, men's Shield has an astounding, whopping, gob-smacking, in-your-face-look-at-the-depth-our-sport-has-in-quality THREE teams competing in it? :confused:

One of which has a BYE, by the way...

Shield should be better served by re-structuring the league and establishing second divisions which can then field squads into the Shield.

UWBF
-18th February 2008, 15:38
Has anyone stopped to think that with so many '2nd teams' entered this year into the competition, men's Shield has an astounding, whopping, gob-smacking, in-your-face-look-at-the-depth-our-sport-has-in-quality THREE teams competing in it? :confused:

One of which has a BYE, by the way...

Shield should be better served by re-structuring the league and establishing second divisions which can then field squads into the Shield.


Ok this post is going to look like I'm contradicting myself and for that I apologies to AnotherFencer. For the record I do agree with you that some of the away matches are ridiculous, I love BUSA Wednesdays and disagree that we should get rid of them, but I think for the sake of the Prem League teams it needs to be divided into three (North, South & Midlands).


Anyway back to Silvercross's post:

I don't think that really solves the problem though. The big debate in any BUSA sport is a conflict between value for money and quality of sport. If we restructured league, particularly Northern 1A & 1B, we would have a much higher quality of fencing, but would we get such good value for money? If we where to take the top six teams out of the two leagues we would end up with a league containing Newcastle, Leeds, York, Manchester, Bangor & Keele. Surely the prospect of Newcastle-Keele, or Bangor-York is just to much to ask of small squads in a conference league.

Red
-18th February 2008, 15:43
I notice that the BUSA rules and regulations have been changed so that the Premier leagues are no longer English and Welsh, but are now national. As a result (and reflecting the promotion of Edinburgh women last year) Scots teams are now an integral part of the Northern PL.

I thought last year that this change was inevitable given the change in the points weightings (BUSA now give points for position in the league as well as knockout results) meaning that PL points are much more valuable. If the Scots didnt get this, their overall positions would have suffered.

However, as discussed last year this is not really a desirable solution - it means that NPLs can stretch from Worcester/Warwick in the South to Aberdeen. The expense must be crippling for clubs and AUs alike. (This isnt an attack on the Scots, it is merely an observation of reality).

I personally favour the scrapping of wednesday matches and having regional qualification weekends and progression to the BUSA champs. Our sport really isnt suited to Wednesday day trips and this latest absurdity should hasten the demise of the roadtrip. Failing that, BUSA should introduce a Midlands PL so that road trip distances fall back to the merely idiotic from the absurd.

Stupid question time - what has anything posted in this thread got to do with the title? I've seen no mention of PL promotion play-offs anywhere....

silvercross
-18th February 2008, 16:50
Stupid question time - what has anything posted in this thread got to do with the title? I've seen no mention of PL promotion play-offs anywhere....

We're not in it this year :(

There, that should return us momentarily to the topic...

However, AF was, in his introduction, voicing his opinion over the 'reorganization' of the BUSA league, which makes any points the rest of us make valid :tongue:

UWBF, I'm not suggesting re-merge Division I North (because they used to be a lot more 'merged' back in the day...the day being 6 years ago), but suggesting there might be cause to introduce a Second Division. I seem to remember not too long ago (this season) someone from UWB writing on this forum that had they known about it, UWBF would have submitted a second team. Grapevine rumours have Manchester tinkering with the idea of a men's second as well for 08/09. Newcastle, Liverpool, Loughborough, Durham and Nottingham all had men's seconds this year (that's a league. an unfair one to us travel wise, but a league.). So, we either clog up both leagues with 'fodder' (because unfortunately, unless you are Cambridge or Oxford, you cannot field an extremely strong second squad, and my apologies if anyone feels insulted by this), or properly place them in a league of their own. That in turn gives second teams in the North the opportunity to compete in the Shield, and gives that knockout a little bit more 'oomph!' (and it gives seconds something to look forward to, not just the annual 'beatings'. It helps develop the sport and the competition by raising the organization from the ground level up.) This year's match schedule for Div. IA and B were paltry. Only one match against everyone, six matches total (that is not a season, that's a pre-season!) because we had one team too many (admitedly ours, in IA all the more reason why I rue the decision both by our AU and by BUSA)

Phew! a lot of ranting on my part...:whistle:

UWBF
-18th February 2008, 17:22
Of course we would enter a seconds if there where two leagues, but there just isn't the demand for that in the North West at the moment. Manchester where seriously considering a seconds if they get promoted to the Prem.

Nick_C
-19th February 2008, 23:12
Would busa ever seriously consider neutral venues halfway between teams? eg a match at brum/lufbra/notts etc rather than home or away for either (eg) Aberdeen or Southampton etc?

Another fencer
-22nd February 2008, 11:36
The idea would be to have one weekend fixed as the regional championship (North, Midlands, South - with Scotland in North) with 3 divisions:

Premier Division
1st Division
2nd Division

There would be a series of matches within each division and 4 teams would qualify from each division to the finals weekend. Winner of each regional championship and best 2nd place team over all three regions. Promotion play-offs done that day as well.

Premier = Championship
1st = Trophy
2nd = Shield

Held over BUCS weekend in march.

The point is that if you fix the date in advance and it doesnt clash with major opens or internationals everyone knows when to go. The fact that you may be having an off day/ill is tough, but this way everyone can take their strongest team and know that this is the day. Cuts down on travelling and makes for far better fencing. If people want to maintain local (eg 1-2 hours travelling time) fencing they can do so and use it as practice, but a single qualifying weekend would be the only BUSA team event apart from the finals weekend.

And yes the title of this thread is linked to this through the fact that the English and Welsh leagues have become GB leagues as evidenced by the fact that Edinburgh men have joined the NPL promotion playoffs. (The inclusion of Edinburgh women last year was a precursor and the rules changed this year.)

An alternative to weekends would be to follow UWBF -

Break up the 1st Division more and create more 2nd Divisions in Western, Midlands and Northern leagues. Dont have two matches (home and away), but just one match even if the league is down to 4 or 5. Fewer but better matched league matches, but more knockout comps for lower level teams, (by having a proper 16 entry into the Shield) and encourage more participation. More in line with current BUSA thinking anyway. Doesnt deal with the potential idiocy of a Warwick vs Aberdeen NPL match-up though. (remember this isnt just for fencing - NPLs apply to many sports.)

scottishsabreur
-22nd February 2008, 13:26
The idea would be to have one weekend fixed as the regional championship (North, Midlands, South - with Scotland in North) with 3 divisions:

That wouldn't work...just on the basis of including Scotland in the North league. With just the Scottish Unis in attendance at BUSA teams we still struggle to fit it in on one weekend, especially as some unis put in B teams. If you want to run it this way, it would have to be over a longer period of time, it's just not realistic.

Red
-22nd February 2008, 14:49
It could work on one day, but only with leagues of 4 teams. Playing four matches in one day isn't going to work.

Allowing 3 hours per match, you can only really fit in 3 matches in one day - any more than that is murder. You could go over the whole weekend with a league of 7, but you'd need to accomodate a few dozen fencers. Leagues of 5 might be awkward (one team would have three matches on one day and two on the next), but six or seven could work easily. Eight is silly.

silvercross
-22nd February 2008, 15:18
The idea would be to have one weekend fixed as the regional championship (North, Midlands, South - with Scotland in North) with 3 divisions:

Premier Division
1st Division
2nd Division

There would be a series of matches within each division and 4 teams would qualify from each division to the finals weekend. Winner of each regional championship and best 2nd place team over all three regions. Promotion play-offs done that day as well.

Premier = Championship
1st = Trophy
2nd = Shield

Held over BUCS weekend in march.

The point is that if you fix the date in advance and it doesnt clash with major opens or internationals everyone knows when to go. The fact that you may be having an off day/ill is tough, but this way everyone can take their strongest team and know that this is the day. Cuts down on travelling and makes for far better fencing. If people want to maintain local (eg 1-2 hours travelling time) fencing they can do so and use it as practice, but a single qualifying weekend would be the only BUSA team event apart from the finals weekend.

And yes the title of this thread is linked to this through the fact that the English and Welsh leagues have become GB leagues as evidenced by the fact that Edinburgh men have joined the NPL promotion playoffs. (The inclusion of Edinburgh women last year was a precursor and the rules changed this year.)

An alternative to weekends would be to follow UWBF -

Break up the 1st Division more and create more 2nd Divisions in Western, Midlands and Northern leagues. Dont have two matches (home and away), but just one match even if the league is down to 4 or 5. Fewer but better matched league matches, but more knockout comps for lower level teams, (by having a proper 16 entry into the Shield) and encourage more participation. More in line with current BUSA thinking anyway. Doesnt deal with the potential idiocy of a Warwick vs Aberdeen NPL match-up though. (remember this isnt just for fencing - NPLs apply to many sports.)

I wholeheartedly agree with everything in red.

I cannot agree with the principle of 'moving it all down to one weekend', simply because no other organized sport, professional or ammateur does that.

That one of the reasons being given is that 'it doesnt clash with major opens or internationals' is a priority to you, and I can possibly understand it, but should not be the rule and the priority for all fencers who fence at universities. Outside of the Permier North and South, the number of fencers who regularly attend internationals drops considerably.

Promotion of the sport involves making sure fencers of that level have regular exposure to fencing, and the BUSA leagues provide part of that.

Another fencer
-22nd February 2008, 16:40
Scottishsabreur, if necessary to fit it in over one weekend, I would go with the US system of ABC strips to minimise the required time. Note that in my version there are three divisions not the two that exist in Scotland at the moment. Remember that some of the "southern" Northern division would be split off to form Midlands. Also if necessary could split the 2nd Division into two so that the poules are smaller and only the winners meet.

There are 57 men's teams in total divided between 3 regions and 3 divisions that is under 7 teams in any poule - and if you went for 5 teams in each premiership, 5 teams in each 1st division and two 2nd divisions of 4-5 teams each, with the winners of the 2nd divisions doing a single knockout at the end, this would be no more than the Scots do in a weekend - you would need more space, but it is doable. (even without using the US ABC strip, which would reduce time further.)

Another fencer
-22nd February 2008, 16:49
I cannot agree with the principle of 'moving it all down to one weekend', simply because no other organized sport, professional or ammateur does that.

That one of the reasons being given is that 'it doesnt clash with major opens or internationals' is a priority to you, and I can possibly understand it, but should not be the rule and the priority for all fencers who fence at universities. Outside of the Permier North and South, the number of fencers who regularly attend internationals drops considerably.

Promotion of the sport involves making sure fencers of that level have regular exposure to fencing, and the BUSA leagues provide part of that.

Actually the US NCAA does it this way - and they have a thriving fencing scene. Also rowing, sailing, do weekends. So this "no other organised sport" doesnt hold water. I can understand the desire to keep Wednesdays (silly though it is in many ways - the travel, the home advantage etc), but can we avoid the hyperbole - it simply makes for a silly argument.

It is totally logical to avoid internationals - the whole point of a weekend would be to expose all fencers to the internationals in our midst.

pinkelephant
-22nd February 2008, 19:43
Also rowing, sailing, do weekends. So this "no other organised sport" doesnt hold water.

Ouch. Was that intentional?

jamesthornton
-23rd February 2008, 18:28
is this an oxford or a busa thing with rowing and sailing?

in my opinion if you take away wednesdays you take away the fun of university sport. im form a northern uni and we travel a lot. i think some people are just being awkward and are trying to make things work better for them.

Swords Crossed
-23rd February 2008, 20:42
is this an oxford or a busa thing with rowing and sailing?
I totally agree.
in my opinion if you take away wednesdays you take away the fun of university sport. im form a northern uni and we travel a lot. i think some people are just being awkward and are trying to make things work better for them.

one of the things i've enjoyed about busa fencing is that it doesn't take up my weekend, and is a fun afternoon midweek.

Also, comments earlier about "not clashing with major internationals or opens" may be true, but for those of us who are either not yet at such an exalted level, or are at northern unis, it would interfere with many good intermediate opens (merseyside, for example). This would hamper the development of fencers who have potential, have not yet reached, say, top 100 standard.

Another fencer
-24th February 2008, 09:22
Rowing, sailing are generally organised as regattas whether at university or generally - remember the original point made was that "no other organized sport, professional or ammateur (sic) does (weekends)" - this was a rebuttal to that.

With regard to intermediate opens, it would only be ONE weekend.

Jimmy, not being awkward, just throwing out some ideas to improve things. I prefer a weekend qualifier because I think it would make the results more representative, it would improve the quality of the fencing and remove the idiocy of the 8 hour round trip for sabreurs who get 60 seconds on the piste. I know some people are wedded to Wednesdays and road trips do bind teams together, they do provide a regular series of matches with the imbalances evening out - I also think BUSA are not going down the qualifier weekend route - as they fight to keep Wednesdays for sport generally. As I pointed out there are a couple of other things that could be done -

1) NPL, SPL and a new Midlands Premier League which would encompass bits of the south and the north. (I believe that this is inevitable now that the Scots have been included in the NPL - Aberdeen to Warwick is just too much, just as the Scots inclusion in the NPL was inevitable after the change to BUSA points for league position - I predict this will happen in the next couple of years, once people have seen Aberdeen vs someone in the midlands.)

2) The development of more 2nd Divisions in the West, North and Midlands by shaving off the bottom half and expanding the Shield comp. Fewer more evenly matched teams. Fewer matches at the league stage.

So this isnt special pleading. Can I suggest that we lobby for at least 1) above and possibly 2)? Admittedly the latter wont affect everyone, but should increase participation. (although one shudders to think about the refereeing in some of the 2nd division matches...)

pinkelephant
-24th February 2008, 09:28
60 seconds on the piste is 5 to 6 times longer than a 100m sprinter would do.

Another fencer
-24th February 2008, 09:34
And athletics is another one where they do weekend meets in BUSA. Just smiling at the image of BUSA wednesday afternoon athletics matches - just two sprinters running against one another. lol.

pinkelephant
-24th February 2008, 10:07
You've missed the point. Length of time doing your stuff is irrelevant.

Another fencer
-24th February 2008, 10:42
Have I missed the point?

I think that there are two points

1) Sprinters dont do weekly league matches
2) Length of time on the piste doesnt matter

I concede 2) - it isnt the amount of time, it is the competing that is important -whether you do it as a marathon (about the longest event I can think of) or a single sabre bout as a sub (a minimum of 5 or 6 seconds).

But on a practical note 1) is significant, people dont like travelling lots of hours while getting a little time on the piste (yet we still do it - both for BUSA and for getting cut at Opens after the poules), it isnt an overwhelming reason for changing the BUSA structure, but it is a contributory point.

omc
-24th February 2008, 12:17
There seems to be a much simpler reason for not having multiple wednesday afternoons, regardless of the beneficial 'team bonding' effect: cost. Train tickets / petrol etc. cost a lot of money over the course of a season. Having one weekend would reduce the cost dramatically.

pinkelephant
-24th February 2008, 12:51
I'm just trying to contemplate the thought of an injured fencer, who manages to fence 3 weapons in a match on successive Wednesday afternoons without moving much, doing the same thing multiplied by 4 (or more) over a weekend. The strain on even a FIT fencer who fences all 3 weapons would be huge.

Having a weekend would also halve the number of matches, as the Home/Away fixtures would vanish.

I would also challenge you to find a weekend that did NOT clash with a major Open, or a Junior or Senior international or qualifying event at any weapon, over the relevant time period. Even the BUSA individuals cause problems for some fencers, who have to decide between them and a foreign event - with pressure being put on them by their university (which refuses to see the bigger picture) in one direction, and the chance of qualifying for the Junior Worlds in the other.

Another fencer
-24th February 2008, 19:45
PE's point about iron manning is very valid. I have two thoughts about this -

1) Not allowing iron manning (so every team must have 9 fencers) - probably not possible in the UK, but the way that the NCAA is run, with much more weapon specialisation. (in many ways where we should want to be)

2) Going for the creation of individual weapon team championships - so there would be a sabre, foil and epee team event. Still on one weekend, but would help a) weaker universities who might only be able to field a single weapon team, b) individual weapon teams that are dragged down by the other weapons.

Neither is perfect, and you dont get a single university that is Champion in FES, but then again, most team comps are really individual weapon events. I know that schools and universities have long competed on the basis of FES, but this isnt the case in general. Should we continue to respect this holy cow?

As to the challenge of finding a single weekend that doesnt clash with a major open or a junior/senior international, the answer is you probably cant, but the choice would have to minimise the number of affected fencers. I see this as a less bad choice than having incomplete teams competing on multiple Wednesdays (You cant say "weekend comp bad because it clashes with a Junior foil A grade", but say "Wednesdays OK even though teams are incomplete through people being busy"). The BUSA team finals also clashed last year with epee and foil A grades - so this is already a problem.

While I sympathise with the small 3 man teams who do all three weapons and their consequent discomfiture in a weekend event, I dont see it as being an overwhelming reason not to ditch the Wednesday system. I see it as a reason to rethink the structure of the competition in general.

Kepster
-24th February 2008, 23:45
I'm another who likes the Wednesday afternoon road trips, & I believe they're one of the best parts of the whole experience.

There's definitely advantages and disadvantages to both options, i.e. keeping the Wednesday matches or switching to a weekend qualifier. One point made is the possible non-availability of members of a team for a given match, this is vastly exacerbated should someone have to miss a weekend - there's a fair few of us out there who have to work as well as study & fence, I'm lucky in that I can choose my own shifts, others aren't as fortunate.

A weekend format definitely favours those clubs who are able to field full(er) teams rather than 3 ironmen, personally I don't agree with the idea of making the current structure into championships for each weapon - instead clubs should be encouraged to implement a structure so that they can field sufficiently deep teams across the weapons.

The cost of the multiple trips in comparison to a weekend away is a valid point, however it should also be considered that there's often multiple teams travelling to the same or nearby venues, offsetting the costs.

Restructuring the divisions to alter travel arrangements is a possibility, however this largely depends on how many universities in a given area have a) fencing clubs and b) have the stability to enter teams - given that it's a fairly frequent scenario for a large proportion of a club/team to be graduating with the remaining members not knowing who they'll have to replace them the following year, & teams have to be entered for BUSA fairly early on.

I've been around long enough to remember the delights of trying to get back to Lancaster from Hull after flooding had caused our train to be cancelled, naturally I prefer shorter trips to Preston, Manchester, Liverpool et al - yet despite the separation of the North division into effectively North West/North East, we've got a 3+ hour trip to Bangor - they've got it worse, all their trips are lengthy.

Personally I'd like to see the North restructured into a Div 1/Div 2 format, this would hopefully avoid some of the lopsided scores seen over the past couple of years, plus the fight against relegation or for promotion would hopefully push the teams/fencers to improve their own standards.

Red
-25th February 2008, 01:07
This season I've been the best sabreur by far at Leicester and the second best foilist (with a yawning gulf between me and #3). Similarly, our top foilist is our second best sabreur (again, #3 is far weaker). The anti-iron-man idea would suit very few people - I point you to your own Varsity Match report as an example.

How things work suits us nicely - yes, we've been hit by the medical school on away trips (top epeeist and top foilist are both medics) which has meant we haven't qualified for any knockouts this year. However, the team spirit that has grown far outweighs the inconvenience/expense of travelling on a Wednesday - this has got to the point where it didn't take any persuading to get a trio of foilists to enter the county team sabre - and the boys that weren't particularly good at the start of the season have seen week-on-week improvement in their fencing. Give me a way in which they could have gained the experience/ability/confidence etc (effectively for free, the SU pays all BUSA travel costs, all the fencers invest is their time) without weekly Wednesday BUSA matches and I'll buy you a silly hat.

I agree that the Premier Leagues need fixing if the Scots are joining them. Lower divisions seem alright to me (longest travel time this season was 90 minutes or so ;))

randomsabreur
-25th February 2008, 09:44
Not a student anymore, but was involved in BUSA for 4 years...

I hated the Wednesday afternoon matches. For any away match you had to leave by about 12, possibly earlier, and for some of the knock outs, you had to leave in the morning. I was not a medic, but for me (and others at my university), "Wednesday Afternoon" started at 2pm, the start time for the matches. As it was only French, I missed the lectures, if they had been more important, I'd've had to miss the matches.

It always felt like a total waste to spend 5 hours travelling, missing 3 lectures (stupid course had more on Wednesday than any other day!) and be on the piste for 2 weapons (before WS teams) for about 5 minutes. I also hated hiring and driving an unfamiliar large car, which was far more tiring than the fencing. As the only team member over 21 for one of my years, that was even more pain, as I had to do the driving every time.

In my final BUSA year (Oxford) we ran the SPL on two weekends. I did 2 weapons for each - and no-one would consider me fit - without too much pain.

Swords Crossed
-25th February 2008, 11:47
It is true that for those universities/departments which have less than sympathetic timetabling (my only lecture on a wednesday last term finished at 1), it can be a struggle to get an away team together, but as has already been pointed out, weekends are hardly clash free, and a choice between fencing at an open/international and fencing for your uni could still pose problems.

"While I sympathise with the small 3 man teams who do all three weapons and their consequent discomfiture in a weekend event, I dont see it as being an overwhelming reason not to ditch the Wednesday system. I see it as a reason to rethink the structure of the competition in general." (AF)

For those of us who often don't have any other option but to field a 3 man team or concede a walkover, i think it is a pretty overwhelming reason to keep the wednesday system. Many universities simply don't have the manpower to avoid iron manning, and there are many fencers out there perfectly competent in more than one weapon and enjoy doing more than one weapon (enjoyment of course being one of the main reasons people give up their time to fence at BUSA).

randomsabreur
-25th February 2008, 12:52
The premier league system worked fine with all the fights (but not done twice) on a weekend - could easily have added another couple of teams given sufficient piste space and independent referees purely so that there is no time wasted. Six teams needs 3 pistes, each weapon done in its entirety before moving on to next weapon. Should be able to do epee and sabre on 1 day, foil on the other.

People did fence all 3 weapons. I only did 2 because I wasn't good enough to be selected for epee.

If PE's hypothetical injured fencer was the only fencer old enough to drive a car (hired from uni has a limit of 21 and 2 years licence iirc) or the only one to own a large enough car, driving can be harder than fencing, especially if injury is knee related

pinkelephant
-25th February 2008, 15:01
Hypothetically old enough, but too expensive to insure.;)