BUCS Sport

Cobras robbed of play-off place

Credit: XO Photo

Cardiff Cobras have been left furious after they were dumped out of the BUCS Division One American Football play-offs without even playing a game.

The Cobras secured a spot in the post-season for the third straight year on the final day of the regular season after playing three games in the space of seven days in order to complete their schedule.

They were due to face Kingston in the first round of the play-offs on Sunday, but the extreme weather conditions forced the game to be called off.

With only four fixtures out of 20 going ahead, BUCS issued a proposal to all 16 Division One teams, including the Cobras, on Friday.

The proposal offered to give teams an extra week to complete their opening weekend fixtures, essentially pushing back the play-off schedule by a week and leading to the National Final being contested on a date to be decided by the two remaining teams at a neutral venue.

However, the proposal required the formal agreement of all 16 teams by 5pm Monday, despite regulations that would allow the top ranked side from each match-up to progress in the case of postponed fixtures if it was rejected.

At 1pm Monday, it appeared although 15 teams had reached an agreement to accept the proposal, with the only team yet to confirm their acceptance being the Reading side who were knocked out in one of the few fixtures to go ahead.

But at around 3pm, an email was sent from the University of Nottingham citing their Head Coach had objected to the proposal owing to commitments in Senior American Football, where he coaches National Champions the Tamworth Phoenix, which could impact their preparations for a national final.

The University of Sheffield then also rejected the proposal, citing a clash with the Northern Final and their pre-booked tour dates which their Students’ Union were unwilling to change.

This left both sides free to progress to the next round, in the case of Nottingham without playing a fixture, whilst six remaining teams including the Cobras were knocked out of the play-offs without getting the chance to take to the field.

It was just the latest controversy to hit BUCS surrounding American Football after the Division Two Gloucestershire Gladiators were left out of the post-season due to a result which was not submitted by the deadline one day after the regular season ended, with a similar scenario seeing the UCLAN Rams lose out on divisional title and drop from the #2 to #6 seed.

Many believe BUCS should never have allowed such a decision to be put in the hands of the teams who would be affected, requiring a 100% vote knowing full well that 50% of the teams involved stood to benefit from the proposal being rejected.

There is plenty of frustration in the Cobras’ camp, given a general feeling that, despite a 4-4 record in a tough Conference, they had a genuine chance to go deep into the post-season after finding form at the right time.

They are now left wondering what could have been having been denied the chance to determine their own destiny on the field following questionable decisions from the powers that be.

The Cobras must now turn their attentions to Welsh Varsity, when they will face Premier South opposition in the form of the Swansea Titans on April 25.

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