The 2018-19 British University and College Sports (BUCS) American Football season got underway at the weekend, with 81 teams taking part across three tiers of competition.
The top tier of British college football is the Premiership, which is split into North and South conferences:
North – Derby Braves, Durham Saints, Leeds Beckett Carnegie, Stirling Clansmen and University of Nottingham.
South – Birmingham Lions, Hertfordshire Hurricanes, Portsmouth Destroyers, Swansea Titans and UWE Bullets.
Below the Premiership are 30 teams competing in six conferences in Division One and a further 41 teams competing in six conferences in Division Two.
The season culminates with the playoffs in March.
The most anticipated game of Week One was the Premiership North matchup between last year’s national champions, Durham Saints, visiting the team they beat in the final, Derby Braves. On this occasion, Durham Saints ran out 32-9 winners.
The other game in Premiership North was between the 2016-17 national champions, Stirling Clansmen, and Leeds Beckett Carnegie. Leeds inflicted a large defeat on the Clansmen by 50-28 and have shown already they will be a force to be reckoned with this season.
Two games took place in Premiership South. Birmingham Lions, who topped the conference last year, won a low scoring game against Portsmouth Destroyers by 16-13. In the other game, Swansea Titans beat last season’s conference runner’s up, Hertfordshire Hurricanes, 36-26.
In Division One, one of the pre-season favourites for promotion back to the Premiership, Loughborough Students, took on local rivals Leicester Longhorns. Loughborough edged the game 17-14.
Looking ahead to Week Two
There is only one game in Premiership North in Week Two. The University of Nottingham play their first game following promotion from Division One last year. Nottingham were undefeated in 2017-18 and face a tough task at home to Leeds Beckett Carnegie, who have had an impressive start to the season.
In Premiership South, newly promoted UWE Bullets play their first game of the season. A road trip to Birmingham to take on the Lions. The other game in the division sees the Destroyers take on the Titans on the south coast.
In Division One, Bath Killer Bees start their season following relegation from Premiership South last year. They have a home game against Exeter Demons.
Contribution from Mark Holmes (@hailaway), who has been a Redskins fan for thirty years.
Lions first touchdown of the season image @SteelUK.