The team has competed against some of the biggest institutions in the country in Tier Three of the British Colleges and Universities (BUCs) League and secured the championship with 3 – 1 victory over Sheffield Hallam away in the final game of the season.
After the game, team captain, and local Hull lad, Andrew Norfolk, was full of praise for his fellow teammates; “Today has been a fantastic culmination of the season. The team got the job done efficiently and that’s thanks to the bond we’ve got both on and off the pitch. The College ethos of ‘One team, one Bishop Burton’ was certainly in action today.”
The 19 year old student added; “I can’t single out any one player – we all played our role in today’s victory, much like we’ve done in previous games to get where we are today. I’m immensely proud that we’ve been promoted under my captaincy – and I’ve got my eyes firmly on another promotion next season”
Higher Education Football Head Coach, James Bennett, put the success down to an “outstanding team spirit” among the group, which helped secure vital victories against high class opposition.
He said; “This is our fourth promotion in the last five years, taking us to Tier Two, which is the highest BUCs football league the College has ever competed in.
“After winning promotion last season the team was competing in Tier Three again, which was the same league we got relegated from two years ago, so I knew it was going to be a challenge.
“The lads have bought into the training sessions this year and have listened carefully to specific game plans and systems for different games. But the biggest thing for me has been the team spirit which has carried us through in the tougher games.
“Although in the back of my mind I expected us to compete in this league, I think we have exceeded expectations this year.”
Season highlights included a 2-1 away victory against Teesside University and a 1-0 home win against York St John University – Bishop Burton’s two main rivals for the league championship.
“A lot of planning went into the win over Teesside,” said James. “It was really satisfying, as a coach, to see a game plan come off; however, it was the players who executed it and they deserve the credit, especially due to the fact we played with 10 men for 70 minutes as our keeper got sent off!
“The win against York St John at home reversed the result from their place earlier in the season and put us firmly in the driving seat going into the last game of the season against Sheffield Hallam.
“Out of the four promotions in the last five years this is by far the biggest achievement, simply down to the fact it is the highest league we have won and our opponents have been much stronger. Even though Teesside and St John provided us with our biggest tests, the wins against Leeds Beckett home and away, Hull University home and away and Sheffield Hallam at home were just as important. These are the games you are most likely to slip up in if the attitude is not right.”
James is now hopeful the core of the team will remain, with those in the second year of their degrees going on to a final year ‘top up’, and push for another successful season next year.
“I hope the majority of the lads will stay on and represent the College again in Tier Two,” he said. “If this happens and we can recruit some more players onto the higher education programme, we can compete again. If players do leave I believe they will be in a better position to achieve things in football outside of the College and that we have played a part in their development.”