After potentially looking at a relegation battle, Hartpury’s university first team have turned their fortunes around and head into the final week of British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS) games with the chance to top the table for a ninth time.
Chris Knowles’ side go into Wednesday’s fixture (5pm kick-off) with third placed Cardiff Met needing a win to ensure they remain at the summit of the BUCS Premier South Division. With three points currently separating the top three sides, only a win will guarantee Hartpury top spot and a home tie in the knockout stages.
Following a 2-0 loss away to their Welsh counterparts back at the start of November, the team have gone on a four game winning run that includes the scalp of last year’s BUCS National Champions, the University of South Wales (USW), who currently sit second in the league.
Hartpury currently hold a two-point advantage over USW with Wednesday’s opposition, Cardiff Met, a further point back in third place. A win will guarantee Hartpury the title no matter what USW’s result at home to relegation-threatened East London but a draw will also be enough for Knowles’ side should USW not win by more than three goals. Cardiff Met could claim the title should they beat Hartpury and USW do not win.
Senior Manager Chis Knowles said: “Cardiff are a good side that look to play and they’re doing well in the Welsh Premier at the moment so Wednesday won’t be easy by any means. Our season started a little slowly but we’ve been on a good run since then and have picked up some really important wins along the way. The team are in a good place at the moment and hopefully we can get the result we need.”
Knowles will be without Sirdic Grant (quad strain) and Ed Weeks (knee) but will welcome back defender, Spencer Hamilton following his hamstring strain.
Away from the Premier South, Hartpury’s second and third teams are currently sitting pretty atop their respective leagues. With four games to go, the second team are three points clear in the Western 2B while the third team are joint top of the Western 3B.