Edinburgh University takes on Stirling University in the Semi-Final of the Scottish Student Sport (SSS) Cup at Peffermill Playing Fields at 7:30pm. It is bound to be an exciting game and a repeat of the British Cup Semi-Final which Stirling went on to win.
Previously, Stirling’s Head Coach Tommy Craig has told Tartan Kicks that games between the universities are “ferocious and feisty” but that the games are “always played in a really competitive but fair spirit.”
However, Stirling faces a tricky dilemma by their schedule. Yesterday, they travelled down south to beat Nottingham University in the British Premier League Play-Offs in extra-time. Today they face a big Semi-Final against a quality team.
The one fortunate aspect for Stirling is that the SWPL 1 fixtures for this Sunday have been postponed due to the Scotland Under-19 Elite Round Fixtures. This is additionally important as Stirling’s University side includes players for the other SWPL 1 clubs.
Tartan Kicks believes that both unions were offered a selection of dates and that Stirling chose to play today from the dates offered. Originally, the game was scheduled to be played on the 29th March and the winner will play Aberdeen in the Final.
Part of the issue seems to be over the fact that the SSS Cup Final takes place on Wednesday 5th April, giving little leeway in the dates available to be offered without postponing the Final.
The Stirling Head Coach Tommy Craig spoke to Tartan Kicks about their club’s perspective about the fixture situation.
The SSS Cup Has Been A Good Addition
“The SSS Cup has been a good addition to add another competition to the University activity. And there’s been a few changes this year such as set dates as opposed ‘played by’ dates and the removal of second teams which in my opinion has helped it. It’s had a history of issues of fixture dates and agreement between teams.
“The university season is too congested and doesn’t allow for success in the British competitions, however. I don’t agree that mid-semester breaks is a genuine reason for not playing matches and that would free up and additional two weeks. Start fixtures earlier in January and have the first round of the SSS Cup in September with seeding to help the congestion.
Edinburgh To Be Fair Have Been Great
“We’ve essentially been told work something out with Edinburgh or they’ll be awarded the tie. We received notification from BUCS on Friday about the Nottingham match for the date that’s been scheduled. What were we meant to do?
“Edinburgh to be fair have been great. We tried for Monday but facilities weren’t available and then we went for tonight. It’s not ideal but to have to reverse the match because Edinburgh can’t put 4 cars together and come through is extremely frustrating. We were able to secure the Astro and officials to play the match in Stirling but we’ll be through in Edinburgh. We’re fortunately there is no SWPL activity this weekend so if everyone gets through the match we can utilise the weekend for recovery. That’s my main concern, the welfare of the players.
“The most frustrating thing for the players, however, is that there was a precedent set last season when the final was moved due to a clash with Edinburgh College’s Easter holidays. It’s disappointing that it can’t be moved again in order to accommodate one of the Scottish teams doing so well in British competition.
“We’ll go along tonight and give it our best shot. Nottingham yesterday was by far the toughest match we’ve played this year and extra time and the travel wouldn’t have helped. I hope that whoever wins though it’s a really dominant performance with no excuses and doesn’t come down to tired legs.”