Derby Braves American Football team lead University of Derby's charge to more sporting successes
GRIDIRON is the perhaps unlikely source of Derby University's latest sporting success.
The university have pledged to continue to raise their sporting profile after leaping up the British Universities & Colleges Sport rankings last year.
And it is the Derby Braves, their American Football squad, who are leading the charge so far this year, despite being founded only in March.
American Football is also new to the BUCS sporting programme for this season, with 72 universities entering teams for the inaugural competition.
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The Braves have reached the national knockout stages of the BUCS competition by winning the North West Conference and they have done it with a game to spare.
They beat their closest rivals, previously unbeaten Sheffield, 14-6 to clinch the title and, tomorrow, will be at home to the University of Central Lancashire, aiming to complete an unbeaten Conference campaign of eight matches.
If they can do so, it would send them into the knockout stages as number one seeds, meaning they can go straight to the second round.
The Sheffield victory was the closest match Derby have been in.
They began their campaign with a 42-12 win away to Staffordshire University in November, then thrashed Manchester Metropolitan University 58-0 away.
In the Braves' first home game, Sheffield Hallam were despatched 24-6, before Bangor were sent packing 33-0.
A spectacular at Lancaster ended 68-38 in Derby's favour before Huddersfield were beaten 34-0.
The Braves' success will ultimately add serious ranking points for Derby University on the BUCS ladder but theirs is not the only recent success.
The university's futsal team have become BUCS Midlands Premier Division champions to reach the national knockout stages, where they have beaten last year's overall winners, Teesside, in the last 16.
They have a quarter-final against Brighton next Sunday.
Derby Trailblazer Nick Rose, also a student at Derby, poured in 34 points as the basketball team beat Loughborough seconds in the Midlands Conference Cup and they now have a semi-final against Staffordshire on Wednesday, February 20.
Sports scholar Jack Rex Burnell will be competing in the BUCS individual long course swimming championships next week, from Thursday to Saturday.