UWIC’s Rugby League side have been promoted to the University League Premier South which is the second level down in the British Student competition underneath the Super 8.
They beat Nottingham Trent 46-32 in the promotion play-off final on Wednesday in Birmingham to qualify.
Simon Wright led the way with a hat-trick of tries, the third an 80-metre effort with UWIC head coach Paul Horrocks chasing him down the touchline and willing him to score.
Josh Davies, Scott Amber, Scott Newton and Sam Studley also went over for tries as UWIC built up a 28-16 lead advantage at half-time, one that they weren’t going to give up despite a fight back from the Nottingham side.
An ecstatic Horrocks said: “I’m really proud of what we as a team and as a squad have achieved this season. Our goal from day one was to win our league and regain our Premier League status.
“A huge thank you must go to the boys who are finishing university this year and whilst they are not going to have the opportunity to taste Premier League rugby league again at student level, they have left a huge mark.
“It is probably the first time in years that UWIC are now passing out a number of graduates who have spent their entire three years playing rugby league for UWIC, and that experience is beginning to show. Next year again will be a huge step up, but one I am sure we are capable of and will be buzzing for. Two years ago we earned promotion without a playoff game and went straight on to win the Premier South with a 100% record. Whilst I am not predicting this again, we certainly have a few old scores to settle and will enjoy going in as the underdog.
“A big mention for Craig Foster, who as Captain this year has been a pleasure to work with and has led the side excellently. It was always going to be a tough act to follow after two years under old captain Dave Hampton, but he has certainly done very well.
“We also have 14 lads in the Welsh Students training squad, whilst seven will be travelling to the Regional Championships this weekend with more only missing out as a consequence of injury. UWIC Rugby League is on the up again and hopefully there is much more to follow.”