Student Football and the Queen’s Park Shield

Heriot-Watt University Football Club participates in both student competition and local football.  Many members regard competition against other institutions as the fundamental activity of the club.

HWUFC enters six men’s teams and one women’s team into BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) Men’s football competitions.  The top two men’s teams play within the Scottish Conference structure (the four ‘A’ divisions shown on the BUCS website) and the other four within the more local competition offered within the South-East Division of Scottish Student Sport (the three ‘B’ divisions).

The men’s teams, and the levels at which they participate are:

Men’s First Team: Won Scottish 2A last season and have returned to Division 1A for season 2018 – 2019.
Men’s Second Team: Scottish 3A – finished second last season.
Men’s Third Team: Scottish 5B – finished fifth last season.
Men’s Fourth Team: Scottish 6B
Men’s Fifth Team: Scottish 6B
Men’s Sixth Team: Scottish 6B

That an institution the size of Heriot-Watt operates six teams in BUCS competition is testimony to the Club’s commitment to maximising participation.  Teams 4, 5 and 6 all play in the lowest Division of BUCS football in Scotland, but the Club is always seeking both to provide experience of BUCS competition to as many players as possible and to improve the quality of that experience by raising the standard of play as far as possible.

The Women’s First Team, like the Men’s First, gained promotion last season, finishing top of BUCS Division 3A, and this season will consequently play in Division 2A of the Women’s Scottish leagues within BUCS.  It is hoped at some time to add a second Women’s team, but numbers of women participating have fluctuated somewhat in recent seasons and more stability is required before a commitment to a second team can be made.

As well as Scottish Conference leagues, there is also a national cup competition, the BUCS Trophy, for which the First Teams of institutions compete. In Scotland, men’s sides also compete for a trophy known as the Queen’s Park Shield (see below).

The Watt’s Second and Third Men’s Teams play in a knock-out cup competition called the BUCS Scottish Conference Cup and the four teams in the ‘B’ divisions compete in the Conference Plate. This produces some rather uneven competition, but it does at least offer a cup competition and something different from the regular league games.

The Queen’s Park Shield is the historic trophy formerly presented to the winners of the Scottish Universities’ Men’s Championship each year (the competition which now constitutes Division 1A of the Scottish Conference), but since the University of Stirling gained membership of the BUCS Premier North League, the Queen’s Park Shield is played as a knock-out cup competition for Scottish University sides. The Shield is a unique artefact, depicting Hampden Park as it was at the time of the Shield’s manufacture in the early years of last century.