Sean Colfer makes some more dangerous predictions about the next levels of Tour. Let’s see how wrong he’ll be.
So we’ve taken a look at the A Tour – now it’s time to take a look at the teams in B and C Tour.
B Tour is split into four pools, with the top of each group after pool play earning a crossover opportunity against the bottom-placed team in each of the four A Tour pools. Pool E features LeedsLeedsLeeds, a team who have had something of a resurgence thanks to the hard work of Chris Bamford, along with several former Leeds players who have returned after a few years away, in bringing along a younger generation of players. They have lost Sam ‘Toast’ Rayner, though, after his move to Nottingham and EMO. That’s a body blow given his importance to the team but they have a number of younger players ready to take on more responsibility and some other experienced heads who can help to steady the ship. They’ll face Gravity, a team who have been at this kind of level for many years and feature many talented players with excellent chemistry together, Cloud City, who have bolstered their ranks with a number of Thundering Herd and Guildford players this season, and Brighton Gritty, who will assuredly live up to their name and play the typical Brighton way. This one could be a tough one to call, with the top three teams all well in contention. The crossover will very likely be against Flump, so it’ll be a difficult game for whoever does top the pool. The bet here is that the Gravity v Cloud City game could be vital.
Pool F could be one with some upsets. Birmingham will bring a strong team as usual, but will be missing several key players from their Mixed Tour campaign. Marius Hutcheson (Ka-Pow!), Will Collier (SMOG) and Josh Eeles (Devon) are all missing from the team that played most recently at Mixed Tour 3. They could be missing an element of control without some of their key handlers from years and teams past. Vision are always a tough one to call since their teams change from year to year, but they’ll be intense and play physical defence. Red had something of a resurgence at Mixed Tour and will probably be looking to stay in B Tour, but the really interesting team here is Reading 2. They have dropped some of their Worlds players to the second team to boost development – Sam Gunbie, Ben Withers and Maks Tobiasiewicz to name three – and could well prove a tough opponent here. This pool would cross with Manchester and I’d feel good about their chances of doing so. It’s a pool to watch.
Pool G features two second teams who’ll make most of the running. EMO and Fire 2 have a lot of very talented players who will make things difficult for The Brown and Bristol, as well as whoever the winner plays in a crossover. Personally I see EMO 2, with a squad of over 20 in a totally unprecedented development, being the team to beat but Fire could well have something to say about that. Players like Chris Pope have dropped from Fire 1 and new additions like JR mainstays Rich Fenn and George Hudson will make them a tough out, but EMO’s depth will be tough to match. The crossover is against BAF, and I see the winner of this pool winning that match too.
Pool H looks like it’s there for the taking for Purple Cobras. From a wider perspective including Mixed and Women’s, it’s been fun to see a new club develop and make themselves a fixture on the UK scene. They reached the top eight at Fog Lane and have a team full of talent here, with Michele Ghansah added to the squad. I think they’ll win this pool without too much fuss but they are unfortunate to run into a very good Brighton squad. Even if there’s an upset in the pool, I can’t see any way the winner crosses up against the south coast team.
That means that EMO 2, Reading 2 and potentially the winner of E could cross up in my view. It would be quite an achievement for both clubs to get a second team in A Tour, but the incumbents in those positions will have a fair bit to say about it.
Looking briefly at C Tour – it’s always very tough to say what will happen this early on – there’s some teams that catch the eye immediately. ExeTour are presumably filled with players who played EXE at Mixed Tour and Uriel in past years, so they’ll have some talent. Leamington Lemmings and Flyght Club have had good seasons in years past, although Purple Cobras may have taken some of the better Flyght Club players so it’ll be a watching brief to see how they are looking. Most of the early games are moot due to the crossovers later on in the tournament – the 34 to 46 bracket will have a huge crossover bracket, so there’s ample opportunity for teams to improve their position. Once we get Tour 1 in the books, it’ll be much easier to get an indication of where we sit in C Tour. As a wild guess, I’d be interested to see how Brixton do, although SMOG 2 will definitely have the best player in the division as Alex Mazzon helps to develop some of the younger, less experienced players.
That’s it for our previews ahead of WindFarm this season – let’s see how it all shakes out!
***Note: this article was originally incorrectly published titled ‘Men’s B and C Tour’ – this was corrected on 4/6/18***