UKU Tour 2 – London Calling – A Tour Preview

A Tour, London Calling, news, Open, Previews, Tournament Reports, UKUT2

Josh Coxon Kelly previews the A Tour for London Calling.

The Tour final at Nottingham was played between the two halves of the GB Open squad, as many will have hoped given that this squad is representing this and next year as the strongest Britain can offer. Saturday morning saw Manchester run close for the first half with GB 1, and the same GB team had to work hard to get past Glasgow in the upwind / downwind semi-final, but neither of these teams could keep up in the second half, and overall the two GB teams met in the final without too much of a scare. Whilst not heavily spectated due to the majority of the tournament still having games to play, the final was an exciting match-up as the training squad stepped up to competition play for the first time this year. Both teams showed a disregard for the wind starting the game with clean upwind goals. GB 1 soon took control of the first half, winning it 8-6 and starting downwind after half. Although the pivotal point of the game looked to have passed, GB A began the second half with a footblocked huck on the upwind endzone line. This quick break conversion triggered a merciless comeback as the defensive team took control. Tom ‘Mum’ Abrams had a particularly strong game with upwind pulls and hucks that changed the field in favour of the D team. Altogether GB A stole victory with a 5-0 second half, and a final score of 11-8. These teams looked strong, continued this showing with a victory at Windmill last weekend and will want to dominate at Tour 2 as they move on to the US Open as a single squad shortly afterwards.

UKU Open A Tour 1 2015 Preview

#ukuowt1, A Tour, news, Open, Outdoors, Previews

Josh Coxon Kelly previews the A Tour for Open Tour 1. 

The 2015 Open Tour season sees the entrance of multiple non-club squads, as teams and coaches prepare for international tournaments at the Senior, Masters and U23 levels. These teams themselves are unknown quantities that could be cohesive units of all-stars, and just as easily dramatic coaching experiments as team managers have the option of using the strong domestic scene either as a proving ground to test ideas, grow new connections or simply as reliable competition in the lead up to the season peak. Playing for their national team will imbue these players with a sense of pride, but this lift will be equally seated with the weight carried by pressure to live up to their newly earned accolades. As well as the new teams that these squads present, the international tournament year will have an extended effect by removing many players from the club teams that make up the traditional names of Open Tour. Naturally, the conscripted players often hold prominent positions in the clubs they are leaving whether as leaders, playmakers, tactical advisors or a combination of all of these roles. As such all teams will be learning on the pitch as they play, as selected representatives forge on-pitch bonds, and newer and less experienced players answer their club’s call to step up.

Dear C Tour: Why Trialling Might Be Worth A Shot

A Tour, C Tour, DED, Kapow, Trial Season, xEUCF
Harry Mason sends a message to all trialling hopefuls in 2014…



Trials season is approaching. For many hopeful players, they’ll be turned away, having gained experience from the trials but that’s it for the year. Some players, having worked their way up the tours (or been on the training squad last year) might have their eyes on finally breaking the squad. And, just occasionally, there’ll be an amateur who dares to dream big.

Last year, I was one such hopeful. In 2012, I played just one open tour. C tour. We battled well and were proud of how we’d done, and I enjoyed playing with them. I wasn’t the best player, I wasn’t able to single-handedly swing games, and at times I was a liability. Yet still I dreamed.


In C tour, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that sometimes you have to avoid putting certain team-mates in certain situations, I personally wasn’t trusted with the disc as much for any assists, and in the wind everything went to chaos. At A-Tour and Euros, there isn’t that luxury. You have to trust every team-mate. And I did. I can’t identify anyone whom I would be uncomfortable giving the disc to and in return really didn’t want to be the one player they couldn’t trust. After those games I finally realised I could be trusted. That it wasn’t beyond me.

Harry Mason skying for DED Mixed at MT3 in 2013. Photo courtesy of Graham Bailey.

So, swallowing my fears and with a scared lump in my throat I applied for DED open. I remember my heartbreak when injury knocked me out of the second trial. Then elation when, during the 3rd trial, Luke Tobiasiewicz came up, clipboard in hand, and said I was being strongly considered. Taking his advice I gave it my all.


A short while later, I received the email every C tour player would layout into a wall to receive. I had narrowly made the cut. Courtesy of a follow up email from Graham Bailey about how to improve (still flagged in my inbox) it was clear I was being taken on for my potential, not my current skill. This is the first difference I noticed: I was expected to have a much greater understanding of the mechanics of the game, I’d have to work harder, and be able to identify weakness in myself like I hadn’t before.

I also trialled for DED mixed, and was told in no uncertain terms that, while they liked me and all that, I hadn’t made the team. I was distraught, but looking at the squad I couldn’t argue. However, thanks to international duties, they now needed an extra guy. I was brought in, permanently aware I was very much the final choice. That’s how I started the season after 2 tough trials – a player taken for potential, and there to prove a point.

I’m not going to go through DED’s season – it was brilliant and painful in equal measure – but there are a few things to highlight. Mainly, everyone at top level is tough. There’s no easy match ups. Small things (like being pumped up, or an extra half hour of drills beforehand) give big advantages in these situations. It was a lot more professional, a lot more marginal and there was never a game where I was allowed to come away thinking “they were the better team, there was no way we could have won”. I wasn’t taught to beat myself up, but in nearly every game I now knew there was always a chance, on a different day, that it could have been ours.

My very first A tour level game was vs Kapow! on a huge 3G indoor astro and I was scared. People at the top may not understand this, but there is still an aura and mythology surrounding A tour and it’s players. They’re supposed to be giants, faster than Grove Farm wind and, if not able to fly, then at least give gliding a dang good shot. A Kapow! player layout D-ing through me on my very first point didn’t help. But it wasn’t just the layout, it was the fact that it apparently meant nothing. It was expected, rather than anything spectacular, and that blindsided me at least as much as the actual play.

Ka-Pow’s trials started last weekend, but who will make it from these young hopefuls? Photo courtesy of KaPow Ultimate. 

Distraught, I went to the experienced players for advice. Then, the impossible occurred. I started to get the disc, and pass it without being blocked. I got free occasionally! This wasn’t supposed to happen. Not supposed to happen at all. The game was faster than I was used to – much faster – but it was still the game I knew. It wasn’t much, yet to me it was the world. We lost that game, but it still meant a lot as the biggest jump I have ever, and probably will ever get in Ultimate.

The other huge moment came when playing for DED mixed at tour 3. Our first game was against GB World Games. Always fun. This was at Cheltenham, the same venue and (I’m fairly sure) the same pitch I’d played my first ever game at Tour back in 2010. Now, 3 years later, I was playing the best in the country.

Again, we lost that game. Badly. The margin that those players had over me was, to say the least, humbling. (At most, soul crushing, but let’s ignore that). Yet, even playing against the royalty of Ultimate, you started to realise they were just players. Very, very good ones – clinical and dominant in equal measures – but players nonetheless. I actually managed to score (twice!), though mainly due to the throwing ability of my team mates (and being too insignificant to notice sneaking deep in a zone).

These games probably meant very little to most others involved. They were both games I lost, and very little was at stake for the result, so why should they mean anything to me? This season I played my first ever Club Nationals, and then my first ever Euros with DED Mixed. These tournaments were much more competitive, way more enjoyable and helped my physical skill improve far more than I can possibly measure. But it was those two games that let me break the mental barrier and say to myself that, yes, I had earned my place in high level Ultimate.

So, to all aspiring players let me tell you: it’s possible. I wasn’t the strongest player. I had to work harder than I’ve ever worked. I had to face the fact that, hey, Uni life was fun but, until exam time, it came second. But in one season I made the jump. It requires a lot of trust from the people picking. You’ll have to face the fact the odds are against you, that it may not be your year. Well, it may not be, but it might be.

At the very least, like most times in Ultimate, it’s worth a bid.

Good luck to all players trialling over next few weeks!

A Quick Look in the Rear-view Mirror – Open Tour 2013

A Tour, Chesapeake Invite, Chevron, Clapham, EMO, Fire of London, Open, xEUCF
James Burbidge looks back at 2013 from the Open division perspective.


Another year another national championship for Clapham, followed up by another European title. With their sights firmly set on Worlds, and a two-year plan in place, Clapham were a dominant force, even by their own standards. Aside from their obvious additions to the trophy shelf, one of the highlights of the year must have been a strong performance at the Chesapeake Invite where they narrowly missed out on a spot in the final, facing up all weekend against some of the toughest US club teams. You can read more about that weekend here.

Clapham take the European title for the second year running. Photo courtesy of Get Horizontal.


Beyond the obvious however, Open ultimate in the UK was in a state of flux. With split Euro and World qualifications, Tour took on a significance perhaps greater than Nationals, and was made all the more complicated with the inclusion of the non-Tour-point-scoring GBu23s.


The result? Whilst Clapham and Chevy qualified for both Euros and Worlds, the remaining Worlds spot went to EMO – a team who failed to qualify for Euros behind Brighton, Devon, Fire and Ka-Pow. EMO’s strong performance at Tour (up 8 spots on 2012) comes despite internal fluctuation as their GB players (including captain Joe Wynder) rotated in and out of the squad. There is no doubt that a Worlds spot in the bank eased the sting of failing to qualify for Euros and that they’ve plenty to look forward to in 2014.

On the opposite side of the see-saw, Fire (1 at least) went through a difficult transition year, losing 9 experienced first team players, with new captains recruiting from far and wide. Whilst they finished a disappointing 7th at Tour, a Euro-qualifying 5th at Nationals and a strong performance at Euros (9th) will give them hope for the 2014 season. 

Elsewhere, it seems promising that strong bubbles of Ultimate are forming away from London (and telephone teams). Manchester Ultimate had a strong season, capped perhaps by taking the Regional title over Chevron. Devon finally broke through as they have been promising to do for years, and a Euros spot is only going to encourage them. Meanwhile, despite rebranding, Brighton have quietly continued to go about their business, consistently producing upper-level ultimate (and players to be snapped up).

Further down, the bottom half of A-tour was in a more normal state of flux, and received opinion is that the top half of B-tour has become significantly stronger with a roughly equal bracket of 8 stretching between the two divisions. Flump’s charge up the rankings from C to A-tour (and Nationals) provided some seeding headaches for the competitions committee and it will be interesting to see where their season goes next year. 

So whilst the top of the table remained stable, it seems that in 2013 anything beyond that was up for grabs – will this trend continue in 2014? Stay tuned, we’ll be taking a look shortly.

Watch out for James’ preview for 2014, here on theShowGame.

Tour 2 Review – A Tour (ft. Alex Cragg)

A Tour, Chevron, Clapham, Devon, EMO, Fire of London, Kapow, Manchester, nottingham, Open Tour, Ranelagh, Tournament Reports, u23, UKUT2
Josh Coxon Kelly tells us the tale of A tour at Nottingham including the inside story from one of the Fire 1 captains Alex Cragg.

Players and teams came to Nottingham expecting stormy weather and were not disappointed. A stiff wind all weekend and rushes of rain ensured that Tour 2 was a test of throwing skill and team strategy where patience and discipline would pay dividends. Such conditions are also ripe for upset – particularly on pitches with clear up/down wind orientation – and in this category the A tour didn’t disappoint.


Pool A saw Clapham and GB u23 looking to hold onto the top two seeds in a straight to semis schedule. The meeting of these two teams was closer than at Tour 1, but despite an early lead due to an excellent start by GB, clapham showed their consistency and improved steadily throughout the game to come out victorious once again. Neither Ranelagh or KaPow managed to break into the top 2 of the pool, and a 10-9 loss in their match-up to Ranelagh saw the bottom two in the pool switch seeds.

Michael Speer (GB U23) bids on Matt Dathan (KaPow) in the pool stages. Photo courtesy of Graham Bailey.

In Pool B a reduced Chevron squad make light work of opposition including an opening grudge match against Fire (in recent seasons a frequent matchup, this was the first time the squads had met since Fire’s victory in the 2012 Nationals semi-final). Chevron came out strong and didn’t let up, winning 15-6 in a game that was to be ominous of Fire’s weekend to come. EMO held seed in a dramatic win against a stuttering Fire squad, confirming their place in the top 4 for a second tour running, a win that could turn out to have serious implications in terms of tour rankings for WUCC 2014…

Chevron stayed clinical despite the wind and repeated their tour 1 quarter final victory over the u23s on Sunday, this time for a place in the final to play Clapham. However Chevron’s high retention performances would not continue into the last game of the weekend. Clapham brought a smart game that capitalised early and played through the Chevron zone in both directions. Down early, Chevron were unable to recover and didn’t manage to adapt their more conservative playing style to the worsening conditions as well as their London rivals, who emerged comfortable winners.


Fire veteran Lewis Glover does just enough to beat David Ray (Leeds).
Photo Courtesy of Graham Bailey.

Movement from the second 8 was to create arguably the most dramatic storylines of this tour however, as a Devon squad bolstered by returning players (including Chevron D-line star Ben Hall) completed a dramatic victory over Fire 1 on Sunday morning in the crossover for top 8. Players arriving early at the food and physio tents were treated to a sudden death comeback victory for Devon featuring a completed world’s greatest and the most emphatic of celebrations as Fire’s weekend took a further turn for the worse.


Manchester converted their qualification, avoiding the relegation fate shared by BAF, Cambridge and Glasgow. The highest climber from the second 8 was Fire 2, who after beating KaPow found themselves in the top 8, eventually finishing one place above their first team. 
Fire 1 have long been a firm top 4 team, and have been no stranger to finals at Tour, Nationals and even European championships in the last 5 years. Dropping out of the top 8 is the first significant movement of one the top 3 teams of recent A-tour history – tSG spoke to captain Alex Cragg to gain some insight into the weekend’s events…


Quite a few of the results at tour 2 were obviously disappointing for you and your team. What do you think happened to cause the upsets?
We’d had a slightly lower finish than we’d hoped for at Tour 1, even given the international teams, but we knew we had the ability to play at the top; taking a strong Bad Skid to sudden death proved that.
Unfortunately, that confidence backfired and we presumed our games were foregone conclusions. We failed to take the Chevron game as enough of a sign that wasn’t going to be the case. People wanted to beat us more than we wanted to beat them; our heads weren’t in the right place and we lacked focus causing too many individual errors, which crippled any tactical adjustments.
Another problem was that we tried to play Ultimate… Some people might scoff at that, but we undervalued territory in those conditions. We know how to play through a zone, but it was only half way through the Devon game, 6 points down, that we started to play to our real strengths.
What actions did you take to turn around the team’s mentality after these losses?
We made sure that our pre-game preparation consisted of much more throwing, getting people’s self belief back. We needed to salvage something from the weekend, and putting the prospect of losing all our games into context helped bring back some desire to win.
We’d probably placed too much focus on the bigger picture of World’s qualification, so we brought things back to focus on one game at a time.


Unexpected losses are undeniably difficult to take, but they can give an opportunity to learn about your team – what lessons did you take from tour 2?
The main thing I think we learnt is that we probably haven’t been exploiting our individual strengths enough, instead focussing on a team ethos that has seen some people’s roles mutate.
Every single player was hugely disappointed with the weeked, and I think everyone’s taking a bit more personal responsibility since then. We all know we can do better. We’ll be a very different team at Tour 3 and Nationals.
The second team’s squad has been strong at all showings this year and performed very well to qualify for the top 8 in Nottingham – will this see much change in players between the teams for Tour 3?
Fire 2 have been brilliant this year. A lot of people wrote them off after last year, but they’ve proven that to have been a blip in a very strong history for a second team. They’re definitely on track for their season goal of taking one of the 6 Euro’s spots.
One of our ideas for the year was to allow each team to have its own identity, which has included playing and drilling in those teams at training sessions. This builds up the relationships players need to do well.
However, there has been a small amount of movement, with 2 players coming up from Fire 2. We’ve also moved a couple of Fire 1 players into the seconds to give them more experience playing against top 4 competition (with Fire 1 being locked out).
Outside of players will there be any significant shift in Fire’s approach to Tour 3 and the rest of the season?
Absolutely. After quite a few roster changes from last year, it’s taken some time for everyone to find their role and for us to play in the best way to exploit our strengths. I think our experience at Tour 2 has brought us together more, and our passion and desire to win has only grown. We’ve also restructured how we call lines, which has lead to much better performances in training.
What are your team goals for Nationals and Europeans?
Barring a huge upset at Tour 3, we’ve now missed out on our first shot at World’s qualification. There’s enough time before Nationals to put everything we’ve learnt about ourselves into practice, and, like last year, our target is to make the final of Nationals and win. After that we’ll have to see about Europeans. We’ve learnt to not look too far in the future!

Fire of London.

There is all to play for in the final tour of the season. Fire 1 will be looking to turn their season around in the lead up to Nationals. Clapham will be missing stars with the absence of World Games squad players, and Chevron, U23 and EMO will be looking to capitalise on this to hand them their first loss of the season. Ranelagh found the form they were looking for in Nottingham rising to 5th, but with the recent events at Tour 2 all A tour teams will be fighting hard for that giant killing that will send them up the rankings.

A Tour movers. Courtesy of Wayne Retter.


All ready for a heatwave in Cardiff? Don’t forget your suncream and hats! Like, share, contribute and tweet! DP @ tSG.

London’s Calling Review – A Tour

A Tour, Chevron, Clapham, EMO, Fire of London, GB, London's Calling, Open Tour, Tournament Reports, u23
Josh Coxon Kelly brings us this weeks penultimate review of London’s Calling – A tour.

As expected the opening tour of 2013 has brought an exciting start to the UK domestic season. With weather conditions which came dangerously close to ‘summery’ at points, UK clubs were treated to the perfect conditions to start off their season’s battles and rivalries.

Sitting pretty at the top of the pack, Clapham’s O line showed throughout the weekend why they were given the number 1 seed as the only non-movers of the A-tour. Bolstered by a returning Giacomo Maltman and new recruits Magnus Wilson (Tooting) and Rob Schumacher (Fire), the Clapham machine showed its capabilities with a clinical weekend – with their closest test from Bad Skid (15-13 Clapham) overshadowed by a decisive victory over the same team in the final. With the D-Line ‘dogs’ woofing their way to third place, the current UK and European champions have succeeded in a strong statement to start their competitive year.

Chevron captain Mark Penny lays out for the grab against CUSB 
Chevron proceeded through pool play unscathed, and found their form of the weekend for their quarter final matchup against the GB U23 squad which despite being largely outnumbered and losing 8 players to the opposition, they came out of with a 15-10 victory. Unphased by the aggressive offence and screaming defense Chevron showed an early sign of the form they will need to replicate if they hope to challenge for the long coveted National and European titles later in the year.

The GBU23 team had one of the most controversial seedings pre-tournament at 7th. They rose to beat this by two, but will be unhappy to not have had a shot at a Tour final. The young squad showed flashes of brilliance throughout the weekend, and displayed one of the more formidable defensive squads at the tournament. However, an occasionally stuttering offense was exposed by the most experienced opponents with losses to Clapham and Chevron. When this team plays at the top of their abilities they are strong enough to take on any domestic club – but will they be able to sustain this level of play to get the result they want at Tour 2?

EMO 1’s ascension of three seeds is maybe the story of the weekend, and a considerable move at such a high level of competition. Despite missing the leadership and pitch length throws of Joe Wynder, EMO showed themselves as a strong geo-team that has full intentions of challenging for the top 4 this season. They have stars Rich Gale and Dan ‘Colonel’ Furnell from the recent GB Open squad (Rich will also be attending World Games), backed up by plenty of pace and athleticism from a solid squad. EMO have reported consistently high numbers at trainings, and this is reflected in large squads attending Tour events for the recent years. Most importantly the team are starting to play with the belief that is needed for giant killings – keep an eye on these boys for potential major upsets later in the season.
A tour movers. Courtesy of Wayne Retter.


Fire of London found themselves in tough matchups for their quarter-finals (Bad Skid) and the 5-8 playoff (a livid u23 squad). The resultant 7th place position will be disappointing, but does not in any way suggest that Fire are not going to be fighting hard for finals berths as the season continues. Once again recruiting heavily, and importantly retaining GB Open/World Games Matt Parslow, Fire are strong once again and, importantly, are a team that knows how to peak later on in the season.

Outside of the top 8 we find Kapow!, who after an upset in Fire 2’s favour on Saturday will have been disappointed not to have been in the top 8, but have shown their intentions for bigger things by taking 9th over Cota Rica. Bear Cavalry more than validated their A Tour starting seeding, rising 8 seeds and finishing over Brighton, a top 4 team of recent years. Refreshed DED and Tooting squads both saw falls of 6 seeds – it will be interesting to see if the new faces on these squads will be able to return their teams to top 8 contention, or if their season will be more about staying in the A tour altogether.

With the current strength of the B Tour, teams traditionally used to A Tour ultimate such as BAF, Cambridge, Fire 2, Devon and Tooting may find re-qualification harder than ever before. The Tour season has got off to a strong start, but with shifting squads and various non club entries it is hard to get a picture of Nationals yet. Consistency is key to the Tour, and with competition rising at all levels, no game will be won easily in Nottingham.

Almost there, tomorrow we have saved the best till last: Women’s review! Remember to like, share, comment and contribute! DP @ tSG. 

A Tough Pill to Swallow

A Tour, An Irish Eye, Chevron, Fire of London, GB, Irish Ultimate, London's Calling, Ranelagh, Rebel Ultimate, Tournament Reports

Mark Earley kicks off our T1 review week with how the Irish lads did at London’s Calling.

Three Irish teams travelled to London for UKU Tour 1 at the start of June and all three returned to Ireland licking their wounds and eagerly counting the days until their next outing. Tour is a tough animal – you show a weakness and you get savaged. No team gives you anything and the higher you go up the ladder, the stiffer the competition gets. Irish teams know this and it appeals to their stubborn, physical and hard-working approach to the sport. Indeed, much of what Irish Ultimate has achieved over the past decade has been built on foundations picked up over freezing cold weekends in Mansfield, sun drenched days in Cardiff and at windblown Brit Opens. So, why the poor results this time around? Well before trying to answer that let’s look at how the three teams fared.


Ireland U-23 Open went into B Tour expected to challenge for the title and with the added bonus of a run out against their British counterparts in a show game. Saturday went to plan, with no team able to run with them and they coasted into the quarters not having conceded more than 6 points in any one the game. The show game saw the highly fancied GB team rattled until half, which they took by 1 point, and after which they powered on to win the game 15-9. Ireland fought hard and showed athleticism, a decent work ethic and a sense of team that will stand to them in Toronto. However, on Sunday morning it all came apart in spectacular fashion. Complacency set in and LeedsLeedsLeeds took full advantage, racing to a 4-0 lead and not looking back. Ireland went on to win their final two games, both by a single point.

Highlights of the show game between Ireland U-23 & GB U-23
Lorcan Murray, one of the team’s captains, explained that they had got a lot from what he called ‘a disappointing but necessary lesson in what it takes to succeed in Toronto’. Murray went on to say that collectively they ‘realised the potential of our squad and what it felt like when we played to the best of our potential. More importantly we realised the difference between confidence (Saturday morning) and complacency (Sunday morning)’. Furthermore he said team chemistry was improving, something that will have a big part to play come July – ‘Coming away from our first tournament as a full squad there was a collective awareness of the personality of our team. Positivity is the fuel that fires us. When we’re leading we’re happy, joking and boisterous when we take big deficits we turned on each other and fell into the trap of our own frustrations’. The Irish youngsters will be back for Tour 2 where Murray says their goals are straightforward – ‘to go undefeated and get a shot at some Tour A standard opposition, but more vitally than that is our aim to maintain the attitude and approach we take when we are winning’.

Some of the U-23s pose with the St Albans Mayor
Ranelagh went into the weekend confident of returning to the top 8 where they made their presence felt last season, finishing an Irish-team-high of 5th place. However, it just never quite clicked for the Dublin-based team. An opening day defeat to Chevvy was as heavy as it was hard to take. Unforced errors were punished by a smooth and confident Chevron O and suddenly the score was 5-0. Ranelagh regrouped but cough up that big a lead to any top 8 team and you won’t be let back in. Next up were Brighton, a team Ranelagh beat for the first time in 2012. This time the Dubliners controlled the game from the start but come 12-9 and with the cap set at 13, two huge Brighton Ds and two uncharacteristic errors saw them snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. A third flat display rounded out the day as Fire 1 ran Ranelagh ragged on the way to a 15-5 win. Vice-captain Sam Mehigan said of their day one opponents – ‘the standard in the top 8 was very high. Chevvy and Fire thoroughly outperformed us. They had strong defences and Chevvy especially had a very clinical offence’.

Peter Forde of Ranelagh holsters the throw to Sam Mehigan

Day two was a welcome improvement for a Ranelagh team missing a couple of players, but once again it began on the wrong foot with a sudden death loss to a wily Bear Cavalry team, lead by a virtuoso performance by Dave Tyler – capped off with a point block and layout grab in the final point. DED bore the brunt of Ranelagh’s frustrations and were beaten 15-6, a result Mehigan was pleased with. ‘DED beat us a few times last season in games we still carry with us but after four straight losses on the weekend, they got the wrong end of our frustration and we beat them by a large margin’. That left an all-Irish battle for 13thplace. Mehigan explained how the win went for his team – ‘The last game of the weekend was the 1st ever meeting of Ranelagh and Rebel on foreign shores. The first half saw lots of trading with each team having a few small runs and thus the lead changed hands a few times. The second half saw a Ranelagh run that got us a margin which we managed to hold onto to win by 6’.


Looking back on the weekend the team will be disappointed having been beaten badly by two top teams and losing closely to teams they would prefer to be beating. According to Mehigan they will be back with renewed focus come Tour 2 – ‘We didn’t do as well as we feel we could have, so it was a bit disappointing. After just two days for the dust to settle it’s too soon to have identified our goals, but for sure we’ll be looking to get our performance consistently to the level we showed in patches at Tour 1’.

Rebel Ultimate and Irish Mixed Beach team player Darragh Kelleher goes up

Rebel will arguably be the least concerned with their results this being their debut in the A Tour and only the start of their season. The Cork outfit are consistently raising the bar for others in Ireland, thrive on new challenges and have many of the UCC Ultimate team on their roster so it came as little surprise to see them competing in the top bracket of UK Ultimate. They approached the tournament looking to make 9th place their own but, much like Ranelagh, shipped a couple of heavy losses that disrupted their plans. With a somewhat depleted roster due to the Irish U-23s team presence, a certain team member sleeping in and a couple of late injuries the Corkonians struggled with numbers.


On Saturday the team in red made light work of both Devon 1 and Tooting Tigers but lost heavily to Bear Cavalry and as a result faced a tricky crossover against Brighton on Sunday morning. The southern English team beat the southern Irish team by a big margin meaning Fire 2 were their next opponents. Rebel regrouped and got involved in a dogfight with the London team. After a few tight calls and a turn by each team the sudden death point finished in Rebels favour and the ‘Irish Classico’, as detailed earlier, was on. A tight first half ended with an injury to leader Brian O’Callaghan and Ranelagh never looked back.

Rebel & Ranelagh team photo – a rarity! 

Speaking to Donal Murray, one of the team’s leadership, he was pleased with the weekend as a whole, specifically as a way of bedding in new players – ‘The weekend was all that we could have hoped for: a smoothly run tournament, beautiful weather, and tough long games against teams we knew well, not so well, or not at all. Some of our players got some knocks or had a few niggles, but nobody got badly injured during the tournament. As well as our regulars, some players were making their Rebel debut, some their Rebel comeback, while others just finished exams. We didn’t have strategies and systems drilled in, but we had a few talks before and during the weekend on team goals, individual goals, and the attitude we expected.  We were quite happy with how our teammates improved with these over the weekend’.


He added that there was work to do – ‘Our goal of 9th didn’t quite materialise, but a mixture of results ensured a thorough investigation of where we’re currently at as an open team and as a club’. Murray was impressed with the standard of the Tour – ‘Every team we played had some fantastic athleticism, great throws and clear systems. Some had lines, some had their own rotation system, some had clearly defined plays and defences while others had looser styles. It was great to play against some players who have become household names, to still see women compete in the open division at A tour, to see a very high standard of spirit with this year’s new rules, and to finally get a crack of A tour teams’. While Rebel wont be back for Tour 2 as it’s too close to their annual trip to Amsterdam for Windmill Windup, they hope to make Tour 3; ‘Our goal is the same as always, finish as high as possible and improve as individuals and as a team.  One or two more specific goals will be specified to the players in trainings and in the run up to the tournament’.

There’s no doubting the talent pool in Ireland, nor the enthusiasm but Tour 1 will surely have blunted some of the Irish confidence. In terms of the reasons, they are many – from injuries to complacency – but as each captain/leader has made clear, the teams will come back with renewed determination looking to get back on the horse, so to speak! It will be very interesting to see how the rest of the Tour pans out. 

Photos courtesy of Niall McCarney, Cynthia Lo & Andrew Moss
Video courtesy of Felix Shardlow at Push Pass Productions

Look forward to seeing Irish teams at T2 and hearing more from Mark! Like, share and more in the right hand pane, more T1 reviews coming up. DP @ tSG.