WUCC 2014 Mixed Division Preview: Bear Cavalry

Bear Cavalry, Mixed, news, Previews, WUCC Previews, WUCC2014
Matt Dathan and Matthew Hodgson finish off our previews with Bear Cavalry.
Bear Cavalry took Gold at Windmill Windup this season. Photo courtesy of Martine Bootsma/Windmill Windup.

Squad

Adam Maxwell
Alex Wylie
Darbi Donaldson
David Tyler (C)
Gemma Wakeford
Hanna John
Helen Swan-Thompson
James Freeman
Joe Swan-Thompson
Josh Wakeford
Lauren Tyler
Lucy Hawkes
Matt Alders
Matt Hodgson
Pedro Vargas
Ronja Wöstheinrich
Rosie Musgrave
Theo Tizard

About Bear Cavalry

The World Club Championships in Lecco is what Bear Cavalry has existed for since the club of mainly Warwick alumni players was formed more than four years ago.


With a 95 per cent retention rate since that first full season together, there has been little need for adding extra players to a tight-knit group, many of whom have played together at university, in the 2011 GB mixed team and at clubs such as Fire of London and Ka-Pow.

But for their final path to World’s they have added two missing jigsaws of the puzzle in the form of two Ka-Pow players – Pedro Vargas, the Portuguese handler, and the versatile Matt Hodgson.

Both were hand-picked by the Bears captain, Dave Tyler, as individuals who would easily adjust to Bears’ particular style of offense and hard man defense.

Playing and Coaching Style

That style of play is built around a pivot-based offence, characterised by cynical opponents as a hierarchical offence because it is designed around Joe Thompson and Dave Tyler, the two pivots around which the rest of the offence runs.

“Calling it a hierarchical offence is disingenuous, because outside of the top two the hierarchy isn’t well defined,” Dave explains.

It is an approach targeted for mixed ultimate and designed to bring out the best of the teams’ star players. 

“It often looks like quite a naive V stack, but it’s a bit more complex than that – the stack is just somewhere to keep people out of the way until a pivot player gets the disc. It’s not an offence that would work for most teams – and definitely not in open – it’s evolved over time as the way to get the best out of our best players.”

When observing their style of play, you may come to the conclusion that Bear’s strategy has remained unchanged from their university days, but while the principles remain the same – man defence and a vertical stack offence – the adjustments made by the captaincy have filtered in over the years.

On first glance the offence style may look basic, but the adjustments made have highlighted the strengths of the squad and have been drilled in so thoroughly that the team has confidence in the strategy and in the reliability of the team to execute it. 

Bears are hitting World’s after a hugely successful domestic season, dominating all three mixed tours and remaining unbeaten until earlier this month, when they suffered a surprise loss to Cambridge in a friendly.

The defeat was brushed aside by Bears players, who pointed to the fact they were missing four of their key players. “We needed to experience what defeat tasted like so we know never to taste it again,” said a particularly defiant Bear. And it was on Cambridge’s hallowed home turf, of course, so no confidence has been lost from within the very close unit of players.

Domination has not been a new experience for Bears however, having won mixed tour in 2011 and 2012, winning nationals in 2012 and 2013 and the European Club Championships in Bordeaux last year.

They continued to impress on the international stage this season, winning the Golden Elephant trophy at Windmill Windup in Amsterdam. Winning on the domestic and European scene is one thing; world domination is another level altogether, and captain Dave is realistic when it comes to setting a goal in Lecco.

Predictions

He said it was difficult to predict how a club like Bears will fare against non-European teams, pointing to the example of Venezuela under-23s at last year’s World Championships to show how dangerous it is to guess the strength of teams from more unfamiliar countries.

As with the Open and Women’s divisions, the pinnacle of European mixed clubs come from the UK. But unlike Clapham and Iceni, who have both recently returned home from facing North America’s elite at the US Open, Bear Cavalry have never played a team that competes outside of Europe, so adjustments will have to be made based on filmed footage and adapting throughout the tournament. 

When pushed for a prediction – and Dave was the only one of the UK mixed teams’ captains who was brave enough to give a prediction, a reflection of his straightforward, honest approach to leadership – he told The ShowGame that a realistic goal for the team was a finishing position between seventh and 12th place.

“I’d say it’s a huge success in results if we come in the top eight,” he says. “I’d like us to come up against one of the top four teams and prove that our systems work. We won’t win, simply because we aren’t individually good enough, but I want to see whether what we’ve built as a club holds its own to the top of our abilities as individuals,” he adds.

Lecco is the last hurrah for Bear Cavalry. Like retiring footballers, it is always best to go out on top, leaving a positive legacy to remember the team by. Barring world domination, there is little left to achieve for the club, having risen from winning student nationals to European champions and what the team hopes will be a top eight finish at World’s.

The best crop of players in the team are likely to focus on GB for the next couple of years and while Bear Cavalry might make the odd reappearance at tournaments at home and abroad, it will no longer be a club with such a serious and focused set of objectives.

Whatever you make of their style of play and approach to the game, you cannot doubt the commitment of the players to a set program over such a length of time and the impressive journey they have made all the way from Freshers’ year at Warwick University.


And that is that. Keep you eyes open for the SkyD and tSG coverage of WUCC.


Mixed Tour 3 Review: Bears Complete Clean Sweep in Windswept Cheltenham

Bear Cavalry, Cambridge, Hobley, Mixed, Pingu Jam, Shiny Happy Meeple
By Matt Dathan

Bear Cavalry completed a clean sweep of mixed tours as the mixed season came to a close in a windswept Cheltenham.

The Bears joined Manchester City and Conchita Wurst to make it a weekend of favourites prevailing over inferior opposition. The comparisons end there, unfortunately, as facial hair was sparse among the Bears girls, as well as among the ‘men’ and they weren’t reliant on a host of foreign stars either.

Not only have they now won all three of this season’s mixed tours, they have also remained unbeaten throughout and have never been seriously threatened.

Cambridge put up a good fight in the final however, scoring four points in a row in the second half, but the damage had already been done.

Bears took an early lead, punching in an upwind offence point right at the beginning and following it up with a downwind break to take a 2-0 head start. It was quite literally an uphill battle from then onwards for Cambridge, who were unable to use their punting skills in the high winds and did well to finish off with just a five point deficit at 17-12.

Adam Crouch takes off for the grab. Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss








The two finalists showed how training throughout the winter and spring pays off as wind blew many teams off course. The throwing and familiarity among the top two put them a step ahead of the rest. Both won comfortably in the semi-finals – Bears battering Herd 15-7 and Cambridge smashing Black Eagles 14-7. But in the final, the harsh conditions prevented Cambridge from exploiting their intellectual advantage to out-fox the Bears.


For most, the rolling hills of Cheltenham signify the end of the mixed season as boys and girls go their separate ways for the remainder of the season, but for three teams the mixed season has only just started. And the wind of Mixed Tour 3 will be a distant memory when the Bears, Cambridge and RGS run out on the banks of Lake Como at the World Club Championships in the summer.

Each of them are playing in foreign tournaments before World’s, which will undoubtedly prepare them better than the blustering winds of the UK spring.

RGS again struggled to click, although they improved on their last showing by finishing ninth, beating Shiny Happy Meeple in a tight 12-10 final game. Players have understandingly blamed their lack of familiarity with each other, but with just one training planned before World’s, they will have to make sure they make the most of their time together at Windmill in Amsterdam and Golden Kegg in Dublin.

And perhaps in foreign lands, without the baying home crowds, with the sun on their backs and the taste of Italian wine on their palates, they will start to feel more at ease.

Their preparation behind the scenes cannot be doubted – they have been in long discussions about the design of their kit and come August, they’ll be sure to look the part in their pretty pink shorts. Fred Shone, returning from a stint in Romania, believes their lack of kit has played a part in their under performance so far, telling The ShowGame to watch out for him and his team-mates once their pink, white and grey kit is finally ready.  



On Saturday night, as everyone waited impatiently for the 59thEurovision to begin, Meeples took on Cambridge in the show game. But crowds were left largely disappointed as Cambridge crushed the fourth seeds 12-4, with the most entertaining moment of the game coming from an incident on the side lines.

Acutely aware of the lack of drama on the pitch, Dom Dathan selflessly sacrificed his dignity to provide onlookers with the spectacle of him stumbling slowly backwards over a stack of kit bags, uniting both teams and the crowd in stitches of laughter as he fell backwards in slow motion.  

After their impressive top four finish in Nottingham, Meeples struggled with the wind at the weekend and finished in 10thplace, which was still an improvement from where they started the season.

In yet another battle between beasts, Black Eagles snared Thundering Herd in the 3/4 play-off. Apart from their record against fellow animal-themed teams, Herd have had a good season compared to last year, again showing the merits of training every week as a team. Had they shown similar form last year, they might be looking forward to a week in Lake Como rather than a summer of winter leagues on Tooting Bec Common. Bristol stormed back to form after a disappointing Tour 2 as they blew away Brighton Breezy to finish fifth and Pingu had an equally impressive tournament as they rose from 15th seeds to finish eighth. Peeps and Scarecrew made space for them in the top eight by falling to 11thand 12th respectively.
Movers for MT3 thanks to Wayne Retter.


Among the big movers of the weekend – as predicted in the preview – were Beast Mode, who leapt from 32nd seeds to 23rd and Shakedown, who finished the weekend 21st – nine places above their original seed. Five teams finished the weekend in their original seeding position: Bears, Cambridge, Black Sheep (40th), GU 2 (42nd) and Sheffield Steal 2, who started and finished the weekend rock bottom (46th).

Other notable highlights from the weekend included James Hobley’s much-awaited debut this season as he wooed the crowds by playing in his classic cricket jumper and gilet look and the Polish porn star Eurovision team, who excited horny onlookers at the party, only to be disappointed by a “bearded tit in a ball dress,” as one reveller told The ShowGame.


Top marks must go to Guildford’s Lilia Helgadottir, who travelled all the way from her native Iceland to represent her beloved country at the party, but she was pipped to the post by Andrew Moss and Hayden Reynolds from St Albans, who repeated their 2014 debut of Angels to take the karaoke honours. 

Mixed Tour 2 Review

Bear Cavalry, mixed tour, news, RGS, Shiny Happy Meeples, Thundering Herd, Tournament Reports
Matthew “Smatt” Hodgson gives us his perspective of Mixed Tour 2.

From start to finish the wind the typical Nottingham wind meant every point at Mixed Tour 2 was hard fought against the elements as well as the opponents, with very few games making it to the hard cap even amongst the teams at the top of the standings

Dominating Bagel news was Flux, who left it until their 3rdgame to get on the scoreboard before taking a dominating win of their own; 10-3 against Sheffield Steal 2. ABH B also took a 9-0 win over Bournemouth Heat, but once the pool stage was over the rankings worked themselves out with all teams getting points on the board.

ABH vs Pier Pressure at Mixed Tour 2. Photo courtesy of Graham Bailey.




The three teams finishing on the podium were Bear Cavalry, Cambridge and Brighton who all started in Pool A. Bear Cavalry and Cambridge proved themselves as the top two teams on tour this year with the Bears winning against everyone in the group once, and then repeating their wins against Brighton Breezy in the Semi Final and then putting on another show in the final against Cambridge in which Cult would not score an upwind goal and would only put in 1 point after the half. The final finished 13-6 and the Bears ground out their win with tireless effort on defence and the ability to generate yardage against the wind with powerful hucks hitting well timed deep cuts in stride. The first point was Bear Cavalry starting on offence and it was scored in less than 5 passes in the same upwind conditions that consistently howled throughout the weekend.

In pool B on the other side of the top 8, we saw teams falling down the rankings. Second seed Thundering Herd 1 started strong again, winning their group for the second tour in a row before their quarter final against Meeple, who had been energised by some big pickups. Meeple were able to dispatch BAF to enter the top 8 for the first time this season before making plenty of big plays and letting everyone know about them during their quarter final in which they deflated the Herd and broke the Top 4 for the first time. BAM ended up doing really well in the group, taking down RGS and Bristol to secure top 8 before losing out the rest of the way to teams on the ascendancy; Brighton Breezy in the quarter (who climbed from 5th to 3rd), Black Eagles in the 5 v 8 (who climbed from 9th to 5th) and Peeps in the 7 v 8 (who climbed from 13th to 7th). Each of the teams beating BAM down the stretch are interesting propositions for MT3. Brighton Breezy, as mentioned earlier, battled out of a tough Pool A before securing a 3rd place finish with a very similar squad to the one they had at Tour 1, whilst Black Eagles and Peeps both added only one or two big playmakers and took down some big names in the crossovers to secure spots in the Top 8 (Bristol and RGS respectively). These teams should definitely feel good about their chances at the third and final event in Cheltenham.


Other big movers this weekend were ABH A and Pingu Jam. ABH A started slow, beating Deep Drillin’ and Brighton Early by only 2 points each in their group, before beating Brighton Pier Pressure to set up a semi against Pingu Jam. PJ’s offence at times seemed to be exclusively huck and hope/play defence based, but they managed to ride this strategy to a win over ABH A and ultimately an undefeated weekend and a climb from 19th to 13th. ABH A would finish the tour with another win, making it 5 from 6 and a climb from 23rd to 15th.


There was also a battle for second team supremacy in Nottingham. This has been a spot usually held by Thundering Herd 2, but at MT2 it was Brighton Pier Pressure (who I don’t think are technically a second team) who came out on top finishing 17th, followed up by Cambridge 2 in 18thand Herd 2 in 19th who managed to hold off th
e challenge of Jabba the Huck (making their 2014 Mixed tour debut) in the 19 v 20.

Across the entire standings, the average number of places a team moved was 4.5 showing just how difficult seeding a 51 team tournament can be, even with one tournament’s results already in the books.

Cambridge only lost to the Bears all weekend and in their other games they were able to handle their business fairly easily, with their closest win finishing with a 9-6 score line against 3rd place finishers Brighton Breezy in the pool stage. Brighton fought hard all weekend and were able to deal with the conditions better than most, in typical Brighton fashion, by sending up and consequently bringing down big hucks into and with the wind.

RGS had another tough weekend. Having only seen short parts of a limited sample of their games at the 2 tours so far, it’s difficult to say why they haven’t been challenging the top spots so far, and if I were to guess, I’d put it down to unfamiliarity with their teammates. Whilst they still have plenty of time before Worlds (4 months, MT3 and Golden Keg), they will be have been hoping the cohesion would have come quicker than this. Another problem appears to be giving up breaks to easily, with their offence not seeming able to get the disc back after a turn (based on my viewing a limited sample of points at MT1/2).

There was also plenty of movement in the lower brackets: The Saints rose 7 places culminating in a final game victory take down of Shakedown (who dropped 9 places), Glasgow “2” and Flux both dropping 11 places each and Black Sheep 2 earning a a win to take them up from 51st to 50th

Nice write up and hopefully more Smatt vs Matt next time round!

UKU MT2 Preview:

Bear Cavalry, Cambridge, Mixed Ultimate, news, RGS, Smatt vs Matt, Thundering Herd

Can anyone topple Bear Cavalry?


Smatt: Whilst I have a bit of personal bias from playing for Bear Cavalry, Mixed Tour 1 was fairly straightforward for us. Our closest game in terms of the score was the semi final against Cambridge Black. I fully expect Cambridge to once again be our toughest opposition, especially as they are combining their teams. They had two strong teams at MT1 and had some good results. Black lost to Black Eagles in pool play and Bear Cavalry in the semi but would finish in 3rd place, and White only lost to Cambridge Black in the quarter, going undefeated on Sunday to finish in 5th. Of all the teams in attendance, I think Cambridge have the best shot to steal a result from the Bears.

Matt: Yes. Cambridge will unite to create a stronger team and as we saw in the semi, if half their team can take 11 off Bears then their whole team definitely stand a chance of winning.  If Bristol Mixed weren’t losing a lot of their Nice Bristols girls then they’d be a threat but I don’t think they’ll be able to compete this weekend. Thundering Herd will have confidence after their surprising final appearance but Bears have probably sussed out their main threats. RGS are still a new team and didn’t have a full training session last weekend so I can’t see them taking down Bears just yet.


Will RGS climb back into the top 4?

Smatt: With one tour under their belt, RGS have had some time to gel and work on connections. They will also have the 2014 debut of Richard ‘Macca’ Macleod to bolster their defence and generate some blocks and their Canadian Duo (Colin and Sam Green) to bring more firepower. I think they have the potential to climb into the top 4, but will face an uphill struggle to get there, winning their group will give them the best chance. 

Matt: Yes. But mainly because rival teams are missing key players. Speaking to some of the team after tour one I think they went into games too relaxed and more or less expecting to win but struggled with nerves when they ended up in close battles. So Cardiff will have been a healthy shock to the system for the team. Come world’s, after 5 tournaments together, they should be a match for Bears.


Will Nottingham actually have good weather for once?

Smatt: Weather forecasts look alright, definitely not “Nottingham bad”, but I’m not sure I trust Nottingham…

Matt: No, that’s why I’m not going.


Top 8 predictions?
Smatt: In alphabetical order; Bears, Black Eagles, Brighton Breezy, Bristol Mixed, Cambridge, RGS, Scarecrew, Thundering Herd. I’d guess top 4 would be Bears, Cambridge, Herd, RGS with the others being in the 5-8.

Matt: Bears, Cambridge, Brighton, RGS, Herd, Black Eagles, Dyn-O-Mixed, Bristol Mixed. 


Best game of Pool Play?

Smatt: Game 1 of Saturday looks to feature the some great matchups with Bear Cavalry vs Brighton and the rematch of the MT1 pool play decider between RGS and the Herd. However, the 1:30 slot features the one to watch in pool play: Bear Cavalry vs Cambridge (with the Herd vs Bristol MT1 semi final rematch also happening in this slot)!
Further down the rankings, Jabba the Huck vs Shiny Happy Meeple should prove interesting a tight, highly contested, match-up in the race for a crossover into the top 8. Reading vs Merseyside will be trying to do the same but in the top half of the 13-20 bracket.

Matt: RGS vs Cambridge.  


Upset predictions?

Smatt: I see RGS knocking out Bristol and the Herd to take their group and set themselves up with a more preferable quarter to make the top 4. Going on 2013 results this doesn’t look like an upset, but going on MT1 results I think it’s justified.

Matt: RGS to beat Herd, Brighton to reach semis, Dyn-O-Mixed to get top 8.

Who wins? You decide. 

Herd Mauled by Bears in Sunny Cardiff – Mixed Tour 1 Report

Bear Cavalry, Black Eagles, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Glasgow Ultimate, Mixed, Mixed Ultimate, Nice Bristols, RGS, Tournament Reports
Matt Dathan reports on Mixed Tour 1 in sun-soaked Cardiff

Bear Cavalry took Thundering Herd to the slaughter to draw first blood in this season’s mixed tour. 

On yet another sunny day on the fields of Cardiff, Herd went into the final still milking their fine 13-10 semi-final victory over Bristol, but their performance was less than legendairy. It all looked to be going well for the Londoners in the first half as they kept up with the Bears, trailing by just one point at half.

Theo Tizard (Bear Cavalry) gets high over the Herd.

Former Bears handler Cian Ó Móráin was a constant thorn in their side and was opening up too many breaks for their liking. But tactics maestro Dave Tyler put his thinking hat on at half time and pulled out a masterstroke to contain the Irish playmaker, stifling his leftie throws.

Pint-sized birthday-boy Adam Maxwell was symptomatic of Bear’s superior fitness as he linked their handlers and deeps; Herd seemed to run out of steam and failed to put a point on the scoreboard in the second half and Herd were given the hiding they deserved with the match ending 15-7.

As Tyler fought away John Terry to lift yet another mixed tour trophy, he realised he had no more room for silverware in his trophy cabinet and magnanimously offered debut boy Matt Hodgson the chance to start his own trophy collection.

It was much the same story on the adjoining pitch in the third-place play-off. Bristol had nothing more to give and were smashed by the better half of Cambridge. Bristol, who had a storming Saturday – beating Shiny Happy Meeple, Glasgow and Black Eagles in the quarters – went into Sunday not looking so Nice, perhaps distracted by their endeavour to sell raffle tickets.

Boasting a team packed full of World’s-bound Nice Bristols and Chevron players, they were unable to compete with a well-drilled Cambridge team who have already racked up more than a handful of training sessions in their preparation for the World Championships.

The semi-finals were a different story entirely; both games went to the wire – Thundering Herd traded it out to beat Bristol 13-10 while Bears beat Cambridge Black 14-11.  
Cambridge Black will be pleased with their top three finish considering they split their teams in two in a bid to improve tournament fitness. The White half, who lost to their Black team-mates in the quarter finals, finished fifth, beating Scarecrew in the 5/6 game.

The third mixed team heading for worlds – RGS – finished the weekend in 8th, narrowly losing the 7/8th game to Brighton Breezy. The boys and girls in pink and blue have only had a couple of trainings together since trials and with a team that is almost unrecognisable from the team that dominated mixed tour last year they will be looking to gel quickly.

But one player who remains from last year, captain Jonny Clark, led by example, making a number of flying blocks over the weekend, one of which was caught on camera and can be seen here, and will be hoping his team step it up for mixed tour two in Nottingham.
Fish dominated bagel news: they started the weekend on the receiving end by losing 15-0 to Sneekys on Saturday but then got their own taste of a bagel on the Sunday, beating Black Sheep 2 (due to a forfeit) by the same score line.


Final positions will be coming soon… 

UKU Mixed Tour 1 Preview

Bear Cavalry, Black Eagles, Brighton, Cambridge, Dyn-O-Mixed, mixed tour, Previews, RGS, Shiny Happy Meeples, Thundering Herd, WUCC2014
Matthew “Smatt” Hodgson starts his tSG career off with a quick preview of #ukumt1.

With teams attempting to prepare for the World Club Championships this year, the Tour will feel simultaneously significant and insignificant. Whilst results won’t “matter”, the worlds teams will want to prepare as best they can and notch some wins against the other teams going, and the teams not going to worlds will be eager to cause some upsets. (Note: as far as I’ve seen, the qualification method for EUCF in Frankfurt hasn’t been announced).

Below is an analysis of the top 10 seeded teams for UKU Mixed Tour 1 this weekend in Cardiff. 

Teams going to WUCC
Bear Cavalry: The focus for Bears is worlds. They have retained almost the entire squad from the European Championship winning team, brought in D line contributors, and comfortably handled business at Winter League (not conceding more than 5 points in a game). The Bears are out to win the tour and continue their legacy as a mixed powerhouse on their route to WUCC.

Cambridge: have taken the interesting decision to split their worlds team between O and D lines for Mixed tour 1 (and possibly beyond?). Whilst this will undoubtedly provide plenty of exposure to the highest level of mixed ultimate across the roster, and get more game time and grow connections along the two lines, I see them losing some games on the decision as well. Having said that, with this long to go before WUCC, losses likely won’t provide as much of a sting if the progression is there.


Royal Goaltimate Society: did not enter Nationals or Euros last year due to their players prioritising open and women’s, despite winning tour. You can’t argue with the results of the respective open/women’s clubs results, but it means they have had to re-tool this offseason and therefore have not had as much time to gain team cohesion. The core of RGS this year appears to be Ka-Pow! guys and SYC girls, which are arguably two of the better teams in the Open/Women’s divisions to not be attending worlds, and therefore there will be pockets of team cohesion throughout the team, but it awaits to be seen as to whether they will be fully ready for Mixed Tour 1. Having said this, RGS will be using this as one of the first steps on their road to worlds, and have a strong squad so should come away with plenty of positive results this weekend.

Established mixed clubs
Thundering Herd: The cow print always play the top teams close, and are always training hard and putting in the time to develop as a specialist mixed club. The Herd have selected large squads (53 players between the two teams) which should help given there are some injury concerns, and they have remained committed to their rigorous pre-season training schedule. The herd have been bolstered by plenty of new faces and will be hoping to take more than a few wins this weekend and throughout the season.

Brighton: For the past few years, Brighton have not been able to re-capture the magic of their xEUCF winning team from 2009, whilst still hanging around at the top of the mixed tour. The renewed focus on Open and Women’s has put mixed on the back burner, but Brighton should not be overlooked as they always come with a strong squad, even when understaffed. It remains to be seen whether every Brighton club will be playing the Mexican offence that seems to have taken hold in the city, but regardless, expect Brighton to be unconventional on offence regardless of the formation, and play hard on defence.

Bristol: They have had the potential to really challenge on the mixed circuit for a couple of years now, which has only been helped by the continued development of the women’s club. With a renewed focus on the guys training to keep up with the girls and get back to UKU Nationals, Bristol could put in a serious contention for the top spots. I picked them as underdogs last year when they went into Mixed Tour 1 seeded 13th and by the end of Saturday they were the top seeds, but there won’t be many teams surprised by them this year.

Black Eagles:  After coming up short in their quest to reach Europe last year, falling at the last hurdle at nationals against a DED team they had beaten earlier at the tournament, the Black Eagles may be using the tour to redeem themselves and build towards nationals and Europeans again. If they retain enough of their players from the squad which finished 3rd overall across the tours last year, they can definitely be finals contenders.

Shiny Happy Meeple: This club established last year that they were prepared to play above their perceived potential, and managed to finish in the top 10 over the three tours (maxing out at 8th place at MT3). Whilst they may not be contenders for a top spot, and generally don’t focus on results, they can definitely put pressure on the top teams.

Unknown

Dyn-O-Mixed: Dyn-O-Mite has typically been a bit of a boys club, frequenting Glastonbury and indoors tournaments, and up until now they have fallen short of their potential at these events. Entering a mixed tour is a new realm for this team though and after drafting in some strong female players they start the mixed season with the 8th seed. If their squad is made up of the top level talent that has played with them before, and if their guys and girls have built up enough chemistry they could definitely make some noise.

Great start Smatt and we look forward to more from Smatt and his KaPow teammate Matt Dathan! Make sure to check out the liveBlog feed on the home page!

xEUCF 2013: Mixed and Masters.

Bear Cavalry, Bordeaux, Masters, Mixed, Previews, xEUCF

David Pryce briefly previews xEUCF 2013 for the extended divisions: Mixed and Masters.

The last month after Nationals has been a flurry of activity, booking flights, last minute throwing and even first time training for some teams!?! In the calm before the storm, I will briefly discuss the UK’s prospect in the Mixed and Masters divisions.

Mixed

Going in number 1 seed Bear Cavalry have already made a statement at Nationals, in all fairness I can’t see many other teams challenging them. With their superstars of Joe Thompson and Dave Tyler we can expect big things.

Cambridge Ultimate are one of the teams I think could challenge Bear Cavalry, but they have to play their best and step up from Nationals. Let’s hope the fire has been stirred in their bellies and they will come out and take the challenge on!

DED broke into xEUCF by beating strong Scottish contingent Black Eagles but have picked up some added quality in Rich Gale (GB Open and World Games), exciting right? I think this team can really cause some upsets and get into the top half.  They have also been tweeting us some interesting facts – here are two of my favourites:



Finally the lucky call ups: Thundering Herd. After a drop out and strength calculation the UK got another spot and the London team were lucky enough to get the call. With little time to prepare and get players to France it is hard to predict how well this team will do, but they will as always be looking to take some European scalps. The one thing you can count on is that they will be easily spotted in their trademark friesian!



Masters

As the smallest division (7 teams) of the tournament anything could happen in Bordeaux. From the UK we have Zimmer and Blue Arsed Flies. The first is essentially the GB Beach Masters team who successfully took on Europe once this year already at ECBU, honestly I cannot see them faltering here. BAF take a very strong squad with the likes of Jason DeCicco, Merrick Cardew and Wayne Retter to name a few; could we see an all-UK final?


Cannot wait to get over there, remember to follow the hashtag #xeucf2013 for social media updates and watch the stream provided by Playo.tv. DP @ tSG.