UKU Nationals Results

Birmingham, Clapham, EUCF, Frankfurt., Iceni, Mixed, Open, UKU Nationals, womens

UKU Nationals were held in Southampton this weekend just past. Here’s how it went…

Qualifying for EUCF 2014 held in Frankfurt are:

OPEN

  1. Clapham (Elite Division)
  2. Chevron Action Flash (Elite Division)
  3. EMO
  4. Fire of London
  5. Brighton
  6. Cambridge

Midlands University Open Outdoor Regionals Preview

Birmingham, Cambridge, Leicester, Loughborough, Norwich, nottingham, Oxford, Previews, UKU Regionals, University, Warwick
Chris Alderson runs down the Midlands region ahead of this weekend University regionals in Cambridge.

With the University Indoor season drawing to a close, all teams in the Midlands Region are once again drawn to Cambridge to compete for 6 Nationals places (3 in each Division). Here’s a preview of what we’re likely to see.


We can’t start this anywhere other than looking at the Division 1 Indoor National Champs and our hosts, Cambridge (Strange Blue). On the lips of everyone in the region is ‘these Americans’ or to use their actual names, Justin Norden and Ben Funk. Funk is an import from Stanford and Norden a 2011 USA College Nationals Champ with Carleton. Expect the combination of Norden’s clinical handling and Dom Dathan breaking forces like twigs to form an offence to be reckoned with. Captain George Anegg will be looking to take a large and athletic squad to give those handlers plenty of options.
University of Nottingham at Div 2 Nationals last year. Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.
The next logical team to review would be the Division 2 Indoor National Champs, Warwick Bears. Bears Skipper Sam ‘261’ Hawkins appears to have gathered a good squad depth. Their second team was the highest placed second team at Indoor Regionals, and they have a good retention of players from last year in the name of Robbie ‘Cracking’ Tink and Frigate as steady handlers, plus Andy Hillman organising the defence. Expect that ‘Midlands weave’ and a classic Bears aggressive zone in their arsenal. With this in mind, Warwick will be looking to be that outside bet to break into the top two (of Cambridge and Birmingham) in the region.


That other team in that ‘top two’ (along with Cambridge) and going into the weekend with a firm belief they can win is the University of Birmingham (uBu). Another Bronze medal at Indoors this year, their third on the bounce, shows uBu haven’t taken the foot off the pedal and will be hoping to do one better than last year and win the region on the road to Nationals. Rollo Sax Dixon and Ben ‘Borat’ Burak the notable names most teams will be eyeing as game changers getting blocks, but with other standouts like Lloyd ‘Incredible CheeseWing Frisbee Throw’ Cheesman and Tom Hodgett, there is no end to the talent they have you’re going to have to try and stop. A solid team, summed up perfectly by Harry Mason: “Dang they strong.”

Onto EMO… I mean Fling (University of Nottingham). I say EMO, as looking at Fling’s key players you start to spot the trend; with no less than 8 Fling players on the EMO roster (a reduction from 12 last year). EMO Captain Robert ‘Cody’ Coddington will be there, in a team lacking handler resource, throwing deep options to the towering Captain Ben Poole, and on defence you’ll see Nathan Trickey and Adrian ‘Cass’ Delport getting layout blocks for fun. Although they were disappointed last year not getting Division, they responded by winning Division 2 Outdoor Nationals and they will be looking match their indoor achievement and qualify Division 1 this year.

After a disappointing year in 2013, losing to Fling in some style in the game to go for Division 2, Oxford University (OW!) are looking for revenge. They’re hoping to do this through their defence, with Dan ‘Monster’ Cerigo and Michael ‘Face’ West who are going to be huge in the air combining with Harry ‘Puppy’ Mason who’ll be chasing down the opposition so as to not allow them an inch of space. Captain Dan Aronov will no doubt be trying to get their offence consistent as well. Hugo ‘Huggie’ Grimmett in his 7th year with OW! will help this, but with very inconsistent performances over the past few tournaments, who knows what their outcomes will be against opponents of different levels.

Leicester University (Jesters) come into the tournament after qualifying for Division 1 last year but with limited success this year so far. You can’t talk about Jesters without immediately talking about Alex ‘Medic’ Charlton, a player of huge talent (I don’t really have to explain anything other than saying his name…). Some may think he has carried Jesters this year but with rumours of his University Ultimate career over to concentrate on university workload, the responsibility comes down to Edd Carmichael and Julian Neo to bring this relatively young and inexperienced team through the big games.

Another team that kept cropping up in the Region’s predictions is University of East Anglia (Aye-Aye). GB U23 Mixed player Howard “HOWWWAAAARRDDDDD” Storey looks to be the star in a team of relatively unknown players. Aye-Aye have shown promise in previous tournaments this year and perhaps Regionals is where it all comes together for them. Captain Arron Reed will be hoping for Jen squad player Luke Frett to step up also, especially with injuries to some key squad players to contend with.

Now we draw to my team, Loughborough University (Haze). After being written off for last year’s Regionals, Haze went on to lose narrowly in the game-to-go for Division 1; living up to the old adage: ‘Haze always find a way.’ Skipper Andrew ‘Pumba’ Sellers draws from a large young squad showing a lot of promise, hoping to be coupled perfectly with handling experience in Chris ‘Melon’ Peploe. Ben ‘Jar Jar’ Pocock and Matty ‘Matty’ Hart will be looking to motivate the young defence in accumulating blocks, and not letting offences flow.

Lincoln will be hanging around that top 8 area this season with notable player Jack Gray, anyone not treating the likes of these teams with respect may be punished.

Taken from predictions around the region, here’s an average of what people think the outcome will be:
1st – Strange Blue
2nd – uBu
3rd – Bears
4th – Fling
5th – Haze
6th – OW!
7th – Jesters
8th – Aye-Aye

Whatever happens, the strength in the Midlands and with the amount of silverware teams have around the region, it promises to be a tasty affair. See you all there.

And that’s it for English regionals, next weekend will be the final UK regional: Scotland.

Midlands Uni Women Indoor Regionals

Birmingham, Cambridge, Loughborough, Midlands, nottingham, Oxford, UEA, University, Warwick, womens

Harry Mason wrote this preview for the Midlands Women’s Regionals on theStudentReview, he has kindly let us share it here too! 

Welcome to the Midlands. It’s a relatively nice place. Home to some good architecture. Some nice pubs. Friendly people to visit. Oh, and home to one of the most competitive regions in Ultimate, no matter what level/division you happen to find yourself playing in. And, if you’re like me, that makes it one of the best places in the world.

This weekend is women’s indoor regionals, and this proves to be no exception to the midlands rule. With 4 places up for grabs (that’s right, they get an extra spot because it’s *that* tough), the competition is certainly going to be intense. 12 teams are fighting it out in all (including 2 second teams), so here’s how they predicted themselves ending up:
1st Birmingham
2nd Nottingham
3rd Loughborough
4th Warwick

5th Cambridge
6th Oxford
7th UEA
Firstly, Birmingham (UBU) were certainly favourites for this weekend. And it’s really not hard to see why everyone was so scared of them. Captain Helen Roberts commands a formidable team, with the ever fantastic GB U23 stars Kim and Grace Owen only just starting this year, and formidable former Iowa player Rachel Bradley being hot on other teams watch lists. These gals are going to be clinical, fast and very, very dangerous. And, arguably  fully deserving of being top of predictions. Someone make sure they don’t come away with it two years in a row, please?
Echoing a sudden death loss of last year, Nottingham (Fling) again find themselves narrowly behind UBU. But when you consider that they’ve suffered relatively few losses, and that they’ve picked up some rather nice international players (and noted GB U23 mixed player Helen ‘Welen’ Wanstall) and some rather athletics freshers, this is a team that Captain Trina Lam is certain to be very proud of after this weekend.
Now, onto Loughborough (Haze). Captain Cat Baron is back after a year out training with Cambridge (or possibly on an internship). And with the freshers to finish 2nd at NWBin (Nottingham Women’s Beginner’s indoors), added to an already impressive roster including Xing Guo (who’s wicked throws and great D I’ve witnessed first hand at Mixed Tour), Charlotte ‘Bubbles’ Kennedy (taking after Cat in loving her overheads) and of course the Loughborough standard  of producing very fast athletic people (Lucy and Anna Kadja being highlighted, even by Haze standards here). Basically, watch out. Haze are about.
So, Warwick Bears were predicted to be taking the final spot. However, coach Moritz ‘Fritz’ Reithmayr may have more of a challenge on his hands than most realise. With Welen backstabbing Bears to go play for Fling, and last year’s captain Ronja Wöstheinrich having left as well (helping Bear Cavalry qualify for the world championships in the process), a lot of teams may suddenly find themselves fancying their chances. Don’t be so hasty. With Zhiling Chan there to provide quick speed and lethal throws, and the lovely but loud Maddie McDonald there to catch anything thrown at her. Add a couple more experienced players like Pei Hwa for some good old reliability, and Warwick just might find themselves at nationals.
Not without a fight, however. If experience is a good thing, then Cambridge (Strange Blue) boast over 17 years collectively in the team. Although a lot of that can be distilled into the co-captains of all round superstar Fran Kundel and the charming Aimée Hall, added to the fearsome force of ex-captain Megan Davies-Wykes equals tough luck for any team hoping for an easy ride. Also, thanks to Cambridge’s (nearly) unique college leagues, even beginners to Uni level are not to be taken lightly, with Helen Hambling and the sky-dominant Hannah Sanderson among those hoping to give Cambridge a shot at the big time.
Although, like always, Oxford (WOW!) are keen to get in Cambridge’s way. With fearsome Punt player and Captain Emma ‘Crumps’ Jacobsen hoping to overcome Oxford’s late term start with clinical athleticism and fearsome speed (and has wasted no time teaching her players how to do the same). Vice Serena ‘Lucky’ De Nahlik has come off an intense summer of tours and nationals (and co-captaining OW! 2 to 12 in the region) willing to match any player in the country for speed and enthusiasm. And with some unfairly talented beginners in Joyce Kwok and Leila Denniston testing the waters you can be sure WOW! is going to be strong, fast and loud. Ok, the loud bit is mainly because of Emma, but the point stands.
Finally on the rankings, the ever wonderful UEA (Birds-Aye). By the way, for those wondering, that adjective is backed up conclusively by numerous spirit rankings. However, Birds-Aye aren’t just out to be nice. With Steph Tomkins stepping up to join Louise Fitzpatrick as captain, together they are looking to term that home advantage (and probably sideline) into some strong victories. With Margot Nickels having a ‘beautiful, Beyoncé-like force’, and having found in the bad-ass Ele Overvoorde someone who actually like to play chase on a zone, there’s no telling what else might be in store for any (presumably) brave opponents that they’ll face.
Personally, I found it slightly surprising that Leicester (Jesters) didn’t show up anywhere in the predictions. After all, with Leicester coming 2nd in mixed outdoors and JR qualifying for mixed club nationals its clear that this is a uni that knows how to train it’s women (albeit not very many of them apparently). However, with few returners and with superstar Jody Martin sadly missing this weekend, there’s no doubt that Captain Emily Marshall has a job building up a team to match last year. On the other hand if York Alumni fail you, you can count on Lancaster Alumni in the form of the brilliant Helena Jones. Together, her and Emily are sure to be out to have some fun in traditional Jester style, and maybe cause an upset or 2 along the way
Next up are Brookes Ladies (BLUF), captained by returning player (and onsie lover) Daisy Sander. The loss of club captain Kirsty Bunning is sure to hit them hard, but with talented returner Michelle Tham providing some stability and then some talented freshers (including Sian Simpson, who, after sneaking a preview at the team, can confirm is one to watch) picking up the slack, it might mean they may not be quite as easy to pass as other teams would hope.
Finally, proudly representing their University for the first time are Lincoln (Lincoln). Still discovering themselves and their style (and having a number of them doing so the second weekend in a row after playing as Lincoln 2 at open regionals last weekend), expect to see (moderately) experienced players like the usefully tall Captain Sophie McKenna and consistently excellent cutter Amy Oxbridge, along with fresher D machine Beth Joy Platt and the safe but high up hands of Maddy Ogden. This is definitely going to be a team to watch in years to come. So you might as well start now.
So, basically, it’s going to be a fun weekend. No weekend in the midlands is complete without upsets, huge bids, great spirit and naturally sudden death finishes. With rumours of big things planned for nationals and 4 places at the biggest University level women’s indoor tournament in all of Great Britain up for grabs, it’s clear that this weekend is not going to be one to miss.
Best but equal wishes and luck to all teams this weekend. Let’s go put on a show.

Cheers Harry and thank you again to the UU committee! DP  @ tSG. 

UKU Open Nationals 2013

Birmingham, Chevron, Clapham, Devon, Fire of London, Flump, Glasgow Ultimate, Open, Previews, Release, UKU Nationals

Josh Coxon Kelly previews the 2013 UK Open Nationals.

This weekend the 2013 UKU National Championships take place in Southampton and the tournament is more hyped than ever before. Even with the various controversies surrounding the Mixed and Women’s divisions, the culmination of a tumultuous domestic Open season is looking to be ripe for drama. The return of national players at this point in the season is a sure-fire way to add excitement to start. This year sees both World Games and u23 squad players bringing invaluable international experience to their clubs, who having grown in their absence will be further boosted by their superstar homecomings.


Reigning champions Clapham come into the tournament after a formidable performance against some of USA ultimate’s best at the Chesapeake Invite. With the World Club Championships around the corner the pressure to retain both National and European titles will be sky high, and central players from both World Games and u23 will need to keep their focus in a busy season to retain the title.


However with the rise of EMO and the fall of Fire 1 at open tour, and numerous unexpected results from the UKU regional series Nationals has truly been blown wide open compared to the relatively predictable tournaments of the past. Manchester will feel hard done by with their route after clinching a shocker upset against Chevron in the northern region, and will be looking to get a W against opening matchup Fire 2 to give themselves another shot at the Ron. With the wound of last season’s semi-final loss at the hands of Fire 1 still fresh, Chevron will be looking to show that they can rise all the way to the top amidst a fierce club scene.


Also lined up on this side of the draw is a potential quarter final matchup between midlands geoowerhouse EMO and Fire 1. Fire have historic experience at this level but despite having had a less than smooth season will still be favourites against a promising but still-fresh Glasgow team. Unless Release can snag a considerable giant killing, Fire will face a hungry young EMO squad that relishes in the strength of their (so-far!) ‘unknown’ players who have been making big plays on the complacent from any club all year. With some hot tempers on each side, and larger implications of European and Worlds qualifications overhanging victory this could be one of the games of the tournament.
Defending Champions Clapham at last years Nationals. Photo Courtesy of Andrew Moss.


In the top half of the draw Kapow! and Brighton are en-route to a quarter final clash, although it is difficult to see either team stand in the way of Clapham’s route to the final. However – the knockout structure of Nationals is perfect for upsets, and the clarity of the structure will favour the underdogs, as the ever-elusive ‘scalping’ suddenly has huge implications. The continued shift of importance onto Nationals over tour as a priority for UK Open clubs combines with the exposed structure to create a tournament brimming with excitement and competition. With streaming, live scores, an ever vibrant twitter presence and even a wonderfully simple fantasy competition Open nationals 2013 is set to be a stormer across the board.

The ShowGame got in touch with each of the team captains for a few of their own words approaching the tournament – maybe time for a few last changes to that fantasy 7?…

1. Clapham Ultimate Marc Guilbert:

Describe your team philosophy and playing style:  

Make Clapham practice the best game in Europe.

What finishing place are you aiming for?  
We aim to win nationals and retain the title.

Who makes the big plays on your team?  
Everyone contributes to our plays. We don’t try to build our club around superstars, we rather have depth and build victories together. That said, our captains Justin Foord and Richard Harris continue to be huge playmakers for us.



2. Manchester Dale Walker:
Describe your team philosophy and playing style:

Our philosophy is to enjoy playing. A few of us had come from teams where fun was neglected for performance, or performance was neglected for fun. We’ve struck a good balance between combining the competitive elements of our squad without losing the joy of something that is essentially a really expensive hobby.
Our playing style is quite loose. We have a few structures and set plays with some heavy Chevron influences (our squad trains closely with Chevron players and has a few Chevron alumni) but we also incorporate our own ideas from the experiences of some of our senior statesmen. You may see some EMO, Chevron & LLL ideas from years gone amalgamate into one.
What finishing place are you aiming for?
We set our goal this season of making top 8. We came ever so close in Tour with 2 sudden death losses at T3 to KaPow! & Ranelagh, and we have a great opportunity to do so at Nationals. We’d love to make xEUCF, but we’re not hung up on it – if we play well and stay in every game we’ll be happy with our weekend, if we make Europeans we’ll be ecstatic.


Who makes the big plays on your team?

We’ve got a great balance between playmakers and solid contributors. Expect to see big things from Santiago Zuluaga, Nick Smith & Adam Irving on offence, with Ewen Buckling & Ben Brierley keeping our D line in the mix. We’ve found all year that our lesser known guys are becoming our main bread winners – an unintended element of surprise but it’s worked to our favour.


3. EMOJoe Wynder:
Describe your team philosophy and playing style: 

Our playing style is aggressive and athletic! Team philosophy is believing in ourselves and working for your teammates.

Who makes the big plays on your team?
Offence play makers would likely be myself, Galey and Tom Fox.
Defence play makers would likely be Rollo Sax-Dixon (Birmingham University) and Liam Cockerill. Our D line works really well together as a unit. Pretty much everyone contributes and offers skills in different areas.


4. Brighton CityFelix Shardlow:
Describe your team philosophy and playing style: 
Brighton City play a newly developed offence which is fluid, balanced and organic, using the space on the field in a different and unique way compared to other offences. On defence we bring variety to the table, playing man-to-man and tight junk zone and anything and everything in between.

What finishing place are you aiming for?
We know we are capable of finishing in the top 3 this weekend, but there will be some tough battles along the way, in particular the quarter against KaPow! will be huge as that game means so much for both teams.

Who makes the big plays on your team?

Keep an eye out for running machine Roach making a return for the end of the season, Robbie Haines getting multiple crucial layout D’s, and Hayden Slaughter 3000 continuing to surprise everybody all over the field.



5. KaPow!David Pichler:
Describe your team philosophy and playing style: 

Philosophy is to strive to improve as players in everything we do and to push our boundaries at training. This creates quite a loose and free playing style. We’ve worked a lot on cleaning it up when we get bogged down.
What finishing place are you aiming for?
We don’t focus on results but on our performance. If we perform the way we want then the results will follow
Who makes the big plays on your team?
Fred Shone and Will Martin are playing very well on Offense. Defensively Jake Warren is capable of big plays, and our Portuguese connection of Pedro Vargas and David Pimenta is always fun to watch. Also, watch out for Simon Dathan on our D line. He can lock down the very best cutters and handlers any team has



6. Fire 1Alex Cragg:

Describe your team philosophy and playing style:
Going into Nationals it’s all about having no mercy and not giving the opposition a chance at the disc. It’s going to be all guns blazing on D, and considered and concise on O.

What are you aiming for in terms of finishing place?
A spot in the final.

Who makes the big plays on your team?
We try to encourage people not to feel like they need to make big plays. It’s more about the team scoring or getting a block than any individual brilliance. I’m sure the Fantasy Ultimate world wants to see Parslow rack up some stats though..



7. FlumpHam Roushanzamir:

Describe your team philosophy and playing style:

Flump is all about having fun and developing as an ultimate player. Each player is a big part of the club and everyone is always improving no matter what their experience. Unlike other clubs who focus on drills and running track to improve, we predominantly use board games to increase our team’s confidence and boost team strategy. You should see how much a player’s character builds after winning a game of Resistance. The lessons learnt are priceless.

What are you aiming for in terms of finishing place?
At Tour 1 we were seeded 42nd (middle of C Tour), we have risen all season and are entering Nationals seeded 7th.

If we continue at the current rate of improvement then it’s looking like we will finish 1st at Nationals.


Who makes the big plays on your team?
Joe Minns


8. DevonSamuel Luxa

Still awaiting answers… get in touch or comment below!



9. ReadingGraham Byford

Describe your team philosophy and playing style:
Our philosophy/style is to keep it simple and make the right decisions.

What are you aiming for in terms of finishing place?
We are aiming for top 12 – anything more than that would be a great success for us.


Who makes the big plays on your team?
I wouldn’t like to single out anyone as a big play maker, we have a number of players capable of big things!



10. ChevronJames Jackson:

Describe your team philosophy and playing style:

As I’m sure most people are aware, Chevron’s philosophy has always been to play at the top level with friends and like-minded people, rather than just cherry-picking based on ability. This translates into our playing style which is designed to allow creativity and freedom on offence – we try not to put strict patterns in place, but play by certain principles that allow us greater freedom. 
At times this does have drawbacks, when the team isn’t firing we can’t just fall back on basic, strict cutting patterns, but on the other hand when things click it is unstoppable and you see some amazing things coming out of it.

What are you aiming for in terms of finishing place?
In terms of finishing place, we are always aiming to win. In recent seasons this has been an objective target for the season, however we have found that focusing on the end result of a tournament can distract attention from playing the team that is in front of you earlier on. This year we made our main target just playing and training together as a team more. It is going well so far despite the result at Northern Regionals, and we hope the results will come naturally out of this, rather than the finishing position being the target itself.

Who makes the big plays on your team?

The team is full of players who make huge plays on a consistent basis. On offence, Richard Coward has become a huge asset, who has added great assisting throws to his deep game making him a danger in both directions. Sam Bowen has moved over to offence this year, he is capable of doing some amazing things and now just needs to prove his consistency. We’re also looking forward to Ollie Gordon coming back from his World Games preparations. On defence, Matt Beavan seems to have regressed (or progressed) back to his former teenage-self and has been getting huge fly-by blocks all season, and blasting pitch-length hucks from his own endzone. Our younger D players are a lot more experienced now than a couple of years ago, so guys like Tom Cartwright and Jake Aspin are becoming much more dangerous with the disc after getting the turns.
Though the team is full of individuals who can do some unbelievable things, the biggest strength is definitely in the team as a whole, our sideline will always have injured players on because they don’t want to stay at home.



11. GlasgowPhillip Webb:

Describe your team philosophy and playing style:
Offence possession, Defence aggression.

What are you aiming for in terms of finishing place?
We set out this year to establish another competitive team in Scotland and encourage participation at tour. Everything beyond that has been a bonus but we don’t see the point in stopping yet. xEUCF qualification is a step too far for now but outside of that we back ourselves against anyone on the day, we’ve surprised a few teams this year with our inability to know when we’re beaten.

Who makes the big plays on your team?
We’re a small squad so everyone know’s there are no passengers on the team and that’s the way we like to play. Everyone gives their all and we win or lose as a team.


12. EMO 2Joe Wynder:

Describe your team philosophy and playing style:
Playing style is Calm and Collected on offence, with battling and graft on Defence
Team Philosophy is working together and hard graft.

Who makes the big plays on your team?
Offence will be run by Veterans Ian Scotland and Matt Stead
Defence Phil Brunson and Nelson Chan both have the ability to make athletic plays.
Just like the first team all of them contribute and work hard for each other, especially as they have such a small squad size.



13.  BirminghamBen Kings:
Describe your team philosophy and playing style:

We are a relatively new club and this is our first season so I’m not sure if we have a team philosophy yet. We are just happy to get a chance to have a pop at the big guns.

We like to play quite a fast flowing game, and are happy to throw the disc around until we can get a big ol’huck off. 

Who makes the big plays on your team?
I think we will be pretty happy if we can get into the top 12, but satisfied if we can hold seed.


Who makes the big plays on your team?
Main plays are likely to come from Marius Hutcheson throwing to anyone of our cutters. Though you can expect Carl Bullingham to get on the score sheet often and some big layout D’s from Matt Seabrook.



14. ReleaseBrendan Thorne:
Describe your team philosophy and playing style:

Our philosophy this year has been to go out and enjoy each tour and develop our younger players, this lack of pressure has allowed us to improve as a team and culminated in a great result at Regionals to make it to Nationals. We are currently using a combination of the playing style the Release has used for the last few years and the tactics and experience many of us gained from Brummie whilst playing with Wessex last year. We’re a team that always looks to take long shots when they’re on (and often when they’re not).
What are you aiming for in terms of finishing place?
I think a realistic aim for us would be to win out in the round robin to take 13th, whilst playing hard to cause an upset and make to top 12 if the right opportunity presents itself. We are going in as the lowest ranked team based on the tour rankings so hopefully this lack of pressure combined with home advantage will make us a potentially awkward match-up.
Who makes the big plays on your team?
Our star cutter this year has been Peter ‘Special’ Wigfield who has made a great comeback from injury, his combination of speed and positioning makes him very dangerous up pitch. On the disc the main threats are the Wessex returnees Simon ‘Tugs’ Yorath, who is always chilly on the disc and very effective against zones, and Alex Lusby-Taylor, who is known for his flair throws and coming up with the unexpected.

15. Fire 2Tim Burton:
Describe your team philosophy and playing style:
Team philosophy is play hard, have fun. We maintain an individual style from our first team, but still work hard on being quick and aggressive on our man defence, and a calm, quick offence.

What are you aiming for in terms of finishing place?
We want to make the semi’s at the very least, we have the capability to get there. Top 4 is the aim.


Who makes the big plays on your team?
Stephan Lewis makes the big grabs in the end zone, Tom Summerbee holding the team together with his breaks, and David Pryce in the middle linking them all up.


16. Burro ElectricoJames Burbidge
Describe your team philosophy and playing style:
Burro plays from a fairly structured horizontal stack and likes to break the mark on offense. Defensively we rely on a solid man offense with a variety of zone looks thrown in to spice things up.
What are you aiming for in terms of finishing place?
Given our late and fortuitous entry to Nationals Burro has lost a few players to other activities (family, holidays etc) and those we have left haven’t been training. We’ve managed to reload the squad to a decent size, but expect a certain amount of gelling to have to take place over the weekend. We don’t have an eye on any particular finishing place, but we play our best ultimate when the pressure’s off. Whoever we’ve got first up should watch out.
Who makes the big plays on your team?
If it’s big players you’re looking for they don’t come much taller than ex-ABH mixed player Spoon (Matt Thomas) whose 6’7″ or something thereabouts. Gary Hall has deadly breaks and Dan Ryan combines height, speed, Black-Tide-aggression and a UK discgolf championship in one nasty package.

Time to see what you got! Comment, follow, share as usual! JCK @ tSG.

UKU Regionals Preview – Midlands

Birmingham, EMO, Midlands, Open Tour, Previews, UKU Regionals

EMO player Sean Colfer previews an unexpectedly open Midlands region, with the Mixed division at Nationals strongly affecting the tournament in Birmingham. Midlands has 3 bids to Nationals and will be held this Sunday.

Last season the Midlands region featured three teams with A Tour experience in the preceding Tour season. Cambridge led the way in the regular season, finishing seventh overall, trailed by EMO in eleventh and Jest Ridisculous in 17th. However, only two spots at Nationals were available – EMO edged out Cambridge in the final, leaving JR out in the cold.


This season, there are three places available from a Midlands region that is lacking the strength in depth of last year.


EMO have elevated their performance levels in 2013 and earned third overall, behind the ‘big two’ of Clapham and Chevron, at Tour. They have defeated Fire, Brighton (twice, both in sudden death) and Ranelagh, as well as trading to half with Chevron at Tour 2. So far though, the Leicester-based team have been unable to make inroads against the top two over a whole game. They will win the region, and it’s unlikely to be close.


EMO will be without World Games captain Rich Gale who will still be in Cali come the event. However, club president and previous World Games competitor Daniel ‘Colonel’ Furnell should be able to play after a spell on the sidelines this season through injury, as should captain and coach Joe Wynder, fresh from the U23 World Championships Open team in Canada. Christian ‘Bobby’ Zamore and Tom ‘Foxy’ Fox provide the speed on offence, while vice-captains James ‘Whippy’ Bauld and Nathan Trickey will lead a strong, tall and athletic D line.

EMO seen here after taking on CUSB at EUCF last year. 


The next tier of teams features three B Tour mainstays. Jest Ridisculous finished as the 20th, 17th and 12th best team across Tours 1, 2 and 3 this season respectively. Cambridge finished 11th and 14th in the first two Tour events but slumped to 26th in Cardiff while EMO 2 managed two finishes at 20th and one at 21st, showing excellent consistency at the top end of B tour.

These three teams should be reasonably well matched, depending on how EMO decide to stack their rosters. However, complicating the possible outcomes this season is the fact that Nationals will also act as a qualifier for Mixed at xEUCF in Bordeaux. Both JR and Cambridge are believed to have an eye on the Mixed division at Nationals with the aim to compete at a European level, meaning both teams will be without some top players.

JR usually rely heavily on a very effective huck game, led by captain George ‘Rondo’ Hudson, fellow handler Chris Peploe and star receiver Alex ‘Medic’ Charlton. However, they will be without several ‘first choice’ players this Sunday – including Medic – and seem likely to surround Hudson with more inexperienced players with a view to developing their squad for the future.

It’s impossible to say who Cambridge will bring considering their strong recent history and fluctuating results this season, to say nothing of the rumoured focus elsewhere. It’s safe to say that U23 Open handler Dom Dathan will feature and if they decide to bring back players like GB Mixed veteran Nick Wong they will stand a good chance. The likelihood of this, though, appears slim; a big hit to their qualification hopes.

EMO 2 captain Chris ‘Pudding’ Alderson will have to wait to see who is available for his team, but the experience of Ian ‘Scot’ Scotland and playmaking of Phil Brunson have been key to their consistent performances this season. They will justifiably feel very good about their chances of joining EMO 1 in Southampton for the first time having finished ahead of Cambridge at Tour 3 and gotten close to JR in games this season.


The underdog in this region is Birmingham Ultimate. This is their first season as a Tour team and they have taken to the competition admirably. They finished runners-up in C Tour at Tour 1 and they maintained respectable B Tour finishes in Nottingham and Cardiff, at 26th and 24th respectively. They will host the tournament and will look to push for the final qualifying spot, possibly making a Vision-like run at the teams ahead of them. Their only weakness could be their very short lines, with only nine players on the team at Tour 3. Birmingham have a well rounded team, with their key plays coming from captain Ben ‘Mesh’ Kings and lefty handler Marius Hutcheson.


Leamington Lemmings gave EMO a shock a few years ago but they have lost a number of key players and will do well to challenge any of the teams ahead of them. St. Albans are another team that may enter the slightly geographically-expanded regional tournament, but their consistent C Tour/low B Tour position indicates they shouldn’t be a threat either. Flyght Club fall into this bracket as well, after a consistent season at the top end of C Tour, as will similarly placed SharkBear, a Warwick University student team. These teams will likely battle between themselves for a shot at fifth place.


The one-day tournament should see some competitive Ultimate, especially at the level below EMO 1, but whether there is enough strength in the region for the third spot to be justified this season remains to be seen. There is the potential there for some strong teams but the focus on Mixed makes this a very difficult read. The main beneficiaries of the shifted focus should be EMO, who must be considered heavy favourites to have their whole squad in Southampton.


Prediction*:

1. EMO 1
2. EMO 2
3. Birmingham Ultimate
4. Cambridge
5. JR
6. St. Albans
7. SharkBear
8. Flyght Club
9. Leamington

*And, in the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I am a proud EMO squad member. I tried to stay impartial with this preview but it looks like it didn’t work out so well…


What do you think? Comments below! DP @ tSG.