WUCC 2014 Mixed Division Preview: Cambridge Ultimate

Cambridge, Mixed, news, Previews, WUCC Previews, WUCC2014
Matthew Hodgson and Matt Dathan preview Cambridge Ultimate in the Mixed division of WUCC 2014.

Cambridge winning the Golden Keg final and last month. Photo courtesy of the Golden Keg crew.

Squad

Adrienne Tecza
Ania Koscia
Ben Bruin
Dom Dathan
Duncan Pocklington
Fran Dathan
Hannah Boddy
Hannah Williams
Howard Storey
James Threadgill
Joe Durst
Kelly Hogan
Lucy Barnes
Magali Matsumiya
Matt Metcalfe
Michele Ghansah
Nancy Rawlings
Niamh Delaney
Nick Wong
Rich Hims
Sam Turner
Sam Vile
Steve Kolthammer
Susanna Bidgood

About Cambridge

If it was a pub quiz, Cambridge would be firm favourites. Not only do they boast a host of current and alumni Cambridge students, they have been joined by a number of players from their arch-rivals, Oxford, to form a team that would not look out of place being tested by Jeremy Paxman. 


However it is not a pub quiz, it is the World Ultimate Club Championships, and the question on many people’s minds is, with more than seven doctorates among the team, will too many genii spoil the grand plan, masterminded by co-captains Nick Wong and Magali Matsumiya?

The team held limited try-outs for a small number of invited players to add external experience and talent to a team that has a very cohesive feel to it, due to a long tradition of weekly training sessions in Cambridge.

So whilst the likes of James Threadgill, Frances Dathan and Ben Bruin might water down the average IQ of the team, they will add vital graft and experience to the team.

The combination of a strong history of ultimate in Cambridge, the integration of its university team with the club, the rise of the women’s team Punt and the handful of additions to the squad has led to the rising force of the Cambridge mixed team.

Until last year, they were certainly not considered a powerhouse on the UK scene. Yes, they regularly made the quarter finals and the top 10 at mixed tours, but they were not a team that was feared.

Yet, after their most successful mixed tour season last year – securing second and third-placed finishes – they went into nationals brimming with confidence. They lost to Bear Cavalry in the final and finished in second place, enough to qualify for the European Club championships and their long-awaited prize of a spot at World’s.

At Europeans in Bordeaux their only defeats came against the Latvian team Salaspils FK and a narrow loss against UFO Utrecht in the quarter finals, before securing an impressive fifth-place finish.

With only a handful of new additions this season, they travel to Lecco as one of the most prepared teams. Their turnout at training is outstanding compared to other teams, they reached every almost final of the mixed tours this season and have performed very well at two international warm-up tournaments, finishing as runners-up at G-Spot in Ghent and winning the Golden Keg tournament in Dublin, beating RGS in the process.

Add to that their surprise 15-13 win over Bear Cavalry in a warm-up game earlier this month – the first UK team to beat Bears in over a year – Cambridge “look to be timing their peak perfectly for World’s,” as one rival team’s captain put it.

Playing and Coaching Style

At times, however, their preparation domestically has been frustrating, with the lack of competition in the UK a problem shared by Bear Cavalry.

“It’s been frustrating that a lot of our games haven’t been that close,” says Nick. “We’ve only had one or two games each tour to really develop and learn new things.”

Cambridge’s style of play is very much driven by a horizontal offence, with hints of split stack principles, aiming to make big isolations for their cutters, which will give opposition teams match-up nightmares across both genders.

“We’ve got some really good women on the team,” says Nick. “So we set up our offence to make sure we give them the space to do their thing.”

Some players have joked about the amount of time spent discussing the small minutiae of tactics, suggesting too many genii do indeed spoil the grand plan, but Nick does well to use and contain the billions of brain cells competing for talking time.

Nick dismisses the importance of the team’s superior IQ, however. “IQ smarts translates very poorly into frisbee smarts,” he explains. And co captain Mags says it sometimes has a detrimental effect at trainings.

“It leads to a vast amount of discussion of every possibility that could possibly ever happen, which is not ideal,” she says of certain players’ tendency to analyse their tactics to the nth degree.

As for their tactics off the pitch, the captains are taking a more Fabio Capello approach to team discipline than RGS have, with an alcohol ban in action throughout the tournament. Only time will tell which approach works better, but don’t expect Cambridge players to be hitting the bars of Lecco until at least Saturday evening.

Prediction

Nick refused to set a goal for Cambridge at World’s – or at least he chose to keep his cards close to his chest – preferring to determine success as “playing really well as a team and playing to our potential,” taking each game as it comes.

He stressed Cambridge’s team ethos was more important than any key individuals, and the team’s strength across the board, rather than certain stand-out players, is something that their UK rivals lack.

“There’s no kind of individual stars as such. What we’ve done well so far is try to work out how to get key contributions from everyone, so not to rely too much on stars, but to have a good spread from everyone.”

It is a point put rather more bluntly by a Bear Cavalry player, who predicted a top-16 finish for Cambridge.

“A very flat squad without any standout players but plenty of depth,” is how they described Cambridge. “Tactically they’re very sound but I suspect they’re simply not talented enough to break down a really good team.

“They’ve also got a really hard draw so would be very hard pressed to get out of their power pool let alone make top eight.  A finish in the 12-16 bracket in my opinion.”

Cambridge are not afraid of rewarding their star players on the day however, with American Steve Kolthammer winning male MVP at Golden Keg and the female award going to Magali Matsumiya, who has come a long way since playing in her first mixed tour in 2007, when, unaware of the term ‘gender across’, ended up marking a guy and leaving the free woman to score an easy point. 

Cambridge will be going into WUCC seeded 18th – the second-ranked British team behind Bears – but have all the pieces in place and preparation to compete with anyone and make a run at the top spots.

Almost there only one team left …

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. 

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!

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.

The Grapevine – 30/11

Beau Kittredge, Cambridge, The Grapevine, UK Ultimate, Understanding Ultimate., uTalkRaw, Winter League.

The Grapevine – this week in UK Ultimate!

UTalkRaw returns from with a great interview of Brady Meisenhelder (from pulleddisc.com) about better coaching.

Understanding Ultimate begins looking at I/O turnovers with Part One.

UK Ultimate have almost got Ultimatum ready so remember to update your membership and address, you definitely want to read this edition. Plus give the Ultimatum quiz a go on FB to get the UKU page up to 1750 likes

UOIN was won by Cambridge last weekend, make sure to follow the Women at #UWIN this weekend!

Beau Kittredge responds in hilarious fashion to an internet commentator.  

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Happy St. Andrews Day and tomorrow is the first LWL of the season! Wrap up warm!

DP @ tSG