The Grapevine – 20/12

Fire of London, Kapow, Love at First Flight., SYC, The Grapevine, UK Ultimate

The Grapevine this week has a lot going on…

Fire of London have opened their trial applications..

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…as have Ka-Pow! who claim over 70 applicant already!

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Next up Shut Your Cake-hole … sorry SYC have released a little photo montage from the 2013 season.


Finally my personal favourite. We see many foreign students playing Ultimate in UK Universities and one lucky Turkish player (Eylem Caner) did so with Sussex University in 2012. From there he has gone on to represent his country at ECBU in their very successful WFDF debut and about a year ago he created this wonderful mini-documentary about the love of the sport. Includes some great UK and European Ultimate clips plus interviews with some of the central characters in Brighton (and UK) Ultimate. TheShowGame is very proud to (re)present “Love at First Flight”. 
Love at First Flight from Eylem Caner on Vimeo.

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 – Greater London

Clapham, Fire of London, Flump, Kapow, London, Open, Outdoors, Previews, UKU Nationals, UKU Regionals
James Burbidge tells us the London regionals story. Greater London has 5 bids for Nationals and will be held this Saturday.

With 5 qualifying spots, London is typically the richest Region in the country and for the past 3 years 4 teams from London have finished in the top 10 at Nationals.

With the uncontested top seed in the country ruling the roost in London, it’s unlikely that Clapham will lose a game at Regionals. Things get more interesting from then on. Fire are keen once again to get both squads to Nationals, and – going on results thus far this season – shouldn’t have much problem doing so. In fact the regional tournament structure should give Fire 1 the chance to prove to the heckling doubters their dominance over their second team – but you can bet that Fire 2 will be more fired up (excuse me) for that game than any other. Ka-Pow!, having come into a run of form (with the mooted return of Captain David Pichler), will also be out in force as all three teams battle for the higher positions that should give them better seeds and easier matches at Nationals.

Giacoma Maltman lays out for the D against his putative teammate Andy Mitchell (actually playing GBu23 here).
Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss via Blockstack.
Things get interesting when you look at the teams vying for the fifth spot – and depending on your taste, this could provide the most interesting story over the weekend. Teams in the hunt for that final spot will be perennial contenders (well, the last 3 years anyway) Tooting Tigers and Burro Electrico,* alongside a revived Flump team.

All three teams have had a topsy-turvy season so far, Flump rising unexpectedly quickly out of C-tour to the top section of B-tour, whilst (following Newtonian physics) Tooting have matched them with a fall from the middle of A-tour to the middle of B-tour. Burro have plodded along with solid results and unfavourable schedules that saw them finish ‘in A-tour’ at Tour 3. Burro has beaten Flump and Tooting this season, and Flump has beaten Tooting twice. To further complicate matters, both Tooting and Burro will be losing players to the mixed division and there are always late season injuries to be accounted for too. (One team who might be expected to make an experience in this area is ABH but they are focusing on mixed too.)

Chung Leung from Burro Electrico misses the goal at Tour 3. Photo courtesy of Louise Smith.
Further down the seeding will be some teams looking for a bit more pitch time together, the chance to play a big seed and perhaps even cause an upset for the 5th spot. Whilst the teams entered haven’t yet been released, likely teams in this bracket include St Albans, Curve, and perhaps PAF. Iceni is not believed to have entered a team this year.


So there you have it – a Region that should provide some top-quality games between some of the best teams in the country, as well as a classic qualifying battle. Stay tuned for a schedule.

*Full disclosure! I captain this team. 

Five regions down, one to go. DP @ tSG. 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

Fire of London.

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

A Tour movers. Courtesy of Wayne Retter.


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

Open and Women’s Tour – T2 Preview

Chevron, Clapham, Fire of London, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Iceni, Kapow, Nice Bristols, nottingham, Open Tour, Previews, Ranelagh, Women's Tour

Josh Coxon Kelly brings us the OWT2 preview for the upcoming tour event in Nottingham.

The Grove Farm fields in Nottingham are all set to host the second major tournament of the UK open and women’s season, with players flocking from across the country to take part in the huge 80-team tournament that is OWT2.

With the European visitors returned to the mainland the schedule returns to its more familiar domestic team list, although perhaps in a slightly shuffled lineup to past seasons…

Iceni have kept their stronghold at the top of the women’s game in the UK – early looks at Bristol and SYC show teams that have come back stronger than last year with experienced veterans complemented well by young talent benefitting from their involvement in the U23 process. R.O.B.O.T impressed in London but theirs and Yaka’s absences leave a space in the top 4 for Punt, who will be looking to defend their position against a rebranded Brighton – Seven Sisters and a rebuilding Leeds.

Last year’s Open top 4 of Clapham, Chevron Fire and Brighton has been invaded by the GBU23 force and excitingly also by EMO – arguably justifying Joe Wynder’s heated and public defence of his team following The Secret Frizzer’s Tour 1 preview (which prompted this interview). With the EMO captain returning to club duties for this Tour, EMO are looking to hold onto their place amongst the UK elite, but will face stiff competition from Fire, Brighton and Kapow and Ranelagh – all teams who will not wrongly be fighting for a top 2 pool placing and in the straight-to semi’s format. Victory from Clapham will also win them the Tour – needless to say there are enough targets on their back. Could a pool play rematch against GBU23 (10:40 Pitch 15) see an early upset?

Ireland U23 showed in the Tour 1 show game that they have the fight and the skills to run with A tour teams, matching the GB squad for the majority of the first half. They will need to use this lesson in consistency to grow at Tour 2 if they want to come out on top of the dogfight that is this year’s B tour – but this will be no mean feat with teams such as Tooting, Reading and Jest Ridisculous in hot pursuit, as well as strong C tour promotions in Flump and Birmingham, who have leapt to 8th and 10th seed respectively.

The fight for B tour qualification will be equally tense as Curve, Saints, St. Albans and Trigger Happy look to recover from gutting quarter final losses in London (Trigger Happy falling short by a single point in a sudden-death thriller). The 28 strong C-Tour looks as competitive as it’s ever been, and such depth running right through the tournament can be nothing but good news as the increased competition for qualification only continues to make it tighter at the top.

Excited? So are we!! Use the #ukut2 hashtag for results and news over the weekend. Come talk to us if you have any feedback and see you in Nottingham! DP @ tSG.

London’s Calling Review – A Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

A Tough Pill to Swallow

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

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

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


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

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

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

Peter Forde of Ranelagh holsters the throw to Sam Mehigan

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


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

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

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


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

Rebel & Ranelagh team photo – a rarity! 

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


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

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

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

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