UMIN Division 2 Preview 2019

Indoors, Open, University

The final instalment of our previews, Alun Pinder takes a look at the men in Division 2 as well.

Division 2 comes to Wolverhampton, bringing 16 teams who missed out on the chance to play Division 1 but are looking to prove they stack up against the rest of the country. This year we have the advantage of an early schedule release, so let’s get the quick hits, pool by pool.

UMIN Divison 1 Preview 2019

Indoors, Open, University

Alun Pinder previews the men’s version in Nottingham this weekend which again sees a strong Scottish contingent coming south with high hopes.

February comes, and UMWIN rolls round again. Indoor season is finally drawing to a close, but before we can all move on to outdoors, there remains the small matter of crowning some champions.

Division 1 arrives in Nottingham with 20 teams looking to prove they are the best the country has to offer. This year we have the advantage of an early schedule release, so let’s look at them pool by pool, with the opportunity for quadruple the wildly inaccurate predictions.

UWIN Division 1 Preview 2019

Indoors, University, Women's

Writer Nic Edwards with her Nationals preview, letting us know the facts and the hype ahead of Division 1 University Women’s Indoor Nationals in Nottingham this weekend.

The elite-level ladies of university Ultimate are heading to Nottingham for Division 1 Nationals and they are set to put on an impressive show!
Edinburgh are hoping to retain their title for the second year running, and they are certainly leading a successful campaign. Aberdeen, Birmingham, Huddersfield and Imperial are the teams looking to challenge their crowning glory. Read ahead for a play-by-play of each pool and what you can expect…

UXIN Division 1 Preview 2018

Indoors, Mixed, University

Nic Edwards gives us the lowdown on Division 1 at UXIN (University Mixed Indoor Nationals).

University Mixed Indoor Nationals is down in Essex this year and is set to be an exciting event. A massive three quarters of the teams played Division 1 last year, with University College London, Kings College London, Surrey, Bangor and St Andrews breaking through to join the elite teams returning to the top level. With Glasgow taking the title on 3G last year, will this year’s hardcourt venue be the detriment of them and their 3G-loving Scottish cohort? Who will be the breakthrough stories, the wildcards, and the rags-to-riches stories at this year’s UXIN? Let’s take a quick look at what is different this year, and who you should watch out for.

Two regions have suffered the loss of a Division 1 space – Yorkshire & East Midlands, and West Midlands & Wales – which has only paved the way further for the Scots. Scotland dominated both Divisions 1 and 2 Nationals last year and so now, even though they only have eight universities in their region, they have the most Division 1 qualifying spots (5). Three of the four Scottish teams finished in the top four at Division 1 this time last year and St Andrew’s annihilated Division 2, so it was only fair. The question is, is it simply inherent Scottish dominance? The top teams qualifying for Nationals through the Scottish region all had relatively close games against each other, so in theory Nationals could go either way or… do they just play a higher standard of Ultimate? And therefore, will Nationals finish this year as it did last year – with Scottish dominance?

 

How did regionals go?

Above the border, Aberdeen gave an impressive performance, and having Eleanor Taylor (Black Eagles) and Dan McEldrey only boosted their confidence to seize the Scottish Regional title. Every game was fierce, their closest by far being the final, which they won on universe against last year’s National champions, Glasgow. Glasgow had some spicy performances – their nail-biting final against Aberdeen aside – and made a good case for their strength this year too with a two-point semi-final win over local rivals Strathclyde.

In the North, Manchester fell to Durham (who didn’t end up qualifying for Division 1 Nationals) in pool play, but when Sunday came around and with the addition of Chevron’s Steve Dixon, Manchester won every game convincingly. In the West, Bangor’s toughest game was against Birmingham in the final, which they won on universe and rumour has it, even with Natalie Knight and Dom Knight, Bangor wasn’t at full capacity at Regionals.

Yorks and East Mids saw Loughborough defeat Huddersfield in their Regional final by a substantial margin, but also lose to Sheffield in pool play. Huddersfield, on the other hand, won every game with ease up until the final and maybe only having three women, as strong as they may be, is what caused such a big loss. South-Western Bath seemed to win their region without any upsets, and South-Eastern Reading took a very scenic route to their Regional title, losing to a Brighton team in pool play that failed to get the results to join them in Essex this weekend. UCL look to have a strong team this year since it appeared to be UCL and then everyone else in the East and London region; they won every game by a significant margin.

Hayley Dalmon making sure at last years Women’s Nationals. Photo by Sam Mouat.

What does that mean?

Looking at Regional results and not believing in this myth that the Scottish are just better players, I reckon the national title is definitely up for grabs for any team. That being said, the Scots will still have a strong showing at UXIN and should never be underestimated, whether they are seeded first or eighteenth. Other things to take note of is where other Regional winners are seeded, for example Reading and UCL are seeded out of the top eight but I suspect they are going to cause some nasty upsets in pool play.

You don’t have to wait until the knockouts on Sunday to find things worth watching, though. Bangor v Glasgow will be a pool game worth a look; they play very differently but how that game plays out could shine a light on the way Nationals will finish. Other pool games that should be competitive match-ups and good fun to watch are Loughborough v Birmingham, Reading v Bath and UCL v Manchester. Birmingham have a big pick up this year in the name of GeeGee Morrison (Reading WUCC and GBU24 Mixed). If they have developed connections with her then some serious damage can be done against Regionals champs Loughborough. Reading have a lot of experienced players such as Charlotte Marriott and Sam Benians (both Reading) who bring reliable and proven skillsets to the table against a good bath team. UCL v Manchester should in theory be a tight game; Manchester are a fierce team, especially their women (Bella Tait, Black Eagles) and will be looking to capitalise on their third place finish last year but UCL have started the year playing very well and look set to feature pick-ups Axel Ahmala (GBU24 Open and Glasgow WUCC) and former AUDL player CJ Colicchio.

 

Predictions

  1. Glasgow
  2. Bangor
  3. Strathclyde
  4. Aberdeen
  5. Manchester
  6. Birmingham
  7. Huddersfield
  8. UCL

 

Potential Wildcards:

Bath, Loughborough, Oxford, St Andrews, Reading, Edinburgh

 

Group of Death:

Group C (Manchester, Huddersfield, UCL, St. Andrew’s, Oxford)

 

And that’s a wrap! Before you go to Nationals this weekend please take an extra moment to think about Ultimate and how we define ourselves:

“Spirit of the Game… highly competitive play is encouraged but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors… or the basic joy of play.”

-USA Ultimate.

Spirit of the Game day has passed recently and it is imperative that all players representing their university at Nationals this weekend put an emphasis on spirit. It is what makes Ultimate so different to any other sport. Share constructive criticism, play hard and represent the sport well with mutual respect for all.

Thanks, and good luck!

Feature photo by Alberto Rossi

Women’s Indoor All-Irelands: Familiar foes meet again

Indoors, Ireland, Irish Ultimate, Rebel Ultimate, Womens

Aidan Kelly was there for the first standalone Women’s Indoor Nationals in Ireland recently, and he tells us what went on.

Dublin played host to the first ever standalone Women’s Indoor All-Irelands, packed within the iconic walls of Trinity College Dublin. Historically, the competition has usually taken place alongside the Men’s division, but now due to a typically high demand between the two divisions and few suitable venues that can feasibly contain so much high-octane, fast paced Frisbee, a decision was made to split the events by division.

Eleven teams from seven different clubs played across a single day in order to crown the winners and, for most, it was hard to see anything other than a Rebel vs Gravity final, which is typically the decider for most of our domestic Women’s competitions. In fact, other than last year at the same event, where Rebel dominated with two of their own teams playing in the gold medal game, Rebel and Gravity have squared off in pretty much every final across the country they’ve competed at since 2015. And, with the Cork ladies and the hometown heroines kept apart in the initial pools, it would seem likely that the two would be destined to meet in the final once again this time round.

With that said, you would be slightly ignorant to completely disregard the other challengers for the crown. Tribe, hailing from out west, were known to be a thorn in the side to most teams, as the perennial dark horses were known for being a formidable and tight knit unit, containing many players from the National University of Ireland Galway. Trinity College themselves, fresh off winning Women’s Indoor Intervarsities, had also thrown themselves into the ring with the idea of testing themselves at a bigger stage. It would have also been possible for history to repeat itself in some form as we could have seen one of the ‘big two’ fall to the other’s second team, as they both have proved historically to contain a wonderful amount of depth!

BOLT posing as a team. Photo by Conor Phelan.

However, the biggest potential usurper to the throne was quickly revealed to be BOLT, a team mostly made up of former/current University of Limerick players with a wealth of international experience. Having breezed through their first four group games with a goal difference of +56, heads were well and truly turned in the lead up to the pool decider with Rebel. From up in the viewing gallery, there were more than a few mumbles from supporters and players alike who believed that they could have the Champions’ number, and for awhile they just may have. In an early afternoon epic, Rebel edged out a universe point encounter by the skin of their teeth (11-10), to ensure they avoided their long-term rivals in the semis.

In the other end of the draw, Dublin Gravity made it through the group with little challenge as they bested a trio of second teams in the form of Rebel 2 (revenge!), Gravity 2 and Tribe 2 before flexing their bottle against the potential banana skin of Tribe’s first team. Despite the Galway girls managing to put home as many points as the three teams before them combined (six), Gravity were just much too strong and experienced for them and topped the group comfortably.

As the semis rolled around, we saw a reversal of the final group fixtures. BOLT would now have to face Gravity in a clash of the elements, while a clash between Galway and Cork would ensue in the form of Tribe and Rebel. In the end, the two more experienced favourites avoided any shocks despite valiant efforts from BOLT and Tribe, who provided tough competition throughout. Once again, Rebel vs Gravity was booked for the grand finale.

On paper, leading into the match one would have seen Gravity as slight favourites. Rebel were missing a number of their leading stars, while the Dubliners were on fire by the end of their semi and looked almost unstoppable. But, never the ones to shy away from a fight, it was the Munster women who started off the stronger. Going ahead early and following it up with a quick break, Rebel worked hard, refusing to easily allow the disc to be given away in order to maintain their lead as they matched and possibly even surpassed Gravity’s intensity with relative ease.

Pushed from the front by captain Emma Healy, who looked to inspire those round her with some insanely safe hands and inch perfect hammers, Rebel found themselves 5-4 up, but there was still a long way to go in the game. And from here, Gravity somehow found another gear as they slotted home their O and followed it up with two quick breaks out of nowhere to flip the game on its head. Suddenly it was 6-5 to Gravity, and Rebel had been completely sucker punched.

Indoors is a crazy game. In these tight games you can be on top and time would slow down to almost a complete halt. But when you’re losing, everything speeds up to the extent where you really need to show composure to avoid it getting the better of you. After another turn Rebel attempted to stop the rot by switching up their defence. With a passive endzone flood, they looked to force Gravity to pass it across their front endzone for what felt like 500 passes in the hopes of tiring out the offensive team and giving them a chance at potentially capitalising on any errors. But with the composure, wit and skill on display thanks to Gravity’s stars, such as Jane Linehan and Fiona Mernagh and punctuated by the unpredictable yet seemingly effortless nature of Ireland’s best talent (and eventual MVP of the final) Áine Gilheany, even a cohesive unit such as Rebel couldn’t contain what was to come, as they found their way through the defensive structure.

MVP of the final Aine Gilheany on the disc. Photo by Conor Phelan.

Rebel couldn’t get their break, and at this stage they needed several if they were to come back and break Gravity hearts. With time ticking away, both teams displayed wonderful offensive prowess which saw a number of points flow by without a single turn, and as they game died out, Gravity punched home the decisive final score to win their second Indoor All-Ireland title in three years, 14-9.

Overall, a successful event ran wonderfully by Dublin Women’s Ultimate. It was great to showcase the Women’s Division in Ireland and it was positive to see a number of different clubs putting out performances. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the 2018 season pans out, and if one thing is for sure, we can see Rebel regrouping and ready to try take back the top spot in Ireland. But will they be alone in striving to unseat Gravity?

Main photo also by Conor Phelan.

All-Ireland Indoor Ultimate Championships 2017 Preview

Indoors, Ireland, Irish Ultimate, news, Open, Previews, Womens

Tadhg Bogan previews AIUC Indoors 2017.

Another year, another Indoor All-Irelands hosted by PELT Ultimate, who’d have thought it? Yes, back again on the University Of Limerick campus, the 2017 edition of the All-Ireland Indoor Ultimate Championships is set to take place on the 28th and 29th of January on Ireland’s Sporting Campus. 24 teams for the Open division and 10 teams in the Women’s division are set to take over the UL Arena to find this year’s champions. The AIUC Indoors titles in both the Open and Women’s division have bounced around the country over the past few years, but every tournament has been filled with big, athletic plays, spicy throws, and the intense, stylish, and well spirited brand of Irish Ultimate we have all come to know. With the addition of new up and coming teams (combined with the unpredictable nature of indoor Ultimate), this year’s tournament is sure to live up to its elite expectations.

U20 Junior Indoor Nationals 2015 Preview

Indoors, Juniors., news, Previews

Edward Roberts previews Junior Indoor Nationals for the ShowGame.

This weekend, the best junior teams in the country will fight it out to be crowned the U20 Junior Open Indoor champions. With teams attending from Exeter to Malpas the tournament is likely to bring not only surprises but the opportunity for young players to challenge themselves against the best the country has to offer. The defending champions from the last four years, the AirBadgers, are looking to cement their dominance over Junior Ultimate. However with the likes of Flux, Stags, Arctic and Evolution attending, nothing is certain.
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As with every year Junior Indoors Nationals will be held at the Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton. There are currently eight separate clubs entering the tournament, with the larger clubs such as Flux, Ocelots, AirBadgers and Arctic all bringing four strong teams. This is a testament not only to the many players that make up these teams, but also to the coaches and volunteers who organise the logistics associated with bringing so many players.