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.
ray ban reading glasses
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.

The Grapevine – 22/11

ESC, Indoors, Nice Bristols, SkyD, The Grapevine, UKU Nationals, Ultimate Interviews, Understanding Ultimate., University

The Grapevine the place to read about this week in Ultimate.

This weekend is University Open Indoor Nationals, schedule was out this week and the 16 teams will be converging on Coventry to crown the 2013/14 champion! Follow the action with the #UOIN13 hashtag. Also not forgetting Div 2 taking place in Dudley!! 

Tim Morrill has just passed through with his Performance workshops, Brummie and Colonel gave Ireland its first Elite Skills Clinic and now Brighton Ultimate are teaming up with a selection of current and ex-Mohawks to give a Skills Clinic aimed at University players! Join the event and get down there! 

SkyD have made the $12k target!! This means more great coverage from US and International Ultimate! Since they made it with time to spare there are even more perks, go see.

Understanding Ultimate discuss the Honesty Guy.

Ultimate Interviews have now official moved to Get Horizontal and this week interviews Kev Timoney from Ranelagh.

Finally Nice Bristols get interviewed on the Women’s Sport in Bristol blog talking about their road to worlds next summer. 


Share, comment and follow! 
DP @ tSG.

South East Uni Open Indoor Regionals

Brighton, dD, Indoors, Kent., Kings, LSE, Mohawks, South East, Sublime, Surrey, UCL, University
Uni Ultimate coverage continues with Joe Spreckley (South-East Uni Coordinator) giving us the overview from his region.

This weekend sees 36 teams head to Dagenham to compete for the 6 spots available for nationals from the south east. 
South East with great depth (36 teams, including 14 first teams and a 4th team) over the smallest area.

Group A puts top seeds Sussex Mohawks 1 up against LSE 1, UCL1 and Portsmouth Sublime 2. Despite losing a number of key players, it’s hard to see any team except Mohawks topping the group for a direct path into the semis and another South East title. UCL (who were a victim of seedings last year) and LSE will battle it out to avoid the crossovers. Sublime 2 will be looking to create some upsets, but should find themselves bottom of the group heading into the crossovers. 



In group B Brunel have a great chance to push into the top 8. With Brighton losing their iconic talisman Andy Berry, and captain Miles Tincknell in a cast it may be a struggle for Brighton to hold onto their top 8 seeding. Surrey should be looking to take this group with relative ease, while the emergent Hertfordshire will be eager to pick up some scalps against the more established teams in the group.

Arguably the hardest hit over the summer, top seeds in group C – Portsmouth Sublime – have lost six players from the  their first team that made the epic Sunday run from ninth to third last year. However, boosted by the arrival of GB U23 captain Sam Bowen they will be looking to put two disappointing warm up tournament results behind them and book a spot in the semis. A strong looking Kent will provide the biggest clash from the group stages with Sublime, as the two traditionally aggressive teams battle for the third spot in the semi finals.  

After the unbelievable feat of getting a second team to division one outdoor nationals, Mohawks 2 hold the top seed in group D. It remains to be seen how the Sussex university team split their squads; with the firsts having a relatively easy route there may be some strong individuals finding themselves in the second team. Imperial College Disc Doctors will fancy their chances in topping this pool, and have an excellent chance of making division one this season. 

With nine teams having a realistic chance of making nationals, Mohawks are large favourites for another tournament win. If Imperial have a full strength squad they should be looking to take one of the other two spots in division one, but may have to do it through the triple elimination. Surrey and Sublime will look to take the final spot. With my bias, I will be backing Sublime to take a division 1 spot. Kent and Mohawks 2 will be looking to pick up the remaining two nationals spots to round off the representatives from the South East. 

Thanks to Joe and the other Uni Coordinators for the work they put in year round and bringing these pieces to us. Who’s next…? DP @ tSG.

Midlands Uni Open Indoor Regionals

Cambridge, Fling, Haze, Indoors, Jesters, Midlands, Oxford, UBU, University, Warwick

Our last few posts had a gaelic feel but we return to England for coverage of the upcoming Uni season with a post from the University and Midlands Co-Ordinator Chris Bamford looking into his region’s competition.

With 32 teams descending on 3 different venues across St. Albans for MUOIR here’s a preview of the teams likely to be fighting it out for the 7 nationals spots.


As a result of the strong performances of Midlands teams at last year’s national events (where they were only outperformed by the Scottish teams) the Midlands has 4 spots at Division 2 this year, allowing one more team from a perennially strong region to go and show the rest of the country what they have got.

UKU official Uni Midland region.

Last season James ‘Whippy’ Bauld led University of Birmingham Ultimate (UBU) to top three finishes indoors and outdoors, despite the loss of key players including Whippy, Marius Hutcheson and Carl Bullingham they remain the team to beat with multiple stars still there.  including probably the most feared name in the region after his season tearing discs out of the sky for EMO. The men likely to be taking charge of the disc on offence are Lloyd Cheeseman and Ben “Borat” Burak; UBU’s high tempo game is likely to be far too much for most teams this weekend.


Having finally cracked Division 1 nationals last year second seeds Leicester University (Jesters) will be looking to repeat that feat. However they’ll have to do it without maverick playmakers George Hudson and Robert ‘Crackerlegs’ White who have now graduated, however despite their loss I expect the same bombastic offence from Jesters. The man they’ll be looking at to make the plays is Alex ‘Medic’ Charlton. Having played for a team on the receiving end of an incredible performance from him last year (for the University of Nottingham (Fling) in the game to go to Div 1) I can personally attest to his ability to single handed win matches.


The only other team that anyone predicted to win this weekend was Cambridge. The usual air of mystery surrounds this team going into regionals, with rumours flying around of multiple US imports (Justin Norden and Ben Funk) joining them this year. Combine this with Dom “DD” Dathan and George “Seamus” Anegg along with numerous very experienced players they could well cruise through the weekend and sweep all before them. However by their own admission their weakness lies in that this is indoors, which most of them will be re-learning to play at regionals.


Warwick are traditionally a powerhouse of University Ultimate and despite a perceived weak team last year they continued to put in strong performances under the leadership of Robbie Tink. With Robbie, Captain Sam Hawkins and many others remaining at the club along with the return of Moritz “Fritz” Reithmayr, Warwick Bears will be confident of a return to Div 1. They seem likely to utilise the depth of their squad this year and try to run teams into the ground. A third place seeding indicates they are not to be taken lightly.


Onto Loughborough Haze. Since indoors last season they have suffered the loss of devastating duo Ian “Teddy” Hannah and Kevin Burnard. Despite this loss they retain players who have multiple years experience, and the name Chris. With Chris ‘Jaff’ Martin, Chris ‘Pudding’ Alderson, Chris ‘Melon’ Peploe and odd one out George Grant all used to handling the onus will be on Captain Andrew ‘Pumba’ Sellers to repeatedly get free for them.


Oxford will be extremely keen to ensure that a repeat of last year where they missed out on nationals both indoors and outdoors doesn’t occur. Captain Dan Aronov and Mike West (a key player who was injured for last season) will be big players for OW, along with Harry ‘Puppy’ Mason. This is a team that prides itself on its athletic ability and they will back themselves to win any one-on-one situation they can open up.


Lincoln enter regionals seeded 8th and have not featured on anyone’s predictions for the second year running. Whilst they just missed out last year they put in multiple tight performances and I expect more of the same from them this year. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make nationals.


Another team keen to improve on last year’s results will be UEA’s AYE-AYE. After a poor year  they’ll have to work their way up from the third pot of seeds. Whilst they may struggle to match UBU they will fancy their chances of taking 2nd rostering players from a range of playing backgrounds (Jen trialist Luke Frett and Tom Wildman who spent a year at university in the states, and an another unnamed American import). The undoubted star however is Howard Storey who played GBU23’s and features on many people’s ‘one to-watch’ list.


One team who could spring a surprise is Staffordshire, who are newly formed but highly rated. any team including Andy Lewis shouldn’t be discounted, but with little known about them they are a huge unknown quantity.


Saved till last is my old team Fling. From last year’s indoors team the team has only lost myself and James Lavender. Eight players were retained who all trained with EMO leading to high hopes for this year. The confidence has been somewhat dented somewhat with injuries, particularly Adrian ‘Cas’ Delport whoa Achilles problem. However captain Ben Poole has a furious desire to improve on last year’s results and he will try to take it all upon himself to do so. Handlers Robert ‘Cody’ Coddington and Tom Tongue will both look to make it easy for Ben Poole whilst Nathan Trickey’s endzone cuts (usually with his man eating dust behind him) are now a familiar sight to most of the region. Liam Reddy is likely to offer a calm approach to offence and try to rack up the layouts on defence.


The captains of all these teams were asked for their predictions and here’s an average of what came back:
1st – UBU
2nd – Cambridge
3rd – Fling
4th – Jesters
5th – Warwick
6th – Haze
7th – Oxford


It’s set to be cracking. See you there.

More from the Uni Ultimate committee to come! DP @ tSG.