UKU Nationals 2017 – A Review

Mixed, Nationals, Open, Review, Tournament Reports, Uncategorized, womens

Another season is in the books and, for most sides, the off-season is now underway. Sean Colfer takes a look at what happened in Birmingham this weekend, and what it might mean for the European Championships and moving forward for UK Ultimate.

UKU Nationals 2015 – Mixed Division Preview

Mixed, Nationals, news, Previews, UK Ultimate, UKU Nationals

Thomas Cliff looks back at Mixed Tour and ahead to UKU Mixed Nationals this weekend.

Having just experienced the most unstable Open and Women’s Tour seasons that I can remember, it could be easy to forget about the mixed season that preceded it.

However, Mixed Tour wasn’t without its share of uncertainty. 2014’s top squad and the combination of former European champions Bear Cavalry having disbanded, and Cambridge mixed, sixth place finisher at WUCC 2014 having had a severe drop off in top talent, really set the stage for the pack of wolves nipping at their heels  to have a shot at the top. Further to this, GB Mixed seniors, GB U23, and Ireland Mixed took many fantastic players away from the rankings, leaving things absolutely wide open.

Mixed Nationals this year is likely going to be a tale of teams who stepped into the void left at the top from 2014, as there is a strong correlation between the Tour rankings and the Nationals line up: seven of the eight teams entered at Nationals finished in the top 12 over the course of the season, with the eighth competitors being 2014’s second-place finisher Pingu Jam. Notable absences are Glasgow, who have a real shot at making Euros in the Open division, and Bristol, who are likewise placed in the Women’s draw.

UKU University Women’s Outdoor Nationals Preview

Nationals, news, Outdoor, University, womens

Elly White introduces the competition for University Women’s Outdoor Nationals

This weekend sees the biggest ever University Women’s Outdoor Nationals with over 30 teams heading to Manchester.

One of the front runners this year, and a team that was mentioned by nearly every team in the questionnaire is Birmingham. The ladies have had a very successful season, getting silver at UWIN and gold at UMON, and are coming into UWON with a very talented squad that could secure themselves another gold. From what I’ve heard, the entire team are star players in their own right, but there are a few that have been specifically mentioned. GB U23 players Grace and Kim Owens’ connection will be difficult to stop, as will rising star and GB U20 player Jess Cowley. There is also a boost from Tilly Salter who has spent a year playing with Saucy Nancy, the college team from Iowa who came 3rd at USA College Championships last year. All of this adds up to a pretty formidable team that I predict to make the semis at least.

Sussex Mohawks will be looking to win UWON for the 4th year in a row, an incredible feat and something definitely within their grasp. They will be very used to playing together after sending a team to the Irish outdoor tournament The Siege of Limerick. Players to look out for are Megan Hurst throwing to Starzy Riordan-Eva and also vice-captain Rachel Clark. For the second year in a row they are fielding a second team, which shows the depth that their women’s club has. Like Birmingham, I will be very surprised if Mohawks don’t make the top four.

Leeds are another team that will expect to do really well. They have train often as a team, and 6 of them are part of the LLLeeds squad this season. Captain Claire Taylor’s strong and versatile throws will be brought down by Ruth Lowe, Alice Beeching and Rachel Finch, all up and coming LLL superstars. Leeds have entered a second team this year, something Claire says was helped by prioritising women’s trainings and games over mixed when recruiting women.

University of Leeds Women regroup in the huddle.



Durham is another University that has benefitted from LLL selections this year, and this will be evident in Sarah Clear’s and Mark Clark’s throws as well as Fi Rae’s receiving. They also benefit from the retention of Rebecca Devine, who went to Euros with DED last summer; a formidable lefty handler with pin-point hucks. Durham are another team to enter a second team this year, again suggesting good squad depth as well as a head start on development for next year’s team.

Bangor are the third Northern team to feature club players from Leeds, and after impressive indoor results will be looking to build on their 10th place finish from last year. Ava Grossman, Harriet Brown and Louise Ryan all have throws to watch out for. The North was a strong region at UWIN, coming in 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th and I expect this strength to continue outdoors. Manchester have many of their girls training regularly with the new Manchester Women’s Ultimate club team and Sheffield have the top handling combination of Kat Cheng (LLL) and Charis Lestrange.

Scotland are a consistently strong region across divisions, and Dundee and Edinburgh were both mentioned in a lot of preview questionnaires as the ones to look out for. Dundee have had a very successful season so far, winning UWIN and coming second at UMON, and look like they could continue this streak at UWON. On the Edinburgh team, Abbie Dutton’s cutting as well as the handling of Carissa Tong and Gale Hunter will be formidable for any opponents looking to take down Ro Sham Bo.

Nottingham had a huge team last year and retained a lot of these players, leading to an experienced team this year, including Kirsten Wells of Manchester Women’s Ultimate. A combination of the successful season they have already had and the return of their captain Trina Lam will no doubt see Nottingham challenge hard and achieve a high finishing position.

Also boasting a large roster are the London combination team of UCL, Imperial and Kings. The unfortunate timings of their exams have meant none of the individual Universities could field enough for a team. This is obviously a shame for all three, especially UCL, who had such a strong presence at SEUWIR. People are unsure what to expect from this combination team, which reportedly will feature Iceni and SYC club players as well as some new players from the different Universities. It will be interesting to see how this all comes together in one team, nobody really knows what to expect as none of UCL, Imperial or Kings are regular faces at UWON, but their top players definitely have the experience to make this a successful team.

As well as fighting it out for the top spots, this weekend will be a great chance for second teams and beginners to experience playing competitive outdoors. Three second teams are entered this year (Sussex, Leeds and Durham) which is such a positive things for women’s University Ultimate and will provide all these girls with great exposure to the sport and experience of a more competitive environment. Combine this with the high standards we will see from all the tops teams and it looks like it’s shaping to be a fantastic weekend.

Here are my predictions for the top 5:

1. Sussex

2. Birmingham

3. Leeds

4. Edinburgh

5. Durham

Once again, Good luck from The ShowGame to all players competing at University Nationals this weekend!

UKU University Open Nationals Division 1 Preview

BUCS, Division 1, Nationals, University
Chris Bamford introduces the 16 competitors heading to University Outdoor Open Nationals this weekend

The university season is approaching its climax and many teams will be glad that Open and Women’s Nationals is returning to Manchester, after last year being hosted at the perennially windy Grove Farm in Nottingham. With BUCS eligibility rules kicking in fully, last year’s comfortable winners from Ireland can’t compete so there will be a new champion this year. For those who don’t know, the qualifiers are:

Sc
Dundee
Edinburgh
Heriott-Watt
Glasgow

N
Durham
Manchester
York

M
Warwick
Cambridge
Birmingham

W
Bristol
Bath
Exeter

SE
Sussex
Sussex 2
Imperial

Last year saw Scotland dominate proceedings open, with every team attending a nationals event (div 1, div 2, indoors and outdoors) finishing in the top 8. This performance helped them get the 4th division 1 spot in front of the Midlands; something that Glasgow will be very glad of having scrapped for the final qualification spot at regionals.

Edinburgh vs Dundee at Scottish Regionals this year. Photo courtesy of LightBox St Andrews. 
The usual combination of graduating players and development since last year always makes prediction extremely tough, but all of the regional champions will be hoping to make a run at the nationals trophy. Dundee once again won in Scotland and will be confident they can dominate their English competition. The athleticism that runs throughout their team is seriously impressive, with Benji Heywood describing some of their defensive work as ‘ridiculous’. Heriott-Watt were predicted as the dark horses to make Div 1 in Scotland by many and successfully lived up to those expectations. Div 1 outdoors is new territory for them but they will be confident that their rapidly developing team can make an impact. Close behind them Edinburgh will look to maintain their impressive reputation. Built up by an appearance in the final last year, the loss of some key players has left them looking unlikely to repeat a finals berth but they will still hope to make the top half. Taking the final Div 1 spot from Scotland are Glasgow. A strong showing indoors will have built confidence, but after under-performing at outdoor regionals they will be hoping as they did indoors to place higher at the national competition.

Northern Champions Durham comfortably saw off the usual Northern heavyweights Manchester in their regional final and I expect them to make the top 8 with ease. Having upset the usual state of affairs in the North, they’ll take a lot of confidence into Nationals and having with a handy ability to win the right games at the right time throughout this season so far, they are one of my tips to make the semi-finals. Manchester however will want to correct what they will see as an aberration in not winning regionals. Despite still possessing some top players, everyone is wondering if they have the squad depth to compete with the best in the country.  York are another team whose progression to Div 1 status has been rapid after failing to qualify last year for Division 2. Since then they have worked hard and developed into a cohesive unit – no one was surprised when they secured 3rd place at Northern regionals.

In the Midlands traditional University powerhouse Warwick sprung a surprise victory and regained their position at the top after a couple of years in the (relative) wilderness. Captain Sam Hawkins masterminded victory in a tough region, leading a squad with no big stars to a well deserved regional title. Warwick will want to add their name to a trophy they have won multiple times before, however they could be held back by several absentees from their regional squad. Cambridge won Indoors and will fully believe they can repeat the trick outdoors. Their chances are harmed by having only half of ‘those two Americans’ (Justin Norden and Ben Funk) involved as Funk is reportedly injured. This gives even more importance to the depth of their team, and opposition will be hoping to pressure squad players into errors in order to beat them. Birmingham have an impressive recent track record with victories at UMIN, UMON, as well as 3rd place finishes at UOON 2014 and UOIN 2013 and 2014. Despite this they only managed 3rd place at regionals, and needed a second attempt to beat Nottingham to qualify. Having done so they will now be looking to add more medals to their impressive collection.

In the West, Bristol surprised some to take the regional title, overcoming a star-studded Bath team as well as any doubts about their ability to cope with poor conditions. Josh Kyme is the leader of the team, and along with Joe Brown runs the handler set and with a wealth of downfield options in the Bristol cutters, their job is only made easier. Bristol beat favourites Bath to the top spot at regionals who have on their roster both GB and Jen players including Alex Brooks (Jen captain, previously GBU23 Captain and GB Open), Piers Nicholas (GB u20), Michael Guise (GB u20) and Andy Watt (Jen). Last year they won regionals but failed to break the top 8 at nationals and will surely hope to improve this time round. Cardiff make up the qualifiers from the West and they will be delighted with a regionals performance which saw them outperform several strong sides to earn a Div 1 spot, winning the game to go against arch-rivals Exeter. With their own star player in Kei Matsumoto leading a team full of developing freshers it will be exciting to see how they manage the pressure of a top level national competition.

Lastly onto the South East, where Sussex put on a huge demonstration of strength with their 1st and 2nd team proving stronger than anything the rest of the region could muster. This pretty extraordinary statement indicates the depth of their program and suggests they’ll have strong hopes for nationals. The first team will make their usual push for the top four with eyes set firmly on the BUCS trophy. The second team will be hoping to improve on previous showings at Div 1 events (coming last at both Indoors this year and Outdoors last year). Imperial have established themselves as the best of the rest from the South East, and no wonder with big names such as Stephan Rossbauer (Clapham), James Threadgill (Cambridge mixed), David Pryce (Fire) and Phil Sandwell (Ka-Pow). They will have aspirations of a top 8 spot at least.


My predictions for Semi-finalists are:
Dundee
Durham
Birmingham
Bristol


Three of these four are regional champions and I’m backing them to carry the habit of winning into this tournament and make the most of their strong seedings. Birmingham under-performed at regionals but have a talented squad who are used to winning and could upset their seeding from the start of the weekend in a big way.


Good luck to all teams competing at this year’s BUCS Nationals – keep an eye out for results and tournament review on The Showgame!

UKU Uni Indoors BUCS Championship Review (Div 1)

Cambridge, Division 1, Exeter, Glasgow, Nationals, Open, UBU, University
shopparajumpers Times New Roman, serif;”>Newly appointed University Coordinator Chris Bamford gives us his review of Uni Open Indoors Div 1 Nationals.

This weekend shopparajumpers the Alan Higgs Centre in Coventry was the venue for the UKU University Indoor BUCS Championship. With 16 teams having fought their way through regional qualification all fancied their chances of making the top 8 and claiming BUCS points. The unpredictable nature of the tournament, with most teams having not played each other since nationals last year meant the 5 regional champions: Dundee, Manchester, Cambridge, Exeter and Sussex started as slight favourites with Dundee returning as defending champions.



Pool A – Dundee, Birmingham, Southampton, Sussex 2
A crash on the M40 delayed the arrival of Southampton and threaten to cause serious schedule issues until Sussex 2 volunteered to switch games and play back to back matches, allowing Southampton the extra time they needed to get to the venue. After their belated arrival a solitary win for Southampton over Sussex 2 put them 3rd and 4th in the group respectively, whilst Birmingham’s sudden death defeat to Dundee meant the Scottish team held on to top seed.
 
shopparajumpers Roman, serif;”>Pool B – Manchester, Exeter, Nottingham, Edinburgh
The toughest looking group had two of the regional champions in Manchester and Exeter, as well as regular Division 1 competitors Edinburgh and new boys to Div 1 Nottingham. Exeter started the day with a clinical display against Nottingham. They also beat Edinburgh and only missed out on top spot following sudden death defeat to Manchester, who won all three group games. Nottingham picked up a win their final group game leaving Edinburgh winless and bottom of the group.
 
Pool C – Cambridge, Glasgow, Durham, Imperial
This pool proved extremely tight fought. Imperial came bottom with 3 straight losses but only by 2 or 3 point margins. For the three other teams Cambridge beat Durham, who beat Glasgow, who beat Cambridge, resulting in the first a several 3 way ties over the weekend. The final standings ended up with Cambridge topping the pool but carrying a loss against 2nd placed Glasgow into their power pool.
 
Pool D – Sussex, Heriot-Watt, Newcastle, Bristol
The final pool saw Sussex 1 power to 3 comfortable victories whilst Heriot-Watt beat off Newcastle and Bristol to secure 2nd place in the group. Newcastle then had to fight hard to earn a 2 point win against Bristol and avoid bottom place in the group.
 
Upper Power Pools – Pool E (Dundee, Birmingham, Cambridge, Glasgow) and Pool F (Machester, Exeter, Sussex, Heriot-Watt)
The power pools gave Manchester the opportunity to make a big statement by adding to the win the carried in by beating Heriot-Watt and thumping Sussex 1 10-4 finishing Saturday as the only team undefeated. However Sussex managed to avoid a Sunday morning by beating Exeter. With the top two spots decided and both teams confined to a crossover to protect their top 8 place Heriot-Watt won against Exeter to earn themselves an easier game.
 
In the other upper power pool Birmingham were unable to claim any victories so finished bottom of the group. Victories for Cambridge against Dundee, and for Dundee against Glasgow lead to another three way tie. This time Glasgow weren’t so lucky and came out 3rd, with Dundee holding onto top spot and Cambridge second.
 
Lower Power Pools – Pool G (Durham, Imperial, Southampton, Sussex 2) and Pool H (Nottingham, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Bristol)
In these lower power pools we saw an impressive displays from Nottingham (destroying Newcastle 12-4) and Newcastle in securing the top two spots in one group and therefore a chance to get back into the top 8 via the crossovers against Birmingham for Nottingham and against Glasgow for Newcastle. The other group had Southampton play two sudden death games, coming out on top against Imperial and on the wrong side against Durham. This earned Durham and Southampton crossovers against Exeter and Heriot-Watt respectively.
 
First thing Sunday was the crossovers, always a tense affair. Birmingham managed to see off Nottingham by two points but all three other games resulted in sudden death. Exeter pipped Durham and Southampton bested Heriot-Watt. The pick of the games was Glasgow against Newcastle, where Glasgow came from 6-4 behind with only 20 seconds on the clock to win 7-6.
 
Onto the quarter finals, where only one of the higher ranked teams managed to win as Glasgow, Exeter and Birmingham carried the momentum from their crossovers wins to beat Sussex, Dundee and Manchester.  Only Cambridge managed to win as the higher seed and even then it was a sudden death victory against Southampton (who were by now playing in their 4thconsecutive sudden death game).
 
So the semis were set up with Glasgow playing Exeter. Glasgow’s iso play eventually won them the game which was yet another sudden death game. In the other semi Cambridge matched up against Birmingham in a rematch of the midlands regional final and earlier power pool game. Cambridge repeated their victories there with a more comfortable 10-6 win.
 
Whilst the top teams had been fighting for a spot in the final the bottom 8 had seen Nottingham and Imperial win their quarters and semis to reach the plate final where a 7-6 win gave Nottingham the 9th place finish.
Going down to one pitch meant a growing audience for the 3v4 game between Exeter and Birmingham. A match where both teams looked to run hard man defence and reset the disc until a good opportunity opened up finished 11-7 to Birmingham meaning they repeated last years 3rd place finish.
 
All that remained was to play out the final, where Cambridge were looking to reverse the defeat to Glasgow in the group stages, their only defeat of the weekend so far. The final proved a superb end to the weekend. A match full of layouts, huge grabs, iso’s and sidestack’s went all the way to sudden death and Cambridge were forced to score the final point not once, not twice but three times after contested in/out and picks calls were made on the first two attempts.
 
Congratulations to Cambridge and bring on UWIN next weekend.

Thanks to Chris and the whole UU committee! DP @ tSG.

xEUCF 2013 – Open Division

Bordeaux, European Ultimate, Nationals, Previews, xEUCF
UKU Open Nationals 2013 saw London’s Clapham Ultimate secure their thirteenth consecutive win in a clean sweep. Chevron Action Flash achieved revenge in a repeat of 2012’s semi final against Fire of London, but were unable to dislodge the perennial UK Champions. 


Brighton Ultimate improved by one to gain their highest ever placing of third, and guaranteeing themselves a spot in the upper ‘Elite’ bracket. They will be joined by the Cinderella story of the weekend, Devon ultimate – who have threatened an international breakout before (Nationals 2010 saw them miss out by a minor margin), but are now consolidated as surely the UK’s favourite underdogs as they rise above Fire 1, EMO, and Kapow! to place 4th, after completing a late-game-comeback-sudden-death-victory over none other than Fire, a result foreboded by the epic Tour 2 Matchup.


Fire nevertheless secured the all important qualification, and Kapow! overcame a rollercoaster season to get the crucial win against EMO for the final spot, a result that jars with the two team’s respective tour performances. On to Bordeaux…



In 2006 the top European open teams met in the first EUCF, a yearly event installed to replicate the high level competition of the 4-yearly European Ultimate Club Championships. A clear expression of the need for European teams to test each other in order to compete on the world stage, the two tournaments combine on their overlapping years to create the extended European Ultimate Championship Finals, or xEUCF.

British Open teams have a proud history at these elite meet-ups, with Clapham winning gold and Spirit in the last EUCC (Rostock 2005), and a British team competing in the final every year since 2006 other than 2010, winning in 2007 (EUCF – Clapham), 2009 (xEUCF – Chevron) and most recently 2012 (EUCF – Clapham). Last year’s event also saw an all british final for the first time, and the first European final with both teams from the same country.

British teams will be approaching the event with hopes not only of high finishing placements, but also to make use of the undeniably crucial development opportunity that this high level tournament provides. The large capacity of this year’s ‘extended’ format allows more British teams to share in this high quality tournament, with 6 top club teams being given the chance to test their squads against a deeper field than the domestic Tour and Nationals. 


Clapham
The 1st seeds, undefeated this year in Europe will be looking to complete the elusive back to back repeat that only FAB (winners in 2010, 2011) have so far managed, the second of these victories coming after a gutting and thrilling defeat of Clapham in Brugge.


Chevron
Chevron perform well in Europe, placing 2nd and 3rd in the previous two tournaments, and winning the previous xEUCF in London (2009). After failing to best Clapham so far, the Ron will be looking to reclaim gold on the highest stage.


Brighton
Showing consistent form to rise above the otherwise turbulent nationals mid-table, Brighton will be hoping to do what they haven’t yet and make a serious impression on the European open scene. Mysterious roster additions of US stars Elijah Kerns and Aaron Honn seem could, if they prove true to add a decent punch of firepower to an already impressive and hungry squad.

Devon
Whilst on their maiden voyage, this squad will nevertheless be hungry for victory. Feeding off a fierce competitivity built upon a simple love for playing together, the West Country collective will be relishing the opportunity to diversify their scalp collection.


Fire 1
Other than a finals berth in 2008, Fire have struggled to make an imprint abroad to match their domestic placings. A rocky domestic season will not have helped, but an unpredictability in form may equally work to their favour in Bordeaux.

Kapow
Euros has been their goal all season, and it will not be taken likely by this young and improving team. Led by Dave Pichler and bolstered by returners Will Caldwell, Kapow will be hoping to upset some unwitting European opposition with their uniquely creative playing style.

The championships began this morning – good luck to all British teams attending! JCK @ tSG

Women’s Tour 2013 Review

Cardiff, Iceni, LLL, Nationals, Nice Bristols, PUNT, SYC, Tour 3, Tournament Reports, Women's Tour, xEUCF
With Charlie Blair away on U23 duties the review of the Women’s season falls to me (DP), hope I can do it justice. It was an absolute corker!

A fortnight has passed and the dust has settled on Women’s Tour 3 in Cardiff. With considerably less teams than we started with (15 down from 21) and some great battles at previous Tours, most would have expected Iceni to take this tournament with ease. However things were not quite there for the ‘full fat’ squad with a few key players missing and the Welsh heat taking its toll on many. I have since spoken with some of the Iceni players and they agree that Nice Bristols outplayed the overall champs. I asked Sarah “Saz” Garner, Nice Bristols captain, whether this was the first time that this had occurred and how it felt:
“Yep, this is the first time since the club was formed that we’ve won a Tour, which feels like an incredible achievement. I’m quite tempted to retire my captaincy on this high! I think we’ve all known for a long time that we’re capable of doing it on paper, but we’ve never actually managed to string the right set of results together over one weekend before.”

When asked what was different SG mentioned Iceni missing their World Games players at this tournament, and Fran (Scarampi), a huge player for them, is still recovering from a dislocated shoulder” however she stressed that they were also missing Ali (Smith) and Brigid (Harty) – both GB players in Japan last year”. This doesn’t mean to say that Iceni or Nice Bristol are both solely made up of superstars but as SG correctly pointed out “a lot of the play can go through the well known faces, and that can leave a bit of uncertainty when they’re not around. I personally felt that Iceni didn’t quite have the confidence in themselves that they usually do, and I think we capitalised on that by coming out firing in the early part of the game both times we played them.”

Charlie Blair about to get horiztonal in the final. Photo courtesy of Louise Smith.
A key to Nice Bristols success and the growth of women’s Ultimate in the UK is the development of younger players and getting them to play in big semis and finals [which] is something Bristol have been keen on for a long time, and I think that women’s clubs up and down the country are now seeing the benefit of doing this too.”

Massive congratulations to Nice Bristol on their T3 victory, looking further down the results we see Punt displacing both LeedsLeedsLeeds and SYC to take third, finishing off a great rising season. With the exception of ROBOT (who fell from 4th to 9th) and the rising Nice Bristol 2 team (who grabbed the last top 8 spot) the remaining positions were as expected. A special mention to a Rebel player who in the first game had to be taken off the field by paramedics, we wish you a speedy recovery back in Ireland! 


So that’s Tour over and done below we can see the full results using the official UKU points

The regular season movement in the 2013 Women’s Tour.


















Full official results can also be found here.
The T3 final did little for the overall standings with Iceni still coming out top, Savage do appear rather low down but that would be due to only attending the first two events. On average they would move up a couple slots. 

It is promising to see more and more Women’s teams springing up and 3 clubs able to put out regular second teams and still keep the skill level high. I continued to ask SG if this require anything different in training:
“I think we’ve had the skills there for a while. Making the Nationals Final last year, and performing well at our first EUCF (6th and Spirit) did a lot for our individual and team confidence about playing at a high level, and whilst we continue to bring new players into the mix, there are a good core of us that have been playing together for several seasons now and have a good understanding of each other. In the past couple of seasons we’ve upped the intensity of our training sessions throughout the year, so that stepping up a gear at Tour doesn’t come as a complete shock, and I think that has gradually allowed us to start winning those games that previously we didn’t quite have the belief or experience to do.”

Sarah continued by saying that
“… it’s really important to remember that we play together for fun, and no matter what the scoreline and whoever the opposition, we try and have a bit of banter with everyone on the sideline to keep things lighthearted and keep ourselves relaxed, which is when we play our best. My captains speeches usually try to reflect this, and usually turn into me digging myself out of a hole I’ve just created. Highlight of this weekend being ‘look after yourselves ladies, and stay wet’. I meant hydrated…”

Now what? Well there is no regionals for the Women’s division, yet, but Nationals is only a month away now. I asked Sarah what will Nice Bristols be doing for preparation

“We certainly won’t be looking to change anything major tactically this late in the season, it will be more about building on and tweaking what we have achieved so far. Within the team there is a great sense of trust that everyone will do what they need to to prepare for Nationals individually, and when we come together for training that is only part of that preparation. There is a lot of individual responsibility on players to know what they need to do and when – whether that is at training, on holiday, or during a Tour final – and everyone responds really well to that and puts in the hard yards outside of club training.” 


As ever the positions at Nationals will decide who goes to Euros and this year. With it being xEUCF the UK gets 4 Women’s spots, plus the added pressure of the winner of Nationals getting a WUCC 2014 spot I pressed SG for a prediction for the Euros slots:

“I’d say this year it’s very difficult to call. I think Iceni would still be favourites going into the tournament, given their history, but as for who else is capable of making a final and Euros – Leeds, SYC, Punt, Seven Sisters and, naturally, Nice Bristols, will all be in the mix. It’s going to be a fantastic tournament, probably the closest in years, and I’m sure there will be lots of sudden death spectaculars and more than a few upsets!”

Punt rise high over Leeds but what team will they bring to Southampton? Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.

My final question looked back at the epic change in weather that we had from Tour 2’s rain, wind and cold to Tour 3’s heatwave, so I asked what Nice Bristol eat or drink to recover from these extremes,

“Vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone with a flake and lots of raspberry sauce. I discovered that this weekend. My teammates were also drinking Pimm’s from Nalgenes on the drive home. It was hot tea after Tour 2 though.”

Let’s hope that Nationals and xEUCF is ice cream weather not hot tea.

Looking forward to the return of Charlie Blair? Do keep supporting the World Games squad with the #gbwg2013 hashtag and following them online however you can! DP @ tSG.