Mixed Tour review and what next?

Mixed Ultimate, Nationals, Tournament Reports, WUCC2014, xEUCF

David Pryce gives us his final review of Mixed Tour 2013 and looks forward to Nationals and further.
Mixed tour has ended and with it we have seen some great battles, World Games dominating as expected, over 50 different teams attended and who will go to xEUCF and Worlds?

The results are in and so overall tour standings can be calculated (unofficial algorithm used, for official UKU results await update), the info graphic below shows how teams have moved over the season. To read find the team of interest on the left (ordered by MT1 seedings) and then follow their line.
All mixed up? Apologies, find your team and follow their progress.
Looking at how teams have done over the course of the tour: RGS, Cambridge and Black Eagles clearly having great seasons with Bears falling from their top spot. Ten from the top 16 beat their initial seeding but the worst drop was Peeps who fell 9 positions (Golden Ants also fell 7 positions and out of this bracket).
Further down there was a lot of big movers namely:
  • Mustard +19
  • Flyght Club +18
  • Steal +14
  • BAM! +12 [apologies for missing this one out!]
  • Reading +12
  • Some Team +10
  • JR +10

    Overall a great season and hopefully a lot of good preparation for our National teams going to World Games and u23 World Championships this summer.
    Matthew Hodgson gets horizontal for Thundering Herd 1 vs DED. Photo Courtesy of Graham Bailey.
    What does this seasons results mean for the upcoming national and international competitions. With teams like RGS, Magic Toast, Bristol, Black Eagles and DED; I imagine that most players will be choosing Open or Womens over Mixed. Hence leaving UKU Nationals 2013 to be played out by Cambridge, Bears, Brighton and company. From the teams that do play Nationals there are 3 slotsfor xEUCF 2013 in Bordeaux. At a wild guess I would say Cambridge, Bears and Herd would take those with Brighton Open/Womens vying for an Open spot. Another spot for Euros will be decided dependent on teams entered so we may see a 4th team go, wait and see.
    That would be this season over, BUT this season also gives the qualification for World Ultimate Club Championships 2014 in Italy. Again the UK has 3 slotsand is 4th on the waiting list for another. As set out by the UKU mixed qualification for Worlds is through a combination of:
    1. The winner of UKU Nationals 2013 in each division wins a spot at WUCC 2014
    2. The highest placed UK team at XEUCF in each division (excluding winner of Nationals) also wins a spot at WUCC 2014
    3. Any remaining spots are allocated based on the UKU Tour rankings 2013
    N.B. that if the winner of UKU Nationals is the highest placed team at xEUCF, the next ranked team at xEUCF will be awarded the 2nd WUCC bid.
    There are many combinations of what could happen here, mostly dependent on which teams go to which tournaments. Although if RGS don’t go to Nationals or Euros they would be guaranteed the third spot if they decided to go to Worlds. Tentative prediction: Cambridge, Bears for definite, the last spot is too hard to call.
    Who will get to go to Worlds?

    Well that is it, Mixed Tour is done for 2013 watch out for Nationals in August. Next weekend gives us the start of the Open and Women’s season with some European teams coming to London’s Calling in St Albans!

    Open and Women’s Tour previews should be up next week so keep an eye out for those and more! Thanks for reading, remember to like and share.

    University Women’s Outdoor Nationals

    Nationals, nottingham, Outdoors, Previews, ultimate, University, Womens
    Thank to Sarah Harrison for sending us this  brief preview for University Women’s Outdoor Nationals taking place this weekend in Nottingham alongside the Open and Alumni divisions. 

    This weekend sees the return of the Women’s Outdoor Nationals, where ladies from all over the country will be battling it out for the coveted gold medal. An astonishing 27 teams will be heading down to Nottingham, the biggest women’s university tournament the UK has ever seen. In this preview, I will look at who I consider the major threats for the women’s national title, and predict (hopefully accurately) who will be top dog at Grove Farm.
    It is notoriously hard to predict Women’s Ultimate, especially at University level. Even after four years of University Ultimate, I still find it incredibly canada goose Chilliwack Bomber difficult to predict which teams will perform well and make it to the final. Every year, teams go through several transition phases. Some teams have to cope with losing the majority of their experienced players, whereas others are forever building a strong squad. However, the influence of good coaching as well as picking up GB Juniors can have a huge effect on the Women’s game.  Some teams may be strong on paper, but get them outside in 20mph winds and it’s a completely different story. Here are some things you should be looking out for canada goose Citadel Parka this weekend.
    Combined teams
    Never underestimate the power of a combo team. Although some may have never trained together before, the combination of a decent team and some strong additional players could prove lethal. Here are the teams that will be merging this weekend:
    Heriot-Watt/St Andrews
    Oxford/Oxford Brookes
    Sheffield/Sheffield Hallam
    All teams have promise to do well. Having said that, some teams will have been able to train together, which could be the tipping point in their success. With the Oxford/Brookes and Sheffield/Hallam teams coming from the same cities, their potentially existing team bonding may be able overthrow some of the stronger teams. However, it is hard to ignore Dundee’s dominance over the past year. The women’s squad were incredibly strong indoors and will be looking to continue their reign outdoors with the additional strength of Glasgow. Look out for them, as well as Portsmouth/Southampton. Southampton reached the final last year and they will still be fighting for the top spot, while Portsmouth performed well at Div I Mixed Indoors and will add some strong players to that squad.
    The Midlands
    With the likes of Birmingham, Nottingham, and Warwick – not forgetting teams like Oxford, Loughborough and Cambridge -the Midlands is seen as a notoriously strong region. All of these girls are good friends and play each other on a regular basis. After incredibly strong finishes at Mixed and Women’s Indoor Nationals, the Midlands teams will be tough to beat. My prediction: Nottingham and Birmingham will be the most successful.

    Never leave out this team. With players like Megan Hurst, Kim Isaac and Lucy Wiggins; Sussex have huge potential to defend their title. The work done by Felix and Megan in training will surely be seen on the field. In my opinion no defence is safe here, but can they make it three years on the trot against a rejuvenated Edinburgh?
    Over the last 12 months, Edinburgh have been in the top 8 in every division, winning Mixed Outdoor Nationals a few weeks ago as well as finishing in the top 4 at Women’s Indoor Nationals. Edinburgh have slowly been building a super team, which looks to be incredibly strong outdoors. After playing against them and watching them a few weeks ago, I think that they have the depth and the skills to win the tournament. Only a well drilled, experienced team will be able to stop them.
    Having said that, there are plenty of experienced players who will be representing their University this weekend. Beware of the lower seeded teams: they will have small experienced cores that will be looking to improve their seeding and develop their team for future years
    My prediction? It’s going to be close at the top. There’s going to be tears and tantrums. There’s also going to be some brilliant Ultimate this weekend. I will be writing a review after the tournament, but for now, here is my top 4.
    1. Edinburgh.
    2. Sussex.
    3. Birmingham.
    4. Nottingham.
    Good luck to everyone this weekend. See you there.
    If you want an in depth analysis go check out Harry Mason’s preview http://bit.ly/ZtsG4I. Make sure to follow the action on twitter with the #ukuon hashtag. Whilst you’re there follow us at www.twitter.com/TheShowGame and like us on fb www.facebook.com/TheShowGame.

    UCC Ultimate – from Cork to Nottingham, via Maynooth

    BUCS, Division 1, Irish Ultimate, Nationals, Open, Outdoors, Previews, Trinity, UCC, ultimate, University

    Mark Earley brings us the story of University College Cork’s year so far in their journey to Nottingham. Cork will be attending UK University Nationals next week with aims to avenge a painful finals loss at the hands of the Sussex Mohawks last year. 

    In Ireland the tournament that decides which university teams are the national champions is called Intervarsities and it takes place relatively late in the calendar year (April). Given the size of Irish Ultimate the Mixed and Women’s Intervarsities are smaller affairs with the Open division tournament canada goose Canada Goose mænd being the centerpiece of the university season. That said, the Cork outfit, UCC Ultimate currently hold both the Women’s and Mixed events and were looking to win their third title of the season last weekend. There is no qualification process for Open Intervarsities and all colleges are encouraged to bring as many players and teams as they can muster. Since the first Intervarsities took place the number of teams in attendance has ebbed and flowed, peaking at 16 in 2009, a number almost equalled this year.

    Open Intervarsities took place last weekend in Maynooth, a town just outside Dublin in wet and very windy conditions. Fifteen teams took part with a pick up canada goose Chateau Parka team helping to round out the schedule. Going into the tournament it was hard to look past one of three teams as potential winners – UCC from Cork who had won the tournament 3 years in a row, and the two strongest Dublin-based college teams, UCD and Trinity. Three other teams, DCU – the college team from where WJUC took place last August – UL, from Limerick and NUI Maynooth, the home team, were expected to battle it out for the remaining semi-final spot.

    UCC Ultimate Logo

    After an upset free Saturday, it was Maynooth who caused the big shock of the tournament by winning their quarter-final on universe point against DCU. This was quite a break through for the team and their first time making it through to the semi-finals. (Later in the day they would add the Spirit Award to their top 4 finish). Cork, Trinity and UCD all joined them, as expected. The pick of the semis was a battle between long-term rivals UCD and Trinity. Both teams had looked strong up until meeting and went in to the game confident but it ended up being a match that will be remembered for the upwind downwind conditions as opposed to for the Ultimate. At first, neither side managed to do much more than play for territory but it was Trinity who imposed themselves getting a brace of upwind goals to build a 4 point lead that they kept until half. UCD fought back in the second half but the gap was too much and Trinity progressed.

    Elsewhere UCC took care of a young and determined NUI Maynooth with little fuss, advancing into the final, making it a rematch of the previous year. UCC captain John ‘Doc’ Doherty put their performance against what he called ‘the tournament surprise package’ down to their considerable advantage in terms of experience. ‘A lot of us playing so well in this game was down to the fact that we were much more experienced than Maynooth in the windy conditions, and they had a lot of up-and-coming players who probably hadn’t played that much in such conditions before’.

    Trinity’s Hugo Fitzpatrick with a big bid in the final

    The final took place on a slightly more sheltered field and Cork came out on D to start. They turned Trinity in the first point and after a dropped pull in the second were very soon 2-0 up. This became 3-0 after more tight defence and the Corkonian team were in a position they are familiar with – bossing the pace of a game having taken an early lead. Trinity captain Finnian Flood explained that having gone three points up early ‘UCC played with a lot of hunger and composure. Suffocating our O with their strong defense and hitting the open man on their offence whether it was an under cut or a deep strike’. This was echoed by his counterpart Doherty who was pleased with their performance; ‘The offence was patient, the D was tight. We played like we knew we could in the first half to get the lead. I think in the second half we could have been a little more patient, because the wind picked up a lot, and we tried to force it a bit’. Trinity came back into the game with Sam Mehigan, Brian Boyle and Sean O’Mahony helping to add a measure of respectability to the scoreline but realistically it was all over as a competitive game by half-time. Standout performances came from a number of Cork players including veteran Donal Murray and captain John Doherty, It’s worth noting that UCC had lost twice to Trinity earlier in the season so to win the final 13-6 to win their 4th title in as many years will have given them great pleasure.

    Trinity’s David Ferguson throws around the mark of UCC captain John Doherty 

    Given how late the Intervarsities tournament takes place, qualification for UK Uni Outdoor Open Nationals takes place via a University League held in February. UCC will be representing Ireland in Nottingham next week and are looking forward to it. We spoke to their captain Doherty about the trip and he had the following to say: ‘It is always hard to tell what we will come up against in the UK. I saw some of the defending champions Sussex at Siege of Limerick, and they looked even stronger than last year. So we have them as the team to beat standard-wise in order to be good enough to win it. We are missing a good few big players from last years team – last year’s captain Donal O’Donohoe, Mark Fanning and the star player all weekend Kevin Rice, but we have five new first year students this year who we think are capable of stepping up when needed’.

    Last year the boys from Cork finished runners up after an excellent string of results but couldn’t beat a Mohawks side who were (and arguably still are) in a rich vein of form. That said, Doherty and his team are going over with only one thing in mind: ‘My team mates would be amazed if I said we have any other plan than to go over to Nottingham to win the tournament. It’s been our goal all season to win our own Irish IVs, and to then go to the UK and win UK Nationals’. This comment could be construed by some as arrogant but it would be slight on the Cork mentality to brush it off like that. Focus, determination, hard work and tactical intelligence are the mark of this team. As Flood, the Trinity captain, commented ‘They (UCC) are a very experienced, hungry team with a lot of athleticism and confidence and should do very well in Nottingham. Teams will have to play smart to beat them, but one thing is for sure – at UK Nats they won’t give up anything easy’. 

    We wish them the best of luck on their trip, as no doubt do the many Irish players they are representing.

    Photos courtesy of Sarah Cummins & Mark Earley.