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.
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.
The votes are in and the 2018 European Young Players of the Year are SMOG’s Rachel Turton and Clapham’s Conrad Wilson. The pair both represented Great Britain at the World Under-24 Championships in Perth earlier this year – Rachel in the Mixed division and Conrad in the Men’s division – and represented their clubs at the World Ultimate Club Championships in Cincinnati.
Sean Colfer has done a bumper preview on all three divisions. They’ll all be coming this evening as he gets (most of) his picks on record for everyone to criticise once they’re proved wrong. Here’s his view on the Open division.
Nationals is the culmination of the domestic season, the final act on a long slog that started in Cardiff what seems like a hundred years ago. After hosting the first iteration of the new format last season, Birmingham will again welcome the best 32 open, women’s and mixed teams in the country to find out who’s best (even though we probably know) and who’s going to Poland to play Europe’s best.
Let’s get to the division-specific predictions.
Josh Coxon Kelly Reviews Devon’s Games from day three of WUCC
Bad Skid and Devon faced up this as part of pool play. Going on past placings, Bad Skid would likely be given the upper hand in this match – the two are generally separated by a fair few seedings at EUCF. Black, Green and White are the colours that both clubs share, and more than that, both center around a strong core of junior development. St Peter’s school in Exeter is the home of Airbadgers, a team that you won’t see at WUCC yet is utterly dominant in their scene – UK junior championships. Keep an eye out for paw-print tattoos on the Devon sideline, as it is this mark that many of the Airbadger alumni carry. Devon’s Luke Ryan was a recent graduate of Airbadgers in 2008, when he competed as part of the GB Men’s Junior team at WUGC 2008 in Vancover against Germany for the bronze medal, and in that game (which Germany won), many of the victorious side would go on to form the Bad Skid roster Devon now faced. Florian Böhler (who won the ‘golden arm’ for most assists in Vancouver, including all senior divisions), and Holger Beuttenmüller who was responsible for the majority of Florian’s goals and continues to be a dominant force on the international stage. Based in Heilbronn, Bad Skid have such a high representative count in the German Men’s National team that they’re often described as such colloquially. Between the two sides, many more years of experience were at play than suggested by youthful exteriors.
Matching up against the US teams is the main hurdle for every other team at WUCC. Sean Colfer watched Chevron take on Austin superteam Doublewide.
Chevron had a good first day at WFDF 2018 WUCC, winning both of their games and setting themselves up for a huge game first thing against Doublewide. The Texans, second seed at this tournament, had a very similar day and entered the game unbeaten too.
Chevron came out on offence, and slotted it in pretty efficiently. Both teams did so until Chevron managed to get a turn at 3-2, Issa Dualeh finding Jake Aspin for the first break of the game. Chevron were pumped, and they were loud. They had been building for this game and this environment all year; they were desperate to test themselves against a team of Doublewide’s quality and show off their own.
Devon are our final team, with Sean Colfer analysing their potential at Worlds.
How did they get here?
Devon have been a top A Tour team for some time now, often finishing in the top eight and making a challenge against the best teams in the country. They have a really solid pipeline of young talent from local Junior powerhouses Air Badgers, and have done a very good job of retaining those players despite moves to universities across the country (and bringing them back after a few years away). They’ve qualified for Euros a few times, always surprisingly, and have maintained a strong core throughout the last five or six years.