UK University Ultimate 2017/18: Men’s Outdoor Nationals Division 2 Preview

news, Open, Previews, University

Writer Oscar Nolan brings us his perspective on Men’s Division 2 Outdoor Nationals, a.k.a. The BUCS Trophy

We’ve had the Beast from the East. We’ve had storm Emma. I’m sure that many of us have missed plenty of training sessions due to the horrid weather. However there are whispers that 60 days of sunshine are headed our way just in time for Men’s Nationals down at Nottingham Windfarm. Taking a glance at the forecast reveals sunny spells and wind speeds of just 10mph. I will be covering the middle division (Division 2) in this preview which has been dubbed the “banter” Nationals by some. However there are some strong competitors this year: last year’s finalists Edinburgh, the ever-present Leeds, fresh-faced Southampton and aged Oxford are among some of the strong names on the schedule this year. Last year saw heartbreak for Edinburgh at the hands of a Midlands team once again… could history repeat itself? You’re still reading?! Awesome, let’s get stuck in!

UK University Ultimate 2017/18: Men’s Outdoor Nationals Division 3 Preview

news, Open, Previews, University

Writer Tom “Clackers” Claxton rounds off his year-long coverage of the lower leagues with his perspective on Men’s Division 3 Nationals, a.k.a. The BUCS Cup

It has finally arrived! The last event of the university season. After a term marked with uncharacteristic amounts of snow cancelling many events and BUCS games, spring has finally sprung, and here’s a hope for nice weather (at least for the Wind Farm) for Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Nationals.

UK University Ultimate 2017/18: Men’s Outdoor Nationals Division 1 Preview

news, Open, Previews, University

Writer Alun Pinder takes us through the Men’s showcase event – Division 1 Nationals, a.k.a. The BUCS Championship

As the BUCS leagues conclude, the best of the best converge once more on Nottingham to take on the near-legendary conditions of the wind farm (and each other, of course). With huge BUCS points and bragging rights on the line, who can make like the gold medalists at the Commonwealth Games, rise above all others, and take home the glory? Fasten your seatbelts, don your ponchos, wrap up warm, and brace yourself. Division 1 is coming.

UK University Ultimate 2017/18: Women’s Outdoor Nationals Preview

news, Previews, University, Womens

Our four Women’s writers (Annie Bechtel, Kat Rowland, Isabel Goh and Becky Greenwood) combine to produce a full-sized preview for Women’s Nationals this year, with Harry Mason filling in the gaps.

The days are lengthening and the skies are lighter; the outdoor season is here! Everyone knows outdoors is real Ultimate. The rain, the slippery mud, the four loads of laundry per week. The big throws, the zones, the layouts that don’t hurt. Outdoors is the best. Unfortunately, Regionals was cancelled! So there’s been no warm up for these teams, but in theory they’ve had an extra month to get really hyped! Instead of asking ourselves why mother nature hates university Ultimate, lets preview those teams heading to the Windfarm.

UKU Mixed Tour 2 South Preview

Mixed, news, Previews

Jordan ‘JB’ Brown and Josh Coxon Kelly set the scene ahead of the Glastonbury leg of Mixed Tour 2

Purple Cobras are working on development this season as it’s their first outing in Mixed Tour. They’ve spent the past few years entering every other event in the country to gel into a pretty formidable unit. As a result, it’s not that much of a surprise looking at them climbing above their seeding at MT1 where they hopped ten seeds from 29th to 19th. In Cardiff, they won their pool outright against stiff competition from Herd 2, then continued that flow into Sunday, beating Cosmic Manatees before coming unstuck against LLLeeds. They regrouped in their final game to take down GreyBH, who will represent in the mixed masters division at WUCC. Relying less on big players and more on developing as a team, Cobras will be looking to win MT2-South, if they can get past the second seeds who are also looking to take home glassware from Glastonbury. Sam Persaud, Guilia Newbery, Rich Fenn and others will cause grief to anyone they go up against.

UKU Mixed Tour 2 North Preview

Mixed, news, Previews

Josh Coxon Kelly previews this weekend’s Mixed Tour 2 action taking place in Durham.

And just like that, spring is in full swing and the UK club season is underway. Cardiff rewarded travellers with shockingly mild conditions that, save a few slips and slides, would be tough to complain about at any UK event. The wild combination of WUCC preparations, first tournament of the year, and a schedule that started with an element of chance and encouraged big jumps all contributed towards a thrilling opening Tour that brought big shocks as well as some business seemingly as usual.

UKU Mixed Tour Preview – 2018

Mixed, Mixed Ultimate, news, Previews, Uncategorized

Josh Coxon Kelly previews the 2018 Club Mixed Season

 

If you think back to the previous World Club Championship cycle, things are looking quite different in the UK mixed Ultimate scene. The only team to repeat qualification from last Worlds is Black Eagles, whose placing in Italy at 37th out of 48 (9 places below the next lowest UK team, RGS at 28th) is flipped on its head with the Eagles’ rise to what has been a fairly consistent dominance over seasons since. Cambridge, Bear Cavalry and RGS were the other UK representatives in 2014, but none of these teams join Eagles this year.

What we’ve seen instead is a resurgence of clubs focusing on the longer term, and largely reaping the rewards. Reading have rightly become a byword for development in the UK, and with a European Club title under their belt from 2016 and the highest placing at Euros last year at third, they will certainly be looking to make a mark on the world stage. Smog are newer to the scene but are arguably more disruptive, quickly becoming one of the most competitive sides in the nation, and facing up against Black Eagles in the 2017 Nationals final. Glasgow, whilst not present in this weekend’s opening Mixed Tour are bringing two  squads to MT2, and along with Eagles are a testament to the considerable depth that continues to be forged in the Scottish Ultimate scene.

Photo by Sam Mouat

There are no shortages of teams waiting in the wings to to take down the worlds qualifiers, and a fair few of these teams can be found in Pool A. Thanks partly to the randomised seeding after the top four, Pool A looks potentially overpowered and a lot of fun. Alongside Black Eagles’ only squad are Reading 1, who are presumably a roughly even split with Reading A and seeded suspiciously low. Whilst Reading are known to forego placings early in the season in favour of greater cohesion later on, I would expect to see both teams improve on their 10th and 11th seed. Brighton Breezy will put up a solid fight against Reading 1 for a quarters spot, but they’ll also have to fend off Flat Perth, a squad made out of GBU24 players and coaches that are also potentially under-seeded, maybe by a lot. They will be riding high off the back of their January campaign, and whilst not a practising club will have no shortage of on-field chemistry.

SMOKE, one of Smog’s split squads look to have an easier time of things in Pool B. Despite sharing it with teams that have been dominant in the past (particularly Birmingham and Cambridge), these teams are mixed squad representatives of larger clubs rather than specifically mixed-focus teams, and therefore may be slower starting as they get things moving again after a long off-season. The second Smog Worlds split, MIST, face both JR and Herd who will be gunning hard for an early season upset as these three teams jostle for the two quarters spots. If Smog’s overall attendance is hurt by the long journey down south, they may find themselves vulnerable in both pools. However, finishing strong in 2017 and the presence of an entirely separate Smog 2 suggest no lack of depth and some hard fought battles on the way on Saturday.

Pool D is set to be equally tight at the top. Mighty Hucks were consistently strong last year, and given the pickup nature of this squad we may well see them holding on to their fourth seed and heading beyond quarter-finals. Deep Space will be looking to get one back on them after a sudden-death loss against Hucks to end Mixed Tour 3 last year, and will also be looking to use the foundations laid in their inaugural season to break into the top four. With Reading A also in this group, there will be no room for slow starts and plenty of rivalries to rekindle early on in the season. Guildford may not initially look in the running, but they put in a strong showing at a pre-season London scrimmage. With coaching from ex-GB Open captains Dave Barnard and Pete “Rodders” Wright they’ll be well poised to take advantage of any team that loses focus on Saturday.

The familiar Llanrumney fields in Cardiff host what is prepped to be one of the most competitive seasons of mixed yet as representatives look to build towards what they hope will be a peak performance in Cincinatti. Surveying the rest of the field, it is certainly a team list that feels as though it is more and more reflecting the club and development focus within UK Ultimate. Outside of the top 20, Herd, Cambridge, South Wales Storm, Red Leicester and Curve are all bringing multiple squads, and the days of Mixed being dominated by pickup teams across the seedings seem largely gone. With this of course comes growing rivalries, increased pressure for these teams to live up to their own hype, and with it the added prestige to any team that can take them down.

Of course – we’re all hoping that this potential for intense competition comes to light, rather than the weather once again being the main story to emerge from Cardiff. However any victories gained this weekend should not be celebrated too soon. With Mixed Tour 2 returning to Durham, we’re set for higher attendance from arguably the strongest and most in-form teams. Things are only going to be heating up in what is already looking like a vintage season of mixed Ultimate.