The European Ultimate Championship Finals begin today! Ahead of the tournament starting, Sean Colfer takes a look at the Mixed division, often the hardest to predict given the lack of high-level Mixed tournaments around Europe. First up; the two-time national champions, Reading.
Martyn Brown brings us the second piece in his coverage of the 2015 Mixed Tour
It’s safe to say that Cardiff will be a tournament most people won’t forget. Whilst Saturday was challenging, it was no more difficult than the conditions we experienced in Nottingham or Cheltenham for Mixed Tours 2 & 3 respectively last year. However, Sunday delivered some of the most difficult weather that we have had to play in for a number of years with wind, rain and mud in plentiful supply.
Despite the conditions the games got under way in earnest. Pool-play threw up few surprises with both GB teams topping their respective groups. The GB U23 teams also impressed, improving on seeding and giving themselves a chance to move up the order next tour. Ireland Mixed comfortably topped Pool C after a convincing victory over Thundering Herd 1. Pool D provided the most interesting results with Shiny Happy Meeple comfortably topping the group ahead of both Black Eagles and Brighton Breezy, with returning players helping to show that they are one of the strongest contenders at Tour this season.
Brighton Echo player Miles Tincknell finishes of the regionals previews with a hotly contested South East, who have 3 bids and will compete on Sunday.
|DED at T2, but which men will go play mixed from this bunch? Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.|
Brighton City, long time standing club and rumors suggest; the biggest Ultimate club in the UK, are on a mission that transcends that of single tournaments and instead places itself on the timeline of decades. With discussions rife about sorting out who will play Breezy, Echo and City, it is clear that Brighton City are thinking of nothing else but a Nationals qualification, a given seeing that they finished 4th at Tour over all this year, rising two places from 6th last year. However who they face in the final could be a different story. Trying out a new approach to Ultimate, City will be looking to see how their offense fares compared to last year not just in the region but all the way to Nationals. With Brighton putting up their best ever performance against Clapham this year (15-11), it will be interesting to see how they contend for the Euros spot as their team grows in strength and depth.
So that’s it, all the regional competitions will take place over the weekend. Follow the action on twitter! DP @ tSG.
|Murray from Ireland U23 takes is forced by Reynolds from Brighton Echo. Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.|
So the stage was set in a blustery Nottingham, with newly promoted teams attempting to cement themselves in B-tour, with many teams fighting to do the same and hopefully aim for the coveted A-tour spots being battled out by pools E and F. Saturday morning saw pools E and F play their first two games. Newly promoted Flump and Reading enjoyed their first games of the day with teams trading down-wind for the first few points of the game while they attempted to find their feet. Even though Flump saw the early break, Reading fought back and took the game 11-9. Simultaneously The Brown played the newly demoted Tooting Tigers on the crosswind pitches -The Brown put in a fantastic performance to dispatch the top seed 11-6. The subsequent games saw Tooting Tigers lose in a tight game with Reading 9-11, and Flump pip The Brown in an excellent game which saw fantastic plays by each side, including layouts, hammers, huge grabs, and ending with a single upwind break collected by Flump.
The final games of Pool E saw an incredible game between Reading and The Brown, which traded upwind almost the entire game, with Reading drawing a small advantage midway, but The Brown pulling back in fantastic style in sudden death to take the game. The game between Tooting Tigers and Flump, saw the London rivals battle out a gritty match with more stoppages than an American Football game. Calls lasting a couple of minutes a piece as players discussed the events of the pitch – sometimes in raised tones – put a damper on the eventual Flump win. With so much at stake in each game at this stage in a tour, it is a testament to both teams’ spirit that in the huddle afterwards, a calm discussion took place between the captains to address some of the issues that had occurred. Each team looked to consider what had been said, and take those considerations into their coming games. Overall, this left Pool E in a confusing state, with The Brown, for the second tour in a row, losing out in a three way tie for the top two positions to Reading followed by Flump, who had proved their worth at the top of B-tour.
|B tour movers. Courtesy of Wayne Retter.|