With Open regionals over we move to Women’s. The UU committee have surveyed the Women’s captains and Rory Curran, Glasgow (FarFlung) captain has written the preview for Scotland from this resource.
Scottish women’s teams have a very strong history of success at women’s indoor university nationals. Since the 2007-8 season a Scottish team has placed on the podium every single year, more impressive still in the same time period they have provided seven of the ten finalists, and even more impressive than that is the fact that those honours have been shared amongst no less than four teams. Most impressive however is the fact they cleaned up last year taking three of the top four with only the Irish (excluded this year) from the podium clean sweep. Clearly this weekend’s tournament will be a closely contested and high quality affair.
Dundee women much like there male counterparts will start the tournament as strong favourites. As reigning UK Indoors champions, and having placed as the highest women’s team at Scottish open regionals the last two years they are evidently the team to beat. Pam Knudsen and Ailsa Doak are the key players for Dundee, but a team full of experience, height and talent added to the fact that they have been playing together for years makes them formidable. Expect these girls to win not just in Scotland, but when they go to nationals at the end of November too. Such a strong and large club, Dundee seconds may find themselves placed above a couple of first teams when the final standings are known at the end of the tournament.
Edinburgh (Ro Sham Bo) always fields a strong women’s team and this year would appear to be no different. Led by Simone, Gail Hunter and GBU23/Black Eagles star Carissa Tong. A team who haven’t lost many players with the added bonus of some players returning to the team Ro Sham Bo will be expecting to qualify for nationals and fancying their chances in the final.
Aberdeen came second behind Dundee women at Nationals last year, much of that team led by the experienced handler Emily Magrath remain students, along with the very happy addition of Swift player and previous St. Andrews (Flatball) player Harriet Hopper. Aberdeen will be looking to at least match their open regionals placing (2nd highest women’s team) and making the most of their home advantage meaning a decent nights sleep the night before. These girls will be going to nationals, and would provide a most entertaining semi final against Edinburgh if the schedule allows.
Glasgow (FarFlung) girls narrowly missed out nationals last year and have spent the year training hard using that as their primary motivation and last years captain Amy Clark even found a masters to do so she could put things right. The return of Lulu Geddy Boyd from a year training in America will strengthen an already strong team, as will GB junior Amina Malik and her bestie Jessy Mac who played for Ireland. FarFlung has already shown their collective growth this year winning multiple beginners tournaments whilst fielding more woman than all their opposition. These girls have local rivals Strathclyde “intimidated by the sheer number of them” following a couple of “friendlies”. Entering two teams for the first time in a while, Glasgow girls look to follow in the footsteps of their guys and qualify for nationals.
St. Andrews captain Carmen is now in her fifth year of ultimate and probably lands herself the role of Flatball’s star player as a result of having captained a team to Edinburgh beginner’s victory. St. Andrews girls started the season well in advance of everyone else with their annual pre-season which combined with weekly 7:15am sessions means these girls will undoubtedly have a decent structure on offence. They are always playing hard at the end of the tournament and may well find themselves in the game to go at the end of the day.
Strathclyde will be fielding a fairly new team having only been around for a couple of years. Their most experienced handlers Nyssa Richardson and Amber Lockhart will lead the team along with Nicky Shaw who will be returning from a year of ultimate in Canada. However following the graduation of five key players last year these girls may see this year as a building, rather than purely competitive year.
Stirling boasts the asset of Rhona Gordon, the only girl to play in the semi-finals of Scottish Indoor Open Regionals this year. Ashleigh Spalding will be able to use her speed on Aberdeen’s large pitches. Altogether Stirling are an inexperienced team hoping to cause an upset akin to their open team making the semi finals last weekend.
The division’s least experienced team sees newcomers Heriot-Watt. Captain Sabelle Groves and Shona Whiteley featured at outdoors nationals last year in a fusion with Flatball and continued to improve by playing with Sneeekys over the summer. An athletic team looking forward to their first outing, clearly it’s unlikely that they will go straight to nationals from such a strong region but – in indoors you shouldn’t write anyone off before the tournament starts.
An average of captains’ predictions unanimously go with Dundee winning, followed by Edinburgh. After that Glasgow and Aberdeen are touted to share third and fourth, whilst fifth place sees more disagreement.
If I was to put my neck on the line I’d say:
8. Dundee 2
Can the dominant Dundee get the clean sweep in Scotland again? Only this weekend will tell… DP & JCK@tSG.