Our new second leagues writer Tom Claxton gives a quick recap of last season, and a preview of who will be the big names fighting for promotion this year.
Welcome to the second leagues: full of grit and determination, where a team’s Nationals prospects can be made or undone in just a single game. And with the weekly league structure it is not just your prospects for this season, but for the following as well. Promotion into the top leagues guarantees a Division 1 or 2 Nationals place the following year. But this requires a team to be near undefeated for the entire year, which is made further challenging by having to play on average eight games a season with a lot of travelling and persuading players to make up numbers.
Uni Ultimate coverage continues with Joe Spreckley (South-East Uni Coordinator) giving us the overview from his region.
This weekend sees 36 teams head to Dagenham to compete for the 6 spots available for nationals from the south east.
|South East with great depth (36 teams, including 14 first teams and a 4th team) over the smallest area.
Group A puts top seeds Sussex Mohawks 1 up against LSE 1, UCL1 and Portsmouth Sublime 2. Despite losing a number of key players, it’s hard to see any team except Mohawks topping the group for a direct path into the semis and another South East title. UCL (who were a victim of seedings last year) and LSE will battle it out to avoid the crossovers. Sublime 2 will be looking to create some upsets, but should find themselves bottom of the group heading into the crossovers.
In group B Brunel have a great chance to push into the top 8. With Brighton losing their iconic talisman Andy Berry, and captain Miles Tincknell in a cast it may be a struggle for Brighton to hold onto their top 8 seeding. Surrey should be looking to take this group with relative ease, while the emergent Hertfordshire will be eager to pick up some scalps against the more established teams in the group.
Arguably the hardest hit over the summer, top seeds in group C – Portsmouth Sublime – have lost six players from the their first team that made the epic Sunday run from ninth to third last year. However, boosted by the arrival of GB U23 captain Sam Bowen they will be looking to put two disappointing warm up tournament results behind them and book a spot in the semis. A strong looking Kent will provide the biggest clash from the group stages with Sublime, as the two traditionally aggressive teams battle for the third spot in the semi finals.
After the unbelievable feat of getting a second team to division one outdoor nationals, Mohawks 2 hold the top seed in group D. It remains to be seen how the Sussex university team split their squads; with the firsts having a relatively easy route there may be some strong individuals finding themselves in the second team. Imperial College Disc Doctors will fancy their chances in topping this pool, and have an excellent chance of making division one this season.
With nine teams having a realistic chance of making nationals, Mohawks are large favourites for another tournament win. If Imperial have a full strength squad they should be looking to take one of the other two spots in division one, but may have to do it through the triple elimination. Surrey and Sublime will look to take the final spot. With my bias, I will be backing Sublime to take a division 1 spot. Kent and Mohawks 2 will be looking to pick up the remaining two nationals spots to round off the representatives from the South East.
Thanks to Joe and the other Uni Coordinators for the work they put in year round and bringing these pieces to us. Who’s next…? DP @ tSG.