Mara Alperin tells us how International Women’s Ultimate Weekend went down in London.
June 27th-28th was International Women’s Ultimate Weekend. Founded by Sophia Wagner of the German National Team, the goal of this weekend was to “bring local communities of female players together, and ultimately, to highlight the global reach and scale of the community of women ultimate players.”
Iceni hosted a skills clinic on Saturday at Clapham Common. Several players ran various skills stations, assisted by our coach, Paul “Voodoo” Waite. Shout-outs go to Mara Alperin, Sonia Komenda, Eleanor Nicholson, Lasma Putrina, Vanessa Lowe, Natasha Doff and Rowan Pearson for their help. We were also incredibly fortunate to have Ultimate legend Anne Mercier (of Team Canada World Games) as a guest coach!
Felicity Perry and Claire Taylor give us their outlook on the final instalment of this years Women’s Tour.
The threat of thunder and lightning prior to Tour 2 meant that all teams were aware that rain was a distinct possibility. Still, nobody expected the rain to hold off until 3pm and gradually increase from a light drizzle to a downpour. It made play interesting for a while, until games were cancelled on Saturday. The sustained rain left the pitches waterlogged, and unplayable.
Cancellation of games meant that the GB Masters did not meet the Mockingjays as expected in the crossover, and had to wait until the Tour Final on Sunday. When they finally met, the game was dominated by the relatively unknown entity of the Mockingjays, a fluid and talented team from Ireland. Neither team had really been tested until the final, and the GB Masters were slow to react to the speed and skill of the Irish.
Josh Coxon Kelly closes out the A Tour previews for the 2015 season.
With rain lashing down around them, the players of Chevron and GB A may have been ready to move to the ‘bog ultimate’ tactics well honed in Mansfield and Wimbledon of years gone past. With their well-trained forehands back to fresher level consistency and layout bids taking players to the next field, surprise will have come as studs held fast allowing these teams to amidst most of June’s rain in one hour. The Watford groundsmen certainly came through with the unexpected A Tour performance of the weekend, and although many games were cancelled, the show pitch held one of the most exciting games of the season so far as a revived Chevron gritted out a sudden-death victory (sealed by a horizontal Tom Martin-Hall) against the Great Britain defensive line.
This victory presented a fork in the knockout structure as Chevron returned to the quarter-finals from their notable absence in Nottingham, and GB found themselves fully humbled after two losses in their pool leave them third, and out of contention for the finals. The other team to beat GB A was the GBU23s. This young squad took a dominant lead in the first half against the seniors, who had an opportunity to get to 11-10, but after failing to convert at 12-9 were unable to stop the U23s from storming to victory with convincing swagger.
Thomas Cliff previews this weekend’s B Tour.
I can’t claim perfection by any means, but what I can claim is that the B tour is an incredibly volatile place to play Ultimate. London Calling once again proved this, making a mockery of any predictions attempted on my part.
Bristol, along with Curve 1 were both surprise factors in the promotion stakes. Bristol used an effective defence which clogged lanes and made resets very difficult, and Patrick Ward and Ben Groombridge (on the offensive and defensive lines respectively) saw a lion’s share of the disc, taking well-judged risks to put their opponents on the back foot. Cambridge were predictably solid, showing their A Tour pedigree in reprising their earlier placement. Finally, Curve much preferred the conditions in London, only losing to Cambridge on their way to an A Tour berth after struggling to adapt to the Nottingham wind.
Jordan Brown concludes his C Tour coverage for the 2015 season.
With London Calling behind us, teams look forward to a blazing hot weekend in the Welsh capital. With Mixed Tour 1’s hurricane-like conditions leading to the usually pristine pitches being badly churned up, all players will be hoping that the Llanrumney playing fields will have recovered enough to cope with a few thousand players giving it a fresh trample.
C Tour is once again looking hotly contested going into the last leg of Open Tour. London Calling saw a handful of upsets in the division but things tended to go to plan despite the torrent of rain that hammered the fields – leading to the UKU sensibly calling off Saturday’s later matches in a bid to preserve the stunning pitches of Watford FC’s training ground.
Josh Coxon Kelly previews the A Tour for London Calling.
The Tour final at Nottingham was played between the two halves of the GB Open squad, as many will have hoped given that this squad is representing this and next year as the strongest Britain can offer. Saturday morning saw Manchester run close for the first half with GB 1, and the same GB team had to work hard to get past Glasgow in the upwind / downwind semi-final, but neither of these teams could keep up in the second half, and overall the two GB teams met in the final without too much of a scare. Whilst not heavily spectated due to the majority of the tournament still having games to play, the final was an exciting match-up as the training squad stepped up to competition play for the first time this year. Both teams showed a disregard for the wind starting the game with clean upwind goals. GB 1 soon took control of the first half, winning it 8-6 and starting downwind after half. Although the pivotal point of the game looked to have passed, GB A began the second half with a footblocked huck on the upwind endzone line. This quick break conversion triggered a merciless comeback as the defensive team took control. Tom ‘Mum’ Abrams had a particularly strong game with upwind pulls and hucks that changed the field in favour of the D team. Altogether GB A stole victory with a 5-0 second half, and a final score of 11-8. These teams looked strong, continued this showing with a victory at Windmill last weekend and will want to dominate at Tour 2 as they move on to the US Open as a single squad shortly afterwards.
Thomas Cliff previews the B Tour for this weekend.
So the dust has settled in Nottingham (this is clearly not true, the wind hasn’t let anything settle in at least three years), and Brighton Legends proved to be a step above the conditions and competition at Tour 1. Although they suffered a pool play loss to Vision, Brighton had a sharp zone which they practiced all weekend, and it showed when it came to the games which mattered on Sunday. Paired with experienced throwers like Tom White, and the out-and-out athlete Harry Slinger-Thompson, they handled the wind much better than anyone else involved, and well deserved their promotion to A Tour.
With the international teams incoming for Tour 2 there were questions marks over the amount of promotions headed up to A Tour, but it seems Sneeekys and ABH 1 have also earned themselves spots in the top flight. ABH used sensible strategy in the wind, playing percentages and position to win vital upwind breaks against Fire of London 2 in the game-to-go; the loss providing a tough lesson for a Fire squad which thrives on confidence.