The 2018 World Under-24 Ultimate Championships will be held in Perth, Australia. While January 2018 seems like a long time away, planning started behind the scenes months ago and the preparation will begin in earnest on October 22, when the first trials to make the GB squad take place near Liverpool. Sean Colfer spoke to three of the coaches involved – Sion Scone, the Open coach, and Jenna Thomson and Ben Weddell, the Women’s coaches – about what they’re looking for at the trials as part of the first in a series investigating what this cycle means in the short and long term for Ultimate in the UK.
Sean Colfer reports on the first day of action at UKU Nationals
The first day of UKU Nationals 2015 brought a number of surprises, as well as some beautiful sunshine. Here’s a quick round-up what you need to know from day one, ahead of the finals tomorrow afternoon.
Josh Coxon Kelly previews the 2015 Open Division of UK Nationals
International duties are over for now, and the UK Ultimate Open division finds with Nationals the first tournament of the year in which domestic teams will be competing with anything close to full rosters. Rather than a re-hash of the years’ early Tour events then, Nationals holds an extra degree of excitement as souped-up squads look to smoothly incorporate big name returners, and compete to be named the best club in the nation.
The only newcomers this year are the Fantastic Mr. Fox who feature Oxford alumni players including GB Mixed captain Sam Vile. This team starts in 16th after qualifying third in the South-Eastern region, but will be hoping to surprise teams later into the tournament in placement games. Noticeably absent are Cambridge’s CUlt, who were pipped to the final Midlands spot by Blue Arse Flies.
Claire Taylor and Felicity Perry give us the UKU Women’s Nationals outlook
Surprisingly UK Nationals is the only tournament in the women’s calendar that hasn’t seen a marked increase in the number of teams each year. Perhaps the heated competition in the middle ranks of Tour will see interest and entries into UK Nationals growing in future years, but for now we have a tournament that seems to provide less of a draw. This year, eight teams are entered, less than anticipated and rumoured, but more teams than in some recent years.
It is something of a shame that there aren’t more and with the increasing depth of competition at Tour, it seems irregular that there is such a drop in interest to attend Nationals*. Is it possible that club teams prioritise Tour, and Nationals is not an event that piques their interest? Or is it the prospect of another long journey down south that some teams cannot manage – perhaps the division is further impacted by the concurrent mixed division at Nationals.
Thomas Cliff looks back at Mixed Tour and ahead to UKU Mixed Nationals this weekend.
Having just experienced the most unstable Open and Women’s Tour seasons that I can remember, it could be easy to forget about the mixed season that preceded it.
However, Mixed Tour wasn’t without its share of uncertainty. 2014’s top squad and the combination of former European champions Bear Cavalry having disbanded, and Cambridge mixed, sixth place finisher at WUCC 2014 having had a severe drop off in top talent, really set the stage for the pack of wolves nipping at their heels to have a shot at the top. Further to this, GB Mixed seniors, GB U23, and Ireland Mixed took many fantastic players away from the rankings, leaving things absolutely wide open.
Mixed Nationals this year is likely going to be a tale of teams who stepped into the void left at the top from 2014, as there is a strong correlation between the Tour rankings and the Nationals line up: seven of the eight teams entered at Nationals finished in the top 12 over the course of the season, with the eighth competitors being 2014’s second-place finisher Pingu Jam. Notable absences are Glasgow, who have a real shot at making Euros in the Open division, and Bristol, who are likewise placed in the Women’s draw.
Here is our continuing Mixed Tour 2015 coverage from Martyn Brown and new writer for the ShowGame Jordan Brown!
Salford provided some high quality ultimate in near perfect conditions. It offered us the first real look at the mixed teams this season and threw up some interesting results, including another new Mixed Tour winner – Glasgow. It was also our first chance to try out a new venue for a few years and I think on the whole, it was a positive experience. The shuttle bus was regular, the pitches were of a good quality and the lack of water by the fields wasn’t a problem if you planned ahead. However, should the weather have taken a turn for the worst, the lack of shelter might have been a problem. If the TDs can get some marquees or tents at the pitches, I think this would be a good option for future events.
Sion ‘Brummie’ Scone gives some wise words to those considering the next GB senior cycle…
The application forms to run the GB squads are coming in, so I felt the need to write about some of my experiences. I was involved in running the GB Open trials in 2010, and GB World Games trials in 2012-13. Allow me, then, to share some of the things I’ve learned.