UKU Nationals 2015 – Mixed Division Preview

Mixed, Nationals, news, Previews, UK Ultimate, UKU 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.

UKU Nationals Results

Birmingham, Clapham, EUCF, Frankfurt., Iceni, Mixed, Open, UKU Nationals, Womens

UKU Nationals were held in Southampton this weekend just past. Here’s how it went…

Qualifying for EUCF 2014 held in Frankfurt are:

OPEN

  1. Clapham (Elite Division)
  2. Chevron Action Flash (Elite Division)
  3. EMO
  4. Fire of London
  5. Brighton
  6. Cambridge

The Question of Regionalisation

Discussion, Open, UKU Nationals, UKU Regionals

Josh CK looks at some concerns voiced about the 2014 UKU Regionals…

[Edit – this post contains views expressed by writers that are not necessarily that of The Showgame. Our aim here is to generate a fair and intelligent discussion – please see and add to the comments below for continued discussion as well as a further elucidation of many, if not all of the points brought up. JCK]

    This year’s Regionals and Nationals were not without their share of controversy. Nationals was a formerly an event that looked very much like a final tour event, held in order to find a national champion on an annual basis as well as acting as qualifiers for the European championships. The regional qualification process for the Open division was debuted in 2010 to ‘a mostly positive response’. With a lighter 16 team knockout, the new Nationals also featured a permanent site in Southampton, featuring a show pitch with live streaming. With broad changes made with long-term plans in mind (increase in competition at Regionals and Nationals, the creation of ‘the UKU’s primary “showcase” event’*), a certain amount of adaptation is arguably to be expected. However, certain decisions (specifically in the London region) have both caused confusion and incited some strongly voiced concerns. Matt Dathan writes:
    Nationals comes on the back of a controversial Regionals this year, with Clapham given a bye at London qualifiers and only having to play two games to decide their seed. This meant they rocked up at 2pm in the afternoon to play their two games, in contrast to their eventual opponents, Ka-pow and Fire of London, who both had to turn up five hours earlier and play three games before playing a fresh Clapham team.

UKU Nationals 2014 – Preview

Mixed, Open, UKU Nationals, Womens

With the drama of Lecco now over the focus returns to domestic competition in Southampton at the UKU National Championships.

Bristol will once again be looking for a long-wanted win over domestic rivals Iceni. Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss

UKU Regionals 2014 Results

news, Tournament Reports, UKU Nationals, UKU Regionals
This weekend saw the five regional tournaments taking place across the country. Below are the results of the teams that have qualified for UKU Nationals 2014.
Greater London
1. Clapham
2. Fire 1
3. Ka-Pow
4. Flump
5. Fire 2

South East
1. Brighton
2. Reading
3. DED

South West
1. Devon

Midlands
1. EMO
2. BAF
3. JR

North
1. Chevron 
2. Manchester
3. Sheffield Steal

Scotland & NI
1. NEO

This would give our speculative UKU Nationals 2014 seedings taken from Tour rankings and adjusted to avoid regional rematches:

Nationals 2014
1. Clapham
2. EMO
3. Chevron
4. Fire 1
5. Brighton
6. Manchester
7. Ka-Pow
8. BAF
9. Flump
10. Reading
11. Devon
12. NEO
13. JR
14. DED
15. Sheffield Steal
16. Fire 2

and first round games:

Round 1 games
Clapham vs Fire 2
EMO vs Sheffield Steal
Chevron vs DED
Fire 1 vs JR
Brighton vs NEO
Manchester vs Devon
Ka-Pow vs Reading
BAF vs Flump

See you all in Southampton at the end of August, WUCC first!

UKU University Open Nationals Division 2 Preview

Division 2, news, Open, Previews, UKU Nationals
Chris Bamford takes us through the competition heading to Division 2 Open Nationals this weekend in Manchester

Looking at the Division 2 nationals entrants, two teams immediately stand out as potential winners – the two teams who contested last years final – Nottingham and Limerick. Nottingham came out victorious on that occasion but Limerick won Irish nationals this year and believe they are bringing an improved squad including several U23’s from Toronto last summer, so are feeling bullish about their chances.

When it comes to Nottingham I must admit some bias to my old university, but they come in having missed out on that elusive Division 1 spot once again and without their own U23 playe, EMO captain Robert Coddington. Captain Ben ‘Paddling’ Poole, has deep throws and huge bids which make him the star of this team. To retain their title as Division 2 champions Nathan Trickey will have to continue to rack up the scores, whilst handlers David ‘Athlete’ Lang and Paul Armstrong will be required to maintain the strong form they showed at regionals.

Andy Peck of Southampton with a possession saving snag at Western Regionals 2014.

The team I would have put next in line for a finals berth is Exeter, however they have dropped out of the tournament, which only helps other contenders such as Newcastle, Oxford and Strathclyde. Newcastle finished 4th in their region but have an experienced squad that will feel fully capable of beating anyone they come up against. They may also be hoping for some wet and windy conditions to allow them to pull out their favoured zone defence which has often caused issues for other teams in previous years.


Despite coming 5th at Midlands regionals, Oxford impressed with their athletic man D putting pressure on and getting lots of turns out of multiple teams who made division 1. If captain Dan Aronov can help them convert these turns into breaks they will threaten deep into the tournament. Strathclyde also finished 5th, but given the ultra competitive standard of the Scottish region other teams should beware. With many players involved in high level training with club side Glasgow Ultimate they should have no problem dealing with tough games from the off at nationals.

Recent regional finalists for the past few years Southampton suffered a disastrous regionals by their high standards, not even managing a place in the game-to-go. A 6th place finish in the country last year shows they shouldn’t be written off, particularly with GBU23 in Mike Speer running the show with captain William Caldwell. LSE, with their striking kit will be looking to prove the strength of the South East region after Sussex’s domination. Not long ago a Division 1 competitor, LSE remained quiet going into regionals but put in a strong show to claim a place in the game-to-go, only just losing out to an experienced Imperial side.

Surrey are another team who will be disappointed with their regional performance, coming in 5th at regionals this year, missing out on Division 1 which they earned the year before. Their recent history suggests they should be able to compete but a lot will depend on playmaker Jon Francombe and his ability to open up the break side of the pitch for the Surrey offence. Bournemouth will be delighted to have taken the final Div 2 spot in the west to qualify for Nationals for only the 2nd time ever. A great opportunity for lots of their players to gain experience at a national level tournament, it seems likely a push for a top 8 spot may be beyond them this year.

The other two Scottish teams at this event are St Andrews and Aberdeen. Everyone knows Coach Benji Heywood is the man with a plan for St Andrews. The question for them is if they have pushed on from last year where some windy condition damaged their push for their push for final at Division 2. Teams may be well advised to test them with some zone defence again. Aberdeen seem to have fallen behind the other Scottish universities this year but hung on to claim the final Nationals spot. They still have the remnants of the team which finished 12th in the country last year and an intimidating sideline will see them attempting to break the top 8 and develop for a return to Division 1 next year.

Bangor are reportedly coming into the weekend ‘literally aiming not to finish bottom’. I expect a zone look from them on D and a series of big deep then under cuts on offence. Liverpool placed 13th last year and 12th Indoors (both Div 2), so will be looking to improve on this form in Manchester. Kent made outdoor nationals by claiming the last spot from the South East, meaning they are likely to come into the event starting as bottom seeds, so the only way is up. From experience I can testify to their mean zone defence indoors and it will be interesting to see if they can translate this successfully at a national outdoors event.

Lastly: the two Midlands teams. Loughborough finished second to last at the 2013 Division 2 Nationals under captain Chris ‘Don’t call me Melon’ Peploe, who returns this year. They’ll be keen to improve on their previous finish. Handlers Peploe and Chris ‘Pudding’ Alderson and Chris ‘ Jaff’ Martin are some of the players who have been involved with JR so I’m expecting wild swings from hot to cold for the Loughborough offence. Captain Andrew ‘Pumba’ Sellers will hope by the end of the weekend that Loughborough are the team described as ‘the ones who were a lot stronger than their seed’. UEA sneak into Nationals thanks to drop outs from other teams. They were confident going into the season with star players in Howard Storey (U23 Mixed) and Luke Frett (Jen). Captain Arron Reed will be hoping that they can help show that the Midlands still has both the strength and the depth it is known for.

I’m expecting the Semi finalists to be Limerick, Nottingham, Newcastle and Southampton. With strong squads, each will feel they could have competed with teams at Div 1 and will be looking to prove so with victory in Manchester this weekend. All four have the quality to go the whole way, and the eventual winner will probably be decided by the team who simply keeps their focus best throughout the weekend.

All is to play for in Manchester – Good luck again to all teams from The Showgame, and stay tuned for the Women’s Division Preview! 

University Regionals 2014 Results.

Division 1, Division 2, UKU Nationals, UKU Regionals, University
Congratulations to all the teams who qualified for University Nationals 2014 from University Open Outdoor Regionals. Here are the top 6 from each region:

West
Div 1
1. Bristol
2. Bath
3. Cardiff
Div 2
4. Exeter
5. Southampton
6. Bournemouth

South East
Div 1
1. Sussex 1
2. Sussex 2
3. Imperial College
Div 2
4. LSE
5. Surrey
6. Kent

Midlands
Div 1
1. Warwick
2. Cambridge
3. Birmingham
Div 2
4. Nottingham
5. Oxford
6. Loughborough

North
Div 1
1. Durham
2. Manchester
3. York
Div 2
4. Newcastle
5. Liverpool
6. Bangor

Scotland

Div 1

1. Dundee
2. Heriot Watt
3. Edinburgh
4. Glasgow
Div 2
5. Strathclyde
6. St. Andrews
7. Aberdeen
Into possible seeds for Nationals:

Division 1 (suggested by Ashley Yeo)
1. Dundee
2. Warwick
3. Durham 4. Sussex 15. Bristol6. Heriot Watt7. Manchester8. Cambridge9. Birmingham10. Bath11. Edinburgh12. York13. Sussex 214. Cardiff15. Imperial16. Glasgow


Division 2
1. Nottingham
2. I1
3. LSE
4. Strathclyde
5. St. Andrews
6. Oxford
7. Exeter
8. Aberdeen
9. Newcastle
10. Surrey
11. Southampton
12. Bournemouth
13. Liverpool
14. Bangor
15. Loughborough
16. Kent