Open Tour 3 preview: southern teams descend on B-denbridge

Open, Previews

Making his bow for the Show Game, Cloud City captain Andy Sluman previews the first-ever B Tour South tournament.

The town of Edenbridge has the pleasure of hosting the ‘other’ Tour this time around (and will be a test of the venue ahead of Southern Regionals in two weeks’ time). A fortnight ago, B Tour North received mixed reviews as an event. With just twelve teams and a large disparity in quality, many results were one-sided. In an effort to avoid a repeat of that, the scheduling gods have split this 20-team event into a top 12 and bottom eight. The winner of each of the top 12 pools go straight to quarters, while second and third go into a pre-quarter.

    Pool Predictions

Fire 2 had a good weekend in Cardiff, finishing second in B Tour, following on from their disappointing performance in Nottingham. They are the top seeds in Pool A and have been bolstered by four regular first-team players. Camden are without stalwart Tom Bannister-Fletcher after a nasty accident in Cardiff but with Dave Greenberg returning, they are likely to be of a similar strength to last time around. Reading 2 are always difficult to predict given the squad rotation between each Tour. Sources say they’ve rotated out Sam Gunbie but gained Mark Bignal and Dan Tanner, and should therefore be solid round the back with lots of young receivers downfield. Fire 2 should emerge from the pool as victors, but there’s certainly scope for an upset.

Pool B matches up Cloud City 1 with Helix and Plymouth. Cloud City have continued their climb up the rankings this year, and have the same “undeniably strong” squad that finished third in B Tour in Cardiff, along with the addition of Charlie Galloway. Despite high aspirations when merging established open teams ABH and Curve, Helix have underperformed so far, winning just two of their 13 games at Tours 1 and 2. Plymouth improved on their 51st place finish at Tour 1 with a 32nd place finish at Tour 2. Having beaten Helix 15-5 in the Pool stages at Tour 2, Cloud City will be confident of topping the pool.

Devon 2, Bristol 1 and Cambridge 1 make up Pool C. Devon 2 had a reasonably strong Tour 2, finishing 23rd. Their squad has been strengthened by a few of their regular first team dropping down for this Tour, but without their usual third team entering this time around, expect a broad range of skills and experience. Bristol 1 have had an interesting set of results this year. Having beaten Cloud City on Universe in their first game of Tour 1 and respectable showings against GB and Ireland, they then faded, finishing below their second team. They fared much better at Tour 2, finishing 21st, including Universe point wins against Purple Cobras and, interestingly, Devon 2. Cambridge have had a notable change in personnel this year, and were unfortunate to have been so highly seeded at Tour 1. They broadly held seed at Tour 2, finishing 38th. I see Cambridge finishing third in this pool, with a tight game between Devon and Bristol 1 to top the pool.

The final top 12 pool includes Purple Cobras, Brighton Legends and Bristol 2. Purple Cobras shot up the rankings at Tour 1, losing just one game (to Brighton Legends). They then had a solid Tour 2, finishing 22nd. Ryan Harris returns to the team but they will be missing the tallest 5’6” man in British Ultimate, Michele Gansah (ed note – this seems wrong). Brighton Legends are a stalwart of mid-B Tour, using their experience and unconventional tactics to bring consistent results. Bristol 2 have added some “extra height” for Tour 3, but if results in Cardiff are anything to go by, should have a difficult time making headway in this group. Expect this group to go according to seed.

Brixton feel a touch aggrieved to have fallen foul of the new methodology used this year to rank teams by their average performance. Despite finishing ahead of Helix, Bristol 2 and Cambridge at Tour 2, they have been seeded 13th and therefore unable to contest the top eight. I expect them to top Pool E while Kent should top Pool F.

Open Tour 3 preview: expect A Tour drama in Birmingham

Open, Previews

David ‘DP’ Pryce previews the final A Tour of the season.

The final Tour of the season always brings with it some drama. Even the eventual first draft of the schedule kicked up a fuss, but it appears that this has settled down. Clapham have cut down to one team (due to not enough players able to be fielded from their 40-man squad), and Ranelagh, Pelt and Rebel are included in place of their U24 brethren.

The schedule has reverted to a four-pools-of-four structure, as opposed to the top eight and bottom eight pools at Tour 2, where anyone in top 16 can potentially take the title.

In the first pool we have the 16-time National Champions, Clapham, whose combined team would be hard to pick against when choosing a favourite to take yet another Tour title. EMO are their main challengers going by the rest of the season.

It is more interesting to see who will take the seventh seed, and with such a strong showing from Ireland U24 in the last two events Limerick lads Pelt will be looking for this position. They can expect to be challenged strongly by Manchester, who lost to the U24s but took down SMOG (last seed in this pool), in Cardiff.

Having beaten Devon in their pool last time round, EMO will be looking to repeat the feat and get themselves back into a Tour semi-final (or even final) again. But two more Irish additions, Ranelagh and Rebel, will be looking to take down these two UK teams and there’s a good chance that one of them could claim EMO’s place in the top four and avoid a top eight crossover.

Chevron shouldn’t struggle in going through to the top half but again the next three (Ka-Pow!, GB U24 and Flump) could end up in any order. Flump will be looking to demonstrate they deserve their A Tour position after quite the topsy turvy week, finally being rightly left in the top flight. Ka-Pow! have gone from zero to hero (well 17th to eighth to now fifth) but have already lost to both U24 teams, one of which is the last team in the pool. Anything could happen between these three.

The last pool is one where results would suggest another hold for the top seed in the pool (Reading), however recent Scottish and London powerhouses Glasgow and Fire of London 1 will have something to say about that. Fire have had a rather slow start to the season but made up for some lost places by only losing one game (to Ireland U24) at Tour 2. They’ll be looking looking to get back into top eight contention. A short-lined Glasgow will hope to bring a couple more players to be able to truly demonstrate the strength of Scottish Ultimate. GB U24 Canberra will want to give all the teams in this pool a run for their money and will come out strong but I am unsure how they will cope whilst they are all still trialling and still split between two squads (with Mixed players in there too).

It promises to be another interesting weekend, with several of the fial Tour places still very much up for grabs. See everyone in the Midlands!

(Ed note – My probably-very-wrong-as-usual top 10: Clapham, EMO, Reading, Chevron, Pelt, Fire, Manchester, Ranelagh, Glasgow, Devon.)

UKU Open Tour 2: A Tour plus B Tour south

news, Open, Previews

David “DP” Pryce brings you his outlook on the top two Mens’ divisions in Cardiff this coming weekend.

With Tour “this is why I don’t make predictions” 1, Windmill and a very exciting WCBU out of the way, we move back to the rest of the regular UK season. Next up is what has become a staple of the calendar: Cardiff.

The changes we discussed last time are now in effect and so I will cover the top 16 A Tour plus some mention of the next 16 in B Tour South.

UKU Open Tour 2: B Tour North

news, Open, Previews

Jordan Brown once again does us proud with a quick preview of the slim line B Tour North.

With UKU mixing up their classic tour structure due to our weird sport becoming too popular to accommodate everyone, this weekend sees the biggest change in proceedings as half of B Tour will descend upon Salford for the Northern Division.
After teams at Tour 1 did their utmost to take a dump over all of my predictions, hopefully this 12 team event should yield a little more accuracy – especially as there are no crossovers between divisions here.

UKU Women’s Tour 2: A Title for the Taking.

news, Previews, womens

Hannah Pendlebury once again gives us a fantastic view into the Women’s division.

If looking at the results from Tour 1 should tell you anything, it is that Women’s Tour has officially been blown wide open. Despite my initial scepticism this year regarding the relative security of the top four (and continued scepticism from the schedule writers judging by the format), the top 12 is now a veritable hotbed of challenger teams. With so many games ending in sudden death on Sunday in Nottingham, I am certainly very pleased that my preview involves very few predictions of final standings… But mostly I am excited for what this means for the development of women’s Ultimate in the UK!

WCBU 2017 Preview

Mixed, news, Open, Previews, WCBU2017, womens

Sean Colfer previews the World Championships of Beach Ultimate from the British and Irish perspective. Stay tuned on live.wcbu2017.org for our tSG coverage and fanseat.com for the live stream!

The first pull of the World Championships of Beach Ultimate in Royan, France, is now 2 days away. The latest bit of information to be released came in the form of the pools and first game of the tournament were revealed by the tournament organising committee in France.

While the first game will see Germany, reigning champions in the Mixed division, take on the host nation France, the key concern for most readers in the UK and Ireland is how our own pools shape up. So let’s take a look!

UKU Open Tour 1: B Tour – the Last Hurrah.

B Tour, news, Open, Previews
Returning to preview the B Tour again is Jordan Brown – here’s his view on the start of a very different season at this level.
So this season we’re seeing UKU shake things up a little in order to cope with the surge in teams for the Open division and the fact that there’s nowhere to stick them all. The fix for 2017 is that B Tour has been split into North and South sub-divisions for Tours 2 and 3, meaning that WindFarm is the only chance everyone will be in the same place. With the forecast not being too windy, Grove Farm should be playing host to some nicely competitive games, unmarred by whinging of matches being lost on the toss. Still, even without the tournament’s titular gusts being somewhat of a leveller, B Tour was always going to be a ridiculously scrappy dogfight anyway.
While it’d take some pretty jaw-dropping upsets to knock the two GB U24 squads out of contention for the final, it’s tough to predict where the other 14 squads end up.