The mixed season is over once more, so we head into the dubiously-named WORE (Women’s and Open Ranking Event) season. It kicks off this weekend, as you all know, with Nottingham WindFarm. I’ll save you any more preamble and dive right into the preview of the Open division!
A warm welcome to Maya Israel as a ShowGame debutant and for giving us her view on the Women’s division in Nottingham.
This weekend, Nottingham Windfarm tournament will mark the launch of the new ranking events in the Women and Open divisions. It is due to be a particularly intriguing weekend for the Women’s division who will have five national teams present: GB u20s, u24s, Seniors and Masters as well as the Irish u24 team. Last year at this tournament, Iceni were victorious, followed by Reading 1 and Bristol Women’s Ultimate. The likelihood of a similar outcome is difficult to ascertain. GB Women will most likely take one of the top spots, with GB Masters pushing in close behind. However, it is difficult to predict how greatly the loss of club team players to GB will affect the top club teams’ performances. Yet one thing is for certain, the finishing table will be shaken up.
Yes, I know this is late. No, it’s not because we forgot. Yes, I know the games have already started. With those questions out of the way let’s do a quick-fire preview of the two Tou.. err ranking events happening this weekend.
The tier one event this weekend is in Durham, where it’s definitely going to rain a lot. The team list is a bit different to Cardiff and the seedings, based as they are on the new rankings, are a little odd considering the results at [welsh name].
- Pool A is tough with a good Cambridge team in third spot, but I’d expect this to go to seed. Black Eagles are the Night King in this scenario – terrifying tales of their dominant past preceding a march from the lands of always winter to sweep all before them. They’ve added some useful ex-Glasgow pickups as well so they’re going to be tough to stop. Winter is coming.
- Pool B looks straightforward but with Hucks missing talismanic figures Connor McHale and Will Rowledge, MIST might fancy their chances of an upset. Hucks are still strong but this is one to monitor.
- Pool C is a very tough one. Glasgow are top seed but struggled in Cardiff to maintain their usual exceptional standards, while both Herd and Brum finished higher than them. The trek might have affected both southern teams a bit, but these games are going to be huge for the final standings given the lack of crossovers.
- Pool D is brutal. Those are all good teams so good luck picking an order there.
Initial quarters thoughts; Bleagles beat Herd, Reading beat MIST, DS beat Brum, and Hucks beat GB. I’m backing Bleagles all the way for the win here, beating DS in the final. Top eight:
1. Black Eagles
2. Deep Space
3. Mighty Hucks
In the tier 2 event, if MUC have the same team as they did in Cardiff then they should handle this reasonably comfortably.
This is another slightly strange seeding and I don’t think there’s any chance it ends up looking like it started. Very quick thoughts:
- Brighton are a wild card because I’m unsure who they actually have. If they’re strong then they have a very good chance of running the table.
- Purple Cobras have been improving over the last couple of years and will be in contention. Lemmings have lots of very good young players and will be up there too. Manatees will be reliably good, they’re my fourth pick for the semis.
- If Brighton are strong I think they’ll win. If not, I’d be inclined to back Cobras against Lemmings in the final.
- I’m interested to hear how the event goes as a whole, being the first tier 2 event away from the main section of the division this season. Lots of teams will have enjoyed saving travel time to go to St Albans and the relative parity across a lot of the top teams should lead to a fun tournament.
2. Purple Cobras
4. Cosmic Manatees
8. St Albans
Enjoy both events everyone! I’ll be occupied by a non-fris wedding so I’ll be keeping up with the scores with interest!
2019 is a new start for Ultimate in the UK, with a totally new tournament structure (farewell Tours, we hardly knew ye) and a new approach with Tier 1 and Tier 2 tournaments littering the calendar. This weekend sees the first of those tournaments, a Tier 1 event in Cardiff named… *checks notes* a welsh thing (ok, it’s Y Ddraig Goch which translates to An Old, Old Wooden Ship in English). There are some interesting seedings and there are some new teams to look at! Let’s dive in.
Once again it’s time for outdoors! Everyone knows outdoors is real Ultimate. The rain, the slippery mud, the four loads of laundry per week. The big throws, the zones, the layouts that don’t hurt. Outdoors is the best. Last year, around the country, University Women’s Outdoor Regionals was called off due to weather. This year it’s supposed to be a balmy 8 degrees so we can safely assume that the Scottish weather will act in a totally reasonable and predictable manner and this event will go ahead.
Northern University Women’s Outdoor Regionals is down in Nottingham this year and will be a battle between Leicester, Sheffield, York, Durham, Nottingham, Lancaster, Loughborough, Newcastle and Leeds. Unfortunately last year’s Regional winners (Huddersfield) aren’t going to be at Outdoor Regionals this year due to lack of women, and neither is Manchester for the same reason.
It is still going to be an incredibly competitive event. The five Northern teams in Division 1 finished in the top 12 (out of 20) at Indoor Nationals less than a month ago – four of them in the top eight – and I doubt that outdoors is going to be much different. The North is full of experience and incredible skill, and it’s only getting stronger.
With all of that in mind, let’s find out a bit more about each team…
The final instalment of our previews, Alun Pinder takes a look at the men in Division 2 as well.
Division 2 comes to Wolverhampton, bringing 16 teams who missed out on the chance to play Division 1 but are looking to prove they stack up against the rest of the country. This year we have the advantage of an early schedule release, so let’s get the quick hits, pool by pool.