WUCC 2014 Open Division Preview: Chevron Action Flash

Sean Colfer gives us his second Open division WUCC team preview with Chevron Action Flash.

Harry Slinger-Thompson making a high bid over Zimmer at Tour 3. Photo courtesy of Christine Rushworth.


Mark Penny (C)
Iain Thackrah
Josh Kyme
Steve Dixon
James Jackson
William Cornelius
Jake Aspin
Sam Bowen
Rhys Evans
Richard Coward
Ben Powlay
Ben Parsons
Harry Slinger-Thompson
Mark Davin
Mark Simpson
Ben Weddell
James Mead
Matt Beavan
James Stanley
Seb Allen
Matt McLoughlin
Thomas Cartwright
Dec Cartwright

About the Team

Chevron have long been established as the UK’s second best team, finishing second every year between their 2008 Tour win and this season, with fellow WUCC team EMO edging them into third. Their philosophy hasn’t changed for an even longer time; take in the best young players that fit into their existing ethos and develop them into top level competitors. The team was established in Manchester, took in players from other areas in the North West, added a second player base around Bristol and nowadays also train in the Midlands. They have become a team that attracts players from all over the country and have a strong, deep roster with quality all over both lines.

The offence runs a short line, featuring players with varied but complementary skill sets. GB under-23 players Josh Kyme and James Mead are important pieces as handlers, as are fellow under-23 Ben Parsons and GB Mixed player Richard Coward as cutters. Their strength is versatility; all of the players are as comfortable and capable on the disc as they are cutting, and their athletic and viable deep options also open the field for their shorter swinging game.

Defensive options are equally as varied. Matt Beavan, coach and veteran of GB Open and World Games teams, and Mark Penny, D line captain and GB Open player, bring the experience to an otherwise young line, though many of the players have experienced week long tournaments in the Junior and under-23 ranks – Sam Bowen, Jake Aspin and Tom Cartwright, as well as new studs Seb Allen and Dec Cartwright for example. They have a healthy rotation of highly athletic, physical defenders and are usually good for three or four highlight blocks a game, whether from layout bids or big aerial plays.

Coaching and Playing Style
Beavan has brought his extensive playing and coaching experience to the squad as coach this season. The team has split trainings between Manchester, Bristol and Leicester this season to ease the travelling load on players, and there are also weekly sessions in both Bristol and Manchester to accommodate as many of the squad as possible. The leaders of the team – Beavan, Penny and O line captain Iain Thackrah – all have experience as part of international teams and will be vital in their WUCC campaign.

Their offensive system is difficult to define in specific terms, as they switch offensive sets from point to point and sometimes even during points – they use two and three handlers, as well as vert, horizontal and split stack sets. Instead, the offence is predicated on seemingly constant movement. Often all six players not in possession are moving at the same time, making the play incredibly hard to predict and therefore to defend.

Defensively, Chevron mix things up a lot. Their base is man, which fits well with their athleticism and will generate a healthy amount of blocks. However they are also capable of putting on tight zone and are well drilled with their transitions, which they will use depending on what the opposition is showing them. Their well-rounded game on both sides of the disc makes them a tough team to game plan for, which should be a strength in a longer tournament with unfamiliar competition such as WUCC.

Expected Finishing Place
With the usual qualifier that these predictions are very tough, Chevron should be able to solidify themselves as a top European team at WUCC. They have good experience of playing against European teams which will be an important factor at a tournament that demands more from a physical and especially from a mental perspective than any Tour event – playing only twice a day over a week is far different to packing in several games in a weekend. While it seems unlikely they can have the same semi-final aspirations as Clapham, they will certainly be a tough match up in power pools and, given a good draw, could be a threat to the top 10. After missing out on the top 8 in sudden death in 2010, they will surely be hungry to climb into this elite bracket. With some seriously strong competition heading to Lecco, the most likely finishing position is somewhere around their seed, which is 12th, with somewhere in the top 20 a safe bet. 

Predicted finish: 13th.

Stay tuned! More to come…