Thundering Herd captain Martyn “Why” Brown previews the 2015 Mixed Season
Spring is upon us which means club ultimate is on its way outside again, and I’ll be bringing reviews and previews of the mixed division this year. At this stage I’m largely focusing on the teams that I know (and with the current seedings discussion it looks like that might not be unwise!). I of course intend to get to know more of you as the season goes on but if you want to get included in these articles, by all means come and find me (Thundering Herd #67) and give me the low-down on your team.
In my experience, mixed is the most unpredictable of divisions with a large amount of roster change between seasons, and the continual emergence and disappearance of teams. With the schedule now released, it’s clear this trend is set to continue. There are notable absences including three of the teams that competed at WUCC in Italy last year. After dominating the mixed scene for the past few seasons, Bear Cavalry have kept true to their word and left it all on the fields of Lecco. With Royal Goaltimate Society also not attending and Cambridge seeded down the rankings, it appears that the Tour is wide open this year.
GB Mixed are currently only planning on entering Mixed Tour 1, presumably as they focus on final team selection, so I’d expect their squads to sit in the top two rankings with their players fighting to secure a spot in the team. With Cambridge seeded 26th, there seems to be an indication that GB will form the core of the team from their successful Worlds team. As they showed at the tournament (where they finished 6th) and in their live-streamed quarter-final, they will have a strong squad to pick from and it’ll be exciting to see what they do over the next few years with this talent.
Ireland Mixed are seeded fifth and I’d expect them to be aiming for a higher finish than that. Ireland impressed on the beach in Dubai, and with additional players such as Grainne ‘Granite’ McCarthy they will be aiming to make a strong challenge at EUC in Copenhagen this summer. They are in the same pool as Thundering Herd 1, who have strengthened their roster with the likes of Fire players Stefan Lewis and Tom ‘Guns’ Cliff, as well as returning Iceni players Cassie Seaborn, Alex Meixner and Rowan Pearson.
Black Eagles had a solid season in 2014 and their match-up with Brighton could prove to be the highlight of the pool stages, especially considering that the usual mild weather we have come to expect from Cardiff looks set to be turned on its head. Traditional ‘Nottingham style’ conditions with a large amount of rain and gusty winds are forecast, and this could prove beneficial for teams such as JR and Pingu Jam who have both strong throwers and tall athletic receivers who seem to bring everything down.
Further down the seeding list, I predict that Birmingham (current UKU Mixed National Champions) will climb up the standings considerably, especially if they still have most of last season’s squad available. Marius Hutchinson has done a lot to build up this team and I expect to see them moving back up towards the top as the year goes on.
Thundering Herd 2 seeded 21st have benefited from the overall strengthening of the Herd squad and boast a mix of experienced players such as Jon ‘Kos’ Brooks and Si Brasse, who will be bolstered by promising developing players such as Ciaran Costello, Fiona Rae and Sarah Clear.
I think overall the likes of Black Eagles, Thundering Herd 1, Brighton and Bristol should be eyeing the Tour title this season. However, I’ll probably end up writing the review throwing most of this out of the window with the inevitable previously unknown challengers emerging as the season pushes on. Either way, with the title race wide open, it should make for a fascinating and enjoyable year of mixed Ultimate.
Will GB Mixed be dominant? Who is on this year’s National team? Who will be this year’s big names and movers? Keep up with Martyn’s reviews on the Showgame to find out!