Jordan Brown previews the C Tour at London Calling.
With Nottingham done and dusted for the season and the pristine pitches of St Albans ready to host close to a hundred teams for Tour 2, London Calling is back and bigger than ever. While A Tour and Women’s Tour offer more of an international flavour to proceedings, C Tour is still likely to see some quality Ultimate being played – especially after the division saw its fair share of upsets at Tour 1.
A few of my predictions for the event were accurate last time but some were way off the mark. I’d touted certain teams to finish much higher than they finally did, and a few teams didn’t get much of a look-in in the preview, and then they were pretty amazing at Tour. Flash looked good on paper but with minimal grass experience as a team and certain players being unavailable, they finished outside of the top eight. Similarly, Devon 2 dropped in the seedings after succumbing to strong opponents in their pool. St. Albans had a tough time of things as well. They had been put into a pool with eventual winners Gravity, which put them up against Camden a little earlier than perhaps they had hoped for. Plummeting from second to 16th by the end of Saturday’s play and then coming unstuck against a strong Camden 1 in their crossover, their hopes of a high finish were dashed.
Still, they weren’t the only team to finish lower than they should have. Glasgow 2 were phenomenally strong and cruised through their pool and crossover with ease. Meeting Gravity in the quarter-final, it was clear that both sides deserved a top four finish but the Scots were knocked out in a tough battle. Similarly, Hampshire 1 comfortably topped their group and aimed to upset the results table with a high finish. Unluckily for them, they were beaten in their quarter-final by Lemmings before Glasgow 2 prevented them from being able to finish higher than seventh.
Camden 1 looked strong all tournament and maintained momentum throughout the pool. With all the confidence of a team seeded first, they utilised patient offence and were methodical throughout proceedings. Their semi-final was a tough affair though as Sneeekys 2 piled the pressure on and really made Camden earn their promotion into B Tour.
As predicted, Gravity had a fantastic return to Tour. Having been absent from the calendar for two seasons, the former B Tour team were seeded low and proceeded to ease through their group games against St. Albans and Devon 3 before dispatching Flyght Club A. Things got a little tricky for the boys in purple as that Glasgow 2 match ensured that progression wasn’t going to be easy. However after winning the hard-fought quarter-final, they then saw off Lemmings and went on to beat first seeds Camden in a blustery final.
With Gravity, Camden 1 and Lemmings promoted to B Tour, and Flump, Rhubarb and EMO 2 relegated, London Calling will be interesting. Considering how strong they were at Tour 1, Glasgow 2 should have been looking to get the promotion into B Tour that they thoroughly deserve but they’re notably absent this time – as are Sneeekys 2.
Flyght Club could be an interesting team to watch. After spreading their talent across two teams at Tour 1 it was pretty clear that, had the club split their teams on ability, a first team would have more than likely made the top four. This time, they have one squad entered. If it’s a first team, you can expect them to cause any team trouble in trying to get past them. Other teams to watch include Birmingham 2 who were methodical in their execution throughout Tour 1 and almost caused an upset in the pool games when they refused to let Hampshire 1 ease through their group. Speaking of Hampshire, they’ll be looking to prove a point this time around and will be really pushing the top half of the division. Rebel 2 have entered Tour 2 despite not being at Tour 1. As a club, Cork Ultimate has always churned out teams that are insanely efficient and it would be naive to expect anything less from Rebel 2 who are seeded top of their group. You’d have to expect them to finish in the top four in London.
As for the relegated teams, EMO 2 have traditionally competed fairly strongly in B Tour and they won’t be happy at being bumped down. Expect them to put in a strong performance at Tour 2 – especially as they’ll be brimming with the confidence of feeling like a big fish in a small pond. Still, with their club having seen its fair share of roster movement this season, they’re going to have their work cut out for them if they want to try toppling the likes of Flump and Rebel. Similarly, Rhubarb spent years working their way up the ladder into B Tour and they’re not going to roll over and accept a drop back into C Tour lightly. Having tackled the clubs at the top of C Tour for many seasons, they’ll be relatively unflustered as they push to get back into the division above. As for Flump, they’ve won C Tour previously and were looking pretty strong in their B Tour pool games at Tour 1 where despite coming third in the group, they pushed Pingu Jam to sudden-death. They were looking very confident when I watched them play and if they bring that confidence into Tour 2, I’d be very surprised if they don’t go back up to B Tour for Tour 3.
The seeding for Tour 2 looks pretty good, and my predictions for the C Tour top eight are pretty similar to the UKU’s:
3. Rebel 2
4. EMO 2
5. Hampshire 1
6. Flyght Club
7. Brighton Shiny
8. St Albans
[ED: A quick note from UKU – please, absolutely no parking on the driveway and bring your own bottles for taps on site since there is not water at every field. Good luck to all competing!]