UKU Tour 3 – Cardiff C Tour

Jordan Brown concludes his C Tour coverage for the 2015 season.

With London Calling behind us, teams look forward to a blazing hot weekend in the Welsh capital.  With Mixed Tour 1’s hurricane-like conditions leading to the usually pristine pitches being badly churned up, all players will be hoping that the Llanrumney playing fields will have recovered enough to cope with a few thousand players giving it a fresh trample.

C Tour is once again looking hotly contested going into the last leg of Open Tour. London Calling saw a handful of upsets in the division but things tended to go to plan despite the torrent of rain that hammered the fields – leading to the UKU sensibly calling off Saturday’s later matches in a bid to preserve the stunning pitches of Watford FC’s training ground.

Shocking absolutely nobody, Flump breezed through their group before the weather gave them a bye against White Sheep in their would-be crossover. Sunday’s festivities saw them crush Brighton Shiny 13-3 in their quarter before dispatching Cloud City by the same scoreline in the semi. Rhubarb put up a slightly tougher fight for the final but it remained a one-sided affair as Flump rocketed back up to B Tour with a score of 13-5.

Rhubarb were always pretty likely to get to the final but their route wasn’t quite as smooth as Flump’s. They won all of their pool matches with healthy scorelines and, like Flump, were given the upper hand with regards to proceeding through the cancelled crossover against Birmingham 2. From there, they knocked Devon 2 out of the top four with a comfortable 12-7 victory before taking down EMO 2 in sudden-death in their semi-final. They succumbed to a strong Flump – resulting in a second place finish for Rhubarb and a promotion to B Tour for Tour 3.

In a fairly surprising turn of events, Cloud City turned it on to finish in a promotion spot. Having finished second in their group after losing out to a fired-up Hampshire 1, they were lucky enough to play their Saturday afternoon crossover before the deluge, and they snatched fifth from Belfast before beating Rebel 2 in sudden-death in their Sunday morning quarter. After losing their semi to Flump, they put in a superb performance to defeat B Tour relegates EMO 2 and earn themselves a promotion.

Further down the table, Devon 2 got their act together and finished sixth after dropping out of the top eight at Tour 1. Brighton Shiny got their revenge on Devon in their last game. After losing their spot at the top of the pool to the South West side, they came fifth after beating the guys in green 11-7.

Rebel 2 put up a good fight throughout the tournament and ended up finishing a respectable seventh after beating Hampshire 1 with a comfortable score of 13 points – 6. As for Hampshire, they were unlucky not to win any matches on Sunday – especially after comfortable victories on the Saturday saw them top their pool – which they chased with an 11-4 victory over Camden 2.

Looking ahead to the weekend, Tour 3 will follow the same format of previous years that allows teams to move between divisions during play on Sunday – which should provide some interesting crossovers with teams at the bottom of B Tour.

Freshly relegated from B Tour, The Brown are going to be looking at reclaiming their position in the middle division as quickly as possible, especially as they’ve dropped below two teams that they finished above at Tour 1 (Flump and Rhubarb). They’re likely to finish either back in B tour or at least make the C Tour final.

SharkBear with two teams in the C Tour at Londons Calling. Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss
SharkBear with two teams in the C Tour at Londons Calling. Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss

Fantastic Mister Fox were relatively unknown in terms of ability in London (having only really been seen as Fantastic Foxes at Mixed Tour 1) but they held their own against some tough opposition before finishing in a relegation position. You’d have to expect them to play well in C Tour but with the likes of EMO 2, Brighton Shiny and Devon 2 all able to compete strongly at Open Tour 3, it remains to be seen as to whether or not they’ll be able to get back up to B Tour before the tournament is out – although it is fairly likely.

As for the returning teams at the top of the division, Brighton and Devon’s second teams will put in strong performances and any match between the two teams should provide a hard-fought battle. However, while these two squads are strong competitors in C Tour, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to push through and take a spot in B Tour – especially if they have to go up against the likes of Flump or Rhubarb in a division crossover.

Hampshire 1 will be disappointed with their result at Tour 2 and, after a similarly disappointing finish for the side at Tour 1, are likely to hit the ground running in Cardiff. It’s not out of the question to see these guys promoted before the weekend is out – or at least rumbling at the top of the division.

Birmingham 2 are still fully capable of finishing top eight this weekend provided they can hold their nerve against the rest of the higher teams. Pier Pressure have lost a fair whack of their contingent this season with players shifting between Brighton squads. However, they’re always going to be looking forward to any opportunity to take down Brighton Shiny – especially after Shiny got the better of them at Tour 2. St. Albans suffered from missing some key players at Tour 2 but with those players returning, it’s likely they’ll smash their seed and finish near the top of the division.

Allowing for movement between the divisions, my predictions for the top eight are:

  1. Rhubarb
  2. Fantastic Mister Fox
  3. EMO 2
  4. Hampshire 1
  5. St. Albans
  6. Brighton Shiny
  7. Devon 2
  8. Pier Pressure

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