As usual, the club off-season has come and gone far too quickly. BritDisc and Facebook groups have started to be covered with trials announcements. It can be hard to keep track of all of them, so if you’re a player who wants an easy to read run-down of high level Ultimate teams, and want to know how to show your interest, then read on.
Ka-Pow enjoyed success at Tour, winning an event last year. They are focussing on pushing for a spot at Euros ahead of Worlds qualification in 2017. They’re been hosting open skills sessions, and will be hosting two open trial sessions before cutting down the numbers for a final trial weekend.
Glasgow Ultimate has risen as a force in recent years. They were in a position to win Tour overall before missing Tour 3, and managed to win an event. They’ll be hosting an open day one week before the trials to help give a taste of the team. They plan to have two teams for Open (and for Mixed as well).
Manchester really came out strong last year by taking the overall Open Tour title. They are hoping to run a two-team squad with a view to Nationals qualification. Trials are invite only once the form is submitted, and for their Open team only. Their selection will be made based on an application form, performance at weekly trial sessions and a weekend trial.
Fire of London are perennially one of the top London and UK teams, and, with their history of always taking two teams to Tour (and sometimes to nationals too), one of the most committed to development.
Brighton Legends (7th at Nationals + spirit) and Brighton City (3rd at Nationals, 4th British team at Euros) both fall under the overall Brighton banner, although each team is considered fully separate. While Legends don’t trial; “…they just pick people they know out of the woodwork” [Felix Sharlow, r/ukultimate 2015], City are in the process of sorting out their trials so keep your eyes peeled there.
EMO (5th at Nationals, 6th GB team at Euros, 23rd overall) have been hosting local sessions in the East Midlands lasting until squad selection, and usually have a decent second team too (making Nationals not too long ago). They take players from all over the midlands (Warwick, Nottingham, Leicester and Birmingham to name a few), with many clearly feeling it’s worth the trip for their training.
Devon (6th at nationals, 5th GB team at Euros, 20th overall) also don’t trial, and tend to hold open sessions. They nearly always send three Open teams to Tour, and all teams fall under the same club banner.
LeedsLeedsLeeds (Leeds, 11th at nationals) won’t be trialling this year. Instead, they’re hoping to have two squads, holding weekly trainings in Leeds and monthly sessions around Yorkshire (York in January, Sheffield in February). Message them (email@example.com) to show interest.
Birmingham Ultimate (12th at Nationals) have been slowly rising the ranks in recent years, so simply attend their open-to-all trainings in Selly Park to get noticed.
Flump (London, 14th at Nationals) will also not be trialling, but will be hosting open sessions until February, and have requested for anyone interested to fill in the form below.
BAF (Cheltenham, 15th at nationals) haven’t trialled in the past, but have announced they’re preparing weekly trainings at Tewkesbury School, Worcestershire. Send them a message on their facebook page to show interest (they’ve already had a friendly against Bristol Ultimate this season too).
Also likely not trialling are Fantastic Mr Fox (Oxford), who are about to enter their second year. Reading and JR also don’t trial.
Currently the top women’s team in the UK and in Europe. They are looking for very committed players for 2016, with international tournaments expected. The form should be considered an application to trial, and cuts will be made after the first trial.
As the overall winners of tour last year, SYC will be looking to build this year. Currently hosting extremely popular open sessions (next ones on the 9th, 16th and 23rd January on Clapham Common south at 10:30-12), this is a team that is clearly a popular choice.
Punt are undergoing a bit of a change this year, hoping to expand into two teams. Their trainings are open to all women, but the expansion is hoped to allow for more development within their considerable catchment area. Looking to host monthly squad trainings and more frequent local sessions, Punt are a strong choice for players in the Midlands.
Relentless are one of the younger teams in high level women’s Ultimate, only entering their fourth season this year. Hoping to expand upon their impressive development in the past four years, they’ll be seeking to finally crack the top four this year after finishing just outside that group on Tour last season. They’re looking to take on new players from all over the North.
SWIFT have been the class of Scottish Women’s Ultimate for some time, and even managed to bring two teams to one event last year. SWIFT have competed in Women’s Tour since its inception, managing to remain a top eight fixture, and continue to help promote and develop players in Scotland.
Notable absences are from Euros qualifiers Nice Bristols and LeedsLeedsLeeds[see comments for trial details]. Nice Bristols went through a development year last year, sending two equally split teams to most Tours, before merging to help make the push to Europe. Both are currently hosting open trainings to help Ultimate in the area, as are Manchester Women’s. Leeds and Manchester both announced trials in January last year, so expect something similar.
It would also be neglectful of me to not briefly mention Dragon Knights (St Albans-ish), and Phoenix as top 8 teams in Tour and Nationals respectively. Top teams to look out for if you’re local, neither have announced any intention to trial thus far.
Brighton Breezy were unlucky not to make Euros this year, missing out by one spot at Nationals. Another team under the Brighton Ultimate banner are setting themselves apart by holding open-to-all trials this year, followed by a couple of invite-only trials. For those interested, they’ll also be hosting an open session beforehand too.
Thundering Herd are currently the only Mixed team to have announced trials for the upcoming year. A traditionally strong performing team, the Herd tend to have two squads, and are one of the few long standing Mixed teams in the UK.
Most teams in Mixed don’t seem to trial, and tend to just form out of existing squads or from groups of friends. For the most part, your best chance is simply to ask a captain, or go along to local trainings.
Reading Ultimate won Nationals, Mixed tour 1, and were top British team at Euros in the Mixed division – where they came third and won spirit. They will not be holding trials. Instead, they hold opening trainings and have a minimum attendance requirement for selection.
Scottish team Black Eagles came second at Nationals, and came sixth at Euros. They, along with JR, BAM and Pingu Jam, don’t really even seem to train, let alone trial.
Turning up at Devon Mixed sessions would be your best bet, as they’re currently hosting open sessions, as is likely the case with Bristol Mixed, who declined a spot at Nationals despite being top eight at tour.
We believe that’s a fairly comprehensive list of all high level teams for the upcoming year. If we’ve made any mistakes/if there’s anything you’d like to add, please comment or send us a message.
The final thing to do is wish everyone best of luck, whether you’re trialling or selecting. And see you on pitch this summer!
Feature image: Clapham Ultimate taking another title at UKU Nationals 2015. Photo by Andrew Moss.