UKU Tour 2016: Nottingham WindFarm C Tour

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Jordan Brown returns to tSG to preview C Tour at Nottingham WindFarm

So my predictions for London Calling left me looking like a right pillock, with only four of my predicted top eight making it into the bracket by the end of the Open Tour season opener. Massive congratulations go to Thunder Pressure whose combined might of players from Brighton and Herd saw them (almost) cruise through proceedings at Tour 1.

You’ve got to feel sorry for Flyght Club though. They’d smashed their way through the pool and subsequently kicked EMO 2 to the curb, only to come unstuck against the eventual winners who edged past them in sudden death in the quarters. While still being arguably the second best team on paper, Flyght battered the rest of their opposition, finishing in a respectable, yet disappointing, fifth place and out of reach of one of those sought after promotion spots to B Tour.

Having only lost one match by a single point in the last event, it’d be surprising if they didn’t show the same class and quality on home turf – especially with Thunder Pressure not around to chuck a spanner in the works. They’re likely going to still be smarting from Pressure’s initial misseeding and their being knocked out of contention, so you’d expect Nottingham’s Open side to be out for blood and not give an inch.

Lemmings, Guildford and Vision all got relegated from B Tour – pretty much due to the work of Camden. Leamington lost narrowly to the north-west London side in their last match so will be out to prove a point. However, the way the seedings have played out means that they’re fairly likely to be up against Flyght Club in their semi-final and I’m not entirely convinced they’ll be able to take down the home team. However, I’d fully expect them to close out a 3/4 with a win and qualify for B Tour in Cardiff.

As for GU and Vision, the smart money would ordinarily be on Guildford to finish higher. However, they only won a single game at Tour 1 – which was their final against Vision. On a similar note, Vision also only enjoyed a solitary victory – funnily enough, a pool match against Guildford. The potential 2v3 grudge match should be a good one if it happens. While I expect Vision will likely hold seed until the semis, GU will potentially have a spot of bother escaping the pool with their seeding still in place, considering group-mates NEO will be strong competitors in the forecast gales. Regardless, should it happen, I’d expect Vision to edge it as they have a wealth of experience flip-flopping between the two divisions and will approach Tour 2 with confidence and familiarity.

Elsewhere we have Hampshire, who performed well in London. After losing to finalists Cloud City, they were defeated by Glasgow in the bronze medal match and so will be looking to take out their frustrations on C Tour. They’ve been threatening to click for a while and looks like all of their hard work over the seasons is starting to pay off. Having said that, their holding seed is likely to see them trying to defend their fourth spot against Flyght Club in the quarters and that won’t be easy. I’d expect history to repeat itself here but in Flyght’s favour – meaning Hampshire would drop out of contention for promotion to B Tour despite potentially being the second best team in the division.

Cloud City at London's Calling. Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.

Cloud City at London’s Calling. Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.

Black Sheep 1 proved themselves to be a tough competitor in London, finishing a respectable sixth. They’ll be looking to continue their climb as will Reading 2 who did surprisingly well. NEO and Brixton defied expectations – but for opposing reasons. Despite having played in A Tour and subsequently B Tour previously, the Aberdeen squad continued to drop down the table and didn’t even make the top eight at Tour 1 – which I imagine they weren’t best pleased with. You’d expect them to be looking to stop the rot and challenge the 5-8 bracket with a bit of fervour – particularly with the windy conditions playing to their strengths.

Brixton, on the other hand, provided me a fork for me to scoff a slice of humble pie. They proved they’d finished ‘adapting from being an indoors-only club’, to top their group on a three-way tie. They then lost in sudden death to local rivals and finalists, Cloud City and won everything until they came unstuck again NEO who beat them 11-9 in the de facto plate final. Bloody flipping well done to them on that performance. Here’s hoping they can climb higher at Tour 2 and make the top eight.

Brighton Shiny was another team to perform well at Tour 1. After topping their pool, they lost their quarter to Hampshire and their semi to Black Sheep before winning their last game against Reading 2. I’d expect them to take advantage of the gusty conditions at WindFarm and do some damage with Mex & Flex, which should see them bag a top eight finish.

Further down the table, Devon 2’s performance at London Calling saw them finish second in their tied-up pool, sticking them right in the path of a rampaging Thunder Pressure which saw them knocked out of contention for a top eight spot, finishing 11th overall. One of their lowest results of the past few years, it was only two places above their third team. Still, that’s not any indicator that they’d lost their momentum as Devon 3 caused a few upsets as I’d pretty shrewdly predicted. Still, with Devon 2’s squad missing some players from Tour 1 and replacing them with some greener additions than they could have, they’re arguably weaker this time around. However, the addition of AirBadger supremo Kofi Jones to their roster means they’ll have a player who can very competently handle against the impending Nottingham hurricane. Nevertheless, it’ll be a surprise if they can escape the middle of the division.

While I’m not anticipating any massive upsets from them, there are a few new outfits strutting their stuff at WindFarm this weekend too. UEA based Concrete will start their campaign in C Tour and will look to hit the ground running. Bottom seeds Archbishops of Banterbury will be eager to show their worth too, especially after missing out on a spot at Tour 1. UCLan alumni team, Prone, will be having their first crack at C Tour as well, so it’ll be interesting to see how they get on.

Overall, it’s going to be pretty competitive at the top of this massive 32-team division, particularly with teams having had a longer break to lick their wounds and prepare. My (hopefully more accurate) predictions for the top eight are as follows:

 

  1. Flyght Club
  2. Vision
  3. Leamington Lemmings
  4. Guildford
  5. Hampshire 1
  6. Black Sheep 1
  7. Brighton Shiny
  8. NEO

Featured photo by Andrew Moss.

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