UKU Tour 2016: Tour 3 in Cardiff – A Division

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David “DP” Pryce returns service to normal with a preview of Cardiff’s offering of A Tour.

As expected Nottingham presented … challenging … conditions and only those who could throw consistently (and maybe get a smidgen of luck on the receiving end) came out on top. However, the week ahead of the final Tour event of the season has seen a heatwave, and with Chevron on top of the current standings it would take one hell of a Cardiff storm to take the title away from them.

But seriously, Chevron would have to fall out of the top four for the likes of Glagow or Manchester to take spot above them. Based on this season’s results, the closest either of them got was a 12-8 loss in Nottingham and so I would be seriously surprised if Chevron Action Flash didn’t take the Tour title. Beyond that, with 11 different club teams finishing in the top eight in the first two events, it could be another crazy finish to the regular season.

Pool A sees the might of Scotland, Glasgow 1, taking on the champions of the UK and Europe, Clapham, along with A Tour stalwarts Fire of London and young upstarts SMOG. Ignoring the almost dead cert top place going to the Bullfrogs, the second and third seed will be hotly contested between Glasgow and Fire of London. Having only played each other before at London’s Calling, both squads have chopped and changed over the last few weeks. This game might decide who gets a top four place or who has to fight for fifth on Sunday. SMOG have had an incredible rise through the ranks and possess a lot of young talent including Max Moseley, Alexis Long and Conrad Wilson. They may have found their level but expect some big plays from this group.

Pool B could be an easier one to call. With the probable Tour champs Chevron Action Flash, ‘local’ rivals Manchester and our European friends Ranelagh battling it out, I would say that this pool will probably finish with Ranelagh over Manchester and Reading (who used WindFarm as an event to boost their second team with some stronger players) coming up in the rear.

Pelt and Sneeekys doing battle in Nottingham a fortnight ago. Photo by Serena de Nahlik.

Pelt and Sneeekys doing battle in Nottingham a fortnight ago. Photo by Serena de Nahlik.

Pool C looks tight one with the Saturday giving Devon or Rebel an opportunity to top this group. Rebel didn’t play in Nottingham and so did not have to struggle with the opposition or the weather but I don’t think they will struggle with JR similarly with Devon. The fight for 11th seed going into Sunday will be incredibly tight (just like the 9th) and I wouldn’t want to call it between Devon or Rebel. That leaves the two ‘Midlands’ teams fighting for an easier crossover on Sunday.

Pool D is my pool of death with two teams coming up – Ka-Pow! and Brighton City – after very strong performances in Nottingham to prove a point. After a disappointing WindFarm, EMO will also want to make their mark in Cardiff. Flump did very well to stay up in their first venture into top flight Ultimate this season, however against these heavyweights the Londoners may potentially struggle and will have to focus their strengths on Sunday to stay up. Ka-Pow! did not concede more than seven points in any game at Tour 2 and Brighton City saw the return of their GB superstars Hayden Slaughter and Callum Ayers. EMO only took one win from their last outing but their tenacity and some sunnier weather will aid them in this pool. If I were pushed, I would say it’ll be Ka-Pow! followed by Brighton City then EMO. But that could easily be in another order. Three-way tie?

The real excitement of this final Tour event is the A to B crossovers and behind the scenes here at tSG there has been some disagreement. I think that some the bottom A Tour teams may lose out to the potential momentum that the upcoming B Tour teams will bring into Sunday. Couple that with the fact that many of those teams who may come up have already ventured into A tour once or more this season these crossovers could becoming upset central. We can only wait and see.

I would like to end with something I noticed with the teams in the top 16. Of these teams, half have a second or third team, which points to the great work that they are doing to develop young and new players in the UK. Most notably, Devon have both a second and third team, and Fire have two teams within the top 20. Keep up the great work everyone, and the rest of you I am sure can help too! We’ll have more on UK Ultimate development in the future.

Second teams (Current seeds)
Fire of London 2 (18th – 2nd B)
Reading 2 (29th – 13th B)
Glasgow 2 (33rd – 1st C)
Devon 2 (37th – 5th C)
Manchester 2 (38th – 6th C)
Devon 3 (45th – 13th C)
JR 2 (48th – 16th C)
Birmingham 2 (DNE)
EMO 2 (DNE)

Good luck to all teams in sunny Cardiff, don’t forget your suncream, sun glasses, player passes and nalgenes (or to put rubbish in the bins)!

Feature photo by Serena de Nahlik

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