UKU Tour 2016: Tour 3 in Cardiff – C Division

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Jordan Brown finished of his regular season coverage of the C Tour with his preview of this weekends event.

While I was a tad off the mark with my predictions for Tour 1, I was able to give myself a bit of a pat on the back after Flyght Club 1 and Vision reached the final and got promoted to the ear-popping highs of B Tour.

Flyght Club macheted through their opposition, just as I said they would, as they rampaged towards C Tour gold. This proved fairly bad news for Devon 2 who were wiped out of contention by the strong Nottingham side despite otherwise putting in a very strong performance.

The big surprise at Tour 2 (to everyone except their club) was Reading 2’s success. With a number of former first team regulars filling their ranks, they practically crushed their pool before almost bagelling NEO. Lemmings were unlucky to be stood in their way in the quarters and got knocked out of competition for a promotion spot. Reading’s solitary defeat came at the hands of Flyght Club in the semis leaving the team to settle for bronze after comfortably beating Guildford in their game to go.

Other surprises came in the form of Fluid who proved that they’d gelled remarkably well at Tour 1 and primed their squad to take some scalps in Nottingham – bagging themselves a well deserved fifth place finish. Devon 2 were determined to prove me wrong. After expecting them to not make the top eight, they took out Hampshire 1 and finished a respectable seventh after defeating Manchester 2 – who also made a big leap up the table after defeating local rivals Black Sheep.

With the top three teams gone up to B Tour and Glasgow 2 being the only team to be relegated to C, it should be a bit of a scrap at the top. With the format allowing for promotion during the tournament (as usual at Tour 3), it’s a nightmare to predict who’ll finish where.

Glasgow 2 didn’t have a great tournament in Nottingham. While they’re first seeds, they suffered a bit of a kicking only two weeks ago and could struggle to regroup to take charge of the division. I’d be surprised if they can get themselves into B Tour before the end of Sunday but they’re likely to finish in the top four. Similarly, GU may feel a little hard done by with Cardiff Storm taking the last spot in B Tour and they’re likely to take out any frustrations on anyone with the audacity to challenge their second place seeding.

While Fluid are sure to compete well in Cardiff and Lemmings will be looking to prove a point after getting scalped by an underseeded Reading side, Devon are the club to watch at Tour 3 as they’re sending two very strong teams to C Tour. After Alec Church’s Devon 2 squad performed strongly two weeks ago, they’re going to benefit from the extra boost provided by the first team players joining them – Chris ‘Hector’ Morgan, Kieran Whyte and Eddie Roberts. With Whyte and Roberts joining Kofi Jones on the squad, they’ll have a tough core of AirBadgers that could very well lead them into B Tour. Despite being in a group with Lemmings, I’d say they’re very likely to top it and grab the opportunity to get into B Tour with two hands.

Photo by Andrew Moss

Photo by Andrew Moss

As for Devon 3, while they had a barebones side in Nottingham, they’ve now not only got their top handler back (Josh Meeklah), they also have the likes of former Chevron player Ben Powlay as well as Devon 1 players James Barnaville and Issy Burke. Even former Vision player Andy Garner has thrown on the Devon green for the trip to Cardiff. Don’t be surprised if the D3 steamroller tops their group ahead of Fluid.

Manchester 2, Brighton Shiny and The Brown should hold their own after the pools but, unless they’re also harbouring some massive players, I can’t see them smashing their seeding. In the case of Manchester 2, there’s a strong chance they’ll come third in the group.

Of all the teams present, my money is on Devon 2 moving up with Fluid being the other team with a decent shot of being able to hop over to B Tour on Sunday morning (should Devon 3 not win their group). Devon 2 and Fluid would potentially play Reading 2 and Camden should those B tour sides hold seed. While I think Devon 2 will progress, Fluid could very well struggle against Camden.

So my predictions are that Devon 2 will be promoted to B Tour meaning that whoever gets knocked out will end up in C and won’t be too happy about it. I think the top eight (or 33-40 rather) will play out something like this:

33. Reading 2 (or whoever gets taken out by Devon 2)
34. Guildford
35. Glasgow 2
36. Fluid
37. Devon 3
38. Leamington Lemmings
39. Brighton Shiny
40. The Brown

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