The European Ultimate Championship Finals begin on Friday in Frankfurt. Once again the best 12 Mixed and Women’s teams and the best 24 Open teams in Europe will gather to crown a champion. The ShowGame will be running a series previewing the tournament from a UK perspective, with some additional pieces about how our Irish friends may fare and what to expect from European teams coming as well. Continuing the series, Sean Colfer looks at the final UK Open team, Glasgow.
Glasgow had a great season this year, finishing third, third and fourth at Tour events (discounting international teams), leading to a second place finish overall on Tour. They have been able to sustain the progress made over the past couple of years and really push on to making semi-finals and challenging at the top of the standings. Given that until relatively recently the team didn’t exist in this form (Fusion were Scotland’s main team until as recently as 2012) they’ve done brilliantly to get where they are. They survived a tough battle at Regionals, managing to scrape through the arduous field of one, and made it to Nationals. There they seemed to have underwhelmed in their first game, losing to a Ka-Pow team that had experienced a tough season – though that loss looked better as the weekend went on. From there they surged through the field to the fifth-place game against EMO for a spot at Euros. It was an incredibly tight and at times contentious match, with only one lead of two points throughout the whole game. Eventually Glasgow managed to come back from a 6-4 deficit to win 10-9.
Their roster is very similar to the Nationals squad, with only three changes. They’ve lost Conor Docherty, but added Angus Milliken and Laurie Brown so will go to Euros with a healthy 21-man squad. One player they will be missing from the Tour season is Harry Glasspool, who elected to play with SMOG Mixed at Nationals.
The strength of Glasgow’s roster is two-fold: they don’t really have any weak links, and the top layer of their squad is very good indeed. Players like the Webb brothers, Phil and Shaun, have extensive experience both at a club and international level, having played at Worlds with Fusion and with GB Masters. They also have a number of very talented young players including former GB under-23 Open players Andrew Dick and Danny Strasser and, particularly, former GB under-23 Mixed player Cameron Agnew. Overall, they have plenty of height and athleticism and are well-equipped to take on whatever Europe can throw at them.
As it turns out, Europe can throw quite a bit at them. They get perennial challengers Freespeed, the team from Basel that feature well-known players like Robin Bruderlin, David Moser and their own set of brothers, Nicolas and Luca Miglioretto, as well as young Belgian Peter-Jan De Meulenaere who was an absolute force at Worlds in London with 16 assists and 29 goals. They also have a very talented Catchup Graz squad in their pool, who feature several of the best players from Austria’s Men’s team, and Wall City from Berlin. The Germans will likely struggle here but Catchup and Freespeed are tough sides. Glasgow can match up man-for-man with Catchup and should feel good about their chances if they execute as they’ve proven themselves capable of this season. Freespeed are a different ballgame, though. Glasgow are capable of keeping it close and of pulling out a hard fought win, but the Swiss will make them earn every yard. If they do manage to finish in top spot, they’ll likely face the loser in a very tough three-way battle between FAB, Bad Skid and Ragnarok. Those are three of the best teams in Europe, so it’d be a fantastic experience for what is still a relatively young Glasgow side to test themselves against any of them. However, it’s going to be tough for them to get there in the first place.
I think this is an excellent team, and I love how they’ve grown as a team and as a club over the past two or three years. I’m just not sure they’re quite at the level where they can challenge the top eight yet. If they keep up this development curve, though, look out at WUCC in 2018.