University Ultimate 2016: Northern Women’s

Giulia Newbery debuts on theShowGame with her preview of UWIR for the Northern region

As the North region approaches Women’s Indoor Regionals, every team will be looking to showcase the strengths learned from recent beginner and experienced tournaments across the country and, most importantly, skills taken away from Mixed Indoor Regionals tournaments. Certain teams will inevitably rock the boat this year but who doesn’t love an underdog story? Predictions will be made for the top six spots that qualify for Nationals, so don’t be deterred by these girls – go and exceed expectations instead!

Newcastle (Pies)

This year, as they look to develop many of their players, Newcastle have entered three teams into indoor regionals full of promising, athletic girls, so there will certainly be plenty of Pies on the pitch! Talented captain Dianne Lopez has just made the Great Britain Under-24 development squad, regularly plays for club team Relentless and remains in the first team. Another crucial member is former GB Under-23 handler Lucy Hyde who also plays for Relentless and SMOG. Having picked up two new recruits, one from Japan and another from Brixton, the first team appear to have an immensely strong core, however “integration and successful individual development” is the key to creating as effective a team as last year according to Lopez. “End zone giant” Beth Crisps might give Newcastle the edge over teams with shorter girls. Pies are set to be a rather savoury team!

Finishing seventh at Women’s Indoor Nationals puts the team in good stead for the upcoming indoor season but, as always, losing players to inevitable graduation can vastly change team dynamics. The 2015 NUWIR winners will have a tough job ahead of them if they wish to come top of the charts again. The 2016/17 academic year looks to be set on developing upcoming players; well done girls for getting three teams together!

Prediction – 3rd.


Leicester (Jesters)

After surprising success at last year’s Indoor Regionals, Jesters will be hoping to live up to a relatively high seed in the upcoming regional tournament. Despite losing a couple of key players from the team, Jesters have managed to maintain a strong balance of handlers and cutters meaning there will be an intense endeavor to keep up fast movement across the pitch. Captain Kay White (GB Under-20 cycles 2013/2014 and now GB Under-24 development squad) has some new tactics in mind for Jesters, which all of the newer players on the team have really taken on board.

With many of the first team players graduating at the end of the 2017 academic year, development for current and upcoming players is a huge focus for this year’s team. Handlers Giulia Newbery (GB Under-24 development squad) and Hannah Chadwick have gained valuable experience this year playing with JR Women’s and Punt respectively, so are a force to be reckoned with, alongside cutter Rozzi Chalk (Punt). This was demonstrated though some brilliant handler-cutter play at this year’s Mixed Indoor Regionals in Leeds. With many of the women playing together at British Thumber Time, the team’s experience should put them in a good position to finish fairly high.

Prediction – 5th.



Leeds marginally missed out on winning last year’s Women’s Indoor Nationals in Glasgow, and are set to be hugely strong contenders in this Indoor season’s tournaments. Currently with two teams entered, Leeds maintain undeniable strength amongst their players, particularly Rachael Naden who played on the winning Mixed team at Euros this year, Reading. Other players to look out for include Alice Hanton (captain) and Alexis Soo who both play for LeedsLeedsLeeds, showing the reputation of Leeds as a city for strong women!

Despite losing star player Amelia Kenneth (ex-captain) last year, the university as a whole appears dynamic and has huge motivation to succeed. After participating in Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield Beginner’s tournaments this semester, the team has had a great start to the year in terms of developing cohesion and team chemistry. “Our Men’s captain Will Carter has created a playbook with lots of great set plays” says Hanton, which could be the key to their performance and success in this year’s Indoor season. Whether it is their new Dizzee Rascal chant or their Monsters Inc. themed warm up, Leeds will have an enormous presence amongst the teams in this year’s Indoor season.

Prediction – 1st.


UCLan (Spinners)

UCLan held their own last year and went from strength to strength to finish in fourth position at Women’s Indoor Regionals. They have gained players with experience and not lost any former members meaning UCLan have been able to develop unbreakable chemistry. They will be able to demonstrate their force and drive to succeed at the upcoming regional tournament.  Attending Liverpool Beginners, only losing in the final, shows the vigor with which the women have been training. A special mention goes to star player Kim Wardell who has put her invaluable experience into the club’s development, playing with teams such as Dazed and BAM!

Current captain Melissa Thompson firmly believes UCLan will show themselves to be resilient and tough throughout this year’s Indoor season. Many of the new recruits have shown promise and, despite the current team having only played Women’s Indoor Regionals and Nationals last year and Liverpool BnE more recently, the team is looking to qualify for Nationals and finish in a higher final position this year.

Prediction – 4th.


Nottingham (Fling)

Fling finished fifth at Women’s Indoor Regionals last year putting the team into a good position to qualify for Nationals this year. Notoriously strong, the girls looked promising at this year’s Mixed Indoor Regionals with hard fought battles against many of the York & East Midlands teams, finishing seventh to qualify for Division 2 Nationals.

With the maintenance of almost all of the first team players, the solidarity with which Fling will play will be a big factor. A few of the girls play for Punt and two of the women – Lauren Mounteney and Elspeth Newlin – are now on the GB Under-24 development squad, so the team are hoping to sail through Regionals and make their mark as a solid contenders in the region.

Prediction – 6th seed


Sheffield (Phat ‘Eds)

This year Sheffield will be aiming to qualify for Women’s Indoor Nationals, having finished sixth in the York & East Midlands Regional tournament last year and in a final position of 11th at last year’s Nationals in Glasgow. The team have had some hard drilled play and promising movement on the pitch. The kind of recruitment they’ve had from this year’s intake is unknown but here’s hoping that they’ll make a noteworthy appearance at the upcoming Indoor Regionals under the guidance of captain and GB Under-24 player Zarah Dixon.


Loughborough (Haze)

This season Haze are set on climbing their way to top seed with an all-in approach to play. The team has worked hard to recruit new members and have retained a punchy and competitive mix of women. Captain Ruth Nicholson speaks volumes about the team’s endeavor to succeed in this year’s season: “We will use our weapons well and utilise every girl on the pitch with an all-in fashion of play, not relying on any individuals but really trusting every member of our team.”

With a wealth of experience under their belts including four of the girls having played GB in the past, from Under-17s to Under-20s, and two now on the GB Under-24 development squad, as well as plenty having competed with Tour teams such as JR and Mighty Hucks, these girls are sure to have an explosive presence on and off the pitch. Their experience alone is enough to take them to Nationals for sure but it will be their “purple, proud and powerful” team chemistry that will take them to the top spots this season. Watch out for those hammers!

Prediction – 2nd.


Durham (DUF)

Optimism and enthusiasm surrounds the DUF squad this year with a high level of intake to “yield a deep squad of talented women,” according to captain Clarissa Cahill. What with their frequent links to teams such as Manchester Women, SMOG Mixed and Swift, their experienced players have confident ability on the disc. The girls will be looking to stay as close as possible to their finishing position of eighth at last year’s Regionals and venture to do so using a large women’s team. Maximising development this year is crucial to their performance throughout the season and with upcoming fun tournaments round the corner, the team should be feeling confident going into the Outdoor season.


Sheffield Hallam

With the development of new players on the rise, Hallam hope to maximize their chances of doing well in this year’s Indoor Regionals. Although they’ve lost some of their stronger players to placements and graduation, particularly experienced handlers, their beginners have shown huge capacity for success. The aim this season is to develop a cool and self-assured team. Captain Jess Lea explains: “Our priority going into regionals this year is to develop as a team with the focus on our beginners giving them the opportunity to learn from some of the more experienced teams.”

Watch out for upcoming stars of the Hallam Women’s team, Helena Chadwick and Emily Bryant, who only picked up Ultimate in September but are core players in the Women’s and Mixed teams.

Newcastle Pies taking on the nation at last years UKU Nationals 2016. Photo by Andrew Moss.
Newcastle Pies’ Katie Ackerley get up at last years UKU Nationals 2016. Photo by Andrew Moss.


An immense start to the Indoor season, showcasing their girls at Mixed Indoor Regionals just a couple of weeks ago, means Huddersfield are set to wow all teams with their development over the last year. With lots of recruitment on their side, the women are hoping to show the division what their beginners are made of. Tough competition in the region means Huddersfield will have to push themselves hard to maintain their respectable finish in 10th position from last year’s Regionals.

Be sure to listen out for their Castaway shouts for “WILSON!”



A later term start means York have had to train hard in order to cultivate a well-gelled team. With a few experienced players coming back into the season from placements last year, York are hopeful to get a space at Nationals and whilst “it may then take a few games for us to warm-up and get into playing our best,” captain Gwyn Ng is hopeful at the prospect of gaining seed. Players to look out for are Hannah Willett and Martine Ballinger who are pumped and ready to receive those threatening deep shots from their captain!


Lancaster (Fish)

Winner Winner Fishy Dinner will be getting Lancaster girls pumped for the start of the season and as we see some of last year’s team members leave, there is a lot of room to make way for new and upcoming beginners! “It’s going to be a great opportunity to develop the team and have loads of fun,” says captain Evie Scott. Lancaster’s positive attitude to play is guaranteed to see the team play well and progress together over the weekend.


Manchester (Halcyenne)

This year, coach Amelia Cartwright has organised for the Manchester girls to have structured women’s sessions which has been hugely beneficial for the team. Bearing this in mind, the girls are set on performing their best at the upcoming Regional tournament. Many of the experienced players in the team have stayed on this year bringing bags of knowledge to the team. Two new pick-ups, American students Breanne Baez and Amber Verhoorn, “are very skillful and have injected a lot of new energy” into the team according to captain En-Jia Liu. Look closely for Manchester’s well-drilled tactics and safe hands.



Recruiting lots of women at the start of term has put Liverpool in a good position to climb seed this year. Gaining Robyn Miller, who played GB Under-17s, as well as maintaining experience within the team means Liverpool are hoping to perform with vitality and strength. Captain Charlotte Flemming looks forward to leading the girls and showing the region the growing stability of the team, particularly for next year’s progression.


Lincoln (WULF)

With a handful of new players on the team, Lincoln are looking to give it their best shot at Regionals this year, from nailing techniques to taking on board the array of skill across the North region. At the most recent beginner tournament in Leeds, the team learned valuable communication skills and improved all around. Captain Amber Gill says: “I would have to say Iesha Parkes and Annie Gauge have really stood out to me.” Watch out for them, ladies!


Nottingham Trent (NTU)

Over the last year, the development of the Women’s team at NTU has sky-rocketed. With it only being their second year of fielding a Women’s team for Regionals, they are highly looking forward to throwing themselves in the deep end for solid gameplay and for some, to experience Regionals for the first time. Captain Georgia Spencer tells us how incredibly proud she is of the team’s “ability to pick up the game” and their “phenomenal performance playing at Mixed Indoor Regionals, where we beat seed by nine places.” Watch this space!

Good luck to all the women at this year’s North University Women’s Indoor Regionals, here’s to playing what is a fantastic sport with such commendable spirit and camaraderie!


Feature photo by Andrew Moss.