Jordan Brown once again does us proud with a quick preview of the slim line B Tour North.
With UKU mixing up their classic tour structure due to our weird sport becoming too popular to accommodate everyone, this weekend sees the biggest change in proceedings as half of B Tour will descend upon Salford for the Northern Division.
After teams at Tour 1 did their utmost to take a dump over all of my predictions, hopefully this 12 team event should yield a little more accuracy – especially as there are no crossovers between divisions here.
Looking at the results from Tour 1, EDI (an abbreviation of Edinburgh, not ‘Edinburgh Disc Integrators’ or anything like that) started off in A Tour off the back of Sneeekys’ success last season and finished third in their pool. After Reading kept them out of the top eight, they succumbed to the rise of the Irish, meaning that they fell a bit harder than they likely should have. Their luck didn’t improve meeting Manchester 1 in their penultimate match – who were also in the same boat after the other Irish squad saw them off. EDI finished 15th in A Tour and will no doubt feel that was in part down to the draw of the tournament. I’d expect them to prove that very point at Salford and cruise through a lot of their matches. After all, this team only got beaten by Devon in sudden death, so they’re not to be underestimated. They’re seeded first and share their group with Flyght Club and Black Sheep 2.
Flyght have been on the rise ever since they augmented their squad and stepped up training last season. Their game against EDI will potentially mark their toughest match since they kicked off their rebuild. They went through Tour 1 with only a single defeat (to Concrete), so expect a strong, confident outfit – even if one or two of their big players have defected to Purple Cobras. They may have a rough time against the Scottish side but Flyght are more than able to punish any complacency shown against them.
As for Black Sheep 2, you have to feel for any second team bundled in with those two outfits. They didn’t do too badly at Tour 1 overall but they did get a bit of a kicking from Flyght in the crossover, and won’t be over the moon to find themselves pooled with Nottingham’s finest again. With EDI being of A Tour standard, I’d expect Sheep to have a rough time for their first two games. However, the Manchester-based club is one of the friendliest, most spirited out there, so don’t expect them to drop their heads.
Looking at Pool B, that trio of squads is topped by LLLeeds. Still refusing to roll over, they continue to cause trouble for anyone they come across at the top end of B Tour. They finished second in their group at Tour 1 behind Vision, but managed to leapfrog them on the Sunday. They bagged themselves the second seed going into Tour 2 but it was by no means easy for them. They’re joined by Black Sheep 1 who held their own at WindFarm against C Tour teams, but may find themselves severely outmatched by Leeds. Again though, their tenacity could see them grind out some surprising wins against higher seeds. Manchester’s seconds finish off this group. They sat around the bottom end of C Tour last time around but this time they’re on home turf. If MCR have a strong first team, they could very well lend a few to their seconds – which would make one hell of a Derby between them and Sheep.
Pool C is headed up by Vision who embarrassed me last time around by flat out winning the group and doing over Gravity in the process. They had a tough time on the Sunday but finished it off with a win against Fire 2. They’ll be looking to show Gravity that their last encounter was no fluke. Similarly though, Gravity will be out to show that they had a barebones side at Tour 1 and will undoubtedly relish the opportunity to take down Vision early on. YOpen fill the remaining spot in this group. They finished mid-C Tour level last time and I can’t really see them beating the other two in the group – but I’ve been very wrong about this stuff before.
Sat atop Pool D are Rebel who nearly always dominate and smash their seeding. There’s a good chance that the group stage will be a breeze against The Brown and Fluid. That’s not knocking those two either, it’s purely down to the strength of the guys from Cork. As for the Newcastle side, they did well in Nottingham – losing only to Gravity in sudden death. I can’t see them coughing up their position to Fluid but I’d be surprised if they snuck a win against Rebel. Having said that, The Brown only beat them by one in the pool and they had a tough sudden death loss on Sunday to knock them down the table. They could spy an opportunity for revenge against The Brown and mix up their group a bit.
With the groups being so small, I think they’ll pretty much go to seed with the biggest opportunities for surprise laying in Pools C and D where Gravity could come out on top and Fluid could bump down The Brown.
In the crossovers, the game that’s most likely to see an upset is the 8v9 between whoever comes second in Group B up against whoever bottoms out Group D. I’d expect this to be a tight match between Black Sheep 1 and Fluid.
Onto the quarters and the top eight, Rebel are fairly likely to breeze through to the semis where there’s a very good chance they woul’d knock out EDI, meaning they’d likely play LLLeeds in the final.
I’d expect Gravity or Vision to be in the 3/4 against EDI and whoever didn’t make the semis out of those two will likely finish 5th, but could very easily succumb to Flyght, who I’d expect to land around that part of the table as well.
My predictions for the top 8 are:
6. Flyght Club
7. The Brown
8. Black Sheep 1
Feature photo by Andrew Moss.