Josh Coxon Kelly completes the Women’s WUCC previews with a look at SYC.
How did they get here?
Formed in 2010, SYC began challenging at a high level from their inception. They narrowly missed out on WUCC 2014 by losing a positioning game, and therefore the final remaining UK bid, to Nice Bristols at EUCF 2013.
SYC had a stormer of a Nationals in 2017, confidently besting Iceni to the surprise of many in pool play. Whilst they eventually lost the final to their perennial London rivals, they had already won the most crucial game, against Bristol, in the semi-final. One of the games of the tournament, it was well fought and closely matched. SYC came out on top, continuing their form of the tournament and securing the first of any not-guaranteed-but-likely additional UK WUCC bids.
How has this season been?
SYC’s relative strength in the UK was initially masked by their decision to split teams Tour 1. A fourth-place finish at the competitive Tom’s Tourney gave the team a boost, but also showed that they were up against stiff competition from Europe. They finished fourth at Tour 3 as well, and whilst this may be lower than hoped, the team have carefully planned their coaching and trainings around a WUCC peak.
Sam Fisk makes a catch at Tour 2. Photo by Ed Hanton.
How do they play?
There’s a relentless positivity that emanates from this team on and off the pitch, which as coach James Burbidge explains, is fully intended:
“There’s no point spending eight-plus hours a week doing this thing if you’re not having fun – so we try to keep it fun. Everyone is encouraged to play fearlessly and we like to move the disc through all our players. Stats this season show a great spread of goals and assists, which speaks to the depth of the team. On defense, we pride ourselves on being gritty and owning the fundamentals.”
Beyond fundamentals, this team have also started to show a maturity and toughness, keeping their heads in tight games where they may not have in more recent years that will be crucial when taking on their international matchups.
Can you give me three players to watch?
Sarah ‘Joey’ Laws
Look out for heart-on-sleeve celebrations, fearless commitment to the catch and a spicy deep shot or two.
Alice could run a marathon, play a full game and then swim the channel without getting out of breath. Will work harder and for longer than anyone else on the field. May sweat a lot.
Alice DInsdale-Young is delighted with a potential catch at Tour 2. Photo by Sam Mouat.
Tell the photographers not to take the lens off her. Was recently seen “making the best layout grab I have seen in 10 years of Ultimate” at training like it was no big thing.
What do they say about their WUCC campaign?
Burbidge was modest and balanced when discussing the team’s chances, emphasising how new this is for the group:
“The team hasn’t attended WUCC before, and approximately half the team haven’t been to a week-long tournament before. So we’re very excited, and have very few expectations. We’re pretty sure we can give most teams a good game, and if we hit top form we could make a good run. But if we don’t, we won’t be heart-broken.”
How are they going to do?
SYC are peaking for this year, but also for the last few years and I think that regardless of their impact on the seedings, the Londoners are set to have one of their strongest and most exciting tournaments yet.
The Women’s division is arguably the most formidable with an elite top four entirely made up of USA teams, shortly followed by Colombia’s Revolution. With Japan and Canada’s contributions included on top of this, it’s going to be a gritty battle between Europe’s best to get inside that top 16. Japan’s Huck and Canada’s Traffic are in SYC’s opening pool where higher than third place will be a hard task. However a crossover route into the top 16 remains possible, and I’d like to see this team take that opportunity. They’re prepared, have brought the squad, and would like nothing more than to slip above Iceni in the World Championship rankings. I’ll say SYC will finish 15th.