A warm welcome to Maya Israel as a ShowGame debutant and for giving us her view on the Women’s division in Nottingham.
This weekend, Nottingham Windfarm tournament will mark the launch of the new ranking events in the Women and Open divisions. It is due to be a particularly intriguing weekend for the Women’s division who will have five national teams present: GB u20s, u24s, Seniors and Masters as well as the Irish u24 team. Last year at this tournament, Iceni were victorious, followed by Reading 1 and Bristol Women’s Ultimate. The likelihood of a similar outcome is difficult to ascertain. GB Women will most likely take one of the top spots, with GB Masters pushing in close behind. However, it is difficult to predict how greatly the loss of club team players to GB will affect the top club teams’ performances. Yet one thing is for certain, the finishing table will be shaken up.
In terms of competition format, the top twelve seeds have been split into four pools of three. The top two teams from each of these pools will advance to the top eight playoffs whilst the third will enter the nine-sixteen crossover. This crossover will be played against the top teams from the knockout pools, where seeds thirteen to twenty-six are originally placed.
Let’s review the upper four pools and have a brief glance at the knockout pools.
Pool A – GB Women, GB Masters, Ireland u24
With only national teams present, Pool A is a particularly exciting one. Watching GB Women go head to head with GB Masters should be a brilliant game. Although GB Women are seeded first and Masters 5th, either team could take the win. My reasoning: at Bologna Invite (Bologna) GB Seniors took a bronze medal from the French in a narrowly won game and GB Masters came 7th at Tom’s Tourney (Bruges) where France came 15th.
Ireland u24s have been handed a tough pool. They’ll need grit to challenge these teams. However, regardless of the outcome, this pool will give them great experience in the run up to the u24 World Championships later this year in Heidelberg.
Pool B – Bristol White, Deadly Buzz, GB u24s
This year Bristol are bringing two teams of equal strength to Windfarm, Bristol White and Bristol Red. They’ll be looking to repeat the great season they had last year but could struggle to get the desired results. Bristol finished 8th at Tom’s Tourney, below GB Masters, and have lost GB u24 captains Gabi Starek and Amy Van Zyl, as well as Megan Daly. They will face Deadly Buzz, a team composed largely of players from Gravity and the Irish national team so could potentially struggle with these opponents.
With tough opposition GB u24s will be pushed to raise their game. However, they’ve been on an upward path since their first debut at Siege of Limerick so should not be underestimated.
Pool C- Bristol Red, Reading Women 1, SMOG
Like Bristol, Reading are returning from successful season in 2018. Last year they finished 2nd at Windfarm, above Bristol’s women. However, this year I believe they’ve struggled with numbers for this tournament which could negatively impact on their performance. SMOG finished 5th last year at and their mixed team is currently 6th in the national rankings. The outcome of Pool C is certainly a difficult one to predict…
Pool D – Iceni, HYDRA, SCRAM 1
Iceni will be wanting to reassert their dominance this year after finishing 2nd at EUCF and being the highest-ranking team from GB at Worlds in Cincinnati. If Hannah Brew, Helen Roberts and Si Ci Ong are all playing for their GB teams this weekend, they could have some closer games than desired, but they still have a great chance of finishing in one of the top spots.
The other two teams in this pool are Hydra and SCRAM. HYDRA performed well at the end of last season, winning Tour 3 and look strong coming into this season, having won Lemmings Luau tournament (Coventry), earlier this year. They’ll be wanting to continue this momentum. Seeded only two places beneath HYDRA are SCRAM 1, a relatively new team, composed largely of Glasgow Ultimate and Black Eagles players. These teams are leading in the mixed division so it will be interesting to see if their dominance transfers this weekend.
At the top of the knockout pool seeding sit Red Women and Brighton Women, who finished 10th and 6th, respectively, at Windfarm last year. They’ll be eager to secure positions at the top of their pools and win their 9-16 crossover games. GB u20s are seeded 24th but after finishing 6th at Tour 3 last year, it seems likely they’ll make gains on their seeding position, provided the squad is of similar ability.
Good luck to all the teams playing this weekend. May the wind be ever in your favour!
Feature photo by Ed Hanton.