With men’s indoor regionals this weekend, we’ve got some previews for you! Here Nick Byrne previews what might go on north of the border in Scotland.
Well, we have all just about recovered from mixed regionals last week; a tournament which included a team with four players winning a game, a second team winning a bronze medal, and a stuffed animal coaching a team to a gold medal. Let’s hope this week is just as action packed and fun. There are four Div 1 spots up for grabs as well as three to Div 2, so plenty of teams will be making the trip to nationals. Who’ll take those top four could be close, though.
Aberdeen has some very strong players in their squad going this weekend. A key player will be Josh Baillie who is not only a skilful and experienced player, but also has the advantage of height.
Aberdeen started extremely strong at mixed regionals, taking third seed into the second day. They unfortunately just missed out on a Division 1 nationals spot, so they will be hoping to come out and make up for that by getting to Division 1 this weekend.
Dundee has some extremely skilful players. They suffer somewhat from a lack of tournament experience across the roster which is the only thing holding them back from being one of the top teams, but if they can play sensibly and keep their heads together for a whole weekend then they should be able to get a qualification for one of the divisions at nationals.
Their standout and go-to player is Johannes Umlauf, whose height and catching skills make him a difficult target man to stop and often a very good bailout option to beat strong defences. Young player Louis Fong also played exceptionally well at mixed regionals, getting multiple layout Ds and so will be looking to carry that form onto this weekend.
Having had a long conversation with new coach Balthazar, it is clear that St Andrews have very lofty expectations for themselves this weekend. He told me that despite losing Katie Trim, the only player in Scotland that can sky Ian Tait, they should still be able to hold their own and aim for two gold medals in two weeks.
Balthazar has further spoken about how he has watched Fraser Park playing for a number of years and he is really coming into his own this year and hitting his peak; his athleticism and throwing capabilities make him an extremely dangerous player on an indoor pitch.
Overall Saints have a very good chance to win this weekend and, with the roster they will be bringing backed by some very strong backroom staff, they will be disappointed with anything less than gold.
Stirling are still in the middle of their big development push. They have done extremely well with recruitment both last year and this and so will be looking to go out and help their players gain as much experience as possible from this tournament. This does not however mean that they will be an easy game for anyone, they will be looking to play smartly and consistently and hoping that some of their new and inexperienced players can step up and make a name for themselves this weekend.
Edinburgh had a very interesting weekend last week, with their second team coming away with a Division 1 nationals spot and a bronze medal. This week they will be looking to solidify this achievement and put together a stronger first team performance.
Andrew Cleary is a player to really watch out for. Having played for Alba this summer he knows how to go out and win a bronze medal, although I’m sure Edinburgh will be hoping for better than that this weekend.
Edinburgh have shown that they have skills and ability to beat the best teams this season and if they can put together more consistency this weekend, they should have a very good chance of a Division 1 nationals spot at least.
Heriot-Watt come into this weekend with a mixed nationals spot already in the bag, hoping to claim a men’s nationals spot to go with it. From last weekend we can see that they have a lot of height and they know how to use it. Teams will struggle to stop Heriot’s high discs and tall defence. The only real weakness in Heriot’s game at the moment is its depth through the squad, and so if they have managed a strong recruitment year this season and are able to bring some depth as well as their height and throws to the tournament then they could definitely come out as a surprise package and threaten the top spots.
Strathclyde are hurting at the moment. They have had a week to sit and think about that one-point loss in the final of mixed regionals to St Andrews and they do not want it to happen again.
Captain Laurens Kok and GB Ian Tait add a lot of height to the squad which is a big advantage indoors, and means that most teams will struggle to pull off any overheads or deep shots against them.
Jonny Tang has just turned 28 and is finally ready to win a gold regionals medal, claiming he is going to get at least one layout D per game; anyone he is marking should be worried.
Will we get a repeat of last week’s final? I expect so. Will we get a repeat of last week’s results? Only time will tell, both teams are extremely well matched and it may well come down to who wants it more on the day.
Far Flung have managed to get a special delivery from down south in the form of GB U20 player Leon Williams. Not only does Leon have great abs but he has the ability to mark any uni-level player out of the game completely and run them ragged on defence. This addition, coupled with Joel Terry being on the team for the whole weekend, means that it would be a mistake to count Glasgow out of any game.
While they are not the favourites, if they are underestimated this Glasgow team definitely has the players to win every game and take home a surprise gold.
I like to write about second teams often because you sometimes see them managing to grab a Division 2 nationals spot, and it’s always fun to see a second team beating a first team.
Edinburgh 2 last week however changed this completely as now apparently second teams are going for medals at these tournaments.
Edinburgh 2s are unlikely to make quite as much of a splash as they did last week since a lot of the guys that were on that team will now be on the first team, but they will still be looking to push every team they play against.
Both Strathclyde and St Andrews second teams will be looking to try and push for a nationals spot, and they both have a very good chance of doing so.
- St Andrews 1
- Strathclyde 1
- Glasgow 1
- Edinburgh 1
- Dundee 1
- Heriot Watt 1
- Aberdeen 1
- Strathclyde 2
- St Andrews 2
- Edinburgh 2
- Stirling 1
- Glasgow 2
- St Andrews 3
- Strathclyde 3
- Aberdeen 2
- Glasgow 3
- Edinburgh 3