With men’s indoor regionals this weekend, we’ve got some previews for you! Here’s Ollie Pattinson talking about what might happen in the South West.
Although still very much feeling the effects of Mixed Regionals, we are already looking ahead to Men’s Indoor Regionals this weekend. The South West region produced a high level of ultimate for the first tournament back, with tight games between a range of teams, and ultimately deciding the final results.
Now the men’s teams will be attempting to recreate this level in Bath. Could this be the year that a competitor knocks the home team off of first place? Bournemouth will be making their first competitive appearance of the season, and joining the other six universities fighting for the spot that Bath have held for many years. With six nationals spots available (four for Div 1 and two for Div 2) the rewards are plentiful and all the first teams, plus numerous second teams, will have their eyes on qualification.
Bath have started the season showing they have no intention of relinquishing the title of best in the South West. A first-place finish at Mixed Regionals shows that the level of the Bath team has not diminished, and they will again be the top target for the other universities seeking first place this weekend. Bath also had the highest place second team at mixed, showing depth among their teams. Bath 2 are also a team that have to be mentioned within the region given their incredible history of results. Twice in the last six years taking the top spots themselves, teams will have to be sure not to underestimate this second team. Bath will surely be looking at the qualification spots with the goal of once again finishing with two teams heading to nationals.
Bristol took second place and Div 1 qualification from Mixed Regionals. This result, and the fact that this was achieved in spite of more than a whole line of players getting injured during the weekend, shows that Bristol mean business. At Men’s Nationals in 2019-20 Bristol stormed Div 2 and took home first place. The other teams this weekend can expect that Bristol will have higher competition in their sights, and will be one of the toughest opponents this weekend. Bristol are also hoping their second team can take advantage of the extra qualification spots, and make their way to nationals as well. With a comfortable first BUCS win of the season, Bristol will see their opportunity to give Bath a run for their money and want to take first place.
It is extra difficult to predict the Bournemouth team this year. The team did not get to have a first run together at Mixed and so will debut their season at Men’s Regionals. It will be an important test for the club following the disruption of COVID. The team is split between experienced players, including some GB U17s experience, as well as some freshers who will get their first chance at a competitive tournament. There are sure to be challenges for this Bournemouth team, but they aim to win as much as they can and most importantly enjoy themselves. As we have seen other teams face similar difficulties following COVID, Bournemouth will have lots of opportunity for close matches, and will hope their fresh squad can catch some teams out.
Exeter not only come off of a second place finish at Men’s regionals 2019, but also a second team qualification in fifth, giving numerous developing players high-level experience. While the COVID delay may have disrupted this, we can still expect an experienced team and huge challenge presented by Exeter this year. A fourth place finish at Mixed Regionals may be disappointing compared to previous finishes, but having held two of the higher finishing teams to draws, Exeter will expect to improve on this for Men’s Regionals. Also coming into the weekend with a BUCS victory under their belt, the Exeter Men’s team will have confidence and high expectations.
Plymouth were the unfortunate team to miss out on qualification for Mixed Nationals by one spot last weekend, but were a team that hugely improved as the weekend went on. Having exceeded their own expectations, Plymouth may come into Men’s Regionals with extra confidence and a big desire to improve further. While still rebuilding the team, and some freshers getting an opportunity on the first team, Plymouth will face some difficult opposition at the weekend. But with the extra qualification spots, Plymouth will be fighting hard to qualify and will be aiming to cause upsets.
Southampton have high expectations for Men’s Regionals. With both a BUCS win over Bath and taking home the trophy at SICKO beginners, this year Southampton have demonstrated they can beat the toughest of opponents. Following their best Mixed Regionals in recent years, and only two losses both by a single point, they will believe they have what it takes to not only qualify but also compete for first place. With the addition of Andrezj Zarod (Wroclaw Flow) and Leo Micklem (UCD and Ranelagh) to that successful mixed team, Southampton have the talent and experience to expect nationals qualification. Southampton also have a strong, experienced second team who will want to be one of the many contenders for the qualification spots over the weekend.
UWE come off the back of a difficult Mixed Regionals, with a very new team coming back from the COVID break. However, strong experienced players on the team will be looking to rectify that at Men’s Regionals. With incredible performances in recent years, UWE is no stranger to nationals and will want to see their team return. Following some impressive displays of athleticism at the weekend, and now more experience playing together, UWE will want to bring a higher level to Men’s Regionals.
The weekend is likely to involve numerous revenge battles from Mixed Regionals, and teams wanting to prove themselves. The predictions could again go either way, but with a some accurate guesses last week, I have a bit more confidence this set:
With the short turnaround between tournaments, teams will be hoping to bring the same level of competitiveness shown last weekend, with their new knowledge of the competition maybe helping create even tighter battles. I again predict some great excitement around the weekend and anticipate some exhilarating ultimate will be played.
Good luck to all teams heading to Bath this weekend!