Daily roundup: pool stages in full swing

Sunday was the first full day of matches and it was another one of unpredictable weather. All the teams had to cope with changing wind directions and intermittent showers (or should I say downpours?) All teams have now played at least one game, so we’re starting to see how things might unfold. Let’s start with the mixed divisions.

Teams finding their feet in the masters mixed

A few teams are looking strong, with Snowbirds, SOS, and Members Only from the USA, along with Epoq from Canada, all winning both their games. The top two seeds, Slower and Descent, both from the US, only had one match today each. They both came away with convincing 15-1 wins against Halal and Distètics, respectively.

There were also some less expected results as 10th seed Heidees from Germany beat French number seven seed, PUC Ultimate, but then went on to lose to the 28th seed Long Donkeys. Meanwhile, Reading had a very close game with Members Only, in which they were ahead in the earlier stages of the game, leading by three of four points, but eventually the Americans caught up, and overtook them, to win 13-11.

Showdown between grand master North American clubs

Notably in the grand master mixed division, Happy Campers from Canada are looking strong, having won both their games today. Meanwhile the American team Southern Charm battled it out in a close match against Grey Owl from Canada, which was eventually won 13-12 by Southern Charm. Close match ups between the Canadians and Americans are expected to continue.

This division is dominated almost entirely with Canadian and American teams, with only one British and one German team. All teams have now played at least two games so we should soon start to see which of the North American clubs will come out on top.

Canadians upset the seeds in both masters open and grand master open

A notable result in the masters open today was the Canadian team Dead Circus beating one of the top teams from the USA, Pacemaker. The Americans launched a strong come back at the start of the second half, soon drawing equal at 9-9. But Pacemaker began to run away with it again towards then end, and the game finished 15-10.

Other masters open teams that are looking strong include Canadian teams Still and Woolly Mammoth.

Meanwhile, the Canadian grand master open team FIGJAM also upset the seedings today, coming out strong and beating the top seeds from the US, Johnny Walker, 15-13. FIGJAM also bagled SG Uncles, putting them in a strong position in their pool. Other teams that are looking strong in the grand master open division include US teams Surly GM and Shadows.

In the great grand master open (another division almost entirely made up of teams from the USA and Canada) the French, British and German teams are yet to challenge any of the top seeds. Surly GGM, Relics, Recycled and TOAST all remain undefeated so far.

Can anyone upset the USA women?

Finally, in the women’s division, games were mostly played on the TUS campus today. Five of the 18 teams in this division remain undefeated: Reboot Squad (USA), Molly Grey (USA), Ripe (USA), StellO (CAN) and lowercase (CAN). Despite being seeded second, Molly Grey had to fight hard for their wins today, beating PUMAS 12-10 and Soar! *soar only 14-13.

So far, the biggest threats to the US dominance are looking to come from either StellO from Canada or the British team LMU, who lost a close game to Soar! *soar but comfortably beat jinx.

Keep your eye out for more updates to come and make sure to check out Ulti.tv for the livestreamed games!

Game recap: opening showcase from the hosts

WMUCC 2022 kicks off with a showcase match from the women’s division. The Irish home team, Masterclass, faced StellO from Canada’s capital Ottowa.

StellO had the first pull, meaning that Masterclass started on offence going downwind. The first point was long, with both teams struggling to complete passes in very wet and windy conditions. Deep shots failing to find receivers were common from both sides to begin with. StellO eventually managed to get the score, a huge boost for them having started both on D and going upwind.

In the first few points we continued to see plenty of “huck and D” type tactics, with players attempting to get the disc down the field, even if it came at the expense of losing possession. When they had possession, it seemed that Masterclass players were looking up field with no good options and StellO eventually scored again, making it 2-0.

Masterclass then had the wind with them, and the connection of talented Irish veterans Fiona Mernagh and Sarah Melvin allowed them to reel in their first score, taking it to 2-1. StellO then scored again, making it 3-1, and soon looked like they were going to put in another one, but they called a timeout just short of the endzone line. This didn’t pay off for them and after a few more turns, Masterclass scored to bring them to 3-2.

Points so far had been long, and all but the very first point were scored downwind. The upwind team was typically finding themselves stuck on their own endzone line, unable to move the disc very far up the pitch. StellO stuck to playing slightly poachy defence, while Masterclass mostly played their zone.

The teams continued to trade over the next couple of points as the wind made it incredibly difficult to get a break. StellO were very patient working it around Masterclass’ zone and a few points later the score stood at 5-3. Masterclass scored again with O’Mahony taking a shot into the endzone and finding a McMorrow laying out to make it 5-4. Despite this, the strong wind meant Masterclass were unable to equalise and StellO instead took it 6-4 before half time was called 55 minutes into the game.

After seven minutes break, StellO came out on offense going downwind. This point was long, but eventually won by StellO, who then quickly put in another to take the score to 8-4 and widen the gap.

Masterclass, however, did not give up and a great read from Jen Kwan allowed her to poach off and get an unexpected turn. The disc then quickly made its way upwind towards the endzone, where Melvin reeled in another score, taking it to 8-5.

Masterclass then had both the momentum and the wind with them, allowing them to score again, making it 8-6. There were then some promising connections from the Masterclass players, but they couldn’t quite put in the upwind break they needed. The two teams then traded again in a series of quick points, taking the score to 10-8 to StellO after a bold hammer from Masterclass’ Kwan across the endzone and into the hands of McMorrow.

After another slightly longer point, StellO’s Rioux put one up for Polowyk to make it 11-8 just before the soft cap went. The rest of the game felt like Masterclass had slightly lost momentum. StellO scored again, confirming that it would be a game to 13. At 12-8, Masterclass would have had a lot of work to do if there were going to pull this back. It wasn’t long, however, before StellO scored again, with Green coming down with the game-winning catch, ending the game at 13-8.

Although the score got away from Masterclass slightly at the end, this match was closely fought as both teams got accustomed to the wind and rain. The women’s division is organised into two large pools, with nine teams in each. This means both Masterclass and StellO could go on to do well in their pool, but we’ll have to wait to see how things play out.

Daily roundup: getting accustomed to the wind and rain

There was a sense of excitement around the venue today as all of the planning and preparation – from players and organisers alike – was finally coming to fruition. In the opening ceremony representatives from each team paraded onto the show pitch behind their country’s flag and the rain thankfully held off while the tournament organisers gave short speeches. This was followed by the showcase game between Masterclass and StellO women’s teams, where the players and spectators were not so lucky as conditions became increasingly wet and windy. About a third of the teams also got stuck in for the first round of matches. Here’s a brief overview of what happened in the tough conditions this afternoon.

A strong start for the US women’s teams

It’s difficult to read too much into the women’s division yet, with only three games having been played so far. The Irish home team, Masterclass, put up a good fight against StellO but the Canadians, having led throughout the match, came out on top, winning 13-8. It’s unusual to see a Venezuelan team in the mix, but today saw Spanglish enter the fray and experience a tough loss 14-3 against PDXtra from the USA. Finally, another USA team, PUMAS, were also victorious in their pool, beating Samsui from Singapore 12-6.

Canada dominating in grand master mixed

There were also only three games in the grand master mixed division today. Here it’s the Canadian teams that are look strong. Grey Owl beat Surly GMX from the USA 15-6 and Max Power beat Southern Charm (also from the USA) 15-7. The last game of the day saw one more Canadian team, Happy Campers, take on Woodies from Germany. The Canadians came out on top once again, winning 15-2.

Teams from the USA living up to their seeds the masters open

A clear picture is yet to emerge in the maters open division as to which club will come out on top, but there is obviously some division beginning to appear between the teams. The top two seeds, US teams Johnny Encore and Voltron2020, both had convincing 15-2 wins against Urutau Ultimate Club (from Columbia) and Puyal India, respectively. It is not unexpected that the American teams will perform well, with the top six seeds all being teams from the USA. Indeed, all seven teams from the USA in the masters open division that played today won their matches.

The Brits from Devon had a close game with King Louie (from the USA), which traded all the way, bar a couple of points towards the end of the first half. They were never able to recover these and eventually lost 15-12. This is closest any country came to upsetting the Americans. It remains to be seen whether anyone can displace the top US teams.

Three teams in this division, Warao Ultimate Turmero, Wolpertinger and Ragings Bananas, are yet to play and will begin their first matches tomorrow.

We’re just getting started!

Many teams are yet to have a game, with the masters mixed and both the grand master and great grand master open divisions not playing any games today. There’s plenty to be excited for, particularly in the mixed division, where the pool stages will be crucial because there will not be an opportunity to cross up for the team that finishes bottom of the pool.

Stay tuned for updates and make sure to check out the livestreams from Ulti.tv, being broadcasted on the WFDF YouTube channel.

Windfarm: Women’s recap

Making her ShowGame debut aking a look at the Windfarm women’s division is Marina Symington, who’ll be covering WMUCC in Limerick for us later this month!

After several years of either cancelled or scaled-back events, Windfarm 2022 marks the first full-scale Tour event in close to three years. A total of 63 teams across all divisions travelled to Nottingham’s familiar Riverside Sports Complex for a weekend many will have been delighted to see return.

The women’s divisions featured a nice spread of the familiar top British teams, as well as newly formed Horizon, junior players from GB U20s, and Dublin Gravity and Masterclass coming over from Ireland. Let’s take a look at a few highlights as these players converged in the Midlands.

Bristol remain champs

The reigning national champions proved themselves still dominant, prevailing in the same city as their 2021 national title. Their road was not without some tight games. In the pool stages they finished second in their group, comfortably beating Thundering Her but having lost 12-11 in a tight match against a Masterclass team that featured Irish stars Sarah Melvin and Fiona Mernagh in a squad featuring a number of other Irish national team veterans. Wins against Dublin Gravity and SMOG then saw Bristol facing Masterclass for a second time in the semis. After another close game, Bristol came out on top this time, winning 15-14 and securing their spot in the final against SYC. SYC’s route to the final was also not plain sailing. They lost to their big rivals Iceni in the pool stage, but then went on to beat them the second time they met, this time in the semis, reflecting just how tight the competition is between the top few women’s teams. Bristol’s experience and composure in the final ultimately saw them victorious once again, with World Games players Carla Link and Molly Wedge again central to their success after being absent for other tournaments this season. Perhaps this sets the tone for what we can expect to see more of from Bristol.

Carla Link throws to Molly Wedge in the semi. Photo by Sam Mouat.

SMOG dominate in their pool but drop a few seeds

The next pool saw SMOG face SCRAM and Cambridge Women. The women from SMOG, a club who we typically see dominating in mixed, had comfortable wins against both other teams. In their last game on Saturday, they lost a tight match against LMU in a pre-quarter crossover. Sunday then saw these two teams come head-to-head once again in their final game of the weekend. This was another close one, with SMOG coming out on top this time, winning 11-9, placing them fifth and leaving LMU, who had come in as fourth seed, in sixth place.

Dublin Gravity struggle in a tough pool

Arguably the toughest pool in Division 1 featured London rivals SYC and Iceni, alongside Dublin Gravity. This was unfortunate for a development Gravity team, who had to face eventual second and third placed teams right off the bat. Their luck didn’t improve as they then had to play eventual winners Bristol in the crossovers, putting in an impressive performance and narrowly losing only 12-10. This, however, put Gravity in the 9-16 bracket, where they dominated in their next three games and comfortably took ninth.

Close competition in the middle of Division 1

The final pool in Div 1 contained LMU, Spice and Reading. LMU narrowly beat Spice and both teams beat Reading, ranking the three teams LMU, Spice then Reading. Reading had to play both Spice and LMU again on Sunday, where they lost to both again. The three teams finished the tournament sixth, seventh and eighth in the same order they ranked in their pool. This is only the second season for Spice, who are heading to worlds this summer and might have hoped to cause more upset in the top of Div 1. They did get the opportunity to play both SMOG and Masterclass, which will have been good experience for them going forward this season.

Cambridge and Thundering Her displaced from Division 1

The bottom two spots in Div 1 were given to Cambridge Women and Thundering Her (the women’s entry from mixed team Thundering Herd). Both teams had a tough time in their pools, facing some of the best talent in the country. Cambridge were missing some of their key players that lead to this season’s indoor success and had teamed up with women from RED to field a full roster. Thundering Her also struggled in their pool, but then faced some closer matches on Sunday. After losing to Flamingos (the Flyght/Lemmings joint team) they went on to convincingly beat GB U20 women and finished the weekend with a narrow win against Horizon: Forbidden West to take 13th.

Horizon enter a massive three teams

It’s worth also mentioning the success of the brand-new women’s club, Horizon. Formed this year with the hope of filling a gap in women’s ultimate in Yorkshire and the North, they managed to enter and incredible three teams to their debut tournament. The three teams were not ranked on ability, with the more experienced players instead distributed across them. Nonetheless these teams were not out of their depth. Horizon: Zero Dawn even went on to finish 12th, putting them at the bottom on Div 1. The other two Horizon teams finished 14th and 17th, firmly establishing Horizon as a club to be taken seriously moving forwards.

Needless to say, overall Windfarm was a great success for the return of Tour and an exciting insight into what this season will bring. Congratulations to all the teams that took part!