UWIR 2021: West preview

Ollie Pattinson previews the mega West region ahead of women’s indoor regionals this weekend and predicts who’ll be heading to nationals next year.

The women’s teams of the West region have had one extra week to prepare for the final regional indoor tournament of the 2021 season. The women’s division for the West is always an interesting tournament as it is a combination between the South West and West Midlands and Wales regions in mixed and men’s regionals. This means a higher number of first teams and that teams will face new competition for the season. 

In total 11 first teams will be attending, with many regular high performers and newer strong teams wanting to take their chance to claim the eight Nationals spots (four for Div 1 and four for Div 2). There are also a number of second teams (and one third team) which is great to see following the COVID disruption. With the large number of first teams, the second teams will get plenty of chances to cause upsets and the tournament is likely to have many close battles. With mixed regionals being the first tournament back after the long break, I expect a number of women’s teams this weekend will be looking forward to some rematches and potential revenge. Any spectators should be excited for the inevitable competitiveness and high quality to be seen when the heavyweight teams of two regions come together and battle it out in Swansea this weekend.


It comes as no surprise that Bath are coming into the weekend with high ambition and lots of evidence to support a top finish. With two first place finishes in the last three women’s regionals and a dominant performance at mixed regionals this year, they want to maintain their ‘best in the west’ title. Bath are coming into the weekend having lost a few star players from previous years but are feeling positive about their new team. They are excited to see development among their players as they face the challenge of the additional universities between them and the first place position.


Birmingham makes for great competition with Bath at this event. Also having a first place finish in the last three years of women’s regionals and a first place finish at this year’s mixed regionals, they seem adamant on continuing their long run of success. Despite missing out on the top three at the last regionals, they rectified this with a fourth place finish and highest from the region at the last nationals. This year the Birmingham team has been working hard to make a strong showing following the COVID break, which has so far proved successful having only conceded a single point at their first BUCS weekend. Having picked up ex-Warwick player Hannah Yorwerth (GB U24s) and rising star Rosie Coward (Reading and GB U20s), Birmingham are sure to set a high standard of Ultimate and present a huge challenge for the rest of the teams. 


Bournemouth are entering women’s regionals for what I am aware is the first time. That’s a great sign for growth of the club and a huge opportunity for development for this women’s team. While they come into a strong region, the longer break and loss of key players from many teams presents a great chance to come in and potentially surprise some teams. Bournemouth will be looking to come in and make a strong first impression, and gain lots of valuable experience while enjoying their first competitive indoor tournament with their university. 


Bristol will be one team this weekend looking to make a mark as a new contender to the top position and they have the results to prove it’s very possible. Making the last spot to nationals last time around seems to have pushed the team to excel. At the first BUCS weekend, the Bristol women’s team saw off Bath, Exeter and Southampton and now have their sights on repeating this in Swansea. With captain Natalie Oldfield (Bristol Womens), leading a strong team of experienced and cohesive players, Bristol want to continue their winning streak.


Cardiff are another one of the many strong teams in the region over recent years. They come off a third place finish at mixed regionals and a fifth place finish at last women’s regionals. Having  just missed out on Div 1 nationals last time, I am sure this year they will have their sights set on returning to the top division. Their two teams are said to be filled with excitement for the weekend, especially the freshers stacked second team. Their first team has a range of experience led by Esther Awcock (GB Junior) and a great passion across the roster, well demonstrated with the addition of Su Yin from Malaysia who set up her own team before coming to join Cardiff. Cardiff will be sure to give all the teams a strong challenge at the weekend, and will aim to repeat the success of the mixed team and qualify for Div 1 nationals.


Exeter continues to demonstrate that they have an incredibly successful club at their university. Being the only university attending to bring three teams, the depth of their club is sure to encourage continued success as seen in previous years. Exeter will hope to repeat and improve upon their strong season before the break, finishing third at the last Regionals and an impressive fifth at Nationals. Both the second and third team show potential to cause upsets against teams if underestimated, with the second team being a potential dark horse for the tournament. The first team combines experience and talent, including the addition of Leah Atkins (Air Badgers and GB Juniors) to the many long-term club members bringing fast yet patient play and a range of tactics. Exeter hopes that all of the teams can perform well this weekend, but most of all are excited to finally play one of their favourite tournaments after so many delays. 


Keele university is making their first entry to women’s regionals since 2015 and are incredibly excited to be attending. A lot of work has gone into recruiting women for the club over the last two years and it has paid off with a women’s team who can’t wait to play a tournament together. As a relatively new team, the players are looking forward to the valuable experience they will gain from the tournament (being some players’ first ever) and most importantly want to have fun while doing it. 


Plymouth are entering the weekend following a really strong mixed regionals performance that unfortunately saw them just miss out on nationals. The women’s team also has desires to recreate the success of qualifying for nationals two years ago and will be looking forward to getting another attempt at national competition. Sadly some COVID cases have affected their numbers but they still look to bring a solid team who really want to have fun at the weekend. The team combines experience with newer players which, as it did at mixed regionals, may help them perform better than they first expected. 


Southampton proved at the last regionals that they are truly a contender for a top spot at the weekend. An impressive finish of second place and an incredibly close final against Bath showed Southampton and the rest of the teams that they are a very tough team to play against. Both mixed and men’s tournaments this year have resulted in nationals qualification for the first time in years, and the women now take their turn to repeat this success. Captain Abi Cohman (GB Women’s) leads a team split between experienced players and freshers who have really come together in their first BUCS matches, winning two out of three. Southampton hope the newer players continue their incredibly fast development and top players like Dianne Lopez (SYC) and Provi Cowdrill (GB Junior) can bring a challenge to any team they face at the weekend.


Swansea have the home advantage for the weekend, but with two teams entered who are both iron-manning they hope to use a big sideline to overcome tired legs. Their second team is full of freshers excited for the experience, while their first team is stacked with experience. Captain Aimee Hawksley (Horsham) will lead the group of five which includes two GB Junior players. Such experience and small team will surely mean Swansea bring a cohesive team and big challenge to the rest of the tournament. Having beaten Bath in BUCS this season, Swansea will know they have the quality to win against teams at the weekend, and will have to hope the limited number of players does not get in the way of giving a strong performance.


Warwick are one more team who have consistently thrown their name in the hat for top position finishes in recent years. With fifth and fourth place finishes in the years prior, they may be coming into this year wanting to improve on their seventh place at the last regionals, and fight for one of the top four Div 1 qualification spots. They have lost some key players, but a very impressive second place at mixed regionals means the Warwick women know they have the quality to beat many of the teams and will want to show the South West teams they can do the same to them. Warwick also managed to hold a strong Birmingham women’s team to a tight outdoor game, only losing 5-6. As the only team to finish above Warwick at Mixed, they will come in hoping to get the edge on Birmingham this time around, along with the rest of the teams.

Spectating this event in the past has been one of my favourites, with the wide array of universities attending it can feel almost nationals-esque and produces many entertaining games. A lot of teams are coming in hoping to show the development and hard work of these first couple of months back and use their mixed and BUCS experience to step up a level at the weekend. Although we’ve been back a little while now, there has been an overwhelming sense of excitement ahead of the tournament, with lots of teams really looking forward to this one in particular. There are bound to be lots of games going against the seeding and I predict lots of improvement from the newer teams as the weekend goes on, perhaps making for some shock results in rematches on the Sunday.

All this makes it very hard again to predict, but some teams will be relying on their strong experience to see them through against the array of new competition, while others will have additional challenges following the introduction of top teams from the other region. 


  1. Birmingham
  2. Bristol
  3. Southampton
  4. Bath
  5. Exeter
  6. Warwick
  7. Cardiff
  8. Swansea
  9. Plymouth
  10. Keele
  11. Bournemouth

Thanks to all the captains who helped me out with the preview, and good luck to all the teams playing in Swansea this weekend!

UK and Ireland Ultimate Community Fundraiser for the Black Lives Matter Movement

Deep Space has taken the lead on fundraising for racial justice groups across the UK. Claire Baker explains why this cause is so important, with additional input from teammates Joanna Hamer, Leila Denniston, Matthew Hodgson, Miyen Ho and Robert White

The wave of protests across the world in the aftermath of George Floyd’s tragic death has brought issues of systematic racism to the forefront of many of our minds louder than ever before. Racism and racial inequity are systemic injustices not limited to the US; they pervade across the UK and Ireland as well. Despite our sport being built upon core values of respect and equality, particularly through the Spirit of the Game, the UK and Ireland ultimate community is not as diverse as the society we live in. Our sport isn’t always inclusive, and this has to change. 

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theShowGame podcast

Welcome to our new foray into podcasts! Sean Colfer interviewed Simon Hill, the UKU CEO, and they discussed a number of different topics. You can hear about:

  • Coronavirus and its impact (1:39)
  • EUCF thoughts (11:48)
  • Impact on the GB programmes for WUGC and World Games (16:45)
  • Positives to come from this? (19:20)
  • Black Lives Matter discussion (29:26)
  • EUCR-W and Nationals separation? (39:45)
  • UKU membership demographics (42:50)
  • Combining divisions to one Nationals – positive or negative (45:00)
  • Si’s call for teams to engage with schools (51:00)
  • BEST LINE: the top seven players Si would want in a must-score point (54:45)

We hope you enjoy, and if you have any feedback, suggestions or questions drop an email to showgameblog@gmail.com.

Devon Ultimate – a New Era

Sam Taylor demonstrates his passion for Ultimate in the South West and tells us about the vision that this community have created for Men’s Ultimate in their part of the country.

Devon Ultimate was established in 2004. To start with, it was a combination of students from Exeter and Plymouth universities. A local school, St. Peter’s, had already formed a team called AirBadgers a few years previous so some of the players from the newly-formed Devon team went to the school to help train and recruit the younger players. That connection led to an influx of young players that still continues today.

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Tokay Flight – A Review

Leila Denniston and Josh Coxon Kelly review the Tokay Flight Ultimate Cleats

Those footplates… Photo courtesy of Klara Lipertova


Tokay (https://tokay-ultimate.com/) owner Robin Lamy contacted us to ask if we could follow up on our original Tokay review, with a trial and write-up for the new model: Tokay Flight. In the interest of transparency, Tokay provided us both with a free pair to trial and keep, and then had no further involvement at all. For the pedants, we’re afraid that the term ‘cleats’, ‘boots’ and even ‘studs’ are used interchangeably in our write up. On to the review…

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EUC 2019: previewing Great Britain and Ireland

The European Ultimate Championships start this weekend, with teams from all over the continent converging on Gyor in western Hungary. There are six teams of interest for readers from these shores – three teams each for Great Britain and Ireland. Those teams go with some stacked squads, some high hopes, and some heavy expectations. Consider this a brief overview of each team, where they might be aiming and who they’ll need to beat to get there.

Let’s start with the division that saw the teams play each other in the final last time around. There, Great Britain won the final 17-13 against an Irish team that broke up before WUGC 2016 the following year. That continued a trend that GB will be looking to further again here; no team other than a British squad has ever won this title. That weight of history makes the target that’s on the backs of GB squads whenever they play in Europe even bigger for this mixed team, and it’s something they’ll have to wear well given the depth in this division. The Irish, on the other hand, have a very different-looking team and will be looking to cause some shocks.

Great Britain
The team should have pretty good cohesion, with many of the players having played together before, either at club level or with a different GB team (some senior, some different age-level teams). The main handlers are among the most dynamic in the country; Joe Wynder added a different dimension to the Chevron WUCC team last season and brings the biggest throws in UK Ultimate, Carla Link was a key part of Bristol’s title-winning team last season and Sam Vile’s ability to move the disc around the field and get free in the handler space makes Deep Space a threat against any mixed team. Additionally, Becci Haigh has played at the highest level the sport has to offer at the World Games in Cali, Colombia. Alongside Scots Katie Flight and Andy Boxall, as well as Chevron stalwarts Dom Dathan and Josh Kyme, this team is not going to want for players who can challenge their mark and exploit the break side.

Their cutters have a wealth of experience and dynamic athleticism – Bailey Melvin-Teng, Tessa Hunt and Rachel Turton would feature heavily in any discussion about the most athletic woman currently playing in the UK. All three are able to run past or jump over defenders and will be huge mismatches against even the best teams. Rollo Sax Dixon, Steve Kolthammer and Issa Dualeh are Chevron teammates and bring a significant aerial threat to the squad alongside the all-around games of Andy Lewis, Lucy Barnes and Ben Burak, while Ellie Taylor and Nick Williams are among the fastest cutters around. That I haven’t yet mentioned players like Ange Wilkinson and Sam Turner shows just how deep this squad is; there isn’t a weak link anywhere on the roster.

It seems from the outside, with the talent and experience on this roster, that the outlook should be (to quote Megan Rapinoe) championship or bust. The French and Russian squads are very talented, and this team lost to upstarts Sweden in a warm-up tournament so they’re not invincible. The temptation is to focus on WUGC in the Netherlands next year, to think about competing against the USA, Australia and Canada. However, if this team can hit its stride and focus on the opponent in front of them, another European gold is well within reach.

This is a young team, and one that may struggle to live up to the legacy of the 2015 squad. Their job has been made harder by injury concerns to key cutter Keith Mernagh and handler Aidan Kelly, but there’s some talent to make up for that here. John Doherty is a veteran of many Irish national teams and brings big throws and a strong aerial game to the team, while American-born import Eric von Kampen will be able to keep the disc moving against anyone. Deirdre Kavanagh, one of the few holdovers from the 2015 team, will be an important cutter too while Aine Ahern will see a lot of the disc in the backfield.

This squad made the quarter-finals at Windmill before falling to the Germans. They have a tough pool, with the Germans and the Russians, featuring many of the players who blew the field away at EBUC in Portimao earlier this year – both formidable foes. They should be able to work their way into the bracket with a strong showing in a potential lower pool against teams like Slovenia, Norway and Belgium, but the bet is that they find it tough to get to quarters – particularly if Mernagh isn’t available.

The women’s division was long one where Great Britain competed at the very top but couldn’t manage to break through and win an elusive gold. Silver medals in 2011 and 2007 were followed with a slight disappointment in 2015 as they took fifth. The team this time around is a relatively young one. Ireland, on the other hand, finished 12th in 2015 and have never been a fixture at the top of the division. That looks set to change in Hungary.

Great Britain
The British women are led by some disc handlers who have played at a high level throughout their Ultimate careers. Hannah Brew and Caitlin Wilson are two of the best throwers in the UK, and Megan Hurst brings a level of consistency and lefty craft that will be vital to the team. Cutters Leila Denniston, Helen Roberts and Avril Hunter all played at WUCC, competing and thriving against the best, while Eyan Sham, Rachel Naden and Sophie Wharton add dynamism and athleticism. There is also some sign of a younger generation coming in to make an impact, with Vix Wilby, Rupal Ghelani and Saskia Kantorowicz likely to play vital roles.

One of the things that coaches Paul Waite (formerly a Clapham player and coach of Iceni) and Callum Spiers will be wary of is that few of these players have played for the GB senior team before. They face a very strong German side fresh off a Windmill win in the pool, and will have some tough battles on the horizon. The quarterfinal is likely to be against a team like Russia, Germany or Finland – all teams with extensive experience that will be tough to stop – and so the top eight could be the limit for this team. If it all comes together they might be able to get into the semis, but my money isn’t on that gold medal drought ending this time around.

The Irish women have something of a golden generation together here. They have players capable of matching up with anyone in Europe across the squad, and depth in every spot. They’re serious, real contenders here and will be looking to bring a medal home for the first time at this event.

It starts with the star players – Kelly Hyland, Sarah Melvin and Fiona Mernagh. American-born Hyland has been playing since discovering the sport while studying abroad in Cork and brings extensive experience having played for Washington DC Scandal in the USA. Mernagh has played for Ireland women plenty of times before and competed with Gravity at UK Nationals last year, while Melvin was one of the breakout stars of the Eurostars tour in 2018. All three are capable of doing whatever their team needs on the field and will need to be accounted for whenever they’re on.

Supporting them is a talented squad. Aine Gilheany, Grainne McCarthy and Lulu Boyd are all very good handlers, while under-24 Emily O’Brien will play an important role downfield. This is another team without a weak link.
Everything is in place for this team to succeed. They lost in the quarterfinals of Windmill to Finland in a very contentious matchup, and most of the team was there when DESKEAGH made the final of Tom’s Tourney this year. They have a great shot at a medal even when Germany, Russia, Finland and Belgium will all be factors in a strong year for women’s Ultimate in Europe. If they hit their ceiling this could be a year to remember for the women in green.

The final division is another in which GB has long experienced success. They won gold in 2007, beating Sweden, and continued that storied rivalry in 2011 when the Swedes won in one of the more controversial pre-social media games I can recall. The team got back to winning habits in 2015 with a victory over Germany and will come into this event with designs on another trophy. The Irish are one of the main teams standing in their way, with a deep roster full of experienced players and exciting young talent looking to make their mark.

Great Britain
The squad is, predictably, largely made up of Clapham players. 14 of the 25 players hail from the perennial UK and European champions (and another two used to play for them), which is fewer than in previous years but still a substantial chunk. The big names will be familiar from previous GB open teams – Justin and Ash are both basically mononymic in UK Ultimate at this point and are still a vital part of the O line – but there’s an infusion of exciting young talent here too.

Conrad Wilson of Clapham and Alexis Long of SMOG are the two young players on the O line, while Chevron players Seb Allen, Dec Cartwright and Josh Eeles combine with Josh Awcock of Devon, Steve Gillman of SMOG and EMO’s Joel Miller to add youth on the D line.

They also have players who can fit in the kinds of roles needed in these big tournaments. Will Rowledge, Connor McHale and Ollie Gordon can challenge anyone in the air defensively and get blocks against anyone. Ben Funk and Robbie Haines are vital cutters who can do a bit of everything, while James Mead and Josh Briggs can either keep the disc moving or take downfield shots as needed. The squad is deep, talented, experienced and focused. They’ll be tough to stop.

The Irish had a disappointing Windmill by their high standards. They lost close games to GB and Condors, the Californian team, in the Swiss draw and then were upset by the Czech Republic in quarters. They have the talent to run with anyone in Europe for stretches and will be hoping that the experience they gained in Amsterdam will help them avoid any letdowns in Gyor.

This is another team with a good blend of youth and experience. On the younger side, Tadhg Deevy has shown signs of becoming one of the better cutters in Europe, Andrew Cleary is having a breakout season as a downfield threat while captain Ferdia Rogers has the potential to be one of the best handlers around.

Rogers combines with Padraig Sweeney to form a formidable pair – they were unstoppable at times at Windmill and have the ability to take defences apart in a variety of ways. Owen Binchy, Robbie Brennan and Niall McCarthy will all be important parts of the D line and will get blocks, while Rob Holland and Conor Hogan will help them turn those blocks into breaks.

This team has the potential to be a spoiler, to reach the semifinals and cause real headaches for anyone once they’re there. They were in a number of close games at Windmill, though, and struggled to come out on top in those matches. If they can start turning that luck around they have a shot at a medal. If they really get on track, they could see their arch rivals GB in the final.

It wouldn’t be a preview article without me giving my 100%, iron-clad, guaranteed-to-be-right-predictions for what’ll happen. I’m pretty optimistic about the chances of our teams taking home trophies – in fact, my prediction is that every division is won by teams in this article.

My pick for mixed is that GB beat France or Russia in the final, while Ireland narrowly miss out on a quarters spot and finish in the top 10. In women’s, I’m saying that GB will fall in the quarters and finish in seventh or eighth, while Ireland make the final and beat either Russia or Belgium (Ireland will also want to top their pool, because the power pool if they finish second looks like a stinker – Germany, Russia and Belgium are all potentially in there). In men’s, it’ll be very tight but I think Ireland lose out to Germany for top in their power pool, leading to a GB v Ireland semi. I see GB winning there and defeating the Germans, and Ireland beating Switzerland or Austria for the bronze.

If you want to follow along, the coverage is all on Fanseat and we’ll try to get some links out on social media. Good luck to all six teams!