An early look at Clapham.

A Tour, Chevron, Clapham, Fire of London, London's Calling, Open Tour

Sion “Brummie” Scone was at T1 spectating, tweeting for tSG and tells us what he observed of Clapham in this seasons first outing.

Justin [Foord] got a little upset that Clapham seemed to have attracted some “hatred” from my tweets at the weekend.  So, in the interest of fairness, here’s some more detailed thoughts based on observations at Tour 1 while I wait for my dinner to cook:

1) This is a stacked team.  They haven’t lost many players from last year, and have picked up some speedy deep threats in Enda Naughton and Stephan Rossbauer.  Oh, and Rob Schumacher, the fastest guy in British/German ultimate. I doubt Clapham will get a tight game from any domestic matchup in 2013 (cue outrage from Chevron, Fire et al).  But this team looks like they haven’t rested on their laurels after winning EUCF, as they stormed past everyone in St Albans.

2) They are athletic – and they know it.  And this could be something that actually causes them problems. They were easily capable of out-muscling the opposition (case in point, I saw Clapham huck it to Dom Clark going deep when his defender was still deep of him, the thrower just knew that Dom would over take and score … which he did). It would be easy for Clapham to be blasé about what the other team is doing, and just run right by them as if they weren’t even there; hence my comment about making eight cuts into the same spot.  Clapham could be their own worst enemy in many respects; if no-one else is going to give them a tight game, then they need to critical of themselves if they want to improve.  They are off to Chesapeake in a few months to play the likes of Ironside and GOAT, and the worst thing they could do is get used to out-muscling teams in the UK, then come across a team that is equally or more athletic.  Splitting their lines for Tour is the right decision for them, but maybe they need a really even split to give themselves some preparation of how to play against people who are just too damned fast.

3) They’ve learned a nice poachy set to break down brick/pull play scenarios.  It was really effective.  Even better, they have been working on transitions, which were pretty slick and got numerous turns *during* the transition (particularly in the final), which is a credit to Clapham.  This is no mean feat, and shows a smart defensive team as well as one who can run with any team in the world.  They mean business, and should be in a great position to compete in the USA.
Clapham Bullfrogs: 12 times Nationals champions.
4) It is so hard to be the team that is way out in front.  If any team in the UK needs to do video analysis of their own performances, it is Clapham.  Winning shouldn’t be enough for this team, winning well should be a constant aim.  Aside from a few individual mistakes on Saturday afternoon, Clapham were never really pressured enough to cough the disc up, but it wasn’t obvious whose job it was to make things happen when the offence stalled.  Justin?  Britney?  Cian?  Schuie?  Colin?  The list of “go-to” players is much longer than this, but you can see the potential for problems when you have so many players capable of dominating the pitch all thrown in together.  And bear in mind this lot were just on one of the two teams.  As a result, when it got messy, it got *really* messy, and while they got away with occasional lapses last weekend, those same mistakes made in Chesapeake may well be more costly.  Still, first tournament of the season so there will be plenty of time to iron out these minor blips.

5) Clapham oozes confidence.  They strolled – almost literally – through the final.  They were six goals in before I heard a celebration, and offence just looked so easy for them; they weren’t pressured on the mark at all (or at least, they didn’t look like they were pressured).  I don’t even think I saw them get to full speed this weekend, which is seriously scary when you think about what they might do when they step up a gear (for example, I didn’t see a single layout block).  Considering they were playing with short lines, I suspect this team might peak at exactly the right time.  Did I mention they did all of that missing their GB U23 players?  Ha.  This team has bags of potential, and the road to Worlds looks promising.  In 2010, Clapham had one of the most stacked teams I’ve ever seen assembled from the UK, and fell far short of their target of a berth in semi finals.  Let’s hope that they have learned from the mistakes they made last time, and that they don’t get too confident too soon.

Ironside et al – beware.  The bullfrogs are coming.  My dinner’s on fire.


Comments, tweets etc are all welcome! DP @ tSG.

The Grapevine – 31/05

A Tour, London's Calling, PushPass, The Grapevine, Understanding Ultimate., USA Ultimate, uTalkRaw, WFDF, xEUCF

This weeks Grapevine mostly concentrates on the upcoming London’s Calling with a bit of extra news thrown in for you!

Benji (Understanding Ultimate) tells us of a really cool (geeky too; but we love it) research project looking at how we throw. If you want to get involved read here…. 

Pittsburgh beat Central Florida to claim a back to back USA College Championship title, whilst Oregon take down Carleton for the Women’s top spot. 

London’s Calling is this weekend with teams from Europe mainland coming also, we are very excited here. We have our Open and Women’s previews, whilst… 

The Secret Frizzer gives us their insights into the upcoming weekend, and…

PushPass also release some footage of last years Nationals along with opinions on games to watch at T1!

More exciting news: we at tSG have partnered up with Get Horizontal – Europe’s premier Ultimate magazine – and have started this off with a post on how we do mixed!

As ever Barry O’Kanes podcast UTalkRaw has a great episode talking to the Australian Ultimate filming company ultiTV, go listen here.

The American media site Ultiworld tells us the top contender for U23 in the Open division, watch our guys this weekend in the U23 showgame vs Ireland. You might even see tSG at the show game. 

The TD’s of xEUCF have just brought online the website, where they will score report, offer news and more!

Super exciting news: The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided on Friday the 31st of May 2013 to grant the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) provisional IOC recognition during their meeting in St Petersburg (Russia). From WFDF we got this and notably this. 

Love Get Horizontal? Love The Show Game? Well we have partnered up now, awesome right?!

Excited? We certainly are, the season is in full flow and we have so much coming up. Stay tuned on fb, twitter and more. Remember #ukut1 for this weekends action. tSG

London’s Calling Preview (Open)

A Tour, Chevron, Clapham, Fire of London, London's Calling, Open Tour, Previews, WUCC2014

Josh Coxon Kelly previews London’s Calling (T1) and the upcoming Tour season.

The opening tournament of the 2013 UKU Tour series once again sees ultimate teams from across the country come down to London to kick off the season in style. Hosted at the excellent UCL sports ground near St. Albans, London’s Calling brings together the Nation’s (and some of the continent’s) finest Open and Women’s division competition in the largest single event in the European ultimate calendar.

Like previous years, the aim has been to create a tournament that unites not only the entire UK open division (hosting A, B, and C tours), but also tempts over the cream of the mainland Europe club scene. With qualification for WUCC determined first and foremost by Nationals and xEUCF results, the British ‘tour’ this year arguably takes another step back in terms of importance for the top club teams, and this can be seen in the entrance of a number of teams that will not be featuring in Nationals this year.

After staking their claim to a legitimate assault on the very top of the UK’s club scene at Fog Lane, GBU23 will be looking to continue to grow as an outfit, and will hope to shock any teams along the way who underestimate them. Seeding a team such as this is always going to be contested, and the 7th place given to GB has reportedly seen complaints equally for it being too low and too high a placement. A pool-play match up against first seed Clapham will be their chance to make a statement. The Irish team are likewise attending in preparation for bigger things in Toronto this July. Past junior teams have been unable to reach the levels of their rival GB squads, but a continued Irish presence both at tours and particularly at University level suggests that this U23 team may be looking to change that. The two teams meet in a showgame at 7pm on Saturday evening, which will provide the perfect stage for comparison.

Recently placing 5th at the European Championships, the youth-focused Heilbronn team Bad Skid boast club as well as international pedigree. Armed with stars such as Florian Bohler and Holger Beuttenmuller who bring valuable experience from junior, through U23 and onto senior international levels, Bad Skid’s young squad bring passion and athleticism as well as what has to be one of the all-time best team songbooks (listen out!) . This year sees the fifth consecutive entrance of Germany’s top players in the UK competition, and after Inside Rakete winning last year, the team will be looking for nothing less than to retain the London Calling title for 2013.

The attendance of not one but two Italian teams sends the message that this nation, whilst perhaps not traditionally seen as a contender, are serious about changing this. Headed by the always-controversial one man trumour machine Davide Morri, CUSB have recently won the Italian championship over Cotarica and will now be building with the view to make the most of their spot on the world stage when WUCC comes to Italy in 2014. Cotarica have the lowest seed of the European teams, but as a club with plenty of top level EUCF heritage they will be looking to improve considerably on the 12th place allotted to them. 

Richard “Gash” Harris, gets a high flying D in last years show game. Photos courtesy of Graham Bailey.

Brighton’s entrance of no less than four teams (as well as two in the womens tour) show the fruits of one of the country’s strongest grassroots Ultimate scenes. Undoubtedly also boosted by the success and growth of University teams Sussex Mohawks, as well as the newly formed Brighton Panthers, the Brighton talent pool is as deep as it has ever been, and the teams will be looking to impress at all levels of the competition.

Devon’s entry of 3 teams likewise is credit to a hardworking geo-setup. Long standing work with local Universities Plymouth and Exeter, as well as the continuing pipeline of players from the Air Badgers of St.Peter’s school, Exeter, sees a consistently plentiful as well as youthful player base attending the tours. The first team has seen top players move on to other teams, notably Chevron in the past, and this year defensive powerhouse Ben Powlay takes the path already trodden by Josh Kyme, Richard Coward and Sam Bowen. However this is unlikely to worry a team that takes so much pride and trust in their young talent, and Devon will undoubtedly look to show the benefits of a tight knit team chemistry by taking some unsuspecting scalps.

The A/B tour boundary is always a contentious one, and placement either side of it at such an early stage of the season can have a substantial effect on a team’s season. Rebel, Fire 2, Bear Cavalry and BAF will be happy to have been placed the higher side of the divide, but the result is arguably the most exciting B tour for a while. Manchester, Ireland U23, Jest Ridisculous, Fusion, The Brown North, Zimmer, Leeds and Cardiff all make up a top 8 of teams who could very legitimately argue for an A tour seeding. Speaking on the subject Si Hill explains: 

‘Divisions can be a problem for us, but they also provide interest. It feels like the depth has increased further, and competition will be tougher than last year. It’s difficult to decide whether to put teams up or down. There’s no perfect solution in our structure, so teams will just have to prove us wrong.’ 

With so many teams in contention for only 3 coveted promotion spots, expect a host of gritty battles deep into Sunday as teams try to prove just that.

London’s Calling, who is going to answer? 

The consistently high level of play needed to win the Ben Rainbow Trophy is always going to make the Tour title a goal for the country’s top teams. However, tour is no longer simply about hosting a 3 stage competition to find the best team in the country. Teams across Britain and Europe have our sights set on a higher goal of being able to consistently compete against the orth american clubs that currently dominate the world stage. This is no mean feat, but for any teams who vie for a title at the European championships, it is the next logical step. For us to get closer to our goals, we need the continuing increase of competition at every level of the tour, and by bringing all of these teams together in a competitive context, London’s Calling embodies this spirit more than any other tournament. Bring on the 9am hooter!

Too excited now?! Well with less than 24 hours till game time, you don’t have long. Both JCK and I will be at St Albans, please come talk to us. We are open to suggestions and looking for possible contributors :). tSG.

Fog Lane Cup Review – setting the stage for a truly open season…

A Tour, Chevron, club, Fire of London, Great Britain, Kapow, LLL, Open Tour, Tournament Reports

Josh Coxon Kelly reviews the primary domestic warmup for the club open season.

Last weekend saw the second ever Fog Lane Cup take place at Stanley Lane Sports Ground in Chippenham. A stiff but unpredictable breeze and occasional rain made for testing conditions, and an opportunity for teams to break in rusty winter skill sets and new tactics alike.

Pool stages on Saturday saw two upsets from Fire 2, who showed grit and tenacity to come out with sudden death victories over both Kapow and Devon, earning themselves second in the group and a hard fought semi-finals berth. Chevron won-out, although not without fight from their opposition, which included a Kapow team hungry to improve on a tense 15-13 quarter final loss at 2012 Nationals. The London outfit were unable to improve upon last year’s effort however, and Chevron proceeded to top the group.

The other side of the draw saw Fire 1 and GBU23 in a battle to top the group on Sunday morning. After dispatching EMO and Devon 2 decisively (both games got to score cap at 15-2) the Under 23s had made their statement and were ready to take their first scalp as a new team. However they found themselves up against an experienced Fire squad who, unflustered by the GB unit took an early lead, and held out for the win.

GB didn’t stay dejected for long however, and made their way past Chevron in their semi-final for a chance of victory at their first ever tournament. In a game that was not lacking in familiarity between players (no less than 9 of the full U23 team are part of this year’s Chevron squad), the game nevertheless saw an exciting and fiercely competitive matchup, as both teams tested the opposing offences with an array of defensive looks. Both teams showed an ability to work the disc upwind from the first pull, with GB earning an upwind break to start. Chevron replied with a break of their own, but eventually the GB D-line brought a strong that proved too strong for the Chevron rainbow. Trading stopped after the first half as GB became increasingly efficient at converting their turns as they took the momentum for the second half against a stuttering Chevron, and eventually the game.

Fire fought Fire in the other semi-final, in a training ground match-up for a final spot. Fire 1 commanded an expected lead early on, and despite a late surge from Fire 2 (characteristic of their performance throughout this tournament), they were unable to repeat the comebacks of the previous day against their first team. With Fire 1 now down to 9 men due to injury, permission was given by the TD for the two London squads to join forces to take on the GBU23 once again.

With the earlier result still fresh in both teams’ minds, both sides were fighting for something in the final – Fire for consolidation of their earlier victory, and GB for vengeance. Despite a strong start from both, it wasn’t long before the game was slipping from the Fire squad. With the largest squad of the tournament at 21, GB didn’t waste a body as they brought a combination of athletic defence on the pitch and full-squad noise from the sideline, mounting an all-out assault on the Fire Offense. This time it proved enough, and the GB D-line showed the dominance of earlier games to take the game away convincingly 13-6.

GB U23 win Fog Lane Cup 2013. Photo courtesy of Harry Slinger-Thompson

The GB team succeeded in winning their first tournament together, and they will look to continue this winning form as they compete in the coming Open Tours 1 and 2, and finally in Toronto this July. In terms of club it was a tournament of statements. Fire 1 and Chevron topped the pack after GB, but did not yet find themselves in a rematch of last year’s National semi-final. The two teams will almost certainly meet this season, but at what point? With such a short preview of the coming tour season it’s difficult to make predictions, but this weekend also suggests that Manchester Ultimate are looking to overtake northern rivals Leeds in their pursuit for a top 8 A-tour position. Kapow are clearly out to prove right many people’s suspicions that they can run with the top teams in the country. A tour regulars Devon, EMO and Leeds have shown that they are all preparing hard for the coming season, but will they be able to hold off the ever increasing competition from new teams? With the inclusion of GBU23 as well as European teams at London Calling, it looks like we’re set up for an exciting start to the open season regardless.

Final Results (Spirit scores)

1. GB u23 (9.8)
2. Fire 1 (11.5)
3. Chevron (11)
4. Man-up (10.8)
5. Fire 2 (10.3)
6. Ka-pow (11.1)
7. Leeds (11)
8. EMO (11.1)
9. Devon (11.6)
10. Devon 2 (11.6)

Note – some of the final games were rearranged to avoid replays, hence final positions.

Open Tour will start in two weekends time with London’s Calling and expect battles all over. Look out for our previews for both Open and Women’s divisions. REMEMBER; like, share, comment and contribute! tSG

Fog Lane Cup Preview

A Tour, Fog Lane, Open, Outdoors, Previews

Josh Coxon Kelly brings us a preview for this weekends first A tour warm up.

This weekend many of the top open teams in the UK will be heading to Chippenham to compete at the second ever Fog Lane Cup. Hosted by Chevron Action Flash, and named in honour of their perennial training ground in Didsbury, the tournament is once again hoping to provide a high level tournament for UK club teams to flex their muscles at before the long tour season.

Notable absentees from A tour regulars Clapham and Brighton could be put down in part to the attendance of Cobra Kai to Tom’s Tourney in Brugge, but nonetheless the tournament brings together plenty of heavyweight competition, including (once again) two Fire squads, a fanatically hyped new Kapow! roster, as well as the GB u23 open squad looking to take scalps in the first tournament of their campaign for gold in Toronto this summer.

Last season’s Inaugural cup wasn’t without drama, with Fire 2 surprising many teams including the hosts. Will this year see the avenging of this loss, or with so many refreshed squads a similar upset? Or will a young and hungry GB squad dominate?

The u23s have a gruelling schedule with 3 games followed by an evening showgame against a ‘Barbarian team’ built from players of the other teams in attendance. Whilst a fair share of sledging is inevitable between friends, this exhibition match will be undeniably important for the young internationals: not only in forging their team chemistry, but also as a chance to start their journey with a win in front of a crowd – an act that they will very much hope to turn into a habit.

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