BUCS league preview: Scotland

Nick Byrne takes a look at the BUCS season and who stands a chance at taking home the regional title at the end of the year.

After a year of no competitive frisbee, we are all very excited to be heading back into BUCS competition again. There have been big changes across all of Scotland’s teams with some people moving universities, some big names finally graduating and rumours of a US club player joining the fray. All of this means that it is going to be very difficult to predict what may happen, and who will finish where, but with the help of this year’s men’s captains I have gathered as much information as I can on each of the teams competing. 


Strathclyde are coming into BUCS this year as the reigning Scottish regional champions. A lot has changed in the two years since the last BUCS league finished, though, and it will be interesting to see how the Dark Horses have coped with maintaining their quality through the pandemic.

There are five guys who remain from the glory days who come into this year with a few extra years of training under their belts. Strathclyde are also benefiting from an exciting group of second- and third-year hopefuls who are itching to get out and make their BUCS debuts after training for so long with no competitive matches. Their captain Laurens Kok, who spent the summer playing and training with GUX, is extremely excited to develop the large group of freshers who have joined Strathclyde this year, and we will hopefully get to see them make their competitive debuts during this BUCS season.

There are a number of players to watch out for on the team this season, most notably the 6’6” Ian Tait and the muscular Aussie Stuart Jinks, both of whom played on the Alba team who came third at club nationals this summer. Gregor Forster and new signing from Dundee Nick Byrne also spent the summer playing with Laurens for GUX and so should have a strong connection.

Finally, there have been three big signings over summer. While their names are to remain a mystery for now, Strathclyde have stolen players from Birmingham University, EDI Ultimate, and from the now-defunct European team Ragnarök.


Heriot Watt have already started this season strong with very impressive performances from their freshers at Tune Up and Edinburgh beginners, getting to the final of both. The men’s captain this year, Angus Cook, is looking to for the team to be going out and playing their best frisbee at each match and hoping to prove that Heriot are a real threat in the league.

There is a good strong core of experienced players continuing with Heriot this season, who will be hoping to utilise the skills they have honed during the competitive break. These players will be backed up by two new players who will really be ones to watch; Gregor and Joao, both of whom are expected to be making big plays and influencing pivotal moments in each of Heriot’s fixtures.

While not the biggest university in Scotland, Heriot-Watt has impressively managed to maintain and build a large squad with a lot of depth, and this should allow them to develop and build throughout the season.

In my view, Heriot are one of the dark horses of this BUCS season and will be an important challenge for anyone wanting to top the league.


After winning the division two league before the competitive break, Stirling have earned their way back into the top BUCS league in Scotland and they mean to prove themselves here and have no intention of being demoted back to the second league.

While Stirling have lost a lot of their experienced players in the past few years, they are making up for this with a huge number of new players joining the squad. The depth and strength of this squad has already been proven at all the beginners’ tournaments this season and there is an expectation that this will translate to a strong showing in the BUCS league.

The key word at Stirling this year seems to be ‘potential’. With a young and developing squad there is a lot of opportunity for new players to step up and prove themselves in the top league. The men’s captain, Ethan McKee, has painted a big target on the back of his number 44 Greg Sargaison. Greg will be looking to develop the skills and potential he has already shown to become a big name in Stirling Ultimate and a big name in Scottish Ultimate in the future.

Overall, Stirling have a big task ahead of them to earn their place in the top league next year, but if they keep working hard and make good use of their large squad, they have every chance to take some big scalps this season.


Edinburgh strongly believe they are destined for a top three finish in the league this year, and they don’t plan on coming second or third.

They will come to this BUCS season as a team brimming with confidence and a desire to finally be the top dog in Scottish Ultimate. While they will have a challenge on their hands to do so, they definitely have every chance.

The main asset Edinburgh are bringing this year is Ireland U24 player Andrew Cleary, who spent the summer playing for Alba and helped them get their bronze medal at club nationals. He will be a very strong addition to the team and will add an element of spice to an already solid and consistent squad. 

Speaking of spice, another player to watch in this year’s Edinburgh squad is William Luty. William has managed to reach a point of such skill at ultimate that he has decided to spend the summer training off-handed just to give some other people a chance. He is going to be a threat on the pitch, no matter what the force is.

It is difficult to say how exactly teams are going to come out after such a long break from competitive university frisbee, but with the confidence and the swagger that Edinburgh are bringing to the league this year, along with the competitive captaincy style of David Mercer, Edinburgh definitely could be a very difficult team to beat.

St Andrews

When asked how he thinks his team will do this year, men’s captain Ben Tang said he didn’t know.

Thankfully he did then elaborate. St Andrews have a very young squad coming into this year with most of their current first team never having played a BUCS game before. Because of this they will be coming into the season inexperienced but with a hunger to prove themselves and make the most of being able to play competitively again. In addition to this I have been told that they are probably the fittest university team in the UK at the moment having had a very strong focus on strength of conditioning over lockdown.

Due to some budget cuts for the team, Saints no longer have a full-time coach, but they do have someone who is studying at “the best university in the UK” (Ben’s words not mine) who will have to draw up the strategies and game plans. The team hopes to be able to show off a range of new systems and play styles which will accentuate their young fresh team and hopefully win them some games while looking cool.

There are quite a number of players to look out for at Saints this year (Ben seemed to highlight the whole first team as players to watch), but not least is Tom Box who an injured fresher once said was “the most explosive player on Flatball”. Kai is still good apparently; Fraser Park is an Alba MIP and so will be looking to bring that kind of dominance to the university stage (also watch out for all his hucks being a travel). Tommy Poskin and Nathanael Fagerson, yes that Fagerson, are going to be big players on the team this year. One is “not in a good place physically” and one is attempting to copy Hannes’ hairline, you will have to wait and find out which.

Finally, and most importantly, the rumours have been confirmed, a US Club player has finally made the move over to sunny Scotland and will be playing for St Andrews this season.

In all seriousness, I think St Andrews are going to be the team to beat this year, they have a very strong looking squad that won both Tune Up and Edinburgh Beginners, and the addition of a US player will definitely help their chances. 


I have not managed to get in contact with Glasgow’s captain, but I have had the pleasure of playing with a few of their players over summer.

Robert Avontuur is coming in to captain the team on the back of a very successful summer of training with GU. He was one of the most consistent players on his summer league team and is sure to be a big asset for this season’s Glasgow team.

Lewis Grimmer has spent his summer playing on the GUX squad and he will definitely be able to use his height and athleticism to be one of the main players on Glasgow this year. Grimmer will be a difficult target man to beat in the air for most teams, making Glasgow’s deep game a real threat in each of their fixtures.

I don’t know much else about what Glasgow will have to offer this year, but I do know that they have an extremely strong recruitment and training program and that they will have a lot of depth throughout their squad. It will be very interesting to see how they use this coming through.


  1. St Andrews
  2. Strathclyde
  3. Edinburgh
  4. Heriot Watt
  5. Glasgow
  6. Stirling

BUCS UKU University Men’s Indoor Nationals 2014 – Div 1

                                          Harry Mason previews this weekends Men’s Nationals

Coming up this weekend is the biggest event of the early university ultimate calendar: Men’s Indoor Nationals. Finally teams get a shot at those all important BUCS points, and a chance to prove UK-wide dominance at Ultimate played on a slightly smaller field and under a roof.

This year is certainly a lot more special than most. With the all-new regional set-up and an expansion of the capacity from 16 to 20, a lot of different teams have made it, and there’s a lot of uncertainty in the air as to who everyone is and who is going to come home with medals. Of course, having 20 teams also gives the potential for a team to be the lowest ever finisher at Div 1 Nationals. However, with five Scottish teams and seven (yes, seven) qualifying from the old Midlands region, there’s going to be a familiar flavour to proceedings, even in an interesting year like this.

It’s important to remember as well that this tournament is played in the infamous Alan Higgs centre in Coventry. Which means that teams will be playing on 3G, some of them for the first time (only two of the seven regions actually play on 3G to qualify). Considering this venue has played host to two GB U23 trials so far, and will play host to mixed trials the week after, these boys are going to have to step their game up to impress the staff at the venue. So who is going to be taking home the medals (along with the complimentary rubber crumb) this weekend?The Grapevine xEUCF 2013 Special

Continue reading “BUCS UKU University Men’s Indoor Nationals 2014 – Div 1”

UKU BUCS Women’s Indoor Regionals: Northern Regions

 Chris Bamford previews the BUCS Women’s Indoor Northern regions coming up this weekend

With the new regions in place the Northern region initially looks to be the toughest of the lot. Captains’ predictions were pretty wide spread, with teams from the old northern region more inclined to back other teams from that region and teams from the old Midlands equally backing the teams familiar to them. However it turns out, it will be fun to watch a whole weekend of high level ultimate and a series of strong teams fighting it out for the 6 nationals spots on offer in this region. Let’s take a look at some of the contenders…
oakley polarized sunglasses
After a great year in 2013/14 (including  4th place at Indoor Nationals), Leeds have managed to retain lots of the talent that got them there (Claire Taylor, Katie Lear, Rachel Douglas, Rachel Finch and Captain Alice Beeching) and have developed lots of players, thanks in part to their connection with local women’s team LeedsLeedsLeeds. To top it off they have picked up Aussie U23 Cath O’Neill, so keep your eyes out for big bids.

British University and College Sport
British University and College Sport

Continue reading “UKU BUCS Women’s Indoor Regionals: Northern Regions”

UKU BUCS Women’s Indoor Regionals: Scotland and NI


Hannah Newton gives us her outlook on the Scottish region for BUCS Women’s Indoor Regionals.

This weekend, the best of Scotland’s (*UK) university ultimate ladies will venture to Aberdeen (*except the ones that live there who will just roll right out of bed and along the street to the ASV) to fight for nationals qualification and for victory. This year there will be BUCS points on offer at Nationals for the first time driving up the stakes for qualification (*Travelodges vs. church hall floors). An epic 5 teams will qualify for the mighty journey south to remind the rest of the UK that Scotland is awesome at Uni Ultimate (*indoors).
Nike Air Max 90 Mens
Emily “Will she ever graduate?” McGrath (aka Young Money) will be offering some pearls of wisdom, unsolicited opinion and general meandering thoughts as I attempt to describe and rate the chances of the different teams.

British University and College Sport
British University and College Sport

Continue reading “UKU BUCS Women’s Indoor Regionals: Scotland and NI”

London Women’s University Ultimate

As Women’s Indoor Regionals approach, Lauren Bryant summarises the goals and aims discussed at the recent London Women’s University Ultimate meeting.

The Club and University representatives who gathered for the recent meeting.



Continue reading “London Women’s University Ultimate”

UKU University Open Nationals Division 1 Preview

Chris Bamford introduces the 16 competitors heading to University Outdoor Open Nationals this weekend

The university season is approaching its climax and many teams will be glad that Open and Women’s Nationals is returning to Manchester, after last year being hosted at the perennially windy Grove Farm in Nottingham. With BUCS eligibility rules kicking in fully, last year’s comfortable winners from Ireland can’t compete so there will be a new champion this year. For those who don’t know, the qualifiers are:





Sussex 2

Last year saw Scotland dominate proceedings open, with every team attending a nationals event (div 1, div 2, indoors and outdoors) finishing in the top 8. This performance helped them get the 4th division 1 spot in front of the Midlands; something that Glasgow will be very glad of having scrapped for the final qualification spot at regionals.

Edinburgh vs Dundee at Scottish Regionals this year. Photo courtesy of LightBox St Andrews. 
The usual combination of graduating players and development since last year always makes prediction extremely tough, but all of the regional champions will be hoping to make a run at the nationals trophy. Dundee once again won in Scotland and will be confident they can dominate their English competition. The athleticism that runs throughout their team is seriously impressive, with Benji Heywood describing some of their defensive work as ‘ridiculous’. Heriott-Watt were predicted as the dark horses to make Div 1 in Scotland by many and successfully lived up to those expectations. Div 1 outdoors is new territory for them but they will be confident that their rapidly developing team can make an impact. Close behind them Edinburgh will look to maintain their impressive reputation. Built up by an appearance in the final last year, the loss of some key players has left them looking unlikely to repeat a finals berth but they will still hope to make the top half. Taking the final Div 1 spot from Scotland are Glasgow. A strong showing indoors will have built confidence, but after under-performing at outdoor regionals they will be hoping as they did indoors to place higher at the national competition.

Northern Champions Durham comfortably saw off the usual Northern heavyweights Manchester in their regional final and I expect them to make the top 8 with ease. Having upset the usual state of affairs in the North, they’ll take a lot of confidence into Nationals and having with a handy ability to win the right games at the right time throughout this season so far, they are one of my tips to make the semi-finals. Manchester however will want to correct what they will see as an aberration in not winning regionals. Despite still possessing some top players, everyone is wondering if they have the squad depth to compete with the best in the country.  York are another team whose progression to Div 1 status has been rapid after failing to qualify last year for Division 2. Since then they have worked hard and developed into a cohesive unit – no one was surprised when they secured 3rd place at Northern regionals.

In the Midlands traditional University powerhouse Warwick sprung a surprise victory and regained their position at the top after a couple of years in the (relative) wilderness. Captain Sam Hawkins masterminded victory in a tough region, leading a squad with no big stars to a well deserved regional title. Warwick will want to add their name to a trophy they have won multiple times before, however they could be held back by several absentees from their regional squad. Cambridge won Indoors and will fully believe they can repeat the trick outdoors. Their chances are harmed by having only half of ‘those two Americans’ (Justin Norden and Ben Funk) involved as Funk is reportedly injured. This gives even more importance to the depth of their team, and opposition will be hoping to pressure squad players into errors in order to beat them. Birmingham have an impressive recent track record with victories at UMIN, UMON, as well as 3rd place finishes at UOON 2014 and UOIN 2013 and 2014. Despite this they only managed 3rd place at regionals, and needed a second attempt to beat Nottingham to qualify. Having done so they will now be looking to add more medals to their impressive collection.

In the West, Bristol surprised some to take the regional title, overcoming a star-studded Bath team as well as any doubts about their ability to cope with poor conditions. Josh Kyme is the leader of the team, and along with Joe Brown runs the handler set and with a wealth of downfield options in the Bristol cutters, their job is only made easier. Bristol beat favourites Bath to the top spot at regionals who have on their roster both GB and Jen players including Alex Brooks (Jen captain, previously GBU23 Captain and GB Open), Piers Nicholas (GB u20), Michael Guise (GB u20) and Andy Watt (Jen). Last year they won regionals but failed to break the top 8 at nationals and will surely hope to improve this time round. Cardiff make up the qualifiers from the West and they will be delighted with a regionals performance which saw them outperform several strong sides to earn a Div 1 spot, winning the game to go against arch-rivals Exeter. With their own star player in Kei Matsumoto leading a team full of developing freshers it will be exciting to see how they manage the pressure of a top level national competition.

Lastly onto the South East, where Sussex put on a huge demonstration of strength with their 1st and 2nd team proving stronger than anything the rest of the region could muster. This pretty extraordinary statement indicates the depth of their program and suggests they’ll have strong hopes for nationals. The first team will make their usual push for the top four with eyes set firmly on the BUCS trophy. The second team will be hoping to improve on previous showings at Div 1 events (coming last at both Indoors this year and Outdoors last year). Imperial have established themselves as the best of the rest from the South East, and no wonder with big names such as Stephan Rossbauer (Clapham), James Threadgill (Cambridge mixed), David Pryce (Fire) and Phil Sandwell (Ka-Pow). They will have aspirations of a top 8 spot at least.

My predictions for Semi-finalists are:

Three of these four are regional champions and I’m backing them to carry the habit of winning into this tournament and make the most of their strong seedings. Birmingham under-performed at regionals but have a talented squad who are used to winning and could upset their seeding from the start of the weekend in a big way.

Good luck to all teams competing at this year’s BUCS Nationals – keep an eye out for results and tournament review on The Showgame!

The Grapevine – 20/09

The Grapevine – ultimate links and news from around the globe.

Understanding Ultimate gets literary in an interesting post that meditates on the relationship between artistic creativity and sport, and argues convincingly for the benefits of self imposed constraints in ultimate training.

The UKU have announced a new ultimate event at Fistral Beach in partnership with BUCS open to all…

Getting excited for xEUCF? The schedule for all divisions is now available…

Take a moment to fill in this feedback form for Nationals and xEUCF if you haven’t already!

From across the pond…

Lou Burruss discusses the history of offensive tactics in a post that will be of interest to anyone concerned with ‘the gap’ between UK and US teams that has been discussed of late…

The commercialisation of US ultimate continues as Keith Raynor argues for an aggressive branding of College teams.

A storm is brewing in European ultimate and its set to break out at Bordeaux. Keep an eye out for our xEUCF previews early next week! – JCK @ tSG.