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.
Charlie Blair gives us the lowdown on the meeting of London Women’s Ultimate Forum a couple weeks ago.
Ten years ago London was host to a mere 24 female Ultimate players. The establishment of the women’s Tour opened the door for growth by providing the opportunity for women not merely to play at a competitive and athletic level against one another, but facilitated both the incentive and necessity for other teams to strive to regularly train at such a level. As such we have witnessed Tour participation swell from only seven teams in 2004 to twenty-one in 2013, four of which represented the capital.
Whilst on the surface this may seem somewhat impressive, a simple comparison with the growth in Open and the fact that only Iceni and SYC attended Nationals highlights the lack of sustainability that London clubs – indeed clubs nationwide – outside of the top tier appear to be suffering from. Thus, despite a steady increase in female participation, our club infrastructure, and thus our development, remains weak.
It is why at the beginning of this month, representatives of London based women’s clubs and those interested and/or affiliated to their development gathered for an open forum to evaluate the current situation. They included: Iceni, SYC, Crown Jewels, Curve, Discie Chicks and a new team, so nascent yet to be named! In addition there was university representation from Kings, UCL and Imperial. It was incredible alone to have a whole cohort of women representing their interests in London, a decade since Alia Ayub and Laura Pearce encouraged women in the UK to talk about what they want from Ultimate for the first time, which led to the inception of the Women’s Tour and the appointment of the first ever UKU Women’s Coordinator.
|Representation from all over the London club and university scene.
James Burbidge tells us the London regionals story. Greater London has 5 bids for Nationals and will be held this Saturday.
With 5 qualifying spots, London is typically the richest Region in the country and for the past 3 years 4 teams from London have finished in the top 10 at Nationals.
With the uncontested top seed in the country ruling the roost in London, it’s unlikely that Clapham will lose a game at Regionals. Things get more interesting from then on. Fire are keen once again to get both squads to Nationals, and – going on results thus far this season – shouldn’t have much problem doing so. In fact the regional tournament structure should give Fire 1 the chance to prove to the heckling doubters their dominance over their second team – but you can bet that Fire 2 will be more fired up (excuse me) for that game than any other. Ka-Pow!, having come into a run of form (with the mooted return of Captain David Pichler), will also be out in force as all three teams battle for the higher positions that should give them better seeds and easier matches at Nationals.
|Giacoma Maltman lays out for the D against his putative teammate Andy Mitchell (actually playing GBu23 here).
Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss via Blockstack.
Things get interesting when you look at the teams vying for the fifth spot – and depending on your taste, this could provide the most interesting story over the weekend. Teams in the hunt for that final spot will be perennial contenders (well, the last 3 years anyway) Tooting Tigers and Burro Electrico,* alongside a revived Flump team.
All three teams have had a topsy-turvy season so far, Flump rising unexpectedly quickly out of C-tour to the top section of B-tour, whilst (following Newtonian physics) Tooting have matched them with a fall from the middle of A-tour to the middle of B-tour. Burro have plodded along with solid results and unfavourable schedules that saw them finish ‘in A-tour’ at Tour 3. Burro has beaten Flump and Tooting this season, and Flump has beaten Tooting twice. To further complicate matters, both Tooting and Burro will be losing players to the mixed division and there are always late season injuries to be accounted for too. (One team who might be expected to make an experience in this area is ABH but they are focusing on mixed too.)
|Chung Leung from Burro Electrico misses the goal at Tour 3. Photo courtesy of Louise Smith.
|Further down the seeding will be some teams looking for a bit more pitch time together, the chance to play a big seed and perhaps even cause an upset for the 5th spot. Whilst the teams entered haven’t yet been released, likely teams in this bracket include St Albans, Curve, and perhaps PAF. Iceni is not believed to have entered a team this year.
So there you have it – a Region that should provide some top-quality games between some of the best teams in the country, as well as a classic qualifying battle. Stay tuned for a schedule.
*Full disclosure! I captain this team.
Five regions down, one to go. DP @ tSG.