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.

London’s Calling Preview (Women’s).

Iceni, London's Calling, Nice Bristols, Previews, Seven Sisters, SYC, u23, Women's Tour, world games
Charlie Blair, the UK’s international poster girl, gives us her preview for the Women’s division at London’s Calling (WT1). 

London’s Calling is by far my favourite event on the calendar. The event where all teams come both determined after month’s of pre season fitness, training and bonding, and charged by the anticipation of the first tour event, to make their mark and set the tone for the season ahead. So much so that it has become a worthy lure of international competition. Last year’s event itself didn’t disappoint for upsets, with the reigning champions Iceni being relegated to sixth position. London rivals SYC, being the sole representative of the English contingent, against the German national team in the final. This year, the stage is set for more teams to challenge the very top spots.

It appears that the broad selection of players up and down the country that were picked to represent GB last year has really benefitted investment in women’s clubs. As a result it is by no means a two horse race to the final any longer. With Nice Bristols, SYC and the newly rebranded Brighton outfit, Seven Sisters, having all come runners up at each of the tour finals, it thus goes without saying that all will be looking to better their 2012 performance.

Will an influx of fresh blood into SYC from those representing the u23 squad make the difference this year? SYC have clearly shown themselves to be formidable opponents but struggled to maintain consistency last year. Their strong start at London Calling ended up never bettered, or even matched at subsequent events. However, was this simply a result of their infancy as a club? They have never lacked quality, with a roster full of international experience. And so with another year under their belt, are things set to change?

Will Brighton’s famously incessant flair continue to baffle teams who prefer a more disciplined and regimented style of play? They are a team that thrive off the harsh conditions that the south coast hurls at them. Underestimate them at your own peril! Headed this year by Kent superstar, Kate Ford, rest assured, this is a team whose spirits will be near impossible for the most formidable of opponents to crush, and for whom the hammer is always ON.

Will Nice Bristols be able to maintain the momentum of last season having been the only other English team to join Iceni at EUCF 2012? Still with a handful of experienced, international players at the helm, they appear to continue building on solid foundations. They boast big turnouts at training have made getting on their first team fiercer than ever. In contrast LeedLeedsLeeds (LLLs), have lost many key personnel, including one of their most invested and influential players, Gemma Taylor. Consequently, the focus at LLLs is very much on their up and coming talent this year. With nothing to lose, will these fresh faces cause some surprises?

Equally, how will the first appearance of ROBOT fare? A team where much of LLL’s departed experience has ended up. Essentially an all-star masters team, ROBOT boasts the return of former captains of Leeds and Iceni, Sally Fraser and Whitney Kakos, who were last seen together on pitch competing against each other in the xEUCF 2009 final. The disappearance of Bears and ISO at London Calling this year, also begs the question of how these players have redistributed among other teams/clubs. In the case of the southerners at least, the demise of ISO has given rise to two new teams, Discie Chicks and Something Different.

Finally, last year’s tour champions, Iceni will be determined to defend their home turf, in their quest to retain both domestic and European domination. Like last year, they have picked a very big squad to keep the level of competition and play, within the club as high as possible. And with four GB World Games player’s setting the standard, the bar is indeed high. Will this dynamic again led to Iceni Savage (their iron man spin off) upstaging Iceni ‘full fat’ at London Calling as they did last year? Unfortunately, the former will not have the chance to repeat their impressive victory over the German national team, with Parisian based YAKA being the only international team to attend this weekend. Yet, having been freshly crowned champions of France for the sixth time in a row just last weekend, will they continue to ride high on success over the Channel and be the source of the biggest upsets?

Just as last year, I am continually excited by the development and level of increasing investment in women’s clubs. As such, this year, I genuinely believe the competition to be wide open. None of the teams working hard for those top spots deserve to be underestimated. However, as an Iceni warrior myself, named after the tribe that so happened to famously dominate the St Albans area two thousand years ago, I’ll be attending London Calling with every belief in my team coming out on top!

UKU Open/Women’s Tour 1: London’s Calling! 
So who are you backing? Comment, like, share and more! Use the #ukut1 hashtag over the weekend and keep an eye on here for scores. Watch out for our Open preview, soon…

The Grapevine – 24/05

Get Horiztonal, London's Calling, Open Tour, PushPass, Secret Frizzer, The Grapevine, u23, Understanding Ultimate., uTalkRaw

This weeks The Grapevine covers A LOT! Get clicking!

Barry O’Kane interviews the one and only Melissa Witmer author of “The Ultimate Athlete Handbook”, in Episode 20 of UTalkRaw.

Understanding Ultimate discuss the idea of the ‘Magic Hour’ of a training session.

Full team list for London’s Calling next weekend released including CUSB (Italy), Cota Rica (Italy), Yaka (France) and Bad Skid (Germany)! 

Mark Earley writes for Get Horizontal on the recent Irish Mixed Beach team win at Calafell Arena

In the second Road to Worlds blog the Open squad give their views on the run up to Toronto.

With the return of the Secret Frizzer he (or she) published a gossip piece on player movement and what it might mean for the upcoming open tour. Upon reading this EMO Captain, Joe Wynder, wanted to set things straight from his perspective and promptly got an interview.  Interesting read and great banter, watch out for more from tSF here!

With USA College Nationals this weekend see what hosts Wisconsin have been up to in the work up to Madison.

PushPass have been working hard to get all of the University Nationals 2013 games online (in great multiple angle HD quality) buy the subscription here. Highlights can be found here along with 4 PP shorts: Who is fouling whom?, What’s going on here?, When it goes a bit wrong and Worst Pull ever; highlighting the funnier side of Ultimate. 

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