Windfarm: The Return

It has been nearly three years since there has been a proper, full Tour event. Windfarm, once derided for the difficult conditions it inevitably provides (hence the nickname we gave it that eventually became the official tournament name) will be something of a triumphant return for the super-event we were all so used to before the pandemic, with more teams and pitches than any of us will have seen for years.

The 63 teams are split between open and women’s, with 41 and 22 respectively. It’s been a busy week at ShowGame towers and there’s a lot of teams that I have only a passing knowledge of so I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with a preview of the top teams for now, and we can take a look at the teams throughout the draw once the dust has settled and we’re able to have a better idea of where everyone stands.

The schedule is a little odd, with the open semis and final at 90 mins compared to 70 mins on the women’s side. It does seem as though there are fewer games for the top open teams so that’s likely the logic here, but there’s definitely some annoyance over it. Given that the women’s final slot is last it seems like there could have been a pretty easy compromise here, and some advance discussion probably would have avoided the issue entirely. Still, scheduling is hard (I assume, it looks hard) and everyone is out of practice with all elements of tournaments at the moment. Still, this is probably something that’s best thought through a bit more comprehensively in future.

WOMEN’S

Let’s start on the women’s side. The top seeds are the national champs, Bristol, and they are largely at full strength after fielding some varied teams at their events so far this season. Talismanic playmakers Carla Link and Molly Wedge have been occupied with World Games trainings up to this point but should be back, and the squad retains enough talent and depth to win this tournament. They face Masterclass and Thundering Her in the pool. Masterclass are the Irish entrant into WMUCC in Limerick and should pose quite a few problems to Bristol, not least with the return to these shores of Eurostar superstar Sarah Melvin. It’ll be very fun to see a Wedge/Melvin matchup, so hopefully we get to see that play out. Thundering Her is (predictably) the female side of Thundering Herd, entering Tour again as they did in 2019 to get some extra reps with the mixed season in mind. Both Masterclass and THer have reasonably short rosters but both will be looking forward to taking on a big name early on.

The next pool features the reigning National League champions, SMOG. They defeated both Bristol and Iceni in the midlands last year and return to the (kind of near) scene of the triumph to try and repeat the feat. As we have seen in both women’s and mixed competition, the women of SMOG are extremely strong and we can be pretty confident that they’ll be challenging their opponents with some nigh-on-impossible-to-stop deep shots. They face Scots SCRAM who have had a nice start to the season and will be looking to push themselves and keep developing ahead of their trip to WUCC in Cincinnati in a few weeks’ time, as well as Cambridge Women. SMOG should win this group but SCRAM against Cambridge could be a fun game, with some strong Cambridge-based players having played largely in mixed in the last few years.

The next pool seems like a pool of death. Iceni and SYC will renew their rivalry, the two London teams having played recently in a pretty close one. Iceni came out on top there and the expectation would be that they do again since they are reasonably close to full strength with only a couple of absentees. SYC will be confident having played their rivals close so recently, and have a reasonably full team although there will be one or two absences. Also in this pool are reigning European bronze medallists Dublin Gravity. When last the Gravigals were in the UK they left with the national championship title, so there’s clearly quite a legacy of success behind them. The team that was in Bruges was extremely adaptable and cohesive, with excellent frisbee IQ pairing with ability to make them one of the best teams on the continent. They’ve been at a few warm up tournaments and will be heading to WUCC as well, but this team may well be a bit more mixed with non-WUCC players and guests. Either way, this pool is one to watch.

The final pool in division 1 sees LMU face Spice and Reading. LMU defeated Spice last season in the inaugural National Cup final after coming from behind. LMU will be strong, as usual, but will have a pretty small squad, as usual. It’s always difficult to predict exactly who will be around but I understand that Jenna Thomson is around, which means they have more than a shot of being competitive. Pairing a team this smart and experienced with a team like Spice, full of players nearer the beginning of their elite frisbee careers, is a nice clash of styles. Spice will also be heading to Cincinnati and look to have added well this spring and will pose a tough test to the masters. Reading round out the pool and will, like SMOG, be extremely good despite minimal experience together in women’s. Players like Bex Palmer, Helen Roberts and Ania Godbold have all played at the highest level and you can always expect that Reading teams will be well-drilled and prepared.

This is a tough tournament to call with the strength at the top, but if Gravity are anywhere close to the team we have seen before, 10th seed looks low. They could cause some chaos in the later brackets. An Iceni/Bristol rematch could be on the cards but last time LMU faced Iceni, at Tom’s, the masters won, and SMOG loom with their League title in hand. I daresay it’ll all be a bit clearer come Saturday evening but for now it looks like a tough call! I’ll go for a SMOG win with LMU, Bristol and Iceni finishing the top four and prepare to eat those words.

OPEN

First thing to note here is the split schedule, and second is that Clapham are absent. That means the field is a bit more open at the top, and may mean we get a barnstorming finale. The top section of the open division is four pools of three, with the next section starting as a bracket to give teams the chance to progress upwards.

The first pool sees top seeds Chevron up against acronymic teams PELT and EDI. Chevron were largely untroubled last season in reaching the national final and finishing second in the National League. They have long mixed experience with youth, and had a sizeable contingent of less experienced players last time around. Those players will all have gained a great deal from last season and could position the team well to grow this year. They did as well as expected at Tom’s, beating both French teams (Iznogood, the eventual winners, and Tcach who finished fourth) and losing only twice, to GRUT men and one of the CUSB teams. This pool puts them up against Limerick team PELT and Scots EDI. PELT usually travel with pretty small squads but are always tough to beat and come with a huge amount of cohesion and confidence. Chevron will back themselves but it’s unlikely the Irishmen will roll over without a fight. EDI have been building for a couple of years and have done a good job developing into a competitive outfit with Alba growing as a regional power. It’ll be a good test for them to play against two teams that have been to EUCF in the recent past.

Speaking of Alba, they are second seed and lead the next pool. They are the only team other than Clapham that seriously pushed Chevron last season – in fact, the last three times these teams have met on these shores have ended with sudden death Chevron wins despite Alba having the disc (Chevron ran out comfortable winners at Tom’s, though). The Scots will be aiming to turn those tables late on Sunday. They match up against the Smash’d boys and Fire. The latter two teams met in the first round of the cup last season, a brutal draw considering the relative strength of both, and will be very up for a rematch. Smash’d have had some roster turnover from last year but are still young, aggressive and athletic and will be a stern test for a rebuilding Fire outfit. Alba should have enough to stay above the fray but this will certainly be the most physical pool so there could be some variance based on how each team deals with that.

The third pool is the most intriguing at the top of the open division. Devon are a longstanding national power nowadays, having qualified for WUCC 2018 and consistently finished in the top four since then. Last year they overcame a very tight call with Smash’d to solidify that spot and make the Nationals semis. The team has a way of playing that has worked for them for years, has great chemistry and a very solid internal culture that keeps them at the top of the division. In Nottingham they face the men of SMOG and Leamington Lemmings, the story of 2021. SMOG will, of course, be good. Just like the women’s team, this is a team of serial winners that have back-to-back national titles in their back pockets and have been preparing to take on the best in the world at WUCC as a whole squad, given that they have two teams going to Cincinnati. They can match Devon’s athleticism, but the boys in green have a bit more experience in open and might have the edge in physicality too. Lemmings qualified for Nationals in both open and mixed last season and have a range of good players to call on. Whether they can mix it with the big teams in open remains to be seen but if they consolidate the best players from both those teams they have a good chance to make two elite teams very uncomfortable here.

The final pool sees Reading’s men face Ka-Pow! and Bristol. Reading’s squad is obviously strong but is missing a few of the men that will make up the male side of the WUCC team so might have less top-end depth than some of the other top seeded sides in the division. They should still have enough to top the pool here, although both Ka-Pow! and Bristol can certainly cause them problems. The Londoners are still going through a rebuilding process and had a relatively young but talented squad last year, while Bristol have been developing slowly but surely for a number of years. Ka-Pow! won this matchup when they faced at Nationals last year but Bristol have had competitive outings already this year at Tom’s so might be slightly sharper.

It’s difficult to pick anything but a rematch of Alba vs Chevron in the final, such is the strength that these two teams continue to possess. Hopefully we get another exciting instalment in the series if that does come to pass. Look out for SMOG and Reading to challenge the top teams, I would expect one of them to make it into the semis unless Smash’d can step up and take that fourth spot.

Further down the open draw there are some fun teams to watch out for in the middle bracket. Zimmer, now a grandmasters team but still full of quality GB players from the mid-2000s that can absolutely still play if the final of EMUCC is anything to go by, are around and will be fascinating. Birmingham are always a tough team, Cambridge have some very good players that have been in the mixed division with their women in recent years so could cause some issues if they are able to cross up and both Manchester Ultimate and Rebel have been top 12 teams at UK tours in the recent past. YCU made Nationals not long ago, so as far down as the late 20s could see teams that eventually break into the top bracket.

Good luck to everyone in managing the wind this weekend. I’ll be playing for Thundering He so feel free to come and tell me how rubbish these pared-down predictions are.

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.

Bath

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 

Predictions

  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!

UWIR 2021: Scotland preview

Nick Byrne previews the Scotland region of women’s indoor regionals!

Edinburgh

Edinburgh have managed to get a medal in both regionals so far. The pattern would suggest that Edinburgh 3s are going to get a bronze medal this weekend.

As unlikely as that is, their first team may well be able to do the job. There are a lot of very good players on this Edinburgh women’s first team and it would not be a massive surprise to see them in the top three. 

It is also impressive to see that, in a year where some universities have struggled to even put together one team for this tournament, Edinburgh have managed to enter three teams and that is a real testament to their recruitment.

Glasgow

Glasgow will be bringing a very strong squad to UWIR this weekend and will be playing hard for a gold medal to match their kit. They have had very successful mixed and men’s campaigns so far, reaching nationals for both, and I would strongly predict a Division 1 nationals spot coming their way this weekend as well.

There are a number of standout players on the team, particularly captain Eva Jones who brings both skilful throwing and an impressive threat in the air.

Dundee

While Dundee are going to be bringing a somewhat inexperienced team, they are still going to post a very real threat to the top teams at this tournament and they are desperate to prove themselves and claim a top four spot.

Their captain, Sophie Baird, is going to be a main player to watch throughout the weekend. Her hight, experience and throws allow Dundee to play an attacking style of ultimate which a lot of teams may find difficult to deal with.

A Division 1 spot if definitely going to be up for grabs for Dundee, and no matter what these girls will gain a lot of experience from the weekend and will show themselves to be a real force to be reckoned with in the next few years.

Strathclyde

Strathclyde have had a dominant women’s team over the past few years and are coming in this year with another super strong team. While there are a few other very strong women’s teams this year, the Dark Horses will still be confident of medalling.

Caroline Charnley and Erina Brown are the two players to really watch, both having played for SCRAM together in the past and played on this university team together for a number of years. Caroline’s speed paired with Eri’s grabs and the chemistry that they have together are certainly a winning combo.

St Andrews

The Saints ladies look to be putting together one of the strongest women’s teams that have played at university level for a while. These girls already have a gold medal from mixed a few weeks ago and it would be difficult to bet against them getting a second this weekend.

Katie Trimm, who was recently selected to play for the GB women’s indoor team, is going to be a dominant player at the tournament. In addition to that I could probably give a shoutout to every player on that team as they all bring a lot to the tournament.

The Saints are definitely going to be the team to beat at the weekend.

Stirling

The Blazettes have had a decent recruitment year and so will be bringing a number of players who are looking to develop their game for the future. This gives all of their players a chance to establish themselves and show off what they can do without any pressure this weekend. Due to the setup of this year’s regionals, there is a very high chance of being able to qualify for nationals which further takes the pressure off this inexperienced team and allows them to work and learn and develop themselves. Hopefully someone will be able to come out and establish themselves so that we will be talking about them as the big name leading into nationals next semester.

Overall

While there are not as many women’s teams as we have had in the past at these regionals, and that is a real shame to see, the quality of the teams entered means that this is still going to be a very exciting tournament.

There is a fairly realistic chance that we may see a St Andrews v Strathclyde final for the third regionals in a row, a matchup which currently stands at 1-1, so this would be a very exciting matchup to watch.

Also, this week Stevo is no longer the TD and so we may actually get to find out who wins spirit without any funny business.

Prediction

  1. St Andrews
  2. Strathclyde
  3. Glasgow
  4. Dundee
  5. Edinburgh
  6. St Andrews 2
  7. Stirling
  8. Edinburgh 2
  9. Glasgow 2
  10. Edinburgh 3

UWIR 2021: East preview

Magnus Oakes and Arjun Bhushan take a look at women’s regionals in the East and London region.

After a highly successful and very well spirited UMIR we look forward to the last regional indoors tournament of the year: UWIR. With 18 teams attending and a wider regional pool to draw on it will be very exciting to see how this tournament turns out. With five Div 1 and four Div 2 nationals spots on the line this looks likely to be a hotly contested tournament with quite a few exciting rivalries to watch.

Brunel women are coming off exceptional play at UXIR and will have high hopes for this tournament. Their match against Imperial this tournament is one to keep your eyes on as it may play an important role in deciding the narrative of this budding rivalry between the two schools. Their women were especially great and isolating players at mixed so it will be exciting to see how they perform without their male counterparts.

Cambridge is looking to continue their streak of nationals qualification at the last regional indoors tournament of the season. With a few players who weren’t at UXIR they may have a surprise or two for the teams who might think they know the Cambridge team well. It’s a regional tournament with Oxford in it so Cambridge are looking to continue from their strong performances at fake Varsity last year and beat Oxford.

UEA are again a team to watch at this tournament. Their dangerous zone and players who are basically walking highlight reels mean that they are undeniably a threat to whoever they go up against. Hopefully they bring the enthusiasm and amazing spirit they normally contribute to this tournament too.

Imperial unfortunately weren’t able to secure nats spot at mixed or men’s, so at this tournament they’ll really be gunning for a nationals spot. Despite their women’s team being littered with some international level players, they’ll be adopting a spartan mentality going into this tournament and looking to end their indoor season strong.

KCL are looking to make it three-for-three in winning regional tournaments but will certainly face stiff opposition here. With a selection of powerful cutters and handlers they must been seen as a favourite team to place highly in the tournament but may find it difficult to replicate the success they had in men’s or mixed. With a recent loss to UCL women outdoors it seems that they may face a tougher road to the final here than in their other competitions.

LSE are something of a dark horse. Not competing in any of the other indoors tournaments, it will be interesting to see what sort of a team they bring.

Oxford’s men performed very well at their regionals and their women must be looking to replicate their success. It will be interesting to see if they can get revenge against Sussex who dominated both mixed and men’s regionals against Oxford. Some of the players on these teams will have played in a game that generated extremely low spirit scores at mixed, so that may be something to watch going into this tournament. Additionally, it’ll be exciting to see Cambridge and Oxford’s 150-year-old sporting continue to play out.

Both Chichester and Oxford Brookes had success in only their mixed regionals so we can expect both teams to be looking to replicate that success in this final regional tournament.

Portsmouth narrowly missed out on a nationals spot at mixed indoors and won spirit with a very impressive 12.57 average. To perform well in a tournament and win spirit always says good things about a team’s chemistry so we believe they are a team to watch.

Watch out for Surrey’s women at this tournament. With a strong existing squad including Claudia Carnell and Eve Magawon from Guildford Ultimate and massive pick-ups in Iceni veteran Hannah Brew and GB Junior Eleanor Stratton, this team is experienced and is confident in their ability to take home some silverware.

Sussex are looking very strong going into this tournament. Matching Kings with a two-for-two record at indoor regional tournaments, the match up of those two will certainly be an exciting one. With a few exciting international student additions, their fast-paced offence and flexagon defence will present a definite challenge to all the teams at this tournament.

UCL have qualified for Div 1 in the previous tournaments this year, and their women will look to be no different. This time they’ll be bringing some new faces and pickups to this tournament in hopes finally taking home a trophy. With third at mixed regionals and second in men’s regionals, they’re looking for a first place finish at this tournament.

Overall, due to the combination of regions that is occurring in this tournament, this is a harder one to call. With that in mind we predict the first teams will place:

  1. Surrey
  2. UCL
  3. Kings
  4. Imperial
  5. Cambridge
  6. Sussex
  7. Oxford
  8. UEA
  9. Chichester
  10. Oxford Brookes
  11. Brunel
  12. Portsmouth
  13. LSE

UMIR 2021: Yorkshire and East Midlands preview

With men’s indoor regionals this weekend, we’ve got some previews for you! Here Sasha Squires and Tanny Karimi talk about the huge Yorkshire and East Midlands region.

With the last men’s regionals just over two years ago, ambitions to perform well this weekend will be prominent. Many of this year’s experienced players will have been freshers the last time they played so it will be interesting to see how they have developed during COVID and whether seedings remain accurate. There are five nationals spots available, three to Div 1 and two to Div 2 so there will be a number of first teams who miss out.

Showing consistency across all divisions, Loughborough 1 and Sheffield 1 hold top positions in the table and it is predicted they will continue to perform highly in the men’s division as they did in the mixed division. Impressively, Loughborough have managed to field five teams this year so it will be exciting to see the development of their less experienced teams across the weekend. We’ve even heard rumours that there are bets circulating around whether Loughborough’s fifth team will beat their forth team. 

Leicester 1 are currently seeded third after an excellent performance in 2019, but with many of that team having now graduated, will they be able to hold their seed and perform as well as they did in the last open regionals? 

Nottingham Trent exceeded expectations at mixed regionals so there will be pressure for them to perform highly this weekend. With the addition of some ladies to their team, their tactics may vary to other teams which could provide them with an advantage over other teams.

In the middle, we have York who have a history of narrowly missing out on nationals so we can imagine they will be playing extra hard in order to secure a spot at nationals. York have also entered two teams so it will be interesting to compare the performance of their first team to their second team, and maybe even see a play-off between the two! 

Unfortunately, COVID has meant that quite a few teams are not playing this year including Sheffield Hallam, Bradford, Hull and De Montford. However, we have seen the addition of Leeds Beckett so it will be exciting to see how they perform as a new team across the weekend and whether they up their seed. 

We are really excited to see how all the teams connect and develop and whether there will be any surprises in game play across the weekend! 

Prediction

  1. Sheffield
  2. Loughborough
  3. Leeds
  4. Nottingham
  5. Loughborough 2
  6. York
  7. Leicester
  8. Huddersfield

UMIR 2021: East and London preview

With men’s indoor regionals this weekend, we’ve got some previews for you! Here’s a look at the East and London from Magnus Oakes and Arjun Bhushan.

After the exciting Mixed Regionals the region prepares for what should be a hotly contested Men’s Regionals. With two new teams and the different compositions that Men’s forces it seems unlikely that the results of mixed will be entirely repeated. Two Division 1 and two Division 2 spots at nationals are up for grabs at this tournament. Below each of the teams are listed in their seeding rank with a short preview of their tournaments.

UCL

UCL’s depth was impressive at mixed and will probably bring a squad hungry to get another Div 1 national spot for their programme. They brought a lot of speed, height and dangerous give-go moves that we likely see again this tournament. Again, their committee must be commended recruitment wise as bringing three teams is a feat.

Imperial

Imperial’s failure to qualify for nationals at mixed places some pressure on their men’s team to perform in this tournament. Highly seeded and placed in a group with the team who knocked them out of nationals considerations at mixed, they will certainly be a team to watch this tournament. Hopefully they can build off what they learned at UXIR and produce a strong result.

Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire are something of a dark horse this tournament. Without Ernie Simons (St Albans), a key player on their teams in the past, and with the long break since their last tournament it will be exciting to see what kind of a team they produce this tournament. We would be surprised if they held the seed they have been given.

Kings

Kings continue to have dominant players, but it will be interesting to see if their second team can produce the men needed to have depth that was previously provided by their excellent women. The Jacob Rheins (Colorado Mamabird) to James Lee (Deep Space) connection will continue to be incredibly dangerous but if teams can work out a way to stifle their iso play they may be challenged more than they were at UXIR.

Cambridge

Cambridge were amazing at UXIR and hoping to build on that success in men’s. While often known as an outdoors team pretending to play indoors, they showed considerable aptitude for defending all sorts of indoors offences at mixed and will be an exciting team to watch this tournament. Their second team ranked highest out of all the second teams last tournament so hopefully that depth translates into their first team well.

UEA

UEA were phenomenal at UXIR, but it will be exciting to see how much of that was down to their explosive female players like Alana Clane (Longhill High School). What is certain is that they will be well drilled and comfortable, looking to repeat their success at mixed. Their defence was especially potent at mixed, with their zone and wall causing all sorts of problems for many a team. They have also done very well recruitment-wise and will be bringing three teams.

Brunel

Brunel are no longer a dark horse. With their securing of a nationals spot at mixed for the second season in a row they are a team are probably under-seeded and one to watch. Their group with Imperial 1 will definitely be something of a grudge match and hopefully their men’s team can live up to high standard set by their mixed performance.

Anglia Ruskin
ARU are a bit of an unknown variable having not come to mixed this year. Having talked to their president, they sound excited to come and play their best frisbee. They are certainly a team to keep an eye on and could pull off an upset or two but are probably not nationals contenders.

Prediction

With all that said, we think the first teams will finish:

  1. Kings
  2. UCL
  3. Cambridge
  4. Imperial
  5. Brunel
  6. UEA
  7. Hertfordshire
  8. ARU

UMIR 2021: South West preview

With men’s indoor regionals this weekend, we’ve got some previews for you! Here’s Ollie Pattinson talking about what might happen in the South West.

Although still very much feeling the effects of Mixed Regionals, we are already looking ahead to Men’s Indoor Regionals this weekend. The South West region produced a high level of ultimate for the first tournament back, with tight games between a range of teams, and ultimately deciding the final results. 

Now the men’s teams will be attempting to recreate this level in Bath. Could this be the year that a competitor knocks the home team off of first place? Bournemouth will be making their first competitive appearance of the season, and joining the other six universities fighting for the spot that Bath have held for many years. With six nationals spots available (four for Div 1 and two for Div 2) the rewards are plentiful and all the first teams, plus numerous second teams, will have their eyes on qualification. 

Bath

Bath have started the season showing they have no intention of relinquishing the title of best in the South West. A first-place finish at Mixed Regionals shows that the level of the Bath team has not diminished, and they will again be the top target for the other universities seeking first place this weekend. Bath also had the highest place second team at mixed, showing depth among their teams. Bath 2 are also a team that have to be mentioned within the region given their incredible history of results. Twice in the last six years taking the top spots themselves, teams will have to be sure not to underestimate this second team. Bath will surely be looking at the qualification spots with the goal of once again finishing with two teams heading to nationals. 

Bristol

Bristol took second place and Div 1 qualification from Mixed Regionals. This result, and the fact that this was achieved in spite of more than a whole line of players getting injured during the weekend, shows that Bristol mean business. At Men’s Nationals in 2019-20 Bristol stormed Div 2 and took home first place. The other teams this weekend can expect that Bristol will have higher competition in their sights, and will be one of the toughest opponents this weekend. Bristol are also hoping their second team can take advantage of the extra qualification spots, and make their way to nationals as well. With a comfortable first BUCS win of the season, Bristol will see their opportunity to give Bath a run for their money and want to take first place.

Bournemouth

It is extra difficult to predict the Bournemouth team this year. The team did not get to have a first run together at Mixed and so will debut their season at Men’s Regionals. It will be an important test for the club following the disruption of COVID. The team is split between experienced players, including some GB U17s experience, as well as some freshers who will get their first chance at a competitive tournament. There are sure to be challenges for this Bournemouth team, but they aim to win as much as they can and most importantly enjoy themselves. As we have seen other teams face similar difficulties following COVID, Bournemouth will have lots of opportunity for close matches, and will hope their fresh squad can catch some teams out.

Exeter

Exeter not only come off of a second place finish at Men’s regionals 2019, but also a second team qualification in fifth, giving numerous developing players high-level experience. While the COVID delay may have disrupted this, we can still expect an experienced team and huge challenge presented by Exeter this year. A fourth place finish at Mixed Regionals may be disappointing compared to previous finishes, but having held two of the higher finishing teams to draws, Exeter will expect to improve on this for Men’s Regionals. Also coming into the weekend with a BUCS victory under their belt, the Exeter Men’s team will have confidence and high expectations. 

Plymouth

Plymouth were the unfortunate team to miss out on qualification for Mixed Nationals by one spot last weekend, but were a team that hugely improved as the weekend went on. Having exceeded their own expectations, Plymouth may come into Men’s Regionals with extra confidence and a big desire to improve further. While still rebuilding the team, and some freshers getting an opportunity on the first team, Plymouth will face some difficult opposition at the weekend. But with the extra qualification spots, Plymouth will be fighting hard to qualify and will be aiming to cause upsets. 

Southampton

Southampton have high expectations for Men’s Regionals. With both a BUCS win over Bath and  taking home the trophy at SICKO beginners, this year Southampton have demonstrated they can beat the toughest of opponents. Following their best Mixed Regionals in recent years, and only two losses both by a single point, they will believe they have what it takes to not only qualify but also compete for first place. With the addition of Andrezj Zarod (Wroclaw Flow) and Leo Micklem (UCD and Ranelagh) to that successful mixed team, Southampton have the talent and experience to expect nationals qualification. Southampton also have a strong, experienced second team who will want to be one of the many contenders for the qualification spots over the weekend.

UWE

UWE come off the back of a difficult Mixed Regionals, with a very new team coming back from the COVID break. However, strong experienced players on the team will be looking to rectify that at Men’s Regionals. With incredible performances in recent years, UWE is no stranger to nationals and will want to see their team return. Following some impressive displays of athleticism at the weekend, and now more experience playing together, UWE will want to bring a higher level to Men’s Regionals. 

The weekend is likely to involve numerous revenge battles from Mixed Regionals, and teams wanting to prove themselves. The predictions could again go either way, but with a some accurate guesses last week, I have a bit more confidence this set:

Predictions

  1. Bath
  2. Southampton
  3. Bristol
  4. Exeter
  5. Plymouth
  6. UWE
  7. Bournemouth

With the short turnaround between tournaments, teams will be hoping to bring the same level of competitiveness shown last weekend, with their new knowledge of the competition maybe helping create even tighter battles. I again predict some great excitement around the weekend and anticipate some exhilarating ultimate will be played.

Good luck to all teams heading to Bath this weekend!