All-Ireland Mixed Championships Preview

With the Mixed season in the UK in full swing, Mark Earley tells us about the upcoming All-Ireland Mixed Champsionships.

Mixed Ultimate in Ireland is not something that the majority of Irish club teams focus on; in fact there is only one club that were set up with the aim of playing Mixed all year round – the Dublin-based Jabba the Huck. There are lots of reasons for this – perhaps the most obvious being a historically small playerbase and the way the sport grew in the country – through universities, where the number of male members always outnumbered the number of female sign ups. This has always been replicated at international level, where Mixed Ultimate wasn’t a preferred option until 2011 when a young and well-oiled Ireland Mixed squad surpassed the achievements of both the much-fancied Open and Women’s teams to make quarters of EUC.

Jabba the Huck, current Irish Mixed Champions
Despite Mixed being less popular, the competition for the All-Ireland Championships title each year is a heated one. In a fortnight’s time 9 teams from around the country will descend on Maynooth (Kildare) for the eagerly anticipated event. Jabba the Huck are current champions, having won their first title last year at the 5th time of asking, and will enter 3 teams into the tournament. Their first team have been training hard for a while now and recently took part in the UK Mixed Tour. They will be hoping to retain their trophy and will head in to the weekend quietly confident. Last year’s runner up was Mixed Veg, a team originally made up of Broccoli and LMS players. They lost the final last year in a very close game that many of them felt they should have won. Perhaps a lack of practice together will work against them, but with a lot of experience across the team expect Veg to challenge for a final spot. Similarly Binge? is a team full of talent but who rarely train. They travel a lot to Europe, recently attending Lake Como, and regularly making the trip to Monkey Foo’s tournament in the autumn. Their girls are traditionally very strong and the team will pose a threat to anyone they meet.
David Ferguson of Mixed Veg catches a trailing edge

Rebel Ultimate won back-to-back titles, and convincingly too, back in 2010 & 2011. Last year they split their squad into two even teams hoping for both to reach the final but it didn’t work out. This year a lot of their players are rumoured to be at a wedding so it’s hard to tell what type of team they will bring. Regardless of personnel they will be a well-trained, focused and intelligent outfit. Expect to see them in the semi-finals. Outside of those four teams, it’s hard to see another team capable of winning the title. Pelt are still a young team and their women will struggle against the depth of the other squads. Juice are very unpredictable and it’s hard to tell what type of team they will bring up to Dublin. Hammertime are the last team in the tournament and despite being enthusiastic and very well spirited, they don’t play at the same level as the top four teams discussed above.
Ireland Mixed U-23 Squad
The tournament will be run by the Ireland U23 Mixed Team who are gearing up for the big trip to Toronto in July. They will hope to raise some much needed funds to help with the many costs associated with a trans-Atlantic championships. Further details on the team can be found on their website: http://irelandmixedu23.blogspot.ie/

Tournament Website: http://aimc2013.blogspot.ie/

All-Ireland Mixed Championships Winners
2012 – Jabba the Huck
2011 – Rebel Ultimate
2010 – Rebel Ultimate
2009 – Throwin’ Shapes

2008 – Throwin’ Shapes

Photos courtesy of: Jabba the Huck, Martin Kelly, Ireland U23 Mixed Team

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Fog Lane Cup Preview

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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Mixed Tour 2 (2013) – Manchester

A quick preview on this weekends Mixed Tour in Manchester.

The schedule is out, the weather doesn’t look too bad. We are all in for a great weekend. 

Topping the tournament are the newly selected World Games squad, who look to hold onto that spot. They will be challenged by Brighton, RGS and Bristol tomorrow and most likely one of Black Eagles, Cambridge, DED or Bear Cavalry on Sunday.
Some great match ups there, go watch and support our GB teams!

Teams that did well last tour have been rewarded with their higher seedings, as expected. Sadly we are missing Ireland U23 but we have also gained some new faces: Halcyon, Team Shark, Devon and Brixton to name a few. Expect a few movers from this lot.

Finally, GB U23 are yet again using this event as training (pitch 24 for Open) with the Mixed squad out in full force once again and fundraising from the Women. Please find them give them money, water and support for Toronto.



Dont’ forget to like, share and follow us and use the hashtag #ukumt2 for on the move results and news from the weekend!

University Open Outdoor Nationals

David Pryce brings us his brief preview of University Open Outdoor Nationals being held this weekend in Nottingham.

This weekend 32 open teams will travel from their respective corners of the country to University Nationals. Regionals was (for most) a month ago, the snow has cleared and we have even had some sun. I will now attempt to give a brief preview of the upcoming weekend and, after 7 years of failing, attempt to make some predictions about both divisions. 


The schedule and pools are out and in Div 1 we have:


  • Pool A: Sussex, Manchester, Edinburgh, Leicester – some would say the pool of death with current champs and a lot of strength in all four clubs. I would say Sussex and Edinburgh to edge it and take the top two spots. 
  • Pool B: Cork, Cardiff, Surrey, Aberdeen – A very similar pool to last year for Cork, Aberdeen and Cardiff. These three are at a similar strength to a year ago and so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a three way tie here.
  • Pool C: Bath,  Cambridge, Sussex 2, Sheffield – All props to Sussex 2 for making it this far but I cannot see them getting higher than third in the pool here. With Alex Brooks pushing Bath all the way and Elliott Moore and Dom Dathan doing the same for Cambridge few would bet against one of those two topping the pool. 
  • Pool D: Dundee, Southampton, Birmingham, Durham – Of the four pools I would say this is the most open but if asked to go for it, I would put Dundee and Southampton as the top two but very closely contested by Birmingham.


This would make the top 8 look something like: Sussex, Edinburgh, Bath, Cambridge, Dundee, Southampton and two of Cork, Aberdeen or Cardifff. With a couple crossovers, quarters and semis to play before the final and the Nottingham venue known for it’s windy temperament you might favour the Brighton and Scottish teams but as is the way with our sport it’s about who peaks at the right time. I predict a Sussex versus Edinburgh final. 


From a very open Div 2 we have:


  • Pool E: ExeterLeeds, Strathclyde, Portsmouth – A real tough pool to call here with a lot of strength across the board. Exeter still hold the edge at top for me and one of Leeds or Strathclyde. Too hard to call between the two but 12:10 on pitch 17 will decide for me.
  • Pool F: LoughboroughLiverpoolSt AndrewsPlymouth – Another hard one however the Loughborough and St Andrews teams have very strong training programs and so I would put my money on them.
  • Pool G: Bristol, Newcastle, NottinghamImperial – I am slightly biased here so for integrity will avoid talking about Imperial directly however I wouldn’t write us off in this pool. Another three way tie between Bristol, Nottingham and Imperial? 
  • Pool H: Warwick, Glasgow, LimerickLSE – An Irish team are always a tasty addition to Nationals but I think the strength of Glasgow and Warwick will power through to the top 8.



This make the top 8: Exeter, Loughborough, St Andrews, Glasgow, Warwick and three of Leeds, Strathclyde, Bristol, Nottingham or Imperial. As you can see and know div 2 is much more open than div 1. There are definitely more teams able to sneak into the top 8 and to the point where these predictions are pointless. Expect some upsets and unexpected finalists here.

All in all, look forward to big plays at both ends of the field, old postgrads getting angry and even, fresh faced first years skying and laying out for everything. Not forgetting the Alumni Cup in it’s second year, anyone can win it BUT can Leeds defend their inaugural title? Can’t wait, see you there UK!



Push Pass Productions will be filming predominantly on pitches 11 and 12 so look out next week for releases of finals etc, like them on Facebook to stay informed!
Blockstack.tv will also be covering the event with team photos and gameplay photos too: contact Andy Moss for more details.

Twitterazzi have already started commenting with the hashtag #ukuuon and follow all the teams’ tweets for results. David will be at the tournament with Imperial so if you have any ideas or questions go ask him and don’t forget to like and follow us too!!





University Women’s Outdoor Nationals

Thank to Sarah Harrison for sending us this  brief preview for University Women’s Outdoor Nationals taking place this weekend in Nottingham alongside the Open and Alumni divisions. 

 
This weekend sees the return of the Women’s Outdoor Nationals, where ladies from all over the country will be battling it out for the coveted gold medal. An astonishing 27 teams will be heading down to Nottingham, the biggest women’s university tournament the UK has ever seen. In this preview, I will look at who I consider the major threats for the women’s national title, and predict (hopefully accurately) who will be top dog at Grove Farm.
 
It is notoriously hard to predict Women’s Ultimate, especially at University level. Even after four years of University Ultimate, I still find it incredibly canada goose Chilliwack Bomber difficult to predict which teams will perform well and make it to the final. Every year, teams go through several transition phases. Some teams have to cope with losing the majority of their experienced players, whereas others are forever building a strong squad. However, the influence of good coaching as well as picking up GB Juniors can have a huge effect on the Women’s game.  Some teams may be strong on paper, but get them outside in 20mph winds and it’s a completely different story. Here are some things you should be looking out for canada goose Citadel Parka this weekend.
 
Combined teams
 
Never underestimate the power of a combo team. Although some may have never trained together before, the combination of a decent team and some strong additional players could prove lethal. Here are the teams that will be merging this weekend:
 
Aberdeen/Stirling
Bristol/Cardiff
Dundee/Glasgow
Heriot-Watt/St Andrews
Oxford/Oxford Brookes
Portsmouth/Southampton
Sheffield/Sheffield Hallam
 
All teams have promise to do well. Having said that, some teams will have been able to train together, which could be the tipping point in their success. With the Oxford/Brookes and Sheffield/Hallam teams coming from the same cities, their potentially existing team bonding may be able overthrow some of the stronger teams. However, it is hard to ignore Dundee’s dominance over the past year. The women’s squad were incredibly strong indoors and will be looking to continue their reign outdoors with the additional strength of Glasgow. Look out for them, as well as Portsmouth/Southampton. Southampton reached the final last year and they will still be fighting for the top spot, while Portsmouth performed well at Div I Mixed Indoors and will add some strong players to that squad.
 
 
The Midlands
With the likes of Birmingham, Nottingham, and Warwick – not forgetting teams like Oxford, Loughborough and Cambridge -the Midlands is seen as a notoriously strong region. All of these girls are good friends and play each other on a regular basis. After incredibly strong finishes at Mixed and Women’s Indoor Nationals, the Midlands teams will be tough to beat. My prediction: Nottingham and Birmingham will be the most successful.
 
Sussex


Never leave out this team. With players like Megan Hurst, Kim Isaac and Lucy Wiggins; Sussex have huge potential to defend their title. The work done by Felix and Megan in training will surely be seen on the field. In my opinion no defence is safe here, but can they make it three years on the trot against a rejuvenated Edinburgh?
 
Edinburgh
Over the last 12 months, Edinburgh have been in the top 8 in every division, winning Mixed Outdoor Nationals a few weeks ago as well as finishing in the top 4 at Women’s Indoor Nationals. Edinburgh have slowly been building a super team, which looks to be incredibly strong outdoors. After playing against them and watching them a few weeks ago, I think that they have the depth and the skills to win the tournament. Only a well drilled, experienced team will be able to stop them.
 
Having said that, there are plenty of experienced players who will be representing their University this weekend. Beware of the lower seeded teams: they will have small experienced cores that will be looking to improve their seeding and develop their team for future years
 
My prediction? It’s going to be close at the top. There’s going to be tears and tantrums. There’s also going to be some brilliant Ultimate this weekend. I will be writing a review after the tournament, but for now, here is my top 4.
 
1. Edinburgh.
2. Sussex.
3. Birmingham.
4. Nottingham.
 
Good luck to everyone this weekend. See you there.
 
If you want an in depth analysis go check out Harry Mason’s preview http://bit.ly/ZtsG4I. Make sure to follow the action on twitter with the #ukuon hashtag. Whilst you’re there follow us at www.twitter.com/TheShowGame and like us on fb www.facebook.com/TheShowGame.

UCC Ultimate – from Cork to Nottingham, via Maynooth

Mark Earley brings us the story of University College Cork’s year so far in their journey to Nottingham. Cork will be attending UK University Nationals next week with aims to avenge a painful finals loss at the hands of the Sussex Mohawks last year. 

In Ireland the tournament that decides which university teams are the national champions is called Intervarsities and it takes place relatively late in the calendar year (April). Given the size of Irish Ultimate the Mixed and Women’s Intervarsities are smaller affairs with the Open division tournament canada goose Canada Goose mænd being the centerpiece of the university season. That said, the Cork outfit, UCC Ultimate currently hold both the Women’s and Mixed events and were looking to win their third title of the season last weekend. There is no qualification process for Open Intervarsities and all colleges are encouraged to bring as many players and teams as they can muster. Since the first Intervarsities took place the number of teams in attendance has ebbed and flowed, peaking at 16 in 2009, a number almost equalled this year.

Open Intervarsities took place last weekend in Maynooth, a town just outside Dublin in wet and very windy conditions. Fifteen teams took part with a pick up canada goose Chateau Parka team helping to round out the schedule. Going into the tournament it was hard to look past one of three teams as potential winners – UCC from Cork who had won the tournament 3 years in a row, and the two strongest Dublin-based college teams, UCD and Trinity. Three other teams, DCU – the college team from where WJUC took place last August – UL, from Limerick and NUI Maynooth, the home team, were expected to battle it out for the remaining semi-final spot.

UCC Ultimate Logo

After an upset free Saturday, it was Maynooth who caused the big shock of the tournament by winning their quarter-final on universe point against DCU. This was quite a break through for the team and their first time making it through to the semi-finals. (Later in the day they would add the Spirit Award to their top 4 finish). Cork, Trinity and UCD all joined them, as expected. The pick of the semis was a battle between long-term rivals UCD and Trinity. Both teams had looked strong up until meeting and went in to the game confident but it ended up being a match that will be remembered for the upwind downwind conditions as opposed to for the Ultimate. At first, neither side managed to do much more than play for territory but it was Trinity who imposed themselves getting a brace of upwind goals to build a 4 point lead that they kept until half. UCD fought back in the second half but the gap was too much and Trinity progressed.

Elsewhere UCC took care of a young and determined NUI Maynooth with little fuss, advancing into the final, making it a rematch of the previous year. UCC captain John ‘Doc’ Doherty put their performance against what he called ‘the tournament surprise package’ down to their considerable advantage in terms of experience. ‘A lot of us playing so well in this game was down to the fact that we were much more experienced than Maynooth in the windy conditions, and they had a lot of up-and-coming players who probably hadn’t played that much in such conditions before’.

Trinity’s Hugo Fitzpatrick with a big bid in the final

The final took place on a slightly more sheltered field and Cork came out on D to start. They turned Trinity in the first point and after a dropped pull in the second were very soon 2-0 up. This became 3-0 after more tight defence and the Corkonian team were in a position they are familiar with – bossing the pace of a game having taken an early lead. Trinity captain Finnian Flood explained that having gone three points up early ‘UCC played with a lot of hunger and composure. Suffocating our O with their strong defense and hitting the open man on their offence whether it was an under cut or a deep strike’. This was echoed by his counterpart Doherty who was pleased with their performance; ‘The offence was patient, the D was tight. We played like we knew we could in the first half to get the lead. I think in the second half we could have been a little more patient, because the wind picked up a lot, and we tried to force it a bit’. Trinity came back into the game with Sam Mehigan, Brian Boyle and Sean O’Mahony helping to add a measure of respectability to the scoreline but realistically it was all over as a competitive game by half-time. Standout performances came from a number of Cork players including veteran Donal Murray and captain John Doherty, It’s worth noting that UCC had lost twice to Trinity earlier in the season so to win the final 13-6 to win their 4th title in as many years will have given them great pleasure.

Trinity’s David Ferguson throws around the mark of UCC captain John Doherty 

Given how late the Intervarsities tournament takes place, qualification for UK Uni Outdoor Open Nationals takes place via a University League held in February. UCC will be representing Ireland in Nottingham next week and are looking forward to it. We spoke to their captain Doherty about the trip and he had the following to say: ‘It is always hard to tell what we will come up against in the UK. I saw some of the defending champions Sussex at Siege of Limerick, and they looked even stronger than last year. So we have them as the team to beat standard-wise in order to be good enough to win it. We are missing a good few big players from last years team – last year’s captain Donal O’Donohoe, Mark Fanning and the star player all weekend Kevin Rice, but we have five new first year students this year who we think are capable of stepping up when needed’.

Last year the boys from Cork finished runners up after an excellent string of results but couldn’t beat a Mohawks side who were (and arguably still are) in a rich vein of form. That said, Doherty and his team are going over with only one thing in mind: ‘My team mates would be amazed if I said we have any other plan than to go over to Nottingham to win the tournament. It’s been our goal all season to win our own Irish IVs, and to then go to the UK and win UK Nationals’. This comment could be construed by some as arrogant but it would be slight on the Cork mentality to brush it off like that. Focus, determination, hard work and tactical intelligence are the mark of this team. As Flood, the Trinity captain, commented ‘They (UCC) are a very experienced, hungry team with a lot of athleticism and confidence and should do very well in Nottingham. Teams will have to play smart to beat them, but one thing is for sure – at UK Nats they won’t give up anything easy’. 

We wish them the best of luck on their trip, as no doubt do the many Irish players they are representing.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Cummins & Mark Earley.