London’s Calling Review – B Tour

Dale Walker continues our London’s Calling review week with a look at B tour.

As UK Ultimate continues to grow and develop with the standard improving across the board, the stigma previously attached to being a B Tour squad looks less offensive in light of a competitive opening Tour of 2013. Perennial A Tour teams including LLLeeds, Burro and Fusionbattled with new kids on the block Manchester, Glasgow, and JR – not to forget yo-yo teams like The Brown and Cardiff, programmes from Vision (with their strong junior setup) and Bristol (one of the deepest Ultimate communities in the UK) and we had a truly wide field for the first time in years.

Manchester came into Tour the #1 seed having jostled with a few for an A Tour berth beforehand, but with strong credentials from a few (including a stacked Zimmer team featuring GB legends Dave Sealy, Si Hill & Matt “Bob” Hims) this was always going to be the scrap it proved to be.

Santiago Zuluaga (Manchester Ultimate) goes big for an offence point in the Saturday pool game against LLLeeds. Photo courtesy of David Sparks.

Bar Pool J, each pool featured one team who were knocked out of contention having started the weekend seeded in the Top 8 bracket – the unfortunate 3 being The Brown, Cardiff Storm and Fusion – demonstrating the difficult nature of seeding at the start of the season and the topsy-turvy nature of Tour. Rumours had been spreading across the field about the various strengths of some of the contenders – Zimmer had been beaten on Saturday by EMO2 which shocked a few. Ireland U23, who featured a number from the successful Irish university scene of 2012 & 2013 looked to sail into A Tour to get the best preparation for Toronto. JR had a successful 2012 building on a strong programme from the universities, finishing in A Tour in 2012 and fancying themselves another shot at the big time.

The Quarter Finals on Sunday morning saw Manchester take on Brighton 2, LLLeeds against Ireland U23, Glasgow battle with Reading and Zimmer hope JR ran less than them… the only upset here was perhaps LLLeeds dispensing of a hyped Irish team in their QF to earn a right to play Zimmer in the SF, the rest going to seed.

The Semi finals saw Manchesterand Glasgow – both new geo programmes in their respective cities – go head to head whilst LLLeeds and their young squad played a team at the opposite end of the spectrum in Zimmer. A sudden death nail biter between Mcr and Glasgow saw the Scots come through, whilst Zimmer dispatched the young upstarts at Leedsdemonstrating their wisdom and experience.

B tour movers. Courtesy of Wayne Retter.

The Final would see Zimmer take the B Tour crown in a close fought 15-13 win over Glasgow, who had demonstrated over the 2 days that they are an unassuming team who will only look to grow in coming years lead by the experienced Webb brothers and working closely with the local university talent. Similarly, Manchester and LLLeeds had revamped in 2013 with similar aspirations and development plans, but in their 3/4 game-to-go Manchesterdemonstrated their extra experience and quality to close out a 15-10 victory and take the final A Tour berth.

Thoughts on B Tour
  • In previous years, so-called yo-yo teams seemed to come up every Tour and head straight back down a Tour later without really putting up too much of a fight. The depth of the competition is a lot stronger in 2013 – consistent A Tour squads of the past few years are now struggling to come back up, teams are running large rosters reflecting their A Tour contemporaries and using tactics and ideas pioneered by the strongest clubs in the country.
  • Whilst the top half of the division featured some close games, the standard really dipped beyond a certain point and resulted in some really falling off the radar. The top 3 teams were spread by three points (11-10 to Glasgowover Manchester, 15-13 to Zimmer over Glasgow) but the level beyond that seemed to dim. Speaking from a personal perspective, Manchester convincingly put LLLeeds away twice by a 5 point margin and took Vision and Burro to the sword (15-5 and 15-8 repectively). Whilst B Tour has come a long way, it still feels as if some games for the more established squads would be more beneficial if Tour 1 allowed for crossovers into A Tour on Sunday.
  • The weekend saw some massive seeding swings, with Fusion nearly falling through the trapdoor and Glasgowrocketing to A Tour after being underseeded coming into the weekend. Reading showcased their growing programme with a strong showing resulting in a 6 place rise whilst Cardiff, JR and The Brown all have their work cut out after disappointing showings.
  • With Zimmer considering not entering Tour 2 and Rebel not entering due to its proximity to Windmill Windup, the teams promoted to A tour are yet to be revealed, but perhaps this year we will see some new faces upset the established order. With Devon, Cambridgeand Tooting all finishing in the historic relegation spots from previous years, the 9-20 bracket could see some real chopping and changing during the season – and those coveted Top 16 places look to be more fiercely contested than ever before.
Watch out for Dale and his team (Manchester Ultimate) along with the new promotions to the A tour in a couple weeks! More reviews tomorrow @ tSG.

London’s Calling Review – C Tour

Matthew Parker from Flump Open gives us their view of C Tour at London’s Calling.

The first C tour of the season brought many exciting opportunities for competitors. New teams with something to prove, seasoned teams looking to push into B tour, but all teams looking forward to a fantastic weekend of competitive ultimate unlike any other competition in the UK. With the largest C tour has ever been, and the inviting sun, London, was indeed, Calling. 

Complaints of seeding issues ruffled through the teams as the first day produced a collection of significant upsets, including the top seed Lemmings being toppled after a dominant display from newcomers Birmingham, who would prove to be a dominant force over the weekend. Flump also put on an excellent performance on the first day, conceding only 5 points in the group stage. Other seeding issues saw a reduced Yopen squad drop out of qualification after being dispatched by Mustard and an exceptionally close game against Rhubarb, who rose quickly up the seedings from the bottom half. As is consistent with C tour, the mix of standards saw relatively easy saturdays for the teams finishing top of their group, with dominant scores in their group. 

Flump Open take C tour by storm! Photo courtesy of David Gate. 

The start of the Sunday brought the prospect of closer games for all teams in C tour, with the quarter finals producing dominant displays again from Flump and Birmingham, knocking Saints and our hosts, St Albans, out of the running for the coveted 3 B tour slots. The other quarter finals displayed some exceptional ultimate, with Mustard edging  out Trigger Happy in sudden death in a tantalizing finish, and Devon 2 producing an exciting and dominant performance over Guildford in a game that was a mixture of everything that made ultimate exciting, layouts, long hucks with huge grabs, and some superb D. After a long break, the C tour semis of Flump vs Mustard, and Birmingham vs Devon 2, commenced in sight of coveted B tour slots, the winner of these matches guaranteeing themselves entry. Flump and Birmingham seemed destined to set up a tantalizing final, with dominant semi-final performances. The scores however, did not represent how close these games were, or the excellent quality of the ultimate on display. Indeed, some A tour players watching on the sidelines were overheard commenting; “What tour is this?”, “C tour semis”, “Holy S**t, this is C tour!? Wow.”  

In an unfortunate scheduling issue, the finals were played immediately after the semis, however, this did not stop the players leaving everything out on the pitches and producing some fantastic ultimate. Shielded by the trees in the corner field, the wind became less of a factor, as beautiful overhead play through the Flump zone by Birmingham saw points trading at the start of the game. However, after the success of a few set plays and some fantastic use of hammers saw Flump take the half. Flump looked set to round of a weekend of dominant victories, however Birmingham did not drop their heads and pushed Flump to up their game and take C tour 15-9. From neighboring pitch, calls of “we’ll see you in B tour” resonated from Devon 2 after a victory over Mustard. 
C tour movers. Courtesy of Wayne Retter.
Overall, this exciting weekend, complete with sun, wind, and great ultimate, was a fantastic showcase for the improvement in the standard of UK Ultimate. However, it seems that there is still an ever-persistent crevice in seedings for C tour, with the qualifying teams dispatching lower teams to cap with relative ease, meaning that their first truly competitive matches are not until well into the second day. Nevertheless, C tour will continue to serve as a fantastic, competitive platform for developing and recreational teams, and this tournament, especially at St Alban’s beautiful venue, will remain the highlight tournament of the year for many teams.

Nice one! We have had Irish and C tour, tomorrow B tour. DP @ tSG remember to like, share and contribute!

A Tough Pill to Swallow

Mark Earley kicks off our T1 review week with how the Irish lads did at London’s Calling.

Three Irish teams travelled to London for UKU Tour 1 at the start of June and all three returned to Ireland licking their wounds and eagerly counting the days until their next outing. Tour is a tough animal – you show a weakness and you get savaged. No team gives you anything and the higher you go up the ladder, the stiffer the competition gets. Irish teams know this and it appeals to their stubborn, physical and hard-working approach to the sport. Indeed, much of what Irish Ultimate has achieved over the past decade has been built on foundations picked up over freezing cold weekends in Mansfield, sun drenched days in Cardiff and at windblown Brit Opens. So, why the poor results this time around? Well before trying to answer that let’s look at how the three teams fared.

Ireland U-23 Open went into B Tour expected to challenge for the title and with the added bonus of a run out against their British counterparts in a show game. Saturday went to plan, with no team able to run with them and they coasted into the quarters not having conceded more than 6 points in any one the game. The show game saw the highly fancied GB team rattled until half, which they took by 1 point, and after which they powered on to win the game 15-9. Ireland fought hard and showed athleticism, a decent work ethic and a sense of team that will stand to them in Toronto. However, on Sunday morning it all came apart in spectacular fashion. Complacency set in and LeedsLeedsLeeds took full advantage, racing to a 4-0 lead and not looking back. Ireland went on to win their final two games, both by a single point.

Highlights of the show game between Ireland U-23 & GB U-23
Lorcan Murray, one of the team’s captains, explained that they had got a lot from what he called ‘a disappointing but necessary lesson in what it takes to succeed in Toronto’. Murray went on to say that collectively they ‘realised the potential of our squad and what it felt like when we played to the best of our potential. More importantly we realised the difference between confidence (Saturday morning) and complacency (Sunday morning)’. Furthermore he said team chemistry was improving, something that will have a big part to play come July – ‘Coming away from our first tournament as a full squad there was a collective awareness of the personality of our team. Positivity is the fuel that fires us. When we’re leading we’re happy, joking and boisterous when we take big deficits we turned on each other and fell into the trap of our own frustrations’. The Irish youngsters will be back for Tour 2 where Murray says their goals are straightforward – ‘to go undefeated and get a shot at some Tour A standard opposition, but more vitally than that is our aim to maintain the attitude and approach we take when we are winning’.

Some of the U-23s pose with the St Albans Mayor
Ranelagh went into the weekend confident of returning to the top 8 where they made their presence felt last season, finishing an Irish-team-high of 5th place. However, it just never quite clicked for the Dublin-based team. An opening day defeat to Chevvy was as heavy as it was hard to take. Unforced errors were punished by a smooth and confident Chevron O and suddenly the score was 5-0. Ranelagh regrouped but cough up that big a lead to any top 8 team and you won’t be let back in. Next up were Brighton, a team Ranelagh beat for the first time in 2012. This time the Dubliners controlled the game from the start but come 12-9 and with the cap set at 13, two huge Brighton Ds and two uncharacteristic errors saw them snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. A third flat display rounded out the day as Fire 1 ran Ranelagh ragged on the way to a 15-5 win. Vice-captain Sam Mehigan said of their day one opponents – ‘the standard in the top 8 was very high. Chevvy and Fire thoroughly outperformed us. They had strong defences and Chevvy especially had a very clinical offence’.

Peter Forde of Ranelagh holsters the throw to Sam Mehigan

Day two was a welcome improvement for a Ranelagh team missing a couple of players, but once again it began on the wrong foot with a sudden death loss to a wily Bear Cavalry team, lead by a virtuoso performance by Dave Tyler – capped off with a point block and layout grab in the final point. DED bore the brunt of Ranelagh’s frustrations and were beaten 15-6, a result Mehigan was pleased with. ‘DED beat us a few times last season in games we still carry with us but after four straight losses on the weekend, they got the wrong end of our frustration and we beat them by a large margin’. That left an all-Irish battle for 13thplace. Mehigan explained how the win went for his team – ‘The last game of the weekend was the 1st ever meeting of Ranelagh and Rebel on foreign shores. The first half saw lots of trading with each team having a few small runs and thus the lead changed hands a few times. The second half saw a Ranelagh run that got us a margin which we managed to hold onto to win by 6’.

Looking back on the weekend the team will be disappointed having been beaten badly by two top teams and losing closely to teams they would prefer to be beating. According to Mehigan they will be back with renewed focus come Tour 2 – ‘We didn’t do as well as we feel we could have, so it was a bit disappointing. After just two days for the dust to settle it’s too soon to have identified our goals, but for sure we’ll be looking to get our performance consistently to the level we showed in patches at Tour 1’.

Rebel Ultimate and Irish Mixed Beach team player Darragh Kelleher goes up

Rebel will arguably be the least concerned with their results this being their debut in the A Tour and only the start of their season. The Cork outfit are consistently raising the bar for others in Ireland, thrive on new challenges and have many of the UCC Ultimate team on their roster so it came as little surprise to see them competing in the top bracket of UK Ultimate. They approached the tournament looking to make 9th place their own but, much like Ranelagh, shipped a couple of heavy losses that disrupted their plans. With a somewhat depleted roster due to the Irish U-23s team presence, a certain team member sleeping in and a couple of late injuries the Corkonians struggled with numbers.

On Saturday the team in red made light work of both Devon 1 and Tooting Tigers but lost heavily to Bear Cavalry and as a result faced a tricky crossover against Brighton on Sunday morning. The southern English team beat the southern Irish team by a big margin meaning Fire 2 were their next opponents. Rebel regrouped and got involved in a dogfight with the London team. After a few tight calls and a turn by each team the sudden death point finished in Rebels favour and the ‘Irish Classico’, as detailed earlier, was on. A tight first half ended with an injury to leader Brian O’Callaghan and Ranelagh never looked back.

Rebel & Ranelagh team photo – a rarity! 

Speaking to Donal Murray, one of the team’s leadership, he was pleased with the weekend as a whole, specifically as a way of bedding in new players – ‘The weekend was all that we could have hoped for: a smoothly run tournament, beautiful weather, and tough long games against teams we knew well, not so well, or not at all. Some of our players got some knocks or had a few niggles, but nobody got badly injured during the tournament. As well as our regulars, some players were making their Rebel debut, some their Rebel comeback, while others just finished exams. We didn’t have strategies and systems drilled in, but we had a few talks before and during the weekend on team goals, individual goals, and the attitude we expected.  We were quite happy with how our teammates improved with these over the weekend’.

He added that there was work to do – ‘Our goal of 9th didn’t quite materialise, but a mixture of results ensured a thorough investigation of where we’re currently at as an open team and as a club’. Murray was impressed with the standard of the Tour – ‘Every team we played had some fantastic athleticism, great throws and clear systems. Some had lines, some had their own rotation system, some had clearly defined plays and defences while others had looser styles. It was great to play against some players who have become household names, to still see women compete in the open division at A tour, to see a very high standard of spirit with this year’s new rules, and to finally get a crack of A tour teams’. While Rebel wont be back for Tour 2 as it’s too close to their annual trip to Amsterdam for Windmill Windup, they hope to make Tour 3; ‘Our goal is the same as always, finish as high as possible and improve as individuals and as a team.  One or two more specific goals will be specified to the players in trainings and in the run up to the tournament’.

There’s no doubting the talent pool in Ireland, nor the enthusiasm but Tour 1 will surely have blunted some of the Irish confidence. In terms of the reasons, they are many – from injuries to complacency – but as each captain/leader has made clear, the teams will come back with renewed determination looking to get back on the horse, so to speak! It will be very interesting to see how the rest of the Tour pans out. 

Photos courtesy of Niall McCarney, Cynthia Lo & Andrew Moss
Video courtesy of Felix Shardlow at Push Pass Productions

Look forward to seeing Irish teams at T2 and hearing more from Mark! Like, share and more in the right hand pane, more T1 reviews coming up. DP @ tSG. 

Mixed Tour review and what next?

David Pryce gives us his final review of Mixed Tour 2013 and looks forward to Nationals and further.
Mixed tour has ended and with it we have seen some great battles, World Games dominating as expected, over 50 different teams attended and who will go to xEUCF and Worlds?

The results are in and so overall tour standings can be calculated (unofficial algorithm used, for official UKU results await update), the info graphic below shows how teams have moved over the season. To read find the team of interest on the left (ordered by MT1 seedings) and then follow their line.
All mixed up? Apologies, find your team and follow their progress.
Looking at how teams have done over the course of the tour: RGS, Cambridge and Black Eagles clearly having great seasons with Bears falling from their top spot. Ten from the top 16 beat their initial seeding but the worst drop was Peeps who fell 9 positions (Golden Ants also fell 7 positions and out of this bracket).
Further down there was a lot of big movers namely:
  • Mustard +19
  • Flyght Club +18
  • Steal +14
  • BAM! +12 [apologies for missing this one out!]
  • Reading +12
  • Some Team +10
  • JR +10

    Overall a great season and hopefully a lot of good preparation for our National teams going to World Games and u23 World Championships this summer.
    Matthew Hodgson gets horizontal for Thundering Herd 1 vs DED. Photo Courtesy of Graham Bailey.
    What does this seasons results mean for the upcoming national and international competitions. With teams like RGS, Magic Toast, Bristol, Black Eagles and DED; I imagine that most players will be choosing Open or Womens over Mixed. Hence leaving UKU Nationals 2013 to be played out by Cambridge, Bears, Brighton and company. From the teams that do play Nationals there are 3 slotsfor xEUCF 2013 in Bordeaux. At a wild guess I would say Cambridge, Bears and Herd would take those with Brighton Open/Womens vying for an Open spot. Another spot for Euros will be decided dependent on teams entered so we may see a 4th team go, wait and see.
    That would be this season over, BUT this season also gives the qualification for World Ultimate Club Championships 2014 in Italy. Again the UK has 3 slotsand is 4th on the waiting list for another. As set out by the UKU mixed qualification for Worlds is through a combination of:
    1. The winner of UKU Nationals 2013 in each division wins a spot at WUCC 2014
    2. The highest placed UK team at XEUCF in each division (excluding winner of Nationals) also wins a spot at WUCC 2014
    3. Any remaining spots are allocated based on the UKU Tour rankings 2013
    N.B. that if the winner of UKU Nationals is the highest placed team at xEUCF, the next ranked team at xEUCF will be awarded the 2nd WUCC bid.
    There are many combinations of what could happen here, mostly dependent on which teams go to which tournaments. Although if RGS don’t go to Nationals or Euros they would be guaranteed the third spot if they decided to go to Worlds. Tentative prediction: Cambridge, Bears for definite, the last spot is too hard to call.
    Who will get to go to Worlds?

    Well that is it, Mixed Tour is done for 2013 watch out for Nationals in August. Next weekend gives us the start of the Open and Women’s season with some European teams coming to London’s Calling in St Albans!

    Open and Women’s Tour previews should be up next week so keep an eye out for those and more! Thanks for reading, remember to like and share.

    Fog Lane Cup Review – setting the stage for a truly open season…

    Josh Coxon Kelly reviews the primary domestic warmup for the club open season.

    Last weekend saw the second ever Fog Lane Cup take place at Stanley Lane Sports Ground in Chippenham. A stiff but unpredictable breeze and occasional rain made for testing conditions, and an opportunity for teams to break in rusty winter skill sets and new tactics alike.

    Pool stages on Saturday saw two upsets from Fire 2, who showed grit and tenacity to come out with sudden death victories over both Kapow and Devon, earning themselves second in the group and a hard fought semi-finals berth. Chevron won-out, although not without fight from their opposition, which included a Kapow team hungry to improve on a tense 15-13 quarter final loss at 2012 Nationals. The London outfit were unable to improve upon last year’s effort however, and Chevron proceeded to top the group.

    The other side of the draw saw Fire 1 and GBU23 in a battle to top the group on Sunday morning. After dispatching EMO and Devon 2 decisively (both games got to score cap at 15-2) the Under 23s had made their statement and were ready to take their first scalp as a new team. However they found themselves up against an experienced Fire squad who, unflustered by the GB unit took an early lead, and held out for the win.

    GB didn’t stay dejected for long however, and made their way past Chevron in their semi-final for a chance of victory at their first ever tournament. In a game that was not lacking in familiarity between players (no less than 9 of the full U23 team are part of this year’s Chevron squad), the game nevertheless saw an exciting and fiercely competitive matchup, as both teams tested the opposing offences with an array of defensive looks. Both teams showed an ability to work the disc upwind from the first pull, with GB earning an upwind break to start. Chevron replied with a break of their own, but eventually the GB D-line brought a strong that proved too strong for the Chevron rainbow. Trading stopped after the first half as GB became increasingly efficient at converting their turns as they took the momentum for the second half against a stuttering Chevron, and eventually the game.

    Fire fought Fire in the other semi-final, in a training ground match-up for a final spot. Fire 1 commanded an expected lead early on, and despite a late surge from Fire 2 (characteristic of their performance throughout this tournament), they were unable to repeat the comebacks of the previous day against their first team. With Fire 1 now down to 9 men due to injury, permission was given by the TD for the two London squads to join forces to take on the GBU23 once again.

    With the earlier result still fresh in both teams’ minds, both sides were fighting for something in the final – Fire for consolidation of their earlier victory, and GB for vengeance. Despite a strong start from both, it wasn’t long before the game was slipping from the Fire squad. With the largest squad of the tournament at 21, GB didn’t waste a body as they brought a combination of athletic defence on the pitch and full-squad noise from the sideline, mounting an all-out assault on the Fire Offense. This time it proved enough, and the GB D-line showed the dominance of earlier games to take the game away convincingly 13-6.

    GB U23 win Fog Lane Cup 2013. Photo courtesy of Harry Slinger-Thompson

    The GB team succeeded in winning their first tournament together, and they will look to continue this winning form as they compete in the coming Open Tours 1 and 2, and finally in Toronto this July. In terms of club it was a tournament of statements. Fire 1 and Chevron topped the pack after GB, but did not yet find themselves in a rematch of last year’s National semi-final. The two teams will almost certainly meet this season, but at what point? With such a short preview of the coming tour season it’s difficult to make predictions, but this weekend also suggests that Manchester Ultimate are looking to overtake northern rivals Leeds in their pursuit for a top 8 A-tour position. Kapow are clearly out to prove right many people’s suspicions that they can run with the top teams in the country. A tour regulars Devon, EMO and Leeds have shown that they are all preparing hard for the coming season, but will they be able to hold off the ever increasing competition from new teams? With the inclusion of GBU23 as well as European teams at London Calling, it looks like we’re set up for an exciting start to the open season regardless.

    Final Results (Spirit scores)

    1. GB u23 (9.8)
    2. Fire 1 (11.5)
    3. Chevron (11)
    4. Man-up (10.8)
    5. Fire 2 (10.3)
    6. Ka-pow (11.1)
    7. Leeds (11)
    8. EMO (11.1)
    9. Devon (11.6)
    10. Devon 2 (11.6)

    Note – some of the final games were rearranged to avoid replays, hence final positions.

    Open Tour will start in two weekends time with London’s Calling and expect battles all over. Look out for our previews for both Open and Women’s divisions. REMEMBER; like, share, comment and contribute! tSG

    The Alumni Cup – where do we go from here?

    Sean Colfer of Phat ed’s and EMO fame brings us his views on The Alumni Cup and its future.

    After last year’s relatively successful debut in Manchester, the Alumni Cup returned to run alongside the UKU University Open National Championships in Nottingham. Leeds mounted an impressive defence of their title but in the end ceded the crown to Bangor, who used a large squad and strong team chemistry to overcome some of Leeds’ more impressive individual players. So, with a second year of this event in the books, what does the future hold for the Alumni Cup?

    The key issue with the Alumni Cup concept is what people want from the event. Is this intended to be a competitive tournament to truly find the best alumni team in the UK? Is it an event to keep graduates who have no interest in intense club competition engaged with Ultimate? Is it an attempt to forge links between alumni and current students? Is it an excuse for a reunion, a glorified catch-up and drinking opportunity?

    Last season there were 16 teams in the competition – this year that shrunk to 12. This season also lacked some of the depth that was evident in Manchester, with previous finalists Cambridge and semi-finalists Manchester and Loughborough all missing from the field in Nottingham. The field still contained some quality: Bangor’s squad of recent graduates were well drilled and were clearly the best team present, Leeds brought players covering an impressive time span and maintained their competitiveness well and teams such as Bath, UCL, Liverpool and Sussex contained stand out players giving good accounts of themselves over the course of the weekend. Despite that, it was evident that there had been a steep drop off from the first year of the tournament to the second in terms of overall quality of teams.

    Lancaster vs UCL, Alumni Cup 2013. Courtesy of Blockstack Photography.

    What were the reasons for this drop off? For one, pressure has been put on the calendar this year by the presence of GB teams and the importance of the coming season, with WUCC 2014 qualification depending on Tour positions. Players on the under-23 squads will have had three tournaments and one weekend session in April had they competed in Nottingham and so may have chosen to take a much needed rest while teams such as Fire had training weekends which took their players away from alumni teams who sorely missed their abilities.

    Another, more worrying, possibility is that the tournament was perceived as a novelty event last season: the first event to crown the champion of all alumni teams, effectively the champion of all university teams prior to that point. It brought together the best players from a wide range of eras for several universities and led to a tournament of impressive quality. This year that novelty diminished slightly, possibly keeping away those who are no longer regular players or those who decided that the weekend would be better spent resting their bodies for the season to come.

    Speaking from personal experience, the way my team-mates and I approached the Cup has not changed. We assembled a team of whoever we could think of that wanted to play and was free that weekend – no mean feat, believe me – and took the approach that as long as everyone played and everyone had fun results didn’t matter a great deal. Phat Eds very much took the reunion view of the tournament, which not surprisingly led to underwhelming results – 8ththis season bettered the 16th placed finish of 2012 but two wins in two years is hardly a stellar record – but I have certainly enjoyed both years and I’ve been proud of the effort put in by all of my former university team-mates and those other Phat Eds who have taken part. 

    So what does the future hold for the Alumni Cup? It’s difficult to predict trends after two seasons, but next year will go a long way towards determining what it is that this event will be. If the tournament expands back to 16 teams and some of the talent that was not present in the second iteration of the tournament returns, it could make for an exciting, competitive and deep tournament which would be more like the alumni version of the university tournament it runs alongside (the fact that some current students have never known a Nationals without the Alumni Cup might mean that more current students stick around and help arrest that problem). However, if the tournament sees no further expansion or quality re-enforcement it could become a simple excuse to meet old friends and support your old university in their quest for BUCS glory.

    In last year’s issue of Ultimatum, Rich Hims suggested that when the tournament becomes suitably established it might be worthwhile to find an opportunity for the alumni champions and the university champions to determine a ‘champion of champions’. Hopefully the slight downturn this year can be arrested come 2014 and the Alumni Cup can become suitably established for such a consideration in the coming years. As a concept it’s well worthy of a place in the Ultimate calendar – the hope now must be that the concept tangibly realises the clear potential it has in the near future. 

    Keep on reading, sharing, liking and tweeting!

    Mixed Tour 2 Review: A mixed bag.

    A review of the second Mixed Tour event held in Manchester. 

    Last weekend saw 52 teams from all around the UK converge on Manchester for Mixed Tour 2. The seedings for this Tour were, on the whole, more accurate as they were based on the finishing positions for Mixed Tour 1 but some teams still felt they had a lot to prove and wanted a shot at the top spot currently held by the World Games squad.
    With the WG squad being selected we lost one team from the tour, as well as the Irish u23’s. This paved the way for a couple of teams on the waiting list and bumped a few teams up a seed or two.
    DED vs Herd 1: Matthew Hodgson grabs over his team mate whilst pressured by Luke T. Courtesy of BlockStack.

    The info graphic below shows how teams moved from their initial seed to finishing place.
    Fun fact – Five teams retained their initial seed: WG (1), DED (6), Bear Cav 2 (29), Brixton (46) and Flyght 2 (48).

    Notables jumps:
    • Team Shark +13
    • Flyght +12
    • JR 1 +11
    • Devon +9
    • Magic Toast/Some Team 1 +8

    …and falls:
    • Curve -11
    • Golden Ants/Lemmings -7
    • Peeps/Halcyon -6
    This was Team Shark’s first appearance of the season and they were probably slightly under seeded but a great jump up into top of the bottom half. Great work from Flyght, JR, Devon and Some Team to truly beat the system. Magic Toast (having picked up some of the WG trial players) got themselves back where they belong in the top 4.
The final, between World Games and Royal Goaltimate Society, started off a rather one sided affair with WG taking the first half convincingly. However, RGS were not going to sit back and let them win easily. A second half comeback brought them within a couple of points, but the athleticism and experience on the WG squad told in the end and they finally pulled away to take the title 15-8.  
    Guess the WG player? Courtesy of Rien de Keyser.
    My final note is one on the sadder side of our sport: injuries. In rather innocuous circumstances, a Scarecrew player suffered a dislocated knee and broken ankle that not only ended her game but the entire game. Josh and I would like to wish Eley Haslam a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her on the field when the time is right.

    To everyone else, please stay safe and do your fitness!! See you at Mixed Tour 3 in a couple of weeks in Cheltenham.

    The ups and downs of Mixed Tour 2 (comparison of initial seed to final position).

    Want to contribute please email us at Or simply like what you see? Comment, like, tweet any feedback is welcome!