University Nationals Review: A Gaelic Affair.

David Pryce reviews an exciting weekend at University Open Nationals in Nottingham.

Last week I previewed this event and made a tentative attempt at predicting the outcomes.   Yet again the University teams gave us some great action but most of all some surprising results. The full version of these can be found here.


Division 1 was very hotly contested from the start where my predicted pool of ‘death’ befitted this title with a three way tie. Early on Sussex beat Edinburgh then Sussex would get beaten by Manchester who would lose to Edinburgh. Manchester (finishing 4th) came out on top, giving Sussex and Edinburgh the crossovers. They managed to power through to quarters where sadly Sussex could not pass Cork and would have to be content with 5th. 

In the other pools Sheffield battled their way into top 8 but couldn’t quite hold onto their momentum for Sunday finishing 8th. Three teams of pool D managed to get into top 8 places and Birmingham eventually beat Manchester to take 3rd. 

The final was between Edinburgh and Cork, this turned out to be a one sided affair where Cork only conceded a handful of points. This was not for Edinburgh trying with some great plays on both ends of the field. However, everyone will agree that the boys from Munster were out and out the best team there this weekend and congratulations to them, taking the UK University Nationals title.

Edinburgh vs Cork in the final. Courtesy of Andy Moss 2013

Division 2 was, as predicted, full of surprises:

  • All three Scottish teams finished in the top 8
  • Limerick (the other Irish team to attend) were very strong and got themselves to the final
  • Only one SE team (Imperial, finishing 3rd) made it into top 8.
The final was in fact between Nottingham and Limerick. Both teams had looked strong throughout Saturday. To get themselves there they had to battle somewhat harder against the likes of Warwick and Imperial but deserved their finalist positions. The game itself was still going on well after any other game had ended with one of the last points lasting a good 20 minutes. Calls were made, disputed and discussed with eventual resolution the score was held at 6-6. Then Nottingham powered through to score two on the trot and take the title. 

The Alumni Cup was also running alongside and after a day and a half of play Bangor and defending champions Leeds were in the final. Leeds could not quite hold onto that title and Bangor are now the best Alumni team in the country. Did you play university ultimate and want to challenge them? Well make sure to enter next year!

With two Irish teams doing well, including Limerick who actually came 4th at their ‘regional’, one question was heard all around the tournament: should the Irish region get another slot? Well this would mean one less slot for another region or a bigger tournament. We shall have to wait and see what the UKU does. I for one saw the strength of both these teams and was very impressed, the work done by the IFDA to bring through juniors and create the ultimate hotbeds around Cork and Dublin has clearly paid off. 

Regardless, Irish university ultimate have thrown down a gauntlet this year – will the mainland teams be able to step up to the challenge?

Limerick and Cork bring a top class game to Nottingham. Courtesy of Andy Moss 2013

Women’s and Alumni will be covered by the end of the week. Any suggestions for pieces? Got some cool photos? Submit them to showgameblog@gmail.com. Also follow us on Twitter and FB.

Mixed Tour 1 2013 – Cardiff

The British outdoor season kicked off again a week ago in Cardiff with the first instalment of the UKU Mixed Tour. David Pryce summarises the weekend’s action.

 
A grand total of 52 teams descended on the University of Cardiff sports fields including two trialling (now selected) World Games teams, GB U23’s and Ireland’s U23 squad. 
 
Alongside these national squads the regulars canada goose Calgary Jakke mænd of Bear Cavalry, Thundering Herd and Brighton were mixed in with newer/pick up squads Royal Goaltimate Society (RGS), Magic Toast and Meeples. Further down the seedings we saw the likes of Reading, JR, Guildford, ABH, Steal and many more battle it out for a possible higher seed at the next tour. 
 
Below is a graphic of how the teams rose or fell from their initial seeds. Of course, I know that the TD’s struggled with the seedings this time round, not made easy by the new teams. Overall most teams stayed within a fair margin of their original seed so the TD did a great job there (and with the rest of tournament, as ever). However their were a few big jumps:
  • Ireland U23 +11
  • Reading +10
  • ABH C +10
  • Steal +10
and falls:
  • Choke Hazard -15
  • GU1 -14
  • St Albans -13
  • Flump -9
Some of these falls are most likely to do with strong players going to new teams or not playing at all but in general I think the returning national players missed over past canada goose Canada Goose dame few years now in the WG, Magic Toast, RGS teams has pushed the standard up once again.

The teams eating up seeds appear to have worked really hard and fought out every game, everyone loves a challenge and being that initial underdog can really work in your favour. 


Highly Notable: 
Black Eagles yet again perform well after a solid season last year.
Brighton are always high in the tour and remain solid at 4th.
Some Team rising from 38th to 29th have really found some flow.

Note of interest:
Bear Cav were missing their main man Dave Tyler and so didn’t top the club team table but I wouldn’t count them as out yet. For teams in the top 10 anything can happen.

National teams: 
GBWG really showed us what they plan to take to Cali with everyone able to pick the disc up and scoring easily with defences lagging behind. Look out for them as one team in Manchester.

Ireland U23 were probably a little under seeded but still came out strong. In a similar manner to their slightly older beach counterparts played a very good mixed game to secure some invaluable playing time together.


GB U23 had a great Saturday but struggled a little on Sunday with team dynamics holding them back at times. Some true moments of great ultimate were mixed in with a few too many turns and mis communications. These guys and gals will definitely be back next tour and will hopefully use the great training they are having to step it up ready for Worlds this summer.
 
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Final positions and how they have moved.