UKU Regionals 2014 Results

news, Tournament Reports, UKU Nationals, UKU Regionals
This weekend saw the five regional tournaments taking place across the country. Below are the results of the teams that have qualified for UKU Nationals 2014.
Greater London
1. Clapham
2. Fire 1
3. Ka-Pow
4. Flump
5. Fire 2

South East
1. Brighton
2. Reading
3. DED

South West
1. Devon

1. EMO
2. BAF
3. JR

1. Chevron 
2. Manchester
3. Sheffield Steal

Scotland & NI
1. NEO

This would give our speculative UKU Nationals 2014 seedings taken from Tour rankings and adjusted to avoid regional rematches:

Nationals 2014
1. Clapham
2. EMO
3. Chevron
4. Fire 1
5. Brighton
6. Manchester
7. Ka-Pow
8. BAF
9. Flump
10. Reading
11. Devon
12. NEO
13. JR
14. DED
15. Sheffield Steal
16. Fire 2

and first round games:

Round 1 games
Clapham vs Fire 2
EMO vs Sheffield Steal
Chevron vs DED
Fire 1 vs JR
Brighton vs NEO
Manchester vs Devon
Ka-Pow vs Reading
BAF vs Flump

See you all in Southampton at the end of August, WUCC first!

UKU University Open Nationals Division 2 Preview

Division 2, news, Open, Previews, UKU Nationals
Chris Bamford takes us through the competition heading to Division 2 Open Nationals this weekend in Manchester

Looking at the Division 2 nationals entrants, two teams immediately stand out as potential winners – the two teams who contested last years final – Nottingham and Limerick. Nottingham came out victorious on that occasion but Limerick won Irish nationals this year and believe they are bringing an improved squad including several U23’s from Toronto last summer, so are feeling bullish about their chances.

When it comes to Nottingham I must admit some bias to my old university, but they come in having missed out on that elusive Division 1 spot once again and without their own U23 playe, EMO captain Robert Coddington. Captain Ben ‘Paddling’ Poole, has deep throws and huge bids which make him the star of this team. To retain their title as Division 2 champions Nathan Trickey will have to continue to rack up the scores, whilst handlers David ‘Athlete’ Lang and Paul Armstrong will be required to maintain the strong form they showed at regionals.

Andy Peck of Southampton with a possession saving snag at Western Regionals 2014.

The team I would have put next in line for a finals berth is Exeter, however they have dropped out of the tournament, which only helps other contenders such as Newcastle, Oxford and Strathclyde. Newcastle finished 4th in their region but have an experienced squad that will feel fully capable of beating anyone they come up against. They may also be hoping for some wet and windy conditions to allow them to pull out their favoured zone defence which has often caused issues for other teams in previous years.

Despite coming 5th at Midlands regionals, Oxford impressed with their athletic man D putting pressure on and getting lots of turns out of multiple teams who made division 1. If captain Dan Aronov can help them convert these turns into breaks they will threaten deep into the tournament. Strathclyde also finished 5th, but given the ultra competitive standard of the Scottish region other teams should beware. With many players involved in high level training with club side Glasgow Ultimate they should have no problem dealing with tough games from the off at nationals.

Recent regional finalists for the past few years Southampton suffered a disastrous regionals by their high standards, not even managing a place in the game-to-go. A 6th place finish in the country last year shows they shouldn’t be written off, particularly with GBU23 in Mike Speer running the show with captain William Caldwell. LSE, with their striking kit will be looking to prove the strength of the South East region after Sussex’s domination. Not long ago a Division 1 competitor, LSE remained quiet going into regionals but put in a strong show to claim a place in the game-to-go, only just losing out to an experienced Imperial side.

Surrey are another team who will be disappointed with their regional performance, coming in 5th at regionals this year, missing out on Division 1 which they earned the year before. Their recent history suggests they should be able to compete but a lot will depend on playmaker Jon Francombe and his ability to open up the break side of the pitch for the Surrey offence. Bournemouth will be delighted to have taken the final Div 2 spot in the west to qualify for Nationals for only the 2nd time ever. A great opportunity for lots of their players to gain experience at a national level tournament, it seems likely a push for a top 8 spot may be beyond them this year.

The other two Scottish teams at this event are St Andrews and Aberdeen. Everyone knows Coach Benji Heywood is the man with a plan for St Andrews. The question for them is if they have pushed on from last year where some windy condition damaged their push for their push for final at Division 2. Teams may be well advised to test them with some zone defence again. Aberdeen seem to have fallen behind the other Scottish universities this year but hung on to claim the final Nationals spot. They still have the remnants of the team which finished 12th in the country last year and an intimidating sideline will see them attempting to break the top 8 and develop for a return to Division 1 next year.

Bangor are reportedly coming into the weekend ‘literally aiming not to finish bottom’. I expect a zone look from them on D and a series of big deep then under cuts on offence. Liverpool placed 13th last year and 12th Indoors (both Div 2), so will be looking to improve on this form in Manchester. Kent made outdoor nationals by claiming the last spot from the South East, meaning they are likely to come into the event starting as bottom seeds, so the only way is up. From experience I can testify to their mean zone defence indoors and it will be interesting to see if they can translate this successfully at a national outdoors event.

Lastly: the two Midlands teams. Loughborough finished second to last at the 2013 Division 2 Nationals under captain Chris ‘Don’t call me Melon’ Peploe, who returns this year. They’ll be keen to improve on their previous finish. Handlers Peploe and Chris ‘Pudding’ Alderson and Chris ‘ Jaff’ Martin are some of the players who have been involved with JR so I’m expecting wild swings from hot to cold for the Loughborough offence. Captain Andrew ‘Pumba’ Sellers will hope by the end of the weekend that Loughborough are the team described as ‘the ones who were a lot stronger than their seed’. UEA sneak into Nationals thanks to drop outs from other teams. They were confident going into the season with star players in Howard Storey (U23 Mixed) and Luke Frett (Jen). Captain Arron Reed will be hoping that they can help show that the Midlands still has both the strength and the depth it is known for.

I’m expecting the Semi finalists to be Limerick, Nottingham, Newcastle and Southampton. With strong squads, each will feel they could have competed with teams at Div 1 and will be looking to prove so with victory in Manchester this weekend. All four have the quality to go the whole way, and the eventual winner will probably be decided by the team who simply keeps their focus best throughout the weekend.

All is to play for in Manchester – Good luck again to all teams from The Showgame, and stay tuned for the Women’s Division Preview! 

University Regionals 2014 Results.

Division 1, Division 2, UKU Nationals, UKU Regionals, University
Congratulations to all the teams who qualified for University Nationals 2014 from University Open Outdoor Regionals. Here are the top 6 from each region:

Div 1
1. Bristol
2. Bath
3. Cardiff
Div 2
4. Exeter
5. Southampton
6. Bournemouth

South East
Div 1
1. Sussex 1
2. Sussex 2
3. Imperial College
Div 2
4. LSE
5. Surrey
6. Kent

Div 1
1. Warwick
2. Cambridge
3. Birmingham
Div 2
4. Nottingham
5. Oxford
6. Loughborough

Div 1
1. Durham
2. Manchester
3. York
Div 2
4. Newcastle
5. Liverpool
6. Bangor


Div 1

1. Dundee
2. Heriot Watt
3. Edinburgh
4. Glasgow
Div 2
5. Strathclyde
6. St. Andrews
7. Aberdeen
Into possible seeds for Nationals:

Division 1 (suggested by Ashley Yeo)
1. Dundee
2. Warwick
3. Durham 4. Sussex 15. Bristol6. Heriot Watt7. Manchester8. Cambridge9. Birmingham10. Bath11. Edinburgh12. York13. Sussex 214. Cardiff15. Imperial16. Glasgow

Division 2
1. Nottingham
2. I1
3. LSE
4. Strathclyde
5. St. Andrews
6. Oxford
7. Exeter
8. Aberdeen
9. Newcastle
10. Surrey
11. Southampton
12. Bournemouth
13. Liverpool
14. Bangor
15. Loughborough
16. Kent

The Grapevine – 22/11

ESC, Indoors, Nice Bristols, SkyD, The Grapevine, UKU Nationals, Ultimate Interviews, Understanding Ultimate., University

The Grapevine the place to read about this week in Ultimate.

This weekend is University Open Indoor Nationals, schedule was out this week and the 16 teams will be converging on Coventry to crown the 2013/14 champion! Follow the action with the #UOIN13 hashtag. Also not forgetting Div 2 taking place in Dudley!! 

Tim Morrill has just passed through with his Performance workshops, Brummie and Colonel gave Ireland its first Elite Skills Clinic and now Brighton Ultimate are teaming up with a selection of current and ex-Mohawks to give a Skills Clinic aimed at University players! Join the event and get down there! 

SkyD have made the $12k target!! This means more great coverage from US and International Ultimate! Since they made it with time to spare there are even more perks, go see.

Understanding Ultimate discuss the Honesty Guy.

Ultimate Interviews have now official moved to Get Horizontal and this week interviews Kev Timoney from Ranelagh.

Finally Nice Bristols get interviewed on the Women’s Sport in Bristol blog talking about their road to worlds next summer. 

Share, comment and follow! 
DP @ tSG.

UK Nationals to xEUCF 2013: Women’s

Bordeaux, Iceni, LLL, Nice Bristols, Previews, SYC, Tournament Reports, UKU Nationals, Womens, xEUCF
Charlie Blair looks back at EUCR-W (UKU Nationals) and forward to this weeks xEUCF 2013 in the Women’s division.

This year’s Nationals finished just as expected, with all of the teams seeded in the top four comfortably claiming their spot at the xEUCF finals in Bordeaux. However, amongst the top four, there was a distinct lack of upsets. Particularly after Tour 3 had somewhat wetted the appetite for some tight results and big shake-ups to the status quo. Perhaps with no real challenge required to assure qualification for Euros, these teams were not forced to push themselves in a way that one would expect Nationals to demand.

In fact, both Bristol and SYC have admitted they are disappointed that they under-performed during the weekend, especially against Iceni. Indeed, neither team were able to take any more than seven points off of the eventual champions. But Cesca Tyler is adamant that SYC ‘definitely have much more to give’ against the teams they finished behind. Indeed, their performance against Leeds is testament to the way that their captain knows SYC have the potential to play. It was undoubtedly the highlight of the women’s division at Nationals. SYC played beautiful, fast paced offence. Their cutting was incredibly confident. With their flow so difficult to shut down they took a six point lead early on. Even in the face of a stoic Leeds resistance, they kept themselves in the game until universe point, where they eventually emerged victorious.

Word from the Leeds leadership is that very same game was the best of their whole season so far. Indeed having gone six down and then rallying to score eight consecutive points to take the half is one of the most impressive comebacks of the season. Yet despite failing to take any big scalps, Leeds should be particularly proud to have produced the tightest scorelines amongst those who qualified. Especially since their already predominantly youthful team, lost further experience, most notably in the form of Tash Nishiyama to the mixed division. Having come within three points of Bristol also, Leeds were the only team who looked likely to threaten the seedings. Even the match up between Bristol and SYC, 2nd and 3rd seeds, didn’t prove to be as close a contest as either of their games with the fourth seeds.
SYC vs Nice Bristols at UKU Nationals 2013. Photo courtesy of Patrick Ward.
Iceni on the other hand ended up finishing the domestic season as they had started it, with a pretty clean sweep at Nationals. Back to an almost full strength squad after having split the team for Savage during Tour and lost others to international duties, they held a strong margin of difference throughout the final against Bristol, closing it out at 15-6. Despite both teams employing notably stricter line calling, both showcased the talents of their newer, developing players. In particular, of those returning from u23 World Championships in Toronto. The sibling connections between the Owens was a potent force for the Bristol O line. Equally, Renny Norman, shone on the Iceni D line displaying such confidence and pace you’d be forgiven for thinking her doppelganger teammate, returning World Games star Jackie Verralls, was playing every point!

Despite the scoreline, Bristol did not go down without a fight. If given the chance to play expansively, they often profited with some lovely scores that involved very few passes. The start of the game however was plagued by longer points generated by an awful lot of turnovers from both sides. Iceni were able to stem Bristol’s flow by heaping up the pressure on the sideline trap. Bristol’s preference to look for the IO resulted in point blocks for both Lauren Bryant and Alex Meixner on the Iceni D. Nevertheless, the Iceni offence also struggled, particularly from leading discs being thrown beyond their receiver and out of the pitch. It was eventually Iceni’s patience to favour the around that allowed them to start taking away the game with their first five points all a result of throws to solid under cuts in the endzone.

Looking forward to Europeans then, how are the British contingent likely to fair?

Heading up the summit of the four pools are Cosmic Girls (Russia), Iceni (UK), Ultimate de Cologne (GER) and Lotus (Switzerland). Iceni will be returning to defend their title, very conscious of sending a message to the rest of the teams attending the World Club Championships of what to expect from the UK number one. Significantly, they are definitely taking the biggest squad in the women’s division to Euros.
Iceni after winning UKU Nationals 2013. Picture courtesy of Philipa Sturt.
Captain, Ange Wilkinson, is particularly wary of the Russians (Cosmic Girls), notably on the ascendency after their victory at ECBU earlier this year. Equally Lotus are expected to again bring great fight, after two ‘tough but rewarding games’ against the Swiss last year. As for the Germans, whilst this may be their first European Championships they do not lack in talent or experience. Even though this team has replaced Woodchicas as the premier German representation, Cologne has rehomed its most influential playmakers.

Both Bristol and SYC have their eyes set on the second qualification spot for Worlds, which would require them to finish as the highest seeded British club (excluding Iceni). Both are eager to match up against some European opposition and to escape the repetitiveness of the domestic season this year. Unfortunately, as one would expect, SYC’s seeding leaves them witha tougher route to the top eight.
Whilst Tyler anticipates a gritty match up from the likes of Hot Beaches, the Czech outfit were noticeably weaker than in previous years at Windmill, missing their twin sister playmaking pair. However, this still leaves them with Lotus and Lemon Grass to better. On the other hand, Bristol should expect to at least hold seed in their pool since first time qualifiers Lay D’s, although bulked by one the aformentioned Hot Beaches sisters, are reportedly unable to take their whole squad.

Despite a strong performance this season from their young side, the Leeds leadership still recognise that the aims for this tournament are very different from the ones of the side that made the finals of xEUCF 2009. In direct contrast to that squad, the majority of Leed’s current roster has not met European opposition outside of fun tournaments. However, here’s hoping after getting so close at Nationals, they do manage to take down some strong teams. Like, for example, pool opponents Prague Devils. They have won the Central European League twice already. However their team makeup is also significantly youthful and athletic, and are too, reported to suffer a dearth of experienced handlers.

I believe all the British teams have the strength to finish in the top eight. Rising to the challenge of Europe is something that all these teams need and desire. Thus, I am so thrilled that all four of them have the opportunity to do so. At this stage of the season, the British contingent should be making no excuses to not be reaching full stride in Europe. Since one can only speculate what to expect, there is everything to play for, in contrast to another somewhat predictable domestic season. The British should be ready to show Europe and beyond their full potential. If they do, we will see great results! The confidence that a strong performance that xEUCF can give our clubs is crucial to the future of women’s ultimate in the UK.
  • Iceni vs Jinx 08.50 (GMT+1) 26/09
  • Cosmic Girls vs Nice Bristols 14.05 (GMT+1) 26/09

With only 4 days left until #xeucf2013 we are very excited! More re-previews to come …. DP @ tSG.

    The Grapevine – 12/09

    Jen, SkyD, The Grapevine, UKU Nationals, Ultiworld, Understanding Ultimate., xEUCF

    The Grapevine – all the info without the mess of picking it out yourself.

    Jen Ultimate has got off the ground and we interviewed one of the founders, Sam Bowen, earlier this week.

    With xEUCF just around the corner a lot has been happening, both planning for on the pitches and off. Also go make your predictions to win a cap! Cannot wait!

    Understanding Ultimate seem to be enjoying this recent wet weather by getting into the ultimate mindset of “So it’s raining…”

    We have changed our front page look, what do you think?

    Liam Grant writes for SkyD on the recent Ranelagh 2 win over All of Ireland!

    Ultiworld look into how WFDF are pushing Ultimate slowly into the Olympics.

    Those waiting for Nationals reviews, we are combining them into xEUCF previews so sit tight! Until then enjoy the view…

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    The Grapevine – 06/09

    Golden Keg, PushPass, SkyD, The Grapevine, Triple Crown, UKU Nationals, Ultiszene, USAU.

    The Grapevine – links and news from around the ultimate globe.

    PushPass have done a great job filming and releasing some of the games, go watch the highlight video and read some of the interesting comments.

    The German blog Ultiszene reviews UK Nationals, we have started our coverage keep an eye open for more soon.

    Beau Kittredge is one of the few Ultimate celebrities and has written a fantastic piece on why he still plays and loves our sport.

    The Irish Eye author Mark Earley talks about his new mixed international tournament ‘The Golden Keg’ with Get Horizontal. Put the date in your calendars! 

    Finally, last weekend saw the last tournament in the USAU Triple Crown with GOAT, Polar Bears and Riot taking the titles in Open, Mixed and Women’s divisions. Watch a great highlight video from Nemesis below; see if you can spot Iceni captain Bex Forth representing Texas Showdown.

    With the off season looming we are looking for more contributors so please feel free to drop us a line via FB, Twitter, email or hit the contribute page up! DP @ tSG.