The Grapevine – 15/08

This week’s Grapevine has an international flavour, looking at some US perspectives on Ultimate in the UK and the world…

Clapham take on some of the best club teams in the US this weekend at the Chesapeake Invite. They are also playing in a fund raiser show game against Truck Stop. See Charlie Eisenhood’s preview of the Open division.

Iamultimate presents an interesting view from above the recent World Under 23 Championships in Toronto.

Lou Burruss gives his two cents on the various nations’ styles post World Under 23 and World Games – an interesting (if brief!) counterpoint to Dave Pichler’s recent piece discussing international competition.

Benji provides us with two pieces this week looking at the sport from a wider perspective. The first is a piece on the unique element that Spirit of the Game brings to Ultimate, and the second approaches the increasingly relevant question of the need for observers.

UKU Nationals is approaching – keep an eye out for previews from tSG in the coming week!


Do you read an Ultimate blog that you think should be on here? Let us know! JCK @ tSG

The Grapevine – 09/08

The Grapevine: where Marvin Gaye heard it and where you hear all about UK Ultimate!

Nationals is only a couple weeks away and there are currently 7 Women’s teams competing if you are not playing Mixed and can get a few friends together to form a team, go! It’s a great tournament and worth the experience! So enter a team now and make it a full on 8 (or more) team division, maybe even cause an upset! 

Regionals has happened, read our coverage and also read how the Open Nationals brackets had to be amended giving us the first round games ready to go!

Benji writes about personal bias on the field in Understanding Ultimate.

In the ever present debate of USAU (observers) vs WFDF (let the players decide), Ultiworld have published an open letter to WFDF calling for observers in making line calls and sorting disputes at major WFDF events from 2014 written by one of the USAU Junior Coaches . A great read, sparking many comments; what do you think about it?

The German made ultimate film “The Invisible String” is available from amazon.de, sounds like it is amazing so go grab one and also looking forward to the “Flatball” documentary in October!

Finally this week has been the European Youth Ultimate Championship in Cologne, Germany. Great Britain have been fairing well and the 4 squads today will start by playing:
Junior Open – QF vs Switzerland [Finished 4th]
Junior Women – 5-8 Semi vs Czech Republic [Finished 7th]
U17 Open – 6W’s last pool game vs Sweden  [Finished 1st: GOLD]
U17 Women – SF vs Austria [Finished 3rd: BRONZE]
Full results can be found on the ultiorganizer. A special mention goes out to the U17 Open squad who went 9-1 down to Austria, then 14-7 down and game point to comeback and win in sudden death 15-14. Watch their triumphant final score and en masse celebration, keep it up GB! 


Keep reading and commenting away! DP @ tSG. 

UKU Regionals Results

This weekend saw 16 teams from 6 regions earn their place at UKU Nationals 2013 and the first round match ups they gain.

Full results

South West

  1. Devon 1 (Q)
  2. Devon 2 (Q)
  3. Devon 3
South East
  1. Brighton City (Q)
  2. Reading Ultimate (Q)
  3. Release (Q)
  4. DED Open
  5. DED Mixed
  6. Guildford
  7. Brighton Echo
  8. Brighton Pier Pressure
  9. Team Shark


Greater London

  1. Clapham Ultimate (Q)
  2. KaPow (Q)
  3. Fire 1 (Q)
  4. Flump (Q)
  5. Fire 2 (Q)
  6. Burro Electrico
  7. Tooting Tigers
  8. Curve
  9. Jekyll and Hyde 1
  10. Brixton
  11. Jekyll and Hyde 2

Midlands

  1. EMO 1 (Q)
  2. EMO 2 (Q)
  3. Birmingham Ultimate (Q)
  4. Jest Ridisculous
  5. Flyght Club
  6. Cambridge
  7. Leamington Lemmings
  8. Sharkbear
North

  1. Manchester Ultimate (Q)
  2. Chevron Action Flash (Q)
  3. LeedsLeedsLeeds
  4. Vision
  5. Black Sheep 1
  6. Black Sheep 2
Scotland

  1. Glasgow (Q)
  2. Fusion
  3. Black Eagles
  4. Glue Factory
  5. Glasgow 2
  6. Sneeekys
The surprise being Manchester beating Chevron in sudden death to top the North and 6 of the qualifiers coming from outside the top 16 Tour teams. For a comparison on how our predictions did against Smatt’s blog, read his post! ED: We weren’t far off though.


We take the seedings from the UKU Nationals document which gives us the full 16 as:

  1. Clapham Ultimate
  2. Manchester Ultimate
  3. EMO 1
  4. Brighton City
  5. KaPow
  6. Fire 1
  7. Flump
  8. Devon 1
  9. Reading
  10. Chevron Action Flash
  11. Glasgow
  12. EMO 2
  13. Birmingham Ultimate
  14. Release
  15. Fire 2
  16. Devon 2
First round games will be in the knockout format: 1v16, 2v15 etc which will go up on the UKU Nationals website soon. 

This notably gives a possible second round (due to low impact criteria) regional rematch for Chevron and Manchester.

Cannot wait for Southampton now! DP @ tSG.

UKU Regionals Preview – South East

Brighton Echo player Miles Tincknell finishes of the regionals previews with a hotly contested South East, who have 3 bids and will compete on Sunday.

With only three places up for grabs the SE region will be experiencing a heated game to go while the top two battle for the prestige of taking the region.

DED (Dog Eat Disc) were last years years victors of the region after finishing a comfortable 4th at Tour in 2012, however a stronger and more fleshed out squad from Brighton brought it back hard at Nationals, beating them comfortably 15-5 while DED where were lacking some key players. This year they have slipped 6 places in the tour rankings down to 10th place, but will still be fighting for that vital qualification if they are again to establish themselves as the biggest contenders in the regionals tournament. With them placing in a mixed squad into the region, it is clear that DED’s focus is not just on the Open side of things. It will be interesting to see how they split their guys between the two teams, trying to find a balance can be difficult. DED will be looking to get comfortable with the mixed team but should be doing so without cutting too much depth from the DED open squad. If this team is to continue it’s growth, it’s important that it tries hard to find this balance and not sacrifice the few spots that are on offer, which will be highly contested from Reading and Brighton Echo.
DED at T2, but which men will go play mixed from this bunch? Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.


Brighton City, long time standing club and rumors suggest; the biggest Ultimate club in the UK, are on a mission that transcends that of single tournaments and instead places itself on the timeline of decades. With discussions rife about sorting out who will play Breezy, Echo and City, it is clear that Brighton City are thinking of nothing else but a Nationals qualification, a given seeing that they finished 4th at Tour over all this year, rising two places from 6th last year. However who they face in the final could be a different story. Trying out a new approach to Ultimate, City will be looking to see how their offense fares compared to last year not just in the region but all the way to Nationals. With Brighton putting up their best ever performance against Clapham this year (15-11), it will be interesting to see how they contend for the Euros spot as their team grows in strength and depth. 


Brighton Echo, a team that is seen as more of an extension of the first team within the club than a second team will be looking to prove a point in the SE. Meeting defeat upon defeat against Reading, they will be looking for revenge, but with Reading being comfortable in their victories, surely that 3rd place is destined for them and them only. Echo, however, will be sporting their strongest team yet, coupled with a few new tricks in their arsenal, their aim is to solely prove that Reading caught them on a bad few days. 

Reading as previously mentioned had comfortable victories against Echo this year and broke into A-tour after Tour 2, only to drop back out of it in tour 3. Proving that they are on the cusp of promotion, they finished top of B-tour, taking 17th, 4 places up on Echo who stole 21st from EMO 2 (a team that had previously given them trouble).  Going from strength to strength this year, they are in a prime position to take their game up to the next level. Lacking Mark Bignal (who is going to be playing for DED Mixed), their Captain and so goes without saying, a key player, the rest of the players will be looking to step up to the mark and prove that their depth is withstanding. 

Release have seen key players lost to Wessex last year and a few to Brighton over the years, they will be looking to rebuild their team back to full capacity; with regionals providing a perfect opportunity to do that. Sporting lots of fresh talent from Skunks, it will be important to see if these players build the club loyalty to stay or will their talent be head hunted by some of the bigger clubs as the younger players look to make plays to get noticed. Possible exciting moments from this team.

Pier Pressure being another part of the Brighton contingent will be looking to bring a hard game, with a lot of experience and ability, they have the potential to cause some upsets to the rankings. Wanting to further themselves in the regionals scene, Pier Pressure will be looking to bring a hard game to whomever they play. Expect tough defence and a hectic offence from these guys, who proved last year that given the right moment and their years of playing together, they can upset teams!

Team Shark and Guildford will also be appearing, hoping to utilise this as an opportunity to match up against the big players and teams, taking from it what they can in a hope to continue the growth they have been experiencing so far. 


Predictions for this region?

1. Brighton City
2. DED
3. Brighton Echo
4. Reading
5. Pier Pressure
6. DED Mixed
7. Release
8. Guildford
9. Team Shark

So that’s it, all the regional competitions will take place over the weekend. Follow the action on twitter! DP @ tSG. 

UKU Regionals Preview – Greater London

James Burbidge tells us the London regionals story. Greater London has 5 bids for Nationals and will be held this Saturday.

With 5 qualifying spots, London is typically the richest Region in the country and for the past 3 years 4 teams from London have finished in the top 10 at Nationals.

With the uncontested top seed in the country ruling the roost in London, it’s unlikely that Clapham will lose a game at Regionals. Things get more interesting from then on. Fire are keen once again to get both squads to Nationals, and – going on results thus far this season – shouldn’t have much problem doing so. In fact the regional tournament structure should give Fire 1 the chance to prove to the heckling doubters their dominance over their second team – but you can bet that Fire 2 will be more fired up (excuse me) for that game than any other. Ka-Pow!, having come into a run of form (with the mooted return of Captain David Pichler), will also be out in force as all three teams battle for the higher positions that should give them better seeds and easier matches at Nationals.

Giacoma Maltman lays out for the D against his putative teammate Andy Mitchell (actually playing GBu23 here).
Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss via Blockstack.
Things get interesting when you look at the teams vying for the fifth spot – and depending on your taste, this could provide the most interesting story over the weekend. Teams in the hunt for that final spot will be perennial contenders (well, the last 3 years anyway) Tooting Tigers and Burro Electrico,* alongside a revived Flump team.

All three teams have had a topsy-turvy season so far, Flump rising unexpectedly quickly out of C-tour to the top section of B-tour, whilst (following Newtonian physics) Tooting have matched them with a fall from the middle of A-tour to the middle of B-tour. Burro have plodded along with solid results and unfavourable schedules that saw them finish ‘in A-tour’ at Tour 3. Burro has beaten Flump and Tooting this season, and Flump has beaten Tooting twice. To further complicate matters, both Tooting and Burro will be losing players to the mixed division and there are always late season injuries to be accounted for too. (One team who might be expected to make an experience in this area is ABH but they are focusing on mixed too.)

Chung Leung from Burro Electrico misses the goal at Tour 3. Photo courtesy of Louise Smith.
Further down the seeding will be some teams looking for a bit more pitch time together, the chance to play a big seed and perhaps even cause an upset for the 5th spot. Whilst the teams entered haven’t yet been released, likely teams in this bracket include St Albans, Curve, and perhaps PAF. Iceni is not believed to have entered a team this year.


So there you have it – a Region that should provide some top-quality games between some of the best teams in the country, as well as a classic qualifying battle. Stay tuned for a schedule.

*Full disclosure! I captain this team. 

Five regions down, one to go. DP @ tSG. 

UKU Regionals Preview – South West

James Bunting from Devon gives us a quick preview to a rather one sided SW region, but who will go to Nationals, Devon 1, 2 or 3? SW has 2 bids to Nationals and will be held this Saturday.

With the south west continually proving to be one of the least populated regions, it will still come as a surprise to know that this year it will only be contested by 3 Devon teams.

The absence of Cardiff Storm, who have qualified for Nationals the last few years, and a lack of a Bristol showing, means it will be more of a glorified training session for the boys in green. It is unlikely that Devon 2 will cause any Fire-esque upsets in the club, especially not given Devon 1’s strong showing at Tours 2 and 3 and increasing confidence against the bigger teams, so the odds are very much on for it to finish Devon 1, Devon 2, Devon 3 respectively.


What the lack of competition will cause, however, is some brain scratching for the seedings at Nationals. Last year Devon 1 went in seeded towards the bottom and after scalping a strong DED team on Sunday morning went on to finish in 8th position, way above the regional champions Cardiff. Accurately predicting which Devon team will show up in Southampton is typically very difficult, but Devon 1 have found some form this year that they’ve lacked previously and this will put them as one of the most dangerous of banana-skin teams come August bank holiday. That said, without a rival team at regionals it remains to be seen how seriously their contention is taken by the scheduling team for Nationals. (NB: SW1 is 8th and SW2 is 12th out of 16)

The dominant force in the SW.

SW regionals is already pre-written, from here it’s about watching and waiting to see if a team as good looking, athletic, and determined as Devon 1 have been this year can do some damage come Nationals and take that coveted Euros spot they set as their prize during the off season.

Prediction:
1. Devon 1
2. Devon 2
3. Devon 3

One region down, sadly not so hotly contested as others, more to come! DP @ tSG.