Scottish University Open Outdoor Regionals Preview

Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, Previews, Scotland, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde, UKU Regionals, University
Rory Curran finishes off UKU University regionals with Scotland.

Scottish Uni Open Outdoor Regionals will have a different look and feel about it this year. With the introduction of a Women’s sanctioned event running along side the main BUCS open qualifier it’s unlikely many girls will feature in the main event (though they will be fighting for medals of their own). Another change is the introduction of upfront bad weather arrangements meaning teams will travel safe in the knowledge they will be settling nationals qualification one way or another, with most regionals in recent memory having been rained off, this is a luxury that those from the drier side of the country may take for granted. Another big change in Scottish Ultimate is the fact that Edinburgh, after at least a decade of top two finishes, are no longer considered to be part of the top two north of the border their demise has been likened to that of Manchester United, with some going as far as saying Man U and Ro Sham Bo alike are top Division material.

Edinburgh in the final last year, can they repeat? Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.
Everyone’s pre-tournament favourites are undoubtedly Dundee. Since winning both Open and Woman’s Indoor Regionals Dundee have failed to finish top of the Scots in any tournament since. All those in Scotland are aware this is because Dundee have shifted their focus to outdoors in a bid to taste outdoor national success as “they have nothing left to achieve indoors”. Key players Dickers and Footjob will heavily influence the outcome of this tournament, however they will be backed up by a very solid team who have been training hard for months and have half a dozen warm up matches under their belts already. The warm up matches have taught us a few things. Firstly Dundee have more than two big players, they play a quick handler based offence utilising Pierre McCarthy who is as fast as a Ferrari while focussed training by Thomas Parkhill has seen him up his game and look likely to make a big impact at regionals. Pre-tournament favourites with a lot to prove outdoors – Man City?

Most captains tip Glasgow to build on the silver medals they won at indoor nationals with the core of their team having come off the back of a successful debut club season at Tour and Nationals playing for Glasgow Ultimate. Captain Rory Curran will be looking to dictate play with his big throws, and as shown at indoors he has plenty of big men to bring the disc down – most notably indoors Div 1 MVP Joe Crisp, and vice captain Tom Calvert. Most teams will try and mark these guys out so it may be down to the “FarFlung Futures” to show they are better than “good for a beginner” and make a few big plays. Glasgow Uni an era ago were great, there are glimmers of hope they may be returning; the Liverpool of Scottish Ultimate?

Heriot-Watt were tipped by myself qualify for Div 1 at indoors in my previous preview, much to the disgust of their closest rivals. They succeeded, surprising those who doubted them along they way. John Stainsbury will be their key man, and in what could be his final year with the team he will be looking to repeat if not improve upon the team’s indoor triumphs. Owen Martin (imported from America) looked a real talent during the indoor season, but with his style of play was clearly suited to outdoors he is likely to be a key player when unleashed on grass. A team who will work hard for each other and will get blocks, they play with a lot of energy and could beat anyone in Scotland on their day. Everton?

Strathclyde, like FarFlung, have been reaping the rewards of Glasgow Ultimate and their regular high-level training has brought the Horses players on leaps and bounds. The return of GB U23 star Jonny ‘Tubby’ Ferry and the pick-up of arguably the most experienced fresher in Scotland – Asif Arshad – are notable assets that this team didn’t have at their disposal last year. If captain Matt Scott can whip his team into line the Dark Horses will be looking for a top four finish. Tottenham?

Edinburgh are clearly undergoing a rebuilding year having lost a number of key players since beating all but the Irish at nationals last year. Usually Ro Sham Bo rebuild without vacating the top two and many still believe indoors was a blip as opposed to the end of an era. Given the size of the uni, the player base within the capital and ample space to play on the meadows it’s easy to be convinced that Ro Sham will be targeting, if not competing in the final again come regionals. Man U?

St. Andrews’ hosting the tournament and entering three teams clearly shows their intentions. Director of Ultimate Benji Heywood has been rebuilding this squad since it last featured in Div 1 (open) in 2011. He seems to finally have a decent mixture of experienced players in Miles Knight and Ben Murdoch backed up by some promising freshers such as Gabe Schechter all of whom will have benefited from playing together and gaining big game experience at COWIN at the end of February. Could finish anywhere between 4th and 8th. Newcastle?

Aberdeen haven’t had the distraction of indoors having narrowly missed out on qualifying for nationals in what proved to be a very tough region. The North East team has used this time wisely with some rumours of a club team having formed, perhaps as a result of all that extra time they had. Daryll, Danny and Aaron will remain the key men on the pitch, and if that fails you can be sure they’ll be singing/chanting/heckling with enthusiasm on the sidelines. Swansea?

Stirling have had recent success indoors however have failed to shine outdoors. Matt “wrecking ball” Tomlinson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk1Cho7tksM) has a point to prove having lost to Dundee 2 last year before the tournament was called off for water logged pitches or as Matt described them “ice rinks”. Matt has managed to convince Stirling Uni to have him back for another year and hopes to make the most of it.  A very small squad, Blaze boast the ability to offer every fresher a ‘frisbee mentor’ to guide them.  Matt will be looking to Anthony Hulatt and Mike Thomas to step up and fill the holes Calum Easton left behind, however he may have to turn to his freshers to help complete the job, F. Blaster having shown most promise outdoors at Stirling Tune up at the beginning of the academic year. Stoke?

So that’s a wee run down of the eight first teams competing for the title of Scottish Champions. It’s a different looking tournament to what the region is used to, and who knows this may be this regions last chance to become British Champions…

My predictions in order:
Dundee, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Flatball, Aberdeen, Stirling.

Good luck to everyone playing this weekend, possibly 18 degs on Sunday! Yippeee!!

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:

West
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

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

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

Scotland

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 – 28/02

The Grapevine, UK Ultimate, UKU Regionals, Understanding Ultimate., University, Windmill Windup, Womens, WUCC2014
Couple weeks off for the Grapevine but back in for this almost leap day!


UKU/BUCS University Ultimate Regionals (we love acronyms) start this weekend, see our coverage here.

The UKU needs info for the upcoming tour season! New team? Get involved email Benji at benji.heywood@ukultimate.com

Benji also wrote a piece on his site Understanding Ultimate this week about possible Match Fixing in Ultimate.

Last night saw a big meeting of minds for Women’s ultimate. Wasn’t able to go? Contact us and we can link you up and help develop the Women’s division in the UK!

Windmill Windup have made their decision on who will get to play there this year! Go see some big teams warming up for WUCC2014.

Check out this old school news piece from Ross-On-Wye explaining Ultimate in the UK, 25 years ago!


Make sure to tweet from your region this weekend, e.g. SEUOOR -> #seuoor. Good luck!

Midlands University Open Outdoor Regionals Preview

Birmingham, Cambridge, Leicester, Loughborough, Norwich, nottingham, Oxford, Previews, UKU Regionals, University, Warwick
Chris Alderson runs down the Midlands region ahead of this weekend University regionals in Cambridge.

With the University Indoor season drawing to a close, all teams in the Midlands Region are once again drawn to Cambridge to compete for 6 Nationals places (3 in each Division). Here’s a preview of what we’re likely to see.


We can’t start this anywhere other than looking at the Division 1 Indoor National Champs and our hosts, Cambridge (Strange Blue). On the lips of everyone in the region is ‘these Americans’ or to use their actual names, Justin Norden and Ben Funk. Funk is an import from Stanford and Norden a 2011 USA College Nationals Champ with Carleton. Expect the combination of Norden’s clinical handling and Dom Dathan breaking forces like twigs to form an offence to be reckoned with. Captain George Anegg will be looking to take a large and athletic squad to give those handlers plenty of options.
University of Nottingham at Div 2 Nationals last year. Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.
The next logical team to review would be the Division 2 Indoor National Champs, Warwick Bears. Bears Skipper Sam ‘261’ Hawkins appears to have gathered a good squad depth. Their second team was the highest placed second team at Indoor Regionals, and they have a good retention of players from last year in the name of Robbie ‘Cracking’ Tink and Frigate as steady handlers, plus Andy Hillman organising the defence. Expect that ‘Midlands weave’ and a classic Bears aggressive zone in their arsenal. With this in mind, Warwick will be looking to be that outside bet to break into the top two (of Cambridge and Birmingham) in the region.


That other team in that ‘top two’ (along with Cambridge) and going into the weekend with a firm belief they can win is the University of Birmingham (uBu). Another Bronze medal at Indoors this year, their third on the bounce, shows uBu haven’t taken the foot off the pedal and will be hoping to do one better than last year and win the region on the road to Nationals. Rollo Sax Dixon and Ben ‘Borat’ Burak the notable names most teams will be eyeing as game changers getting blocks, but with other standouts like Lloyd ‘Incredible CheeseWing Frisbee Throw’ Cheesman and Tom Hodgett, there is no end to the talent they have you’re going to have to try and stop. A solid team, summed up perfectly by Harry Mason: “Dang they strong.”

Onto EMO… I mean Fling (University of Nottingham). I say EMO, as looking at Fling’s key players you start to spot the trend; with no less than 8 Fling players on the EMO roster (a reduction from 12 last year). EMO Captain Robert ‘Cody’ Coddington will be there, in a team lacking handler resource, throwing deep options to the towering Captain Ben Poole, and on defence you’ll see Nathan Trickey and Adrian ‘Cass’ Delport getting layout blocks for fun. Although they were disappointed last year not getting Division, they responded by winning Division 2 Outdoor Nationals and they will be looking match their indoor achievement and qualify Division 1 this year.

After a disappointing year in 2013, losing to Fling in some style in the game to go for Division 2, Oxford University (OW!) are looking for revenge. They’re hoping to do this through their defence, with Dan ‘Monster’ Cerigo and Michael ‘Face’ West who are going to be huge in the air combining with Harry ‘Puppy’ Mason who’ll be chasing down the opposition so as to not allow them an inch of space. Captain Dan Aronov will no doubt be trying to get their offence consistent as well. Hugo ‘Huggie’ Grimmett in his 7th year with OW! will help this, but with very inconsistent performances over the past few tournaments, who knows what their outcomes will be against opponents of different levels.

Leicester University (Jesters) come into the tournament after qualifying for Division 1 last year but with limited success this year so far. You can’t talk about Jesters without immediately talking about Alex ‘Medic’ Charlton, a player of huge talent (I don’t really have to explain anything other than saying his name…). Some may think he has carried Jesters this year but with rumours of his University Ultimate career over to concentrate on university workload, the responsibility comes down to Edd Carmichael and Julian Neo to bring this relatively young and inexperienced team through the big games.

Another team that kept cropping up in the Region’s predictions is University of East Anglia (Aye-Aye). GB U23 Mixed player Howard “HOWWWAAAARRDDDDD” Storey looks to be the star in a team of relatively unknown players. Aye-Aye have shown promise in previous tournaments this year and perhaps Regionals is where it all comes together for them. Captain Arron Reed will be hoping for Jen squad player Luke Frett to step up also, especially with injuries to some key squad players to contend with.

Now we draw to my team, Loughborough University (Haze). After being written off for last year’s Regionals, Haze went on to lose narrowly in the game-to-go for Division 1; living up to the old adage: ‘Haze always find a way.’ Skipper Andrew ‘Pumba’ Sellers draws from a large young squad showing a lot of promise, hoping to be coupled perfectly with handling experience in Chris ‘Melon’ Peploe. Ben ‘Jar Jar’ Pocock and Matty ‘Matty’ Hart will be looking to motivate the young defence in accumulating blocks, and not letting offences flow.

Lincoln will be hanging around that top 8 area this season with notable player Jack Gray, anyone not treating the likes of these teams with respect may be punished.

Taken from predictions around the region, here’s an average of what people think the outcome will be:
1st – Strange Blue
2nd – uBu
3rd – Bears
4th – Fling
5th – Haze
6th – OW!
7th – Jesters
8th – Aye-Aye

Whatever happens, the strength in the Midlands and with the amount of silverware teams have around the region, it promises to be a tasty affair. See you all there.

And that’s it for English regionals, next weekend will be the final UK regional: Scotland.

South East University Open Outdoor Regionals Preview

Imperial, LSE, Open, Portsmouth, Previews, South East, Surrey, Sussex, UKU Regionals, University
Joe Spreckley continues our UKU Uni Regionals previews with the outlook in the South East.

The south east has finally found a venue and the largest region will get its qualifying tournament for another year. Realistically I can only see two teams having a chance of winning the tournament, the first of course being Sussex (Mohawks).

Sussex enter the tournament heavy favourites having won the previous three open outdoor regionals with relative ease. While some of the big names are starting to graduate, the depth of class in the squad is still evident with players such as John Maule and Sam Airey continuing the winning legacy. What remains to be seen is do they have the depth to get two teams into division one once again? Don’t be surprised to see Mohawks 2 in the 3-4 game to go like last year.

The other standout team in the region this year is Imperial Disc Doctors. Led by Stephan Rossbauer (Clapham) and James Threadgill (Cambridge mixed). They arguably have the strongest individuals in the region. Keeping near enough the same team as last year, David Pryce (Fire), Phil Sandwell (Ka-Pow), and Renny Norman (Iceni) are the other key players which most the play should run through. If the draw allows it, A DD vs. Mohawks final will be a great watch and could be one of the closest for a few years.
Can Imperial take the title off long standing champions Sussex? Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.

The other team I can see pushing division 1 is Surrey. They were unlucky to miss out on division 1 indoors qualification to a strong Mohawks 2nd team and will be looking to make up for this outdoors. Jon Francombe is the man to watch with some unorthodox breaks that will keep defenders on their toes. I expect to see Surrey in the 3 vs. 4 looking for revenge against Mohawks 2.

While I believe these four teams are hot favourites for qualification, below them, there are a lot of very even teams that if they have a good weekend will be booking their spot for nationals.

The first of these teams are Portsmouth Sublime. A recent friendly against school team Southern Tekkers saw a weakened team lose 8-6. While key players were missing, this result suggests the team might struggle against the stronger teams in the region. With Sam Bowen (Jen, Chevron) a maybe, there will be a lot of pressure on captain Liam Berry (Portsmouth) to uphold the expectations of Sublime. However, with fresher Will Rowledge making the Jen squad, there is definitely still the quality to push teams and get some big results.

UCL will be pushing for qualification with the majority of their squads being retained from last year. Captain Tim Gibson (Thundering Herd) will be looking to push his team into contention and with a good draw this is definitely a possibility. First year Tim Beech has been pinpointed as one to watch after an impressive indoor season, and with a potential Polish wildcard player Marcin Konopa, don’t be surprised to see UCL finish higher than previous seasons.

Kent had some decent indoor results and will look to replicate that outdoors, a physical and mainly zone based defence indoors may transfer well outdoors if the weather conditions suit. Kent should be one of the teams knocking on division 2’s door towards the end of Sunday.

Kings College London are a team that could throw a spanner in the works, while open results weren’t too favourable, their mixed results suggest that they still have a team that can pull a few surprises.

Holloway – Looking for division 2, have Tom Williams as the main play maker to try and give the established SE teams a scare for qualification. Fun fact: Holloway were previously known as the “Holloway Hammers”, a name discontinued once it became apparent there was serial killer off the same name.

Chichester will be reliant upon Alex Rawlinson and Matt Morecraft to make most of the plays this year. With a fresher heavy team, however they may be a team to watch for next season if they can keep hold of their players.

Other teams have remained tight lipped upon their current situation, but going on past results, of these only LSE stake a strong claim to qualifying. Saying that, anything can happen at regionals…!


Predicted Results:
1) Mohawks 1
2) Disc Doctors
3) Surrey
4) Mohawks 2
5) Sublime
6) LSE


Well that’s the south covered. Midlands tomorrow! 

Western University Open Outdoor Regionals Preview

Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Plymouth, Previews, South West, Southampton, UK Ultimate, UKU Regionals, University

Andrew Moss starts off the University Outdoor season from the Western region perspective.


Always challenging, the run up to the University outdoor season seems to have been particularly tough this year with the addition of flooded fields and 80mph winds meaning it has been nearly impossible for teams to get outside. Those who have persisted will be rewarded, however, with the opportunity to represent their University at the BUCS National Championships.

Ben Powlay in blue for Plymouth University. Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.

The South Bristol Sports Centre will host those Western University teams hoping to make the elusive top six in our regional competition, and thus a spot at Nationals in Manchester. An expanse of quality, well-drained fields means the tournament has a huge capacity, and clubs have taken advantage of this with most fielding second and third teams. Some fairly exposed pitches means that wind will likely be key factor in this tournament.


WUOOR Results 2013:

Bath
Southampton
Cardiff
Exeter
Bristol
Plymouth


Southampton consistently make the final in this division, but last year a determined Bath side meant they had to settle for second. A strong Nationals saw them placed as the highest Western team and sixth in the country. Bring his experience from European competition, William Caldwell (Ka-Pow!) hopes to captain Skunks back to first place, and looks forward to his team playing a quick offence with isolated cuts. Big plays are likely to be featuring GB u23’s Mike Speer and up-and-coming rookie Joe ‘Beans’ Benians.

Predicted to join them in the final are defending champions Bath.  They have a star-studded team of GB and Jen players hoping to retain that top spot. Alex Brooks (Jen captain), will have been enforcing his club team’s ethos of elite athleticism on this university squad, which combined with already experienced players Piers Nicholas (GB u20), Michael Guise (GB u20) and Andy Watt (Jen), this is going to be a powerful team looking to retain their spot in Division 1. Watch out for Danny ‘Jumps like a Salmon’ Ryle (Reading Ultimate) leaping over people in the end zone.

Bristol placed in fifth last year, but beat Bath at indoors so are going into the tournament confidently and with eyes on that Division 1 spot. Josh Kyme (GB u23 Open, Chevron) leads a team relying on their athleticism from a standard stack play. This team includes solid handler Joe Brown, who missed the indoor season with a string of injuries and returns to the firsts in a blaze of outdoors glory. With James Bogie (Mythago’s ‘Most Charming Man’), Jamie Lowe (Mythago’s swimsuit calendar ‘December’ 2013) and Ollie Towers upfield, opposition will have a hard time containing the flow these quick guys can maintain. However, translating indoor success to outdoor victories isn’t an exact science, and if the weather turns nasty, it remains to be seen if Bristol have the depth of handling experience needed to deal with the difficult conditions.

Perhaps a controversial prediction is for Exeter to miss out on that Division 1 spot. Despite edging a final victory in Open Indoors at the end of 2013, the absences of Tom Cartwright (Chevron, GB u23) and Rhys Evans (Chevron) means this regional tournament could be a struggle. Squad depth will be tested as inexperienced players have to step up to the first team, some in their first ever tournaments for the University. Don’t underestimate this team however, as under the captaincy of Rob Vile (Devon) and backup from Greg Mann (Devon), this team still has a wealth of ability and will be fighting for those top spots.

Picnic have had a strong season so far, and look likely to comfortably take one of the Division 2 places. Captain Ben Powley (GB u23, Chevron) has unleashed his tactical creativeness in the form of some special offensive plays, including what might appear to the layperson as ‘running around a lot and seeing what happens’. A large addition of freshers to the firsts is likely to make this a volatile team where anything could happen. We’ve been warned to expect a team of ‘mystery and wonder’ who will be trying something different.


Last year saw Cardiff take third, although current form puts them as only an outside chance for taking that Division 1 spot again. However, after an indoor season focusing on player development, this team promises an unpredictable tournament as they move into their preferred outdoor domain. Kei Matsumoto will be leading the plays as usual, with a solid base coming from experienced players Mike Walter and Alden Ching who offer solid handling when required. It is the influx of freshers who may have the largest impact on Cardiff’s standings – Dan Rowland and Ollie Crowther have showed promise on D, and if Cardiff’s outdoor focus this year has paid off, we can expect big things from these rookies.

Swansea have had a fantastic season so far, making Indoor Nationals in both the Open and Mixed divisions. They are hoping to see similar success outdoors, after missing out closely last year. Ben Yarnold (BAF) continues to lead the team, implementing a new playbook for 2014 which is likely to utilise Jacques Laloë’s (Brighton) pinpoint hucks and Matt Bolton’s consistency and experience. A team which has primarily been associated with the social side of the sport, they’ve demonstrated this year that they can put their heads down and cause some big upsets. Expect a good game-to-go on Sunday afternoon.

Seaside team Bournemouth has come a long way since their starring role in the ‘World’s Most Mediocre Callahan’ video this time last year. Captain Mark Shepherd has had an influx of fresh talent to choose from, in addition to some legacy returning players he hopes won’t be too much of a liability. Historically around the seventh place mark in this competition, making Nationals only once since the team was founded, Bournemouth will want to make a dent in some of the top teams and squeeze into that last Division 2 spot. Rapid fresher Henry Pym will be showing his youthful enthusiasm for the disc, whilst Will Burton’s stamina will only be matched by his side-line heckling.

Finally, Winchester have entered Uni ultimate with a very large club considering their infancy. Two teams at Mixed Indoors and showing solid standings from their first team, they will be in contention for those Nationals spots in future years. Phil Rowlandson captains the team to their first ever outdoor regional event, accompanied by familiar face Robin Younge. A strong contingent of freshers complete the team, who are already starting to make impressions at club indoor nationals and the GB junior trials. Expect a lively game from these guys, who won’t just roll over and give you an easy win.

2014 predictions:
Southampton
Bath
Bristol
Exeter
Plymouth
Cardiff


More from other regions soon! 


The Grapevine – 01/11

Halcyon, North, Scotland, SkyD, South West, UKU Regionals, University, WUCC2014

This week’s Grapevine features pieces looking forward to next year, as well as the re-emergence of indoor ultimate…

From abroad – Skyd brings us an insight into the ever entertaining Seattle Sockeye’s success this season…

An ‘Ultimate Mom’ gives a fresh perspective of our sport…

Ben Wiggins considers the importance of next year’s WUCC

From home soil – The University season is well under way, check out the indoor regional final footage from Scotland, South West, and North regions…

And finally – as if Ultimate players needed their egos inflated

This week we reached 100 posts on the ShowGame! Thanks go out to all of our contributors!

Halcyon’s Jake Aspin makes the grab. Thanks to LOVE ultimate for the action shot!

Keep tuned for more University coverage in the coming weeks on tSG… As always, if you’ve seen something interesting that we’ve missed, let us know! JCK @ tSG