Josh Coxon Kelly previews the A Tour for Open Tour 1.
The 2015 Open Tour season sees the entrance of multiple non-club squads, as teams and coaches prepare for international tournaments at the Senior, Masters and U23 levels. These teams themselves are unknown quantities that could be cohesive units of all-stars, and just as easily dramatic coaching experiments as team managers have the option of using the strong domestic scene either as a proving ground to test ideas, grow new connections or simply as reliable competition in the lead up to the season peak. Playing for their national team will imbue these players with a sense of pride, but this lift will be equally seated with the weight carried by pressure to live up to their newly earned accolades. As well as the new teams that these squads present, the international tournament year will have an extended effect by removing many players from the club teams that make up the traditional names of Open Tour. Naturally, the conscripted players often hold prominent positions in the clubs they are leaving whether as leaders, playmakers, tactical advisors or a combination of all of these roles. As such all teams will be learning on the pitch as they play, as selected representatives forge on-pitch bonds, and newer and less experienced players answer their club’s call to step up.
Karina “Coops” Cooper previews Women’s Tour 1
World class performances are the ticket for the teams wanting to take home the crown at this weekend’s first Tour playing out in Nottingham.
The Cambridge and Oxford combination team Punt currently reign supreme over the 27 teams entered into this weekend’s tournament after they finished ahead of SYC and ROBOT at the conclusion of last year’s Tour. This season led by the dream-team of Jassy Drakulic, Trish Emeny and Lola Denham – will have to answer to the skills and tactics of world class teams such as SYC, GB Women’s Masters, GB U23, and the Spanish Women’s Masters in order to keep their throne. At this event last year Punt were able to hold off Iceni in the final for a while but eventually caved into the National champions, but can they take a victory off the London warriors in Nottingham?
Thomas Cliff and Jordan Brown preview Open Tour 1 from the B Tour perspective.
Featured image courtesy of Serena de Nahlik.
UKU Tour 1 kicks off tomorrow and, with a change in venue to previous years, we could be looking at an interesting set of results come Sunday should Nottingham’s trademark gusts cause some teams issues. Still, with the forecast looking a bit friendlier than it was in Cardiff for the Mixed Tour opener, it’s likely we’ll see things play out in a relatively orthodox manner.
At the top of proceedings, there should be some very smooth ultimate. Blue Arse Flies have already hopped over the channel to play at Tom’s Tourney, where they finished a respectable 8th in the second division. They have also competed at the Fog Lane Cup where they took a confidence-boosting win over fellow B Tour competitors Bristol Open.
Jordan Brown previews the C Tour.
The third division of Open Tour is likely to be a bit more interesting in terms of upsets. Judging by the many, many posts to Britdisc, Camden have done a lot of training and will be unlikely to cough up their spot at the top of C Tour easily. St. Albans did a fair amount of work last year to climb to the top of the division as well but their pool is looking strong. Devon 3 have a squad tough enough to rival Devon 2, so they’ll be difficult opposition. However, the team probably most mis-seeded is Gravity. Despite having not played in Open Tour since 2012, the team used to compete in the middle of B Tour. They now find themselves seeded 17th in C Tour and will be looking to head towards the top of the table.