Midlands University Open Outdoor Regionals Preview

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

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

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! 


How Ultimate Helped Me Beat Depression

At a time where sport and mental health is very much part of the cultural zeitgeist, Nakul Pande brings us a touching and intimate insight into how Ultimate has affected his own life.


Well, not ‘beat’ exactly. You don’t come back from depression in quite the same way as you do a torn hamstring or a busted knee. Even the best therapist in the world can’t take a broken mind and reconstruct it so it works as good as new. They certainly can’t just tell you to stay off your head for a few weeks or months and avoid any heavy thinking. But I am me again. Perhaps a different, more thoughtful, more emotionally attuned me, but me. And I don’t know if that would have happened without ultimate.

Here’s when I knew I wasn’t going to make it on my own. It was the last day of Burla 2012. We’d finished our last game a few hours before and were having a post-lunch snooze on the beach. I’d been with my best friends, playing my favourite sport, in one of the most beautiful parts of my favourite country on earth for five days. But there was a void where what I had always thought of as me used to be. I was so empty inside I couldn’t even cry.


Here’s when I knew I’d be okay. It was halfway through the Sunday of Open Tour 2. I was in a field in Nottingham that was totally exposed to the elements. Thanks to the constant gusting wind it was raining sideways, so heavily that my two-year-old boots were beginning to fill with water. I was covered head to toe in cold mud, and my ankle was throbbing because an opposition defender fell on it. The match was of no real consequence, and to top it all off I was sleep-deprived thanks to a roommate whose snores registered on the Richter scale (you know who you are). I was unarguably, unambiguously happy.

Happy means something different when you’ve been depressed. It’s not the same as when someone who’s never been ill like that laughs at a joke or dances at a gig. I could still do those things too, in fact like every other depressive to an untrained eye I’d look as if nothing had happened, but I’d still be more or less vacant inside. To be properly happy (or for that matter properly sad, as opposed to depressed) you need some sense of self, some kind of internal reference point against which to measure your emotions, and for a long time I didn’t have one.

Ultimate gave mine back to me. It helped me work out who I was again. I was playing for a new team whose role-based style meant that I could play to my strengths, and although over the course of Open Tour we shot ourselves in the foot more than once (coming bottom of two- and three-way ties on points difference, butterfingers, and a dropped pull on universe point of a virtual top 8 playoff we still haven’t forgiven [NAME REDACTED] for) I felt like I was making a real contribution to us getting into those positions in the first place. It may not sound like much, and in the grand scheme of things it probably wasn’t – it was C Tour after all – but it was the extra foot of rope I needed to pull myself out of the hole I’d been in for over a year. Because that’s how depression works: you fall; you hit the bottom, sometimes very hard; you call for a rope; and slowly, fitfully, you pull yourself up. Sometimes you slip and a month’s upward progress can go in an hour. But because at some point you may not have been aware of you decided you wanted to live and you wanted your mind back, you keep climbing.

My illness took many things from me: my degree, my dignity, my sense of self-worth, and my ability to take pleasure from things I had previously loved doing. The only thing that remained constant throughout was sport, which for me, apart from the few weeks of the cricket season that weren’t disrupted by the weather, meant ultimate. There were days where playing and practicing, and the obligatory beer afterwards, was the only time I got out of the house or said more than a cursory ‘hello’ to another human being. There were whole weeks were the only positive words I heard were from my teammates, most of whom had no idea I was ever ill and were simply doing what teammates do. The encouragement often didn’t really register through the static and self-flagellation that was what passed for my thought pattern at the time. But now that I’m healthy, or as healthy as I’m ever likely to be, I’d like to say thank you to all of them, and to everyone at my old university team who put up with me turning up to practices and socials and parties even after I’d left. The reaction of the committee when I told them why I was leaving was genuine, it was spontaneous, and even in the deeply messed-up state I was in at the time it was deeply touching.

I’ve played a number of team sports since I was eleven years old. Had I carried on playing rugby when I came to university I probably would have denied my illness to myself for even longer than I did, and by the time I hit rock bottom it might have been too late – my university’s men’s rugby team have a bad reputation even among others of that often boorish breed. Had cricket, which following the very public struggles of England stalwart Marcus Trescothick (if ever a sportsman were worthy of a knighthood it is he) does an excellent job at the professional level of fighting against the mental illness omertá that sadly still largely prevails in the lower reaches of the amateur game, been my only outlet, the winters would have been even longer and even emptier. By the time summer came around again it might have been too late.

Football? Forget it. The guys I play eight-a-side with on Sunday are good company, but as a support network they’re worse than useless. It took the tragic and utterly avoidable deaths of Robert Enke and Gary Speed before football even began talking about depression, although it hasn’t done too badly since thanks to the likes of Clarke Carlisle and Stan Collymore. Note to all North American readers: I’m British, adjust terminology accordingly.

Not that the padded and helmeted oval-ball version is immune: as you might expect from a collision and concussion heavy sport, brain injuries are worryingly prevalent, which can’t do much for anyone’s mental state. The sport was rocked by Jovan Belcher’s murder-suicide in 2012, but when the New York Daily News ran a story a week later examining the link between what he did, what his body had been through and what he might have been thinking, the NFL declined to comment.

I was lucky that when I lost my way I had a few years worth of ultimate connections to call on, some of whom I count among the best friends I’ve ever had.  Simply by being around and being themselves they helped me hang on to myself and rebuild. It’s not over yet for me. It might never be fully over. As we’ve sadly seen this week with Jonathan Trott, even if you think you have a handle on it those coping mechanisms are not necessarily permanent. But I have a fighting chance – all because I thought in the first week of university, ‘Ultimate frisbee? Hey, why not!’

And here’s the thing: I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. In fact the numbers alone mean that I’m not. Let’s just take the UK and USA. As of 2012 UK Ultimate had around 3,000 registered members, and there will be uncounted thousands more who play recreationally on a regular or semi-regular basis. Across the Atlantic, the number of officially registered players climbs to around 35,000 (as of 2011), and total US numbers have been estimated by as being as high as 4.8 million by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. Given that according to official figures in both countries one in every four people – you read that right: one in four -suffer from some form of mental illness at some point in any given year, it’s pretty likely that someone reading this article knows all too well what I’m talking about. We owe it to them, and to everyone else who plays this amazing sport, to have this conversation. The game saved my sanity – and if we start talking and listening, it might save someone’s life.

Thank you, ultimate.


This piece was published in conjunction with Skyd Magazine, the US’s source for all things ultimate.


Thanks to Nakul for sharing this piece with us. Please like, comment and share! JCK @ tSG

UKU Uni Indoors BUCS Championship Review (Div 1)

shopparajumpers Times New Roman, serif;”>Newly appointed University Coordinator Chris Bamford gives us his review of Uni Open Indoors Div 1 Nationals.

This weekend shopparajumpers the Alan Higgs Centre in Coventry was the venue for the UKU University Indoor BUCS Championship. With 16 teams having fought their way through regional qualification all fancied their chances of making the top 8 and claiming BUCS points. The unpredictable nature of the tournament, with most teams having not played each other since nationals last year meant the 5 regional champions: Dundee, Manchester, Cambridge, Exeter and Sussex started as slight favourites with Dundee returning as defending champions.



Pool A – Dundee, Birmingham, Southampton, Sussex 2
A crash on the M40 delayed the arrival of Southampton and threaten to cause serious schedule issues until Sussex 2 volunteered to switch games and play back to back matches, allowing Southampton the extra time they needed to get to the venue. After their belated arrival a solitary win for Southampton over Sussex 2 put them 3rd and 4th in the group respectively, whilst Birmingham’s sudden death defeat to Dundee meant the Scottish team held on to top seed.
 
shopparajumpers Roman, serif;”>Pool B – Manchester, Exeter, Nottingham, Edinburgh
The toughest looking group had two of the regional champions in Manchester and Exeter, as well as regular Division 1 competitors Edinburgh and new boys to Div 1 Nottingham. Exeter started the day with a clinical display against Nottingham. They also beat Edinburgh and only missed out on top spot following sudden death defeat to Manchester, who won all three group games. Nottingham picked up a win their final group game leaving Edinburgh winless and bottom of the group.
 
Pool C – Cambridge, Glasgow, Durham, Imperial
This pool proved extremely tight fought. Imperial came bottom with 3 straight losses but only by 2 or 3 point margins. For the three other teams Cambridge beat Durham, who beat Glasgow, who beat Cambridge, resulting in the first a several 3 way ties over the weekend. The final standings ended up with Cambridge topping the pool but carrying a loss against 2nd placed Glasgow into their power pool.
 
Pool D – Sussex, Heriot-Watt, Newcastle, Bristol
The final pool saw Sussex 1 power to 3 comfortable victories whilst Heriot-Watt beat off Newcastle and Bristol to secure 2nd place in the group. Newcastle then had to fight hard to earn a 2 point win against Bristol and avoid bottom place in the group.
 
Upper Power Pools – Pool E (Dundee, Birmingham, Cambridge, Glasgow) and Pool F (Machester, Exeter, Sussex, Heriot-Watt)
The power pools gave Manchester the opportunity to make a big statement by adding to the win the carried in by beating Heriot-Watt and thumping Sussex 1 10-4 finishing Saturday as the only team undefeated. However Sussex managed to avoid a Sunday morning by beating Exeter. With the top two spots decided and both teams confined to a crossover to protect their top 8 place Heriot-Watt won against Exeter to earn themselves an easier game.
 
In the other upper power pool Birmingham were unable to claim any victories so finished bottom of the group. Victories for Cambridge against Dundee, and for Dundee against Glasgow lead to another three way tie. This time Glasgow weren’t so lucky and came out 3rd, with Dundee holding onto top spot and Cambridge second.
 
Lower Power Pools – Pool G (Durham, Imperial, Southampton, Sussex 2) and Pool H (Nottingham, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Bristol)
In these lower power pools we saw an impressive displays from Nottingham (destroying Newcastle 12-4) and Newcastle in securing the top two spots in one group and therefore a chance to get back into the top 8 via the crossovers against Birmingham for Nottingham and against Glasgow for Newcastle. The other group had Southampton play two sudden death games, coming out on top against Imperial and on the wrong side against Durham. This earned Durham and Southampton crossovers against Exeter and Heriot-Watt respectively.
 
First thing Sunday was the crossovers, always a tense affair. Birmingham managed to see off Nottingham by two points but all three other games resulted in sudden death. Exeter pipped Durham and Southampton bested Heriot-Watt. The pick of the games was Glasgow against Newcastle, where Glasgow came from 6-4 behind with only 20 seconds on the clock to win 7-6.
 
Onto the quarter finals, where only one of the higher ranked teams managed to win as Glasgow, Exeter and Birmingham carried the momentum from their crossovers wins to beat Sussex, Dundee and Manchester.  Only Cambridge managed to win as the higher seed and even then it was a sudden death victory against Southampton (who were by now playing in their 4thconsecutive sudden death game).
 
So the semis were set up with Glasgow playing Exeter. Glasgow’s iso play eventually won them the game which was yet another sudden death game. In the other semi Cambridge matched up against Birmingham in a rematch of the midlands regional final and earlier power pool game. Cambridge repeated their victories there with a more comfortable 10-6 win.
 
Whilst the top teams had been fighting for a spot in the final the bottom 8 had seen Nottingham and Imperial win their quarters and semis to reach the plate final where a 7-6 win gave Nottingham the 9th place finish.
Going down to one pitch meant a growing audience for the 3v4 game between Exeter and Birmingham. A match where both teams looked to run hard man defence and reset the disc until a good opportunity opened up finished 11-7 to Birmingham meaning they repeated last years 3rd place finish.
 
All that remained was to play out the final, where Cambridge were looking to reverse the defeat to Glasgow in the group stages, their only defeat of the weekend so far. The final proved a superb end to the weekend. A match full of layouts, huge grabs, iso’s and sidestack’s went all the way to sudden death and Cambridge were forced to score the final point not once, not twice but three times after contested in/out and picks calls were made on the first two attempts.
 
Congratulations to Cambridge and bring on UWIN next weekend.

Thanks to Chris and the whole UU committee! DP @ tSG.

The Grapevine – 22/11

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.

Midlands Uni Women Indoor Regionals

Harry Mason wrote this preview for the Midlands Women’s Regionals on theStudentReview, he has kindly let us share it here too! 

Welcome to the Midlands. It’s a relatively nice place. Home to some good architecture. Some nice pubs. Friendly people to visit. Oh, and home to one of the most competitive regions in Ultimate, no matter what level/division you happen to find yourself playing in. And, if you’re like me, that makes it one of the best places in the world.

This weekend is women’s indoor regionals, and this proves to be no exception to the midlands rule. With 4 places up for grabs (that’s right, they get an extra spot because it’s *that* tough), the competition is certainly going to be intense. 12 teams are fighting it out in all (including 2 second teams), so here’s how they predicted themselves ending up:
1st Birmingham
2nd Nottingham
3rd Loughborough
4th Warwick

5th Cambridge
6th Oxford
7th UEA
Firstly, Birmingham (UBU) were certainly favourites for this weekend. And it’s really not hard to see why everyone was so scared of them. Captain Helen Roberts commands a formidable team, with the ever fantastic GB U23 stars Kim and Grace Owen only just starting this year, and formidable former Iowa player Rachel Bradley being hot on other teams watch lists. These gals are going to be clinical, fast and very, very dangerous. And, arguably  fully deserving of being top of predictions. Someone make sure they don’t come away with it two years in a row, please?
Echoing a sudden death loss of last year, Nottingham (Fling) again find themselves narrowly behind UBU. But when you consider that they’ve suffered relatively few losses, and that they’ve picked up some rather nice international players (and noted GB U23 mixed player Helen ‘Welen’ Wanstall) and some rather athletics freshers, this is a team that Captain Trina Lam is certain to be very proud of after this weekend.
Now, onto Loughborough (Haze). Captain Cat Baron is back after a year out training with Cambridge (or possibly on an internship). And with the freshers to finish 2nd at NWBin (Nottingham Women’s Beginner’s indoors), added to an already impressive roster including Xing Guo (who’s wicked throws and great D I’ve witnessed first hand at Mixed Tour), Charlotte ‘Bubbles’ Kennedy (taking after Cat in loving her overheads) and of course the Loughborough standard  of producing very fast athletic people (Lucy and Anna Kadja being highlighted, even by Haze standards here). Basically, watch out. Haze are about.
So, Warwick Bears were predicted to be taking the final spot. However, coach Moritz ‘Fritz’ Reithmayr may have more of a challenge on his hands than most realise. With Welen backstabbing Bears to go play for Fling, and last year’s captain Ronja Wöstheinrich having left as well (helping Bear Cavalry qualify for the world championships in the process), a lot of teams may suddenly find themselves fancying their chances. Don’t be so hasty. With Zhiling Chan there to provide quick speed and lethal throws, and the lovely but loud Maddie McDonald there to catch anything thrown at her. Add a couple more experienced players like Pei Hwa for some good old reliability, and Warwick just might find themselves at nationals.
Not without a fight, however. If experience is a good thing, then Cambridge (Strange Blue) boast over 17 years collectively in the team. Although a lot of that can be distilled into the co-captains of all round superstar Fran Kundel and the charming Aimée Hall, added to the fearsome force of ex-captain Megan Davies-Wykes equals tough luck for any team hoping for an easy ride. Also, thanks to Cambridge’s (nearly) unique college leagues, even beginners to Uni level are not to be taken lightly, with Helen Hambling and the sky-dominant Hannah Sanderson among those hoping to give Cambridge a shot at the big time.
Although, like always, Oxford (WOW!) are keen to get in Cambridge’s way. With fearsome Punt player and Captain Emma ‘Crumps’ Jacobsen hoping to overcome Oxford’s late term start with clinical athleticism and fearsome speed (and has wasted no time teaching her players how to do the same). Vice Serena ‘Lucky’ De Nahlik has come off an intense summer of tours and nationals (and co-captaining OW! 2 to 12 in the region) willing to match any player in the country for speed and enthusiasm. And with some unfairly talented beginners in Joyce Kwok and Leila Denniston testing the waters you can be sure WOW! is going to be strong, fast and loud. Ok, the loud bit is mainly because of Emma, but the point stands.
Finally on the rankings, the ever wonderful UEA (Birds-Aye). By the way, for those wondering, that adjective is backed up conclusively by numerous spirit rankings. However, Birds-Aye aren’t just out to be nice. With Steph Tomkins stepping up to join Louise Fitzpatrick as captain, together they are looking to term that home advantage (and probably sideline) into some strong victories. With Margot Nickels having a ‘beautiful, Beyoncé-like force’, and having found in the bad-ass Ele Overvoorde someone who actually like to play chase on a zone, there’s no telling what else might be in store for any (presumably) brave opponents that they’ll face.
Personally, I found it slightly surprising that Leicester (Jesters) didn’t show up anywhere in the predictions. After all, with Leicester coming 2nd in mixed outdoors and JR qualifying for mixed club nationals its clear that this is a uni that knows how to train it’s women (albeit not very many of them apparently). However, with few returners and with superstar Jody Martin sadly missing this weekend, there’s no doubt that Captain Emily Marshall has a job building up a team to match last year. On the other hand if York Alumni fail you, you can count on Lancaster Alumni in the form of the brilliant Helena Jones. Together, her and Emily are sure to be out to have some fun in traditional Jester style, and maybe cause an upset or 2 along the way
Next up are Brookes Ladies (BLUF), captained by returning player (and onsie lover) Daisy Sander. The loss of club captain Kirsty Bunning is sure to hit them hard, but with talented returner Michelle Tham providing some stability and then some talented freshers (including Sian Simpson, who, after sneaking a preview at the team, can confirm is one to watch) picking up the slack, it might mean they may not be quite as easy to pass as other teams would hope.
Finally, proudly representing their University for the first time are Lincoln (Lincoln). Still discovering themselves and their style (and having a number of them doing so the second weekend in a row after playing as Lincoln 2 at open regionals last weekend), expect to see (moderately) experienced players like the usefully tall Captain Sophie McKenna and consistently excellent cutter Amy Oxbridge, along with fresher D machine Beth Joy Platt and the safe but high up hands of Maddy Ogden. This is definitely going to be a team to watch in years to come. So you might as well start now.
So, basically, it’s going to be a fun weekend. No weekend in the midlands is complete without upsets, huge bids, great spirit and naturally sudden death finishes. With rumours of big things planned for nationals and 4 places at the biggest University level women’s indoor tournament in all of Great Britain up for grabs, it’s clear that this weekend is not going to be one to miss.
Best but equal wishes and luck to all teams this weekend. Let’s go put on a show.

Cheers Harry and thank you again to the UU committee! DP  @ tSG.