Western Uni Womens Indoor Regionals

Kathryn Elsby from Southampton Skunks has provided us with the preview of Western Women’s regionals.

With twelve teams descending on Cardiff this Saturday for WUWIR, here’s a preview of the teams fighting it out for one of the three elusive spots at Nationals. The West consistently proves to be an unpredictable region with seven first teams, three second teams and two third teams battling it out, all with many committed, talented women who are all passionate about Ultimate. With a developmental year last year for many teams, this led to the highest Western team finishing 13th at UWIN 2012. This means that many teams will feel they have a lot to prove this weekend, and with returning players from years abroad and many players reaching their final years of study, it looks set to be an exciting one… 


First up is Cardiff No Frills. With three teams entered in regionals this year, it is clear that Cardiff Women’s Ultimate is going from strength to strength, and looking to go for at least one of those places at Nationals. The teams have different aims, with firsts aiming for nationals with a wealth of experienced and fresher players alike, and seconds looking forward to a competitive weekend. Many players in the third team will be experiencing their first tournament, building bonds and focussing on individual strengths. Cardiff are looking forward to facing up against Uriel and Bristol, with plenty of friendly rivalry and close games in store. Ones to watch on the first team include Heather Scullion and Dina Dent with big grabs and lots of experience – although the team as a whole is looking pretty formidable.

Next up are Exeter Ultimate. Uriel have also entered three teams into the tournament, which shows their success as a club and their drive to get as many players involved as possible! A strong performance by their first team at last year’s regionals means they will be hungry for a repeat performance this year, with eyes on that Nationals spot. With experienced players in all three teams, things might not be as clear-cut however with some potential surprises on the way. Exeter are looking forward to playing most teams but especially Cardiff and Bristol, with high intensity and challenging matches in store. Players to watch include Katie Hall of GBU20, Eyan Sham with 5 years experience, and international player Molly Norrbom. 

Defending regional champions Bath are up next. Seeing this year as more of a development year, Bath are looking for the chance to build their women’s team and give their freshers plenty of experience. Look out for some strong and athletic freshers showing some solid performances. With their traditionally very strong zone defence and ISO offense, it will be exciting to see what Bath have got in store for us this year.

The return of Bristol shows a team of returning players and new faces alike, with Mythagirls aiming to better their fifth place finish last year. They are looking forward to playing new teams such as the likes of Swansea, and familiar faces such as Cardiff with whom they played with at Outdoor Nationals, and Skunks (although this may just be for the amazing call of Bunny Bunny). Captain Rachel Naden and GBU20 Amy Samson bring a lot of experience to the team, making a fantastic handling pair. A solid group of freshers will also be looking for plenty of run through Ds. 

Finally, we move on to Southampton. Skunks are using regionals as a chance for freshers to build on what they’ve learnt at Skunks Beginners tournament/SICKO, but with an incredibly strong fresher intake and a core of experienced players who have played together for a few years, they will be looking to grab a place at nationals. They are looking forward to playing Bath as a re-match of last year’s final, and also Cardiff for a competitive, well spirited game. Keep an eye out for the super speedy Hannah Gilchrist, GBU20 player Kathryn Elsby and Brighton tour player/4th year Megan Baxter for some big throws and breaks. 

So, it looks like the tournament is wide open with plenty of chances for teams to excel and clinch those places at Nationals. On the back of this all, I’ve based predictions on the surveys we had returned:


1st Uriel 
2nd Skunks 
3rd No Frills

More to come from WIR! DP & JCK @ tSG. 

Scottish Uni Women’s Indoor Regionals

With Open regionals over we move to Women’s. The UU committee have surveyed the Women’s captains and Rory Curran, Glasgow (FarFlung) captain has written the preview for Scotland from this resource.

Scottish women’s teams have a very strong history of success at women’s indoor university nationals. Since the 2007-8 season a Scottish team has placed on the podium every single year, more impressive still in the same time period they have provided seven of the ten finalists, and even more impressive than that is the fact that those honours have been shared amongst no less than four teams. Most impressive however is the fact they cleaned up last year taking three of the top four with only the Irish (excluded this year) from the podium clean sweep. Clearly this weekend’s tournament will be a closely contested and high quality affair.

Dundee women much like there male counterparts will start the tournament as strong favourites.
As reigning UK Indoors champions, and having placed as the highest women’s team at Scottish open regionals the last two years they are evidently the team to beat. Pam Knudsen and Ailsa Doak are the key players for Dundee, but a team full of experience, height and talent added to the fact that they have been playing together for years makes them formidable. Expect these girls to win not just in Scotland, but when they go to nationals at the end of November too. Such a strong and large club, Dundee seconds may find themselves placed above a couple of first teams when the final standings are known at the end of the tournament.
Edinburgh (Ro Sham Bo) always fields a strong women’s team and this year would appear to be no different. Led by Simone, Gail Hunter and GBU23/Black Eagles star Carissa Tong. A team who haven’t lost many players with the added bonus of some players returning to the team Ro Sham Bo will be expecting to qualify for nationals and fancying their chances in the final.
Aberdeen came second behind Dundee women at Nationals last year, much of that team led by the experienced handler Emily Magrath remain students, along with the very happy addition of Swift player and previous St. Andrews (Flatball) player Harriet Hopper. Aberdeen will be looking to at least match their open regionals placing (2nd highest women’s team) and making the most of their home advantage meaning a decent nights sleep the night before. These girls will be going to nationals, and would provide a most entertaining semi final against Edinburgh if the schedule allows.
Glasgow (FarFlung) girls narrowly missed out nationals last year and have spent the year training hard using that as their primary motivation and last years captain Amy Clark even found a masters to do so she could put things right. The return of Lulu Geddy Boyd from a year training in America will strengthen an already strong team, as will GB junior Amina Malik and her bestie Jessy Mac who played for Ireland. FarFlung has already shown their collective growth this year winning multiple beginners tournaments whilst fielding more woman than all their opposition. These girls have local rivals Strathclyde “intimidated by the sheer number of them” following a couple of “friendlies”. Entering two teams for the first time in a while, Glasgow girls look to follow in the footsteps of their guys and qualify for nationals.
St. Andrews captain Carmen is now in her fifth year of ultimate and probably lands herself the role of Flatball’s star player as a result of having captained a team to Edinburgh beginner’s victory. St. Andrews girls started the season well in advance of everyone else with their annual pre-season which combined with weekly 7:15am sessions means these girls will undoubtedly have a decent structure on offence. They are always playing hard at the end of the tournament and may well find themselves in the game to go at the end of the day.
Strathclyde will be fielding a fairly new team having only been around for a couple of years. Their most experienced handlers Nyssa Richardson and Amber Lockhart will lead the team along with Nicky Shaw who will be returning from a year of ultimate in Canada. However following the graduation of five key players last year these girls may see this year as a building, rather than purely competitive year.
Stirling boasts the asset of Rhona Gordon, the only girl to play in the semi-finals of Scottish Indoor Open Regionals this year. Ashleigh Spalding will be able to use her speed on Aberdeen’s large pitches. Altogether Stirling are an inexperienced team hoping to cause an upset akin to their open team making the semi finals last weekend.
The division’s least experienced team sees newcomers Heriot-Watt. Captain Sabelle Groves and Shona Whiteley featured at outdoors nationals last year in a fusion with Flatball and continued to improve by playing with Sneeekys over the summer. An athletic team looking forward to their first outing, clearly it’s unlikely that they will go straight to nationals from such a strong region but – in indoors you shouldn’t write anyone off before the tournament starts.
An average of captains’ predictions unanimously go with Dundee winning, followed by Edinburgh. After that Glasgow and Aberdeen are touted to share third and fourth, whilst fifth place sees more disagreement.
If I was to put my neck on the line I’d say:
1. Dundee 
2. Edinburgh 
3. Aberdeen 
4. Glasgow 
5. St.Andrews 
6. Stirling 
7. Strathclyde 
8. Dundee 2 
9. Heriot-Watt.

Can the dominant Dundee get the clean sweep in Scotland again? Only this weekend will tell… DP & JCK@tSG.

The Grapevine – 01/11

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

Northern Uni Open Indoor Regionals

Andrei Mandzuk from Bangor Ultimate takes us through the Northern Region.
The weekend marks the start of the Northern University indoors season, with teams from across the region converging on Leeds to battle it out for prestigious spots at Nationals. The north consistently proves itself to be a strong but very open region, with an array of teams feeling that they’re in with a shot of qualifying. After going through what many felt was a developmental period for the region last year, it is expected to return to full strength with many key players reaching their final years of study.
I shall begin by providing short previews of top teams in the region in order of their predicted seeds. All content below is based on predictions from team captains and information gathered from the UK Ultimate rumour mill.

One of the biggest regions and what a region! Image courtesy of UK Ultimate.


Manchester will undoubtedly be going into Regionals as top seed after consistently winning the region in recent years, and claiming a silver medal at Division 1 Indoor Nationals last season (ED: Second in 2012, 2011, 2009 and Bronze in 2010). Despite a high turnover from last year’s squad they have retained Chevron player Jake Aspin for another year running. Alongside this, their strength will be sustained by the maturation of GB u20 Simo Low and picking up GB u23 Mixed MVP Steve Dixon as an undergraduate. A 3rd place finish at Sheffield Experienced has shown them to be the region’s top team once again.

Sheffield are a team who’s strength lies in the A Tour experience at the top of their roster with Manchester Ultimate’s Dan Sumner and LeedsLeedsLeeds’s David Sparks. Along with this, their core is completed by the pickup of Will Jackson from Halcyon. They’re expected to run the same strict iso which proved so effective on the large pitches at Ponds Forge last year, and will keep the disc in the hands of their key players whilst challenging teams with athletic man-to-man defence. Although they gathered mixed results, Phat’eds are a team who managed to enter three warmup tournaments and this pitch time together may prove invaluable at the weekend.
Leeds almost caused the upset of the tournament last year, reaching the final and taking Halcyon to double game point. They will look to run a traditional offense, controlled by veteran Nick Moss, and captain Joseph Fisher, both of LeedsLeedsLeeds. They have tended to throw a mix of solid man defence, alongside a poachy zone which looks to prevent breakside throws. With disappointing results at warmup tournaments and losing varsity to local rivals Leeds Met, Regionals is their chance to prove themselves as a force in the North for another year running.
Newcastle are another team who qualified for Division 1 at last year’s Indoor Regionals but have been struck with a high player turnover from last season. This has given role players the chance to step up and it’s expected that Alex Mazzon will top the score sheet, with Ben Withers getting a lot of touches on the disc upfield. Despite getting incomplete rosters to warmup tournaments, and chalking up results at both ends of the spectrum, they’re a team who will be looking to show that their strength runs deeper than in previous years.
Durham are not a team who are known for strong indoors performances, instead using it as a chance to build their team for the outdoors season. Although they’ve suffered with large numbers of players graduating from the team that qualified for Division 1 at outdoors last season, they too will be looking to show a strength in depth that’s built on their impressive collegiate participation. A solid 6th place finish at Sheffield Experienced shows that they’re going to be hungry to push for indoors qualification this year.
Liverpool will be looking to avenge a poor showing at Indoor Regionals last season and show more similarities to their solid performance at Div 2 Outdoor Nationals. With last year’s handler core graduating, Sion Regan will be looking to experienced players Stuart Johnston and Andy Garner to control the disc upfield whilst he produces a downfield matchup to be feared. Despite being a team with their eyes on the bigger picture of outdoors, they’ve shown to be well organised and produced an impressive 4th place finish at Liverpool Experienced. It would be foolish to write them off again this season.
Leeds Met have fostered an impressively growing program in recent years, shown by qualifying for last year’s Division 2 Indoor Nationals after winning the game to go. Chevron player James Mead will look to make plays both on and off the disc, and Cambridge Mixed’s Dave Littler will control the disc upfield. Coming off the back of mixed results at warmup tournaments but a convincing victory over local rivals Leeds at their varsity, this is a team who are hungry to sustain last year’s success.
Bangor are a team who have graduated only one player from last year’s outdoors squad. Despite this, a run of poor luck on the injury front alongside personal issues has left them shorthanded for this year’s Regionals. Expect big plays on both sides of the disc from Daniel McLean and GB u23 Mixed’s Cameron Burgess as the team tries to gel after being forced to take a skeleton squad to Liverpool Experienced.
Lancaster are a team who are going through a rebuilding phase currently and are still reeling from losing all of their Nationals qualifying first team. Despite this, they reached the game to go last year against Leeds Met and will look to go into the tournament to cause upsets this year around. Captain Reece Stanton will aim to find Michael Sharkey downfield for large gains.
Sheffield Hallam are another team who, similar to Leeds Met, pick up a sport-minded group of beginners each year. This is shown by their success yet again in beginners tournaments and is always promising for future years. Hallam, led by GB u23 Mixed’s Alex Walsh will look to take advantage of this, as he tries to find athletic cutters downfield. Teams should expect a hard running defence and tough match-ups all across the pitch.
York are set to be the big story of this year’s Regionals. A team which has been built from the ground up is set to peak this season in spectacular fashion. They have had strong results at warmup tournaments, and been tipped by many captains to be the team to watch. This year’s York team looks to establish themselves as a force in the North. Cohesion gained from the core of the team playing on the successful ‘fun’ team SMOG, and 2 years of university pitch time together will serve them well as they look set for their most successful year in recent history. Joshua Briggs will be throwing the bulk of their assists to tall cutter Max Moseley, although any of their athletic core can be a force downfield.
Hull are an inexperienced team who will be looking to use Regionals to develop. Led by captain Nick Brownbill and tipped to be a team who keeps working until the buzzer, it’s not hard to see them scaring some of the less well organised ‘big’ teams.
Chester are another growing program in the North. Captained by GB u23 Mixed’s Ben Main they produced impressive results at Liverpool Experienced, making their way into the top 8. They are fielding an inexperienced, but enthusiastic team. Main will try to control the disc on offense and their offensive flow comes out of a traditional vertical stack. Going into Regionals with no expectations and everything to gain they can look forward to a productive weekend!
On the back of this all, I’ve based predictions on the surveys we had returned and pre-season results.
Predictions:
1.Manchester
2.York
3.Sheffield

4.Liverpool
5.Newcastle
6.Leeds Met
7.Leeds
As with previous years, Manchester are expected to top the region, albeit not without serious pressure from other contenders, and will hope to go on to replicate their impressive performance at Nationals last year. With impressive pre-season results, and mentions from many captains as being much stronger than previous years, it wouldn’t be surprising to see York secure themselves a second place finish this weekend. Rounding off the qualifiers for Division 1 are Sheffield. Selected by all captains to be up there, and with solid pre-season results, they should be able to secure the final spot.
Division 2 is far more open, with as many as six teams having a genuine shot at making it. Both Liverpool and Newcastle performed well at Liverpool Experienced (despite Newcastle’s depleted squad) and could take the 4 and 5 spots respectively. Rounding off the qualifications places, it’s hard to avoid the romance of a home town varsity rematch in the game to go, with Leeds Met facing off against Leeds Uni. It’s a tough one to call, but I’m tipping Met to win this one and repeat their varsity success.
Outside of the top 6, other contenders for qualification are Durham and Bangor. I suspect Durham’s pedigree for not quite clicking indoors will continue, whilst Bangor’s lack of pitch time together will be their unravelling.
With the Northern Region seeing one of the most open battles to date, I look forward to seeing all the drama and upsets that University ultimate can produce.
Good luck to all competing in Leeds this weekend, and I’ll see you Saturday!

That’s all for the uni indoor regional previews, sadly we were unable to hear from the Western region but good luck to everyone competing across the country! DP @ tSG.

South East Uni Open Indoor Regionals

Uni Ultimate coverage continues with Joe Spreckley (South-East Uni Coordinator) giving us the overview from his region.

This weekend sees 36 teams head to Dagenham to compete for the 6 spots available for nationals from the south east. 
South East with great depth (36 teams, including 14 first teams and a 4th team) over the smallest area.

Group A puts top seeds Sussex Mohawks 1 up against LSE 1, UCL1 and Portsmouth Sublime 2. Despite losing a number of key players, it’s hard to see any team except Mohawks topping the group for a direct path into the semis and another South East title. UCL (who were a victim of seedings last year) and LSE will battle it out to avoid the crossovers. Sublime 2 will be looking to create some upsets, but should find themselves bottom of the group heading into the crossovers. 



In group B Brunel have a great chance to push into the top 8. With Brighton losing their iconic talisman Andy Berry, and captain Miles Tincknell in a cast it may be a struggle for Brighton to hold onto their top 8 seeding. Surrey should be looking to take this group with relative ease, while the emergent Hertfordshire will be eager to pick up some scalps against the more established teams in the group.

Arguably the hardest hit over the summer, top seeds in group C – Portsmouth Sublime – have lost six players from the  their first team that made the epic Sunday run from ninth to third last year. However, boosted by the arrival of GB U23 captain Sam Bowen they will be looking to put two disappointing warm up tournament results behind them and book a spot in the semis. A strong looking Kent will provide the biggest clash from the group stages with Sublime, as the two traditionally aggressive teams battle for the third spot in the semi finals.  

After the unbelievable feat of getting a second team to division one outdoor nationals, Mohawks 2 hold the top seed in group D. It remains to be seen how the Sussex university team split their squads; with the firsts having a relatively easy route there may be some strong individuals finding themselves in the second team. Imperial College Disc Doctors will fancy their chances in topping this pool, and have an excellent chance of making division one this season. 

With nine teams having a realistic chance of making nationals, Mohawks are large favourites for another tournament win. If Imperial have a full strength squad they should be looking to take one of the other two spots in division one, but may have to do it through the triple elimination. Surrey and Sublime will look to take the final spot. With my bias, I will be backing Sublime to take a division 1 spot. Kent and Mohawks 2 will be looking to pick up the remaining two nationals spots to round off the representatives from the South East. 

Thanks to Joe and the other Uni Coordinators for the work they put in year round and bringing these pieces to us. Who’s next…? DP @ tSG.

Midlands Uni Open Indoor Regionals

Our last few posts had a gaelic feel but we return to England for coverage of the upcoming Uni season with a post from the University and Midlands Co-Ordinator Chris Bamford looking into his region’s competition.

With 32 teams descending on 3 different venues across St. Albans for MUOIR here’s a preview of the teams likely to be fighting it out for the 7 nationals spots.


As a result of the strong performances of Midlands teams at last year’s national events (where they were only outperformed by the Scottish teams) the Midlands has 4 spots at Division 2 this year, allowing one more team from a perennially strong region to go and show the rest of the country what they have got.

UKU official Uni Midland region.

Last season James ‘Whippy’ Bauld led University of Birmingham Ultimate (UBU) to top three finishes indoors and outdoors, despite the loss of key players including Whippy, Marius Hutcheson and Carl Bullingham they remain the team to beat with multiple stars still there.  including probably the most feared name in the region after his season tearing discs out of the sky for EMO. The men likely to be taking charge of the disc on offence are Lloyd Cheeseman and Ben “Borat” Burak; UBU’s high tempo game is likely to be far too much for most teams this weekend.


Having finally cracked Division 1 nationals last year second seeds Leicester University (Jesters) will be looking to repeat that feat. However they’ll have to do it without maverick playmakers George Hudson and Robert ‘Crackerlegs’ White who have now graduated, however despite their loss I expect the same bombastic offence from Jesters. The man they’ll be looking at to make the plays is Alex ‘Medic’ Charlton. Having played for a team on the receiving end of an incredible performance from him last year (for the University of Nottingham (Fling) in the game to go to Div 1) I can personally attest to his ability to single handed win matches.


The only other team that anyone predicted to win this weekend was Cambridge. The usual air of mystery surrounds this team going into regionals, with rumours flying around of multiple US imports (Justin Norden and Ben Funk) joining them this year. Combine this with Dom “DD” Dathan and George “Seamus” Anegg along with numerous very experienced players they could well cruise through the weekend and sweep all before them. However by their own admission their weakness lies in that this is indoors, which most of them will be re-learning to play at regionals.


Warwick are traditionally a powerhouse of University Ultimate and despite a perceived weak team last year they continued to put in strong performances under the leadership of Robbie Tink. With Robbie, Captain Sam Hawkins and many others remaining at the club along with the return of Moritz “Fritz” Reithmayr, Warwick Bears will be confident of a return to Div 1. They seem likely to utilise the depth of their squad this year and try to run teams into the ground. A third place seeding indicates they are not to be taken lightly.


Onto Loughborough Haze. Since indoors last season they have suffered the loss of devastating duo Ian “Teddy” Hannah and Kevin Burnard. Despite this loss they retain players who have multiple years experience, and the name Chris. With Chris ‘Jaff’ Martin, Chris ‘Pudding’ Alderson, Chris ‘Melon’ Peploe and odd one out George Grant all used to handling the onus will be on Captain Andrew ‘Pumba’ Sellers to repeatedly get free for them.


Oxford will be extremely keen to ensure that a repeat of last year where they missed out on nationals both indoors and outdoors doesn’t occur. Captain Dan Aronov and Mike West (a key player who was injured for last season) will be big players for OW, along with Harry ‘Puppy’ Mason. This is a team that prides itself on its athletic ability and they will back themselves to win any one-on-one situation they can open up.


Lincoln enter regionals seeded 8th and have not featured on anyone’s predictions for the second year running. Whilst they just missed out last year they put in multiple tight performances and I expect more of the same from them this year. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make nationals.


Another team keen to improve on last year’s results will be UEA’s AYE-AYE. After a poor year  they’ll have to work their way up from the third pot of seeds. Whilst they may struggle to match UBU they will fancy their chances of taking 2nd rostering players from a range of playing backgrounds (Jen trialist Luke Frett and Tom Wildman who spent a year at university in the states, and an another unnamed American import). The undoubted star however is Howard Storey who played GBU23’s and features on many people’s ‘one to-watch’ list.


One team who could spring a surprise is Staffordshire, who are newly formed but highly rated. any team including Andy Lewis shouldn’t be discounted, but with little known about them they are a huge unknown quantity.


Saved till last is my old team Fling. From last year’s indoors team the team has only lost myself and James Lavender. Eight players were retained who all trained with EMO leading to high hopes for this year. The confidence has been somewhat dented somewhat with injuries, particularly Adrian ‘Cas’ Delport whoa Achilles problem. However captain Ben Poole has a furious desire to improve on last year’s results and he will try to take it all upon himself to do so. Handlers Robert ‘Cody’ Coddington and Tom Tongue will both look to make it easy for Ben Poole whilst Nathan Trickey’s endzone cuts (usually with his man eating dust behind him) are now a familiar sight to most of the region. Liam Reddy is likely to offer a calm approach to offence and try to rack up the layouts on defence.


The captains of all these teams were asked for their predictions and here’s an average of what came back:
1st – UBU
2nd – Cambridge
3rd – Fling
4th – Jesters
5th – Warwick
6th – Haze
7th – Oxford


It’s set to be cracking. See you there.

More from the Uni Ultimate committee to come! DP @ tSG.

Scottish Uni Open Indoor Regionals

Rory Curran sizes up the competition at this weekend’s tournament which doubles as University Scottish National Indoor Championships and University Regional Qualifiers

Following Scotland’s impressive showing across all four University Nationals last year, they have now been awarded a fourth Division 1 spot, maintaining three for Division 2. Last year’s British national champions Dundee University look to start the tournament as favourites. Despite losing Graeme McDowell and Jocelyn Trottet, Dundee have been a club growing for many years now under Graeme’s watchful eye and he has left them in a very strong state. The team placed seventh at Outdoors, losing their quarter final match to eventual finalists Edinburgh.  

The Scottish region, if you weren’t sure. Image courtesy of UKU.
Glasgow Ultimate had a very successful club season, and this high level ultimate appears to have filtered into the two Glasgow based teams – Strathclyde and Glasgow University. My predictions see these two teams taking the next two spots and pushing Dundee the hardest, and possibly causing an upset.


Strathclyde see the return of GB U23 mixed player Jonny Ferry joining captain Matt Scott who, between them, will run the show. By no means is that where the team ends with numerous other players having improved massively playing Tour with their clubs over the summer, notably Asif Arshad – a recent Glasgow Ultimate MIP candidate starting his Strathclyde Career. A well-knit team, and comfortable on the disc; if these guys keep their heads they will be right up there on Sunday afternoon. Strathclyde could be the dark horses of the tournament.

Glasgow remains a very similar outfit to last year. Ex-Flatballer Rory Curran has been using his Div 1 experience to strengthen the team, with the assistance of the vastly experienced Webb brothers, for the past two seasons. A very versatile team, Farflung possess both an aerial threat and multiple players able to play in multiple positions. Rory is considered the playmaker, with Joe Crisp expected to bring down anything thrown near him. Iso has been Glasgow’s go-to play and with those two we don’t expect to see anything new. Expect this tall team to put up a lot of discs, and if they bring most of them down they too could be real contenders. Any weaknesses? They do love to party!

Edinburgh has been a keystone in Scotland’s top three ever since 2007, and it is unthinkable that they wouldn’t remain so. Ro Sham Bo can always rely on a healthy import of “Muricans” to bolster their team and as such are expected by most to place highly. However, with the loss of James Glover and Michael Noblett, do they have a leader to teach them how to play indoors in time for this years early regionals? Rumors circulated at Tune-up suggested they had picked up a top American O line handler so, if true Ro Sham Bo could well maintain their long Division 1 history. A team keeping their cards close to their chest, not many will know exactly what to expect.

Heriot Watt have been building year on year since their birth as a team about 4 years back. This year sees them really fancy their chances as the majority of the team has now been playing together for that time. John Stainsbury is their key player and provides the most experience; but a strong team now also backs him up. Ex-fusion captain and GB player John Leach has been coaching them for two years, and this was evident in their performance at the Glasgow one day warm up tournament.  Not many teams rate Heriot Watt higher than sixth but personally I think you underestimate them at your peril. Their relative lack of experience may see them fall just short of Division 1 but I expect these guys to cause a few upsets and at least qualify for Division 2.

St. Andrews. Benji Heywood is the key man at flatball; he provides structured training and very structured teams. St. Andrews always produces a very reliable offence. They have lost their two key players to graduation, but following a week long preseason and dedicated first team training this team is already looking competitive. They are on a two year plan but victory last weekend at Edinburgh beginners has spirits high, with Captain Miles as their new key player. If Flatball nurse their injuries through the tournament and avoid their newly characteristic Sunday dip in form they will make Division 2.

Stirling were looking weak following the disintegration of their team that did so well at Division 1 last year. However, with a cheeky masters degree for Matt Tomlinson all of a sudden these guys (and one gal) are throwing their hat into the ring. Division 1 is probably out of their reach but they think differently. Division 2 would be a good result for them considering how they looked in June. I think they will sneak seventh place in a close match against Aberdeen.

Aberdeen has a lot of height and home advantage this weekend. Daryll will be leading the show, although the loss of GB U23 player Doug Olley will likely be evident. Aberdeen had enough numbers to take them to outdoor nationals last year and some of these remain, it might just be enough to sneak them into one of the last two division 2 spots. Hosting the party could be their downfall nursing hangovers on Sunday, but if they get their mojo up who knows what upsets they could cause.

Predictions see everyone placing Dundee as favourites. Beyond that there is a lot of debate. The general consensus is that Glasgow and Edinburgh will complete the top three  (excluding teams backing themselves). The fourth and final Div 1 spot will be very hotly contested and who its goes to depends on who you ask and what knowledge they have. No one puts themselves outside the top 7 and most put St. Andrews at the front of the chasing pack.

My bold predications are as follows (in order): –

Qualifying for Div 1 
Dundee, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Heriot Watt

Qualifying for Div 2
St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Stirling

Leaving Aberdeen missing out but probably winning the party.

Keep an eye out for more University Indoor Regional Previews coming soon… JCK @tSG