UMIR 2021: East and London preview

With men’s indoor regionals this weekend, we’ve got some previews for you! Here’s a look at the East and London from Magnus Oakes and Arjun Bhushan.

After the exciting Mixed Regionals the region prepares for what should be a hotly contested Men’s Regionals. With two new teams and the different compositions that Men’s forces it seems unlikely that the results of mixed will be entirely repeated. Two Division 1 and two Division 2 spots at nationals are up for grabs at this tournament. Below each of the teams are listed in their seeding rank with a short preview of their tournaments.

UCL

UCL’s depth was impressive at mixed and will probably bring a squad hungry to get another Div 1 national spot for their programme. They brought a lot of speed, height and dangerous give-go moves that we likely see again this tournament. Again, their committee must be commended recruitment wise as bringing three teams is a feat.

Imperial

Imperial’s failure to qualify for nationals at mixed places some pressure on their men’s team to perform in this tournament. Highly seeded and placed in a group with the team who knocked them out of nationals considerations at mixed, they will certainly be a team to watch this tournament. Hopefully they can build off what they learned at UXIR and produce a strong result.

Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire are something of a dark horse this tournament. Without Ernie Simons (St Albans), a key player on their teams in the past, and with the long break since their last tournament it will be exciting to see what kind of a team they produce this tournament. We would be surprised if they held the seed they have been given.

Kings

Kings continue to have dominant players, but it will be interesting to see if their second team can produce the men needed to have depth that was previously provided by their excellent women. The Jacob Rheins (Colorado Mamabird) to James Lee (Deep Space) connection will continue to be incredibly dangerous but if teams can work out a way to stifle their iso play they may be challenged more than they were at UXIR.

Cambridge

Cambridge were amazing at UXIR and hoping to build on that success in men’s. While often known as an outdoors team pretending to play indoors, they showed considerable aptitude for defending all sorts of indoors offences at mixed and will be an exciting team to watch this tournament. Their second team ranked highest out of all the second teams last tournament so hopefully that depth translates into their first team well.

UEA

UEA were phenomenal at UXIR, but it will be exciting to see how much of that was down to their explosive female players like Alana Clane (Longhill High School). What is certain is that they will be well drilled and comfortable, looking to repeat their success at mixed. Their defence was especially potent at mixed, with their zone and wall causing all sorts of problems for many a team. They have also done very well recruitment-wise and will be bringing three teams.

Brunel

Brunel are no longer a dark horse. With their securing of a nationals spot at mixed for the second season in a row they are a team are probably under-seeded and one to watch. Their group with Imperial 1 will definitely be something of a grudge match and hopefully their men’s team can live up to high standard set by their mixed performance.

Anglia Ruskin
ARU are a bit of an unknown variable having not come to mixed this year. Having talked to their president, they sound excited to come and play their best frisbee. They are certainly a team to keep an eye on and could pull off an upset or two but are probably not nationals contenders.

Prediction

With all that said, we think the first teams will finish:

  1. Kings
  2. UCL
  3. Cambridge
  4. Imperial
  5. Brunel
  6. UEA
  7. Hertfordshire
  8. ARU

UMIR 2021: South West preview

With men’s indoor regionals this weekend, we’ve got some previews for you! Here’s Ollie Pattinson talking about what might happen in the South West.

Although still very much feeling the effects of Mixed Regionals, we are already looking ahead to Men’s Indoor Regionals this weekend. The South West region produced a high level of ultimate for the first tournament back, with tight games between a range of teams, and ultimately deciding the final results. 

Now the men’s teams will be attempting to recreate this level in Bath. Could this be the year that a competitor knocks the home team off of first place? Bournemouth will be making their first competitive appearance of the season, and joining the other six universities fighting for the spot that Bath have held for many years. With six nationals spots available (four for Div 1 and two for Div 2) the rewards are plentiful and all the first teams, plus numerous second teams, will have their eyes on qualification. 

Bath

Bath have started the season showing they have no intention of relinquishing the title of best in the South West. A first-place finish at Mixed Regionals shows that the level of the Bath team has not diminished, and they will again be the top target for the other universities seeking first place this weekend. Bath also had the highest place second team at mixed, showing depth among their teams. Bath 2 are also a team that have to be mentioned within the region given their incredible history of results. Twice in the last six years taking the top spots themselves, teams will have to be sure not to underestimate this second team. Bath will surely be looking at the qualification spots with the goal of once again finishing with two teams heading to nationals. 

Bristol

Bristol took second place and Div 1 qualification from Mixed Regionals. This result, and the fact that this was achieved in spite of more than a whole line of players getting injured during the weekend, shows that Bristol mean business. At Men’s Nationals in 2019-20 Bristol stormed Div 2 and took home first place. The other teams this weekend can expect that Bristol will have higher competition in their sights, and will be one of the toughest opponents this weekend. Bristol are also hoping their second team can take advantage of the extra qualification spots, and make their way to nationals as well. With a comfortable first BUCS win of the season, Bristol will see their opportunity to give Bath a run for their money and want to take first place.

Bournemouth

It is extra difficult to predict the Bournemouth team this year. The team did not get to have a first run together at Mixed and so will debut their season at Men’s Regionals. It will be an important test for the club following the disruption of COVID. The team is split between experienced players, including some GB U17s experience, as well as some freshers who will get their first chance at a competitive tournament. There are sure to be challenges for this Bournemouth team, but they aim to win as much as they can and most importantly enjoy themselves. As we have seen other teams face similar difficulties following COVID, Bournemouth will have lots of opportunity for close matches, and will hope their fresh squad can catch some teams out.

Exeter

Exeter not only come off of a second place finish at Men’s regionals 2019, but also a second team qualification in fifth, giving numerous developing players high-level experience. While the COVID delay may have disrupted this, we can still expect an experienced team and huge challenge presented by Exeter this year. A fourth place finish at Mixed Regionals may be disappointing compared to previous finishes, but having held two of the higher finishing teams to draws, Exeter will expect to improve on this for Men’s Regionals. Also coming into the weekend with a BUCS victory under their belt, the Exeter Men’s team will have confidence and high expectations. 

Plymouth

Plymouth were the unfortunate team to miss out on qualification for Mixed Nationals by one spot last weekend, but were a team that hugely improved as the weekend went on. Having exceeded their own expectations, Plymouth may come into Men’s Regionals with extra confidence and a big desire to improve further. While still rebuilding the team, and some freshers getting an opportunity on the first team, Plymouth will face some difficult opposition at the weekend. But with the extra qualification spots, Plymouth will be fighting hard to qualify and will be aiming to cause upsets. 

Southampton

Southampton have high expectations for Men’s Regionals. With both a BUCS win over Bath and  taking home the trophy at SICKO beginners, this year Southampton have demonstrated they can beat the toughest of opponents. Following their best Mixed Regionals in recent years, and only two losses both by a single point, they will believe they have what it takes to not only qualify but also compete for first place. With the addition of Andrezj Zarod (Wroclaw Flow) and Leo Micklem (UCD and Ranelagh) to that successful mixed team, Southampton have the talent and experience to expect nationals qualification. Southampton also have a strong, experienced second team who will want to be one of the many contenders for the qualification spots over the weekend.

UWE

UWE come off the back of a difficult Mixed Regionals, with a very new team coming back from the COVID break. However, strong experienced players on the team will be looking to rectify that at Men’s Regionals. With incredible performances in recent years, UWE is no stranger to nationals and will want to see their team return. Following some impressive displays of athleticism at the weekend, and now more experience playing together, UWE will want to bring a higher level to Men’s Regionals. 

The weekend is likely to involve numerous revenge battles from Mixed Regionals, and teams wanting to prove themselves. The predictions could again go either way, but with a some accurate guesses last week, I have a bit more confidence this set:

Predictions

  1. Bath
  2. Southampton
  3. Bristol
  4. Exeter
  5. Plymouth
  6. UWE
  7. Bournemouth

With the short turnaround between tournaments, teams will be hoping to bring the same level of competitiveness shown last weekend, with their new knowledge of the competition maybe helping create even tighter battles. I again predict some great excitement around the weekend and anticipate some exhilarating ultimate will be played.

Good luck to all teams heading to Bath this weekend!

UMIR 2021: Scotland preview

With men’s indoor regionals this weekend, we’ve got some previews for you! Here Nick Byrne previews what might go on north of the border in Scotland.

Well, we have all just about recovered from mixed regionals last week; a tournament which included a team with four players winning a game, a second team winning a bronze medal, and a stuffed animal coaching a team to a gold medal. Let’s hope this week is just as action packed and fun. There are four Div 1 spots up for grabs as well as three to Div 2, so plenty of teams will be making the trip to nationals. Who’ll take those top four could be close, though.

Aberdeen

Aberdeen has some very strong players in their squad going this weekend. A key player will be Josh Baillie who is not only a skilful and experienced player, but also has the advantage of height. 

Aberdeen started extremely strong at mixed regionals, taking third seed into the second day. They unfortunately just missed out on a Division 1 nationals spot, so they will be hoping to come out and make up for that by getting to Division 1 this weekend. 

Dundee

Dundee has some extremely skilful players. They suffer somewhat from a lack of tournament experience across the roster which is the only thing holding them back from being one of the top teams, but if they can play sensibly and keep their heads together for a whole weekend then they should be able to get a qualification for one of the divisions at nationals.

Their standout and go-to player is Johannes Umlauf, whose height and catching skills make him a difficult target man to stop and often a very good bailout option to beat strong defences. Young player Louis Fong also played exceptionally well at mixed regionals, getting multiple layout Ds and so will be looking to carry that form onto this weekend.

St Andrews

Having had a long conversation with new coach Balthazar, it is clear that St Andrews have very lofty expectations for themselves this weekend. He told me that despite losing Katie Trim, the only player in Scotland that can sky Ian Tait, they should still be able to hold their own and aim for two gold medals in two weeks.

Balthazar has further spoken about how he has watched Fraser Park playing for a number of years and he is really coming into his own this year and hitting his peak; his athleticism and throwing capabilities make him an extremely dangerous player on an indoor pitch.

Overall Saints have a very good chance to win this weekend and, with the roster they will be bringing backed by some very strong backroom staff, they will be disappointed with anything less than gold.

Stirling

Stirling are still in the middle of their big development push. They have done extremely well with recruitment both last year and this and so will be looking to go out and help their players gain as much experience as possible from this tournament. This does not however mean that they will be an easy game for anyone, they will be looking to play smartly and consistently and hoping that some of their new and inexperienced players can step up and make a name for themselves this weekend.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh had a very interesting weekend last week, with their second team coming away with a Division 1 nationals spot and a bronze medal. This week they will be looking to solidify this achievement and put together a stronger first team performance. 

Andrew Cleary is a player to really watch out for. Having played for Alba this summer he knows how to go out and win a bronze medal, although I’m sure Edinburgh will be hoping for better than that this weekend. 

Edinburgh have shown that they have skills and ability to beat the best teams this season and if they can put together more consistency this weekend, they should have a very good chance of a Division 1 nationals spot at least. 

Heriot Watt

Heriot-Watt come into this weekend with a mixed nationals spot already in the bag, hoping to claim a men’s nationals spot to go with it. From last weekend we can see that they have a lot of height and they know how to use it. Teams will struggle to stop Heriot’s high discs and tall defence. The only real weakness in Heriot’s game at the moment is its depth through the squad, and so if they have managed a strong recruitment year this season and are able to bring some depth as well as their height and throws to the tournament then they could definitely come out as a surprise package and threaten the top spots.

Strathclyde

Strathclyde are hurting at the moment. They have had a week to sit and think about that one-point loss in the final of mixed regionals to St Andrews and they do not want it to happen again. 

Captain Laurens Kok and GB Ian Tait add a lot of height to the squad which is a big advantage indoors, and means that most teams will struggle to pull off any overheads or deep shots against them.

Jonny Tang has just turned 28 and is finally ready to win a gold regionals medal, claiming he is going to get at least one layout D per game; anyone he is marking should be worried.

Will we get a repeat of last week’s final? I expect so. Will we get a repeat of last week’s results? Only time will tell, both teams are extremely well matched and it may well come down to who wants it more on the day.

Glasgow

Far Flung have managed to get a special delivery from down south in the form of GB U20 player Leon Williams. Not only does Leon have great abs but he has the ability to mark any uni-level player out of the game completely and run them ragged on defence. This addition, coupled with Joel Terry being on the team for the whole weekend, means that it would be a mistake to count Glasgow out of any game.

While they are not the favourites, if they are underestimated this Glasgow team definitely has the players to win every game and take home a surprise gold.

Second teams

I like to write about second teams often because you sometimes see them managing to grab a Division 2 nationals spot, and it’s always fun to see a second team beating a first team.

Edinburgh 2 last week however changed this completely as now apparently second teams are going for medals at these tournaments.

Edinburgh 2s are unlikely to make quite as much of a splash as they did last week since a lot of the guys that were on that team will now be on the first team, but they will still be looking to push every team they play against.

Both Strathclyde and St Andrews second teams will be looking to try and push for a nationals spot, and they both have a very good chance of doing so.

Prediction

  1. St Andrews 1
  2. Strathclyde 1
  3. Glasgow 1
  4. Edinburgh 1
  5. Dundee 1
  6. Heriot Watt 1
  7. Aberdeen 1
  8. Strathclyde 2
  9. St Andrews 2
  10. Edinburgh 2
  11. Stirling 1
  12. Glasgow 2
  13. St Andrews 3
  14. Strathclyde 3
  15. Aberdeen 2
  16. Glasgow 3
  17. Edinburgh 3

ShowGame Podcast: Episode 5 with Emily Powell and Charley Ferris

Sean spoke to two University club presidents this week to get a sense of how they’re dealing with the restrictions and how uni players in general are feeling about the lack of a season so far. Emily, from Strathclyde Uni, and Charley, from Nottingham, talked about how their clubs have adapted, trying to look after everyone’s mental health and what might come next.

– Intro about new regulations (0:11)

– How has it been running a club in these uncertain times? (1:57)

– Has it been more difficult to recruit beginners? (3:34)

– What about teaching them to play? Has that been harder outdoors given that the indoor season is gone? (7:52)

– How have trainings been with all this uncertainty going on? (11:14)

– How is the club off the field, how have you been keeping track of everyone’s mental health? (13:10)

– What comes next in terms of tournaments, have you had any indications? (15:53)

– This isn’t what you expected when you ran for these positions at your AGMs, right? (18:11)

– How do you avoid this year being a lost year for uni ultimate? (19:15)

– The unexpectedly high workload in keeping a club going this year, and the importance of the people at the unions (22:05)

– BEST LINE: Charley picks his mixed line up (25:53)

– BEST LINE: Emily does likewise (27:56)

UMIN 2020 Division 1 Preview

Nate Sanders previews the men’s side of indoor nationals and predicts what’ll go down in Scotland this weekend.

14 of the teams at Division 1 this year competed at this event last year. The new arrivals are LJMU, Exeter, Heriot Watt, Swansea, Imperial and Leicester. All of last years top eight are returning to the fold this time around. We’re going to take a little look at who’s coming, what to expect and an outrageously ungrounded prediction.

South West

Bath are consistently challenging at this tournament but regularly fall short of a top-three finish. This year could well be different, with more GB experience than you can shake a stick at and the self-proclaimed “best indoor player in UK Ultimate” Andrew Sweetman still to be added to the male half of the mixed roster that performed so well at UXIN this year, the boys in blue will be well on for a medal this time around.
Exeter are having a good year after narrowly missing out on Division 1 last year they have had a resurge for this season, coming a comfortable second behind Bath at regionals they’ll no doubt put a good showing in at nationals but the top eight spots may be just out of reach this time around.
UWE have qualified for Division 1 for the second year in a row. They didn’t finish that highly last year but had notable wins against Sussex and Manchester showing they can play with the big boys. I imagine they’ll struggle to adapt to the bigger fields and the rubber crumb, but they have the talent to produce an upset if they catch a team off guard.

North

I’m sure nobody is surprised to see Durham up in Division 1 Nationals. With access to players like Will Collier (SMOG), Steve Gillman (GB Open) & Callum Mcgowan (He’s quite good) who have been playing together for several seasons now, you’d expect these boys to be up there.
Liverpool John Moores, on the back of what has been a good season, they will again be competing at Division 1 this season. They’ll be relying on key players Ben Oliver and Tom Jackson to steady the ship if they want to compete at this tournament. A good performance at regionals and a respectable placing at UXIN, I think they’ll be likely to upset someone’s weekend.

Yorkshire & East Midlands

Loughborough have qualified two teams to indoor Nationals this year seeing their second team claim a spot in Division 2. They’ll bring the usual Loughborough athleticism, characteristic weave and unnecessary amount of lefty scoobers but even if you expect it, you’ll still struggle to keep them out for too long. History shows they’ll have a good Saturday and then lose a quarter final so expect to see these boys in the 5v6.

West & Wales

Swansea will be pleased to be at this event but without much big tournament experience the weight of Division 1 will likely be too much for them. They’ll be relying on product of Junior Ultimate Ryan Kapma to put a shift in if they want to win games.
Birmingham are an athletic group of guys, lead on pitch by an athletic anomaly, Isaac Davis. Playing frisbee together is one of their favourite past times along-side the occasional spot of bird watching. Despite some big losses thanks to recent graduations, Birmingham never fail to provide a strong output.
Warwick are no strangers to indoor nationals. With players like Adam Carver and Dan Wilson they’ll be able to challenge well at this tournament. Having played their regionals on a 3G pitch they’ll have had a good chance to feel out their offence on the different style of pitch and that will stand them in good stead ahead of the tournament.

South East & London

Sussex struggled last year at UMIN leaving themselves in the bottom of their initial pool only finishing above fellow south east counterpart Surrey. After a more respective 10th place finish at UXIN they may be able to pick themselves up this time around
Surrey boasts a lot of young talent including recent U24’s Tom Davies and Jonah from Bears. They will be alongside new signing from Swansea, Ross Hurley, who will add a big aerial threat. After a lacklustre outing at UXIN finishing 18th at UXIN and 20th at UMIN last year. Surrey will have something to prove on the trip to Edinburgh.
UCL have remained strong after the big loss of Axel and CJ Colicchio who brought them into the spotlight last year. They’re showing a real display of depth in their squad as they barely seem to be feeling the departures.

Scotland

With an outrageous (but not undeserved) five spots at Division 1 we will be seeing a lot of Scotland at this event. Scotland always have a strong showing at UMIN and with the home-turf advantage this year we’re all expecting big things from them especially locals Edinburgh.
Strathclyde dominate this event year after year, and I’d be surprised after their showing at regionals if we didn’t see that again. The Dark Horses are my favourite for a Gold medal, consistently sitting at the very top of UK Ultimate, they certainly have the class to see out nationals in a familiar setting.
Edinburgh, with a tidy second place at UXIN (Division 2) they’ve got a lot of ability and experience on the spacious 3G Pitches. Lochlan Fisher stands out amongst other less easily recognisable athletic talent and they will be difficult for any team to contain. The home turf will likely see this team battle it out for a Semi-Final.
Glasgow have suffered a lot of graduations which means that only two of last year’s bronze medalists remain in the squad for this year; not helped by captain Iain Cambell who will be missing out due to a concussion. Expect to see some fresher faces on this Glasgow team but they will be punctuated with players like Joel Terry, of recent U24 and Alba fame, so they’ll still be competing in the top half of this tournament.
The rest of Scotland is a mystery to me, but I’d expect Heriot-Watt and St Andrews to both perform relatively well as they usually do.

The Fight for not bottom

The remaining teams in the division (Sheffield, Leicester, Imperial) I think will struggle to compete with some of the other big teams and may find themselves coming a long way for some losses, either that or I don’t have a good understanding of their ability but I’d rather make a guess than ask for help.

Prediction:
Strathclyde
Bath
Edinburgh
Loughborough
Birmingham
Durham
Glasgow
LJMU
Warwick
Exeter
St Andrews
UCL
Heriot Watt
Sussex
Surrey
Swansea
Sheffield
UWE
Imperial
Leicester

University Women’s Indoor Nationals 2020 Preview

With an in-depth preview, Miyen Ho takes us through the possibilites at this weekend’s women’s nationals!

After the whirlwind of University Mixed Indoor Nationals last November, we’re back with the next hotly-anticipated University Indoor Championships – the Women’s Division! Elite-level women (who are somehow also studying) will be heading up to Glasgow this February for some 5v5 Div 1 action, and it promises to be a competitive show. Read on for a rundown of the 20 teams making their appearance!

SCOTLAND

ST ANDREWS (1st at ScUWIR, 17th at UWIN 2019)
While the strength of the Ultimate program at St Andrews is well-renowned, most of us probably didn’t expect to see their 10-4 win against the national title-holders in Strathclyde, especially since their team was much closer to the bottom at the last University Women’s Indoor Nationals. So what changed?

Apparently, their secret weapon is Rebecca Mesburis (Canada U20s 2018), but she’s also supported by GB Women’s U20 2019 players Beatrice Bowlby and Tabbi Nutt. They also credit their massive improvement to the entrance of fantastic coaching (by Rachel Turton) and a substantial number of talented freshers (allowing them to send three teams to Nationals). Watch this space – if they don’t find themselves at the top this University Women’s Indoor Nationals, their considerable depth puts them in a great position for University Women’s Outdoor Nationals and beyond!

STRATHCLYDE (2nd at ScUWIR, 1st at UWIN 2019, 3rd at UXIN 2019-20)
The winners of University Women’s Indoor Nationals 2019 (& University Mixed Indoor Nationals 2018-19) are back, and much closer to home this time, looking to defend their two-time National title. Led this year by Karina Aitken (SCRAM; Glasgow) and Gemma Henry (SCRAM; Glasgow), they’ll be bringing a slightly younger, fresher team to University Women’s Indoor Nationals, but we can nevertheless expect the Horses to come out with athleticism, speed, and a hunger to work hard and prove that they can still take the top spot, especially after their tough loss to St Andrews. Look out in particular for pinpoint throws from Gemma to up-and-coming second-year, Aina Shahira, who brings quick feet and steady hands to their offensive system.

GLASGOW (3rd at ScUWIR, 18th at UWIN 2019)
Having tied Strathclyde in their pool at Regionals as well as in their point differentials against St Andrews (both lost by 7), Glasgow comes into University Women’s Indoor Nationals with the argument that they could be Sc2 instead of Sc3. Nevertheless, they’re looking to build on the momentum they created at Regionals while putting on a good show for their home crowd at Ravenscraig. Word on the street is that they’ll be bringing strong pickups to University Women’s Indoor Nationals, including Charlotte Möndel (Germany Beach Mixed) and Leah Dobbs (Hydra). Insiders also note that they often pull out some big around-flicks that need to be stopped if you want a chance at beating them.

DUNDEE (5th at ScUWIR, 12th at UWIN 2019)
As a developing new team entering University Women’s Indoor Nationals for the second time since 2016, Dundee’s coming with goals of improving on their 12th place last year and upping their performance from Regionals. Led by Beth Hall (GB Mixed U24s 2019), they chose to keep their cards close when asked about their roster, but claim to have even abilities across the board. They’re especially keen to see a rematch against Glasgow after a universe point loss in the quarterfinals that had them fighting for fifth.

THE NORTH & WEST MIDLANDS

NEWCASTLE (1st at NUWIR, 5th at UWIN 2019)
If you weren’t living under a rock in November, you’d know about Newcastle’s 15-point streak at Regionals, and would not be surprised that I’m calling them the big team to beat. Their captain, Kate Gibson (GB Mixed U24 2019) doesn’t dwell on these results, instead emphasising their focus on the bigger fish to fry at University Women’s Indoor Nationals. Supported by Emily Atkinson (SMOG; GB U20s 2016), Jo Murnane (SMOG), and Yasmin Gill (RMIT in Australia), they’ll be looking to bring forward their fiery energy, confidence, and hardworking team ethic to Ravenscraig this weekend.
It’s worth noting that nearly all of the captains who responded either put Newcastle as one of their predicted top three or as the big team that they want to play “because they seem so good”. No pressure, Newcastle.

LOUGHBOROUGH (2nd at NUWIR, 2nd at UWIN 2019)
Despite Loughborough’s National silver last season, the captains were humble when asked about their play at Regionals, calling it an ‘over-performance’. Having lost a number of key players to a scary event called “graduation”, they were pleasantly surprised to find themselves the winners of a universe point semi-final against Durham, cementing their Regional silver. However, they might be selling themselves short: led by Beth Wagge (LED) and Sophie Wong (GB Women’s U20s 2019 MVP) and supported by Katie Allen (GB Mixed U24s 2019), they’ve additionally found themselves some strong young grasshoppers in Alice Warriner and Carys Edwards, who both reportedly await offers from the 2020 GB Women’s U20s squad.

NOTTINGHAM (3rd at NUWIR, 4th at UWIN 2019, 1st at UXIN 2019-20)
Coming off a well-fought University Mixed Indoor National win last November, Nottingham is coming in excited & hungry for a second title. Their Regionals performance was strong, having only lost one game all weekend against regional champions Newcastle in the semi-finals. They will be missing a couple of key players from their Regionals team for University Women’s Indoor Nationals including Kat Cheng (Hydra; Mighty Hucks), but they’ll still have Maya Israel (GB Women U24), and exciting talent coming in through their rookies.

DURHAM (4th at NUWIR, 3rd at Div 2 UWIN 2019)
After a big quarterfinal win against Sheffield, Durham is coming in keen to continue their upwards spiral. Given that they’re new to the Division 1 scenes, they’re gearing up for big challenges ahead against unfamiliar matchups, and keen to capitalize on the chemistry between GBW U24 duo Lizzie Plasom-Scott and Sarah Ladd (who reportedly has killer calves). Having seen their women burn defenders deep at University Mixed Indoor Nationals, the pitch size in Ravenscraig will undoubtedly be used to their advantage.

LEEDS (5th at NUWIR, 11th at UWIN 2019)
Despite being the last team to make Division 1 from this region, Leeds is not to be underestimated. After topping their pool at Regionals, a 4v5 universe point loss to Nottingham meant that they were fighting for fifth and the Division 1 qualification, but I reckon that they could be anywhere in the top three of this region. Led by Emily Potter (GB Women U24s 2019), they’re bringing strong handler movement through Sam Burgess, Katie Melville (both GB Women U20s 2019; LLLeeds) and Jess Ridout (Bristol University; GB Women U20s 2016). They’ll be missing Alice Hanton (GB Women) this weekend, but expect the rest of their team to be strong and equally valuable, especially since they’re sending a second team to Division 2!

THE WEST

BATH (1st at WUWIR, 13th at UWIN 2019)
Coming into WUWIR as a very new team unsure of what to expect, Bath managed to exceed their own expectations when emerging victorious with the Regional title. They’ll be looking to capitalise on this energy coming into Nationals, bringing Heather Gibson (GB Women U20s 2016; Hydra), rising star Connie Lynch, and secret-weapon Cassandra Lee, as well as captain Ella Curtis (Midwestern Mediocrity), who’s come back from a year abroad training in the US! While scores were relatively low for this team at WUWIR (averaging at seven per game), expect tight and gritty defence from their wealth of athleticism.

SOUTHAMPTON (2nd at WUWIR, debut at UWIN)
Having entered WUWIR at 10th seed, it’s safe to say that Southampton exceeded all expectations when they emerged as Regional silvers after a tight 8-6 loss to Bath, and a 4-2 win against Bath in their power pool earlier that morning. When asked, the captain refused to attribute this massive improvement to any individual and refused to name any stars, instead crediting their recent successes to the strong commitment and unwavering passion held by all of their players, which has helped them symbiotically push each other harder.
Given that they’ve never been to University Women’s Indoor Nationals before, whether that be Division 1 or Division 2, I’m keen to see how they battle the national jitters and the unfamiliarity of the other regions. If things go right for them, they could shut down Bath once again, and decisively claim one of the top spots!

EXETER (3rd at WUWIR, 6th at Div 2 UWIN 2019, 2nd at UXIN 2019-20)
Exeter came to Regionals this year focused on building team connections, as a new team who hadn’t played much together. Unlike most in Division 1, they don’t boast GB stars but instead pride on being a team of nearly equal capabilities down the roster, from captain Sophie Haden-Scott (Bristol Women) to fresher Charlotte Pounder, who promises youth and speedy feet to watch out for.

BIRMINGHAM (4th at WUWIR, 6th at UWIN 2019)
As a newly-structured team, Birmingham entered Regionals knowing that they’d have to fight for the Division 1 qualification spot. They ascribe their losses at regionals to a defensive system that was tight, but struggled to convert for the score against strong offensive teams with hyper-precise throws. Led by Natasha Taylor (Birmingham Ultimate) and Ellie Payne (GB Women U24 2019, Hydra, Birmingham Ultimate), they’ll be taking the motto “defence wins games” to heart as they focus on getting the much-needed blocks on the national stage.

THE EAST & LONDON

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE INDONESIAL (1st at EUWIR, 10th at UWIN 2019)
UCL has had a tumultuous year so far: after a glittery 2018-2019 season and an indoor regional triple-crown this season, predictions were sky-high for their mixed team headed to University Mixed Indoor Nationals… and they finished 14th.
With that being said, one might argue that the mixed division is no predictor for the women’s division, and I’d have to agree: UCL’s women are coming in strong and experienced, having lost none of their players since their last appearance at University Women’s Indoor Nationals in 2019. Individual stars include Alicia Tan (SYC, GB Mixed U24 2018), Angelica Yeo (GB Women U24 2019), Claire Huibonhoa (WUCC 2018 with Black Kites), Nina Montana Brown (Spain Women 2020) and Miyen Ho (GB Women U20s 2019), but the entire team is expected to be a clinical, well-oiled machine, having two years of training together under their belts.

SURREY (2nd at EUWIR, 2nd at Div 2 UWIN 2019)
Surrey’s 2019-20 squad is making history, being Surrey’s first women’s team to qualify for Division 1, after securing a universe-point win against reigning University Women Outdoor National Champions, Imperial. They’re expecting to lose a few key players for University Women’s Indoor Nationals, but are hungry for a stronger performance from regionals nevertheless. Keep an eye out for Lea Motte’s steady handling skills and Claudia Carnell (Guildford)’s big grabs in the endzone, and get excited for this team’s debut on the Division 1 National stage!

IMPERIAL (3rd at EUWIR, 9th at UWIN 2019, 1st at UWON 2019)
Coming off a strong showing at University Women’s Outdoor Nationals 2019, the DiscDoctors chose to keep things lowkey and developmental at regionals this year after a few dropouts, bringing one team of 10 that featured six development-squad players. Their main aim was meaningful development, which meant rolling lines throughout the weekend and giving the newer players chances to make plays, even on the high-pressure bracket games. Going into University Women’s Indoor Nationals, they’ll be adding substantial experience to their roster, including Claire Baker (GB Women U24 2018), Anna Rydlova (Iceni; Czech Women 2019), and Rebecca Lindsay (GFM), so it’s likely that we haven’t seen their full potential yet!

UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA (4th at EUWIR, 3rd at UWIN 2019)
Having come into University Women’s Indoor Nationals last year as the underdogs lower in the East & London region sporting flower crowns, only to come out of University Women’s Indoor Nationals with the National bronze, it would be a mistake to underestimate UEA once again. While a universe-point loss to Imperial meant that they had to take fourth in the region, Aye-Aye is hungry to prove themselves and claim another national medal. Look out in particular for the lightning handler duo of Stephanie Lau and Sabrina Gee (both of Norwich Ultimate), who have reportedly cemented their chemistry by solely speaking to each other on the pitch in Chinese.

OXFORD BROOKES (5th at EUWIR, 1st at Div 2 UWIN 2019)
Coming out of a big universe-point win at University Women’s Indoor Nationals to grab the Division 2 gold last year, Oxford Brookes came into this season with sights set on the bigger dogs of Division 1. While they only brought six players, with some carrying knocks, they were excited to grab a decisive win against St Mary’s to secure the Division 1 spot. They’re led by Erin McGready (GB Mixed U24 2019, 2018, 2015; WUCC 2018 with Reading) and supported by American pick-up Leah Robinson, and despite having fewer hours of training together, rely on trust and good chemistry to keep their team flowing. On a wholesome note, they’re simply ‘excited to experience some fantastic ultimate being played, learn a lot and build on the massive experience for future years’.

CHICHESTER (6th at EUWIR, 14th at Div 2 UWIN 2019)
Another team new to the Division 1 Nationals scenes this year after a few years out, Chichester is looking to restart a campaign that had them finishing with the national gold back in 2017. Regionals were a nail-biter for Chichester after a 6v7 universe point loss to Oxford Brookes that put them at seventh seed fighting St Mary’s for the Division 1 qualifications, but they’ll be looking to bring this adrenaline forwards into UWIN. Speaking with captain Emily Teeder, they’ll be working on remaining consistent throughout their games, as they struggled at Regionals with a tendency to pick up early leads before allowing opponents to catch up. Keep an eye out in particular for freshers Ali Brown and Charlotte Hillyer, who promise relentless determination to create open spaces and get D-blocks!

SOME MATCHUPS TO LOOK OUT FOR
NEWCASTLE VS UCL:
Despite a glittery performance at women’s Regionals, Newcastle fell to UCL 8-3 at UXIN. Can the Newcastle women blame their men for that decisive loss, or will UCL’s women them shut down once again? Either way, both teams are reportedly ultra-cohesive units meshing highly experienced stars with speedy & clever supporting players!

LEEDS VS LOUGHBOROUGH
Despite being in the same region, these two never got a chance to faceoff after Leeds’ universe point loss on the 4v5 crossover against Nottingham. Both teams feature young GB handler talent and clinical offensive systems, so it may truly come down to the team that forces more turns on defence. And don’t we all love a defensive game?!

STRATHCLYDE VS IMPERIAL
Both teams are well-established on the UK scenes, each with national titles under their belt. Both teams have lost one or two key players from last season while retaining experienced handlers with chemistry together, and each claim to have focussed on building newer talent so far this season. Their handlers seem to matchup, so it’s a question of what their young cutters will bring to the stage.

BATH VS ST ANDREWS:
I’m pretty curious about the nuanced approaches that Bath and St Andrews have taken to their team mentalities. Both self-identified as new teams, crediting “team dynamics” as the key to their regional successes, but each defined those terms differently. Bath appears to rely on a clinical offensive system that involves a trust-based culture in taking the shots they need, while St Andrews capitalises on athleticism and speed when working the disc through their young talent. It seems to be a question of how their paces measure up, but both promise contrasting offensive plays that should be quite fun to watch!

PREDICTION
We all love a shot-in-the-dark prediction that may or may not go horribly wrong. Here’s my top eight!

  1. Newcastle
    Bath
    UCL
    St Andrews
    Imperial
    Loughborough
    Strathclyde
    Southampton

Snapping at their heels: UEA & Leeds.

What to expect at University Mixed Indoor Nationals Division 2

Concluding the previews, Nathan Sanders brings us the low-down on what looks to be the hottest UXIN Division 2 tournament ever this year.

University Mixed Indoor Nationals is split across two venues again this year with Division 2 on at The Alan Higgs Centre in Coventry. Let’s take a quick look at what is different this year, and who you should watch out for.

Continue reading “What to expect at University Mixed Indoor Nationals Division 2”