Windfarm: Women’s recap

Making her ShowGame debut aking a look at the Windfarm women’s division is Marina Symington, who’ll be covering WMUCC in Limerick for us later this month!

After several years of either cancelled or scaled-back events, Windfarm 2022 marks the first full-scale Tour event in close to three years. A total of 63 teams across all divisions travelled to Nottingham’s familiar Riverside Sports Complex for a weekend many will have been delighted to see return.

The women’s divisions featured a nice spread of the familiar top British teams, as well as newly formed Horizon, junior players from GB U20s, and Dublin Gravity and Masterclass coming over from Ireland. Let’s take a look at a few highlights as these players converged in the Midlands.

Bristol remain champs

The reigning national champions proved themselves still dominant, prevailing in the same city as their 2021 national title. Their road was not without some tight games. In the pool stages they finished second in their group, comfortably beating Thundering Her but having lost 12-11 in a tight match against a Masterclass team that featured Irish stars Sarah Melvin and Fiona Mernagh in a squad featuring a number of other Irish national team veterans. Wins against Dublin Gravity and SMOG then saw Bristol facing Masterclass for a second time in the semis. After another close game, Bristol came out on top this time, winning 15-14 and securing their spot in the final against SYC. SYC’s route to the final was also not plain sailing. They lost to their big rivals Iceni in the pool stage, but then went on to beat them the second time they met, this time in the semis, reflecting just how tight the competition is between the top few women’s teams. Bristol’s experience and composure in the final ultimately saw them victorious once again, with World Games players Carla Link and Molly Wedge again central to their success after being absent for other tournaments this season. Perhaps this sets the tone for what we can expect to see more of from Bristol.

Carla Link throws to Molly Wedge in the semi. Photo by Sam Mouat.

SMOG dominate in their pool but drop a few seeds

The next pool saw SMOG face SCRAM and Cambridge Women. The women from SMOG, a club who we typically see dominating in mixed, had comfortable wins against both other teams. In their last game on Saturday, they lost a tight match against LMU in a pre-quarter crossover. Sunday then saw these two teams come head-to-head once again in their final game of the weekend. This was another close one, with SMOG coming out on top this time, winning 11-9, placing them fifth and leaving LMU, who had come in as fourth seed, in sixth place.

Dublin Gravity struggle in a tough pool

Arguably the toughest pool in Division 1 featured London rivals SYC and Iceni, alongside Dublin Gravity. This was unfortunate for a development Gravity team, who had to face eventual second and third placed teams right off the bat. Their luck didn’t improve as they then had to play eventual winners Bristol in the crossovers, putting in an impressive performance and narrowly losing only 12-10. This, however, put Gravity in the 9-16 bracket, where they dominated in their next three games and comfortably took ninth.

Close competition in the middle of Division 1

The final pool in Div 1 contained LMU, Spice and Reading. LMU narrowly beat Spice and both teams beat Reading, ranking the three teams LMU, Spice then Reading. Reading had to play both Spice and LMU again on Sunday, where they lost to both again. The three teams finished the tournament sixth, seventh and eighth in the same order they ranked in their pool. This is only the second season for Spice, who are heading to worlds this summer and might have hoped to cause more upset in the top of Div 1. They did get the opportunity to play both SMOG and Masterclass, which will have been good experience for them going forward this season.

Cambridge and Thundering Her displaced from Division 1

The bottom two spots in Div 1 were given to Cambridge Women and Thundering Her (the women’s entry from mixed team Thundering Herd). Both teams had a tough time in their pools, facing some of the best talent in the country. Cambridge were missing some of their key players that lead to this season’s indoor success and had teamed up with women from RED to field a full roster. Thundering Her also struggled in their pool, but then faced some closer matches on Sunday. After losing to Flamingos (the Flyght/Lemmings joint team) they went on to convincingly beat GB U20 women and finished the weekend with a narrow win against Horizon: Forbidden West to take 13th.

Horizon enter a massive three teams

It’s worth also mentioning the success of the brand-new women’s club, Horizon. Formed this year with the hope of filling a gap in women’s ultimate in Yorkshire and the North, they managed to enter and incredible three teams to their debut tournament. The three teams were not ranked on ability, with the more experienced players instead distributed across them. Nonetheless these teams were not out of their depth. Horizon: Zero Dawn even went on to finish 12th, putting them at the bottom on Div 1. The other two Horizon teams finished 14th and 17th, firmly establishing Horizon as a club to be taken seriously moving forwards.

Needless to say, overall Windfarm was a great success for the return of Tour and an exciting insight into what this season will bring. Congratulations to all the teams that took part!

UWIR 2021: West preview

Ollie Pattinson previews the mega West region ahead of women’s indoor regionals this weekend and predicts who’ll be heading to nationals next year.

The women’s teams of the West region have had one extra week to prepare for the final regional indoor tournament of the 2021 season. The women’s division for the West is always an interesting tournament as it is a combination between the South West and West Midlands and Wales regions in mixed and men’s regionals. This means a higher number of first teams and that teams will face new competition for the season. 

In total 11 first teams will be attending, with many regular high performers and newer strong teams wanting to take their chance to claim the eight Nationals spots (four for Div 1 and four for Div 2). There are also a number of second teams (and one third team) which is great to see following the COVID disruption. With the large number of first teams, the second teams will get plenty of chances to cause upsets and the tournament is likely to have many close battles. With mixed regionals being the first tournament back after the long break, I expect a number of women’s teams this weekend will be looking forward to some rematches and potential revenge. Any spectators should be excited for the inevitable competitiveness and high quality to be seen when the heavyweight teams of two regions come together and battle it out in Swansea this weekend.


It comes as no surprise that Bath are coming into the weekend with high ambition and lots of evidence to support a top finish. With two first place finishes in the last three women’s regionals and a dominant performance at mixed regionals this year, they want to maintain their ‘best in the west’ title. Bath are coming into the weekend having lost a few star players from previous years but are feeling positive about their new team. They are excited to see development among their players as they face the challenge of the additional universities between them and the first place position.


Birmingham makes for great competition with Bath at this event. Also having a first place finish in the last three years of women’s regionals and a first place finish at this year’s mixed regionals, they seem adamant on continuing their long run of success. Despite missing out on the top three at the last regionals, they rectified this with a fourth place finish and highest from the region at the last nationals. This year the Birmingham team has been working hard to make a strong showing following the COVID break, which has so far proved successful having only conceded a single point at their first BUCS weekend. Having picked up ex-Warwick player Hannah Yorwerth (GB U24s) and rising star Rosie Coward (Reading and GB U20s), Birmingham are sure to set a high standard of Ultimate and present a huge challenge for the rest of the teams. 


Bournemouth are entering women’s regionals for what I am aware is the first time. That’s a great sign for growth of the club and a huge opportunity for development for this women’s team. While they come into a strong region, the longer break and loss of key players from many teams presents a great chance to come in and potentially surprise some teams. Bournemouth will be looking to come in and make a strong first impression, and gain lots of valuable experience while enjoying their first competitive indoor tournament with their university. 


Bristol will be one team this weekend looking to make a mark as a new contender to the top position and they have the results to prove it’s very possible. Making the last spot to nationals last time around seems to have pushed the team to excel. At the first BUCS weekend, the Bristol women’s team saw off Bath, Exeter and Southampton and now have their sights on repeating this in Swansea. With captain Natalie Oldfield (Bristol Womens), leading a strong team of experienced and cohesive players, Bristol want to continue their winning streak.


Cardiff are another one of the many strong teams in the region over recent years. They come off a third place finish at mixed regionals and a fifth place finish at last women’s regionals. Having  just missed out on Div 1 nationals last time, I am sure this year they will have their sights set on returning to the top division. Their two teams are said to be filled with excitement for the weekend, especially the freshers stacked second team. Their first team has a range of experience led by Esther Awcock (GB Junior) and a great passion across the roster, well demonstrated with the addition of Su Yin from Malaysia who set up her own team before coming to join Cardiff. Cardiff will be sure to give all the teams a strong challenge at the weekend, and will aim to repeat the success of the mixed team and qualify for Div 1 nationals.


Exeter continues to demonstrate that they have an incredibly successful club at their university. Being the only university attending to bring three teams, the depth of their club is sure to encourage continued success as seen in previous years. Exeter will hope to repeat and improve upon their strong season before the break, finishing third at the last Regionals and an impressive fifth at Nationals. Both the second and third team show potential to cause upsets against teams if underestimated, with the second team being a potential dark horse for the tournament. The first team combines experience and talent, including the addition of Leah Atkins (Air Badgers and GB Juniors) to the many long-term club members bringing fast yet patient play and a range of tactics. Exeter hopes that all of the teams can perform well this weekend, but most of all are excited to finally play one of their favourite tournaments after so many delays. 


Keele university is making their first entry to women’s regionals since 2015 and are incredibly excited to be attending. A lot of work has gone into recruiting women for the club over the last two years and it has paid off with a women’s team who can’t wait to play a tournament together. As a relatively new team, the players are looking forward to the valuable experience they will gain from the tournament (being some players’ first ever) and most importantly want to have fun while doing it. 


Plymouth are entering the weekend following a really strong mixed regionals performance that unfortunately saw them just miss out on nationals. The women’s team also has desires to recreate the success of qualifying for nationals two years ago and will be looking forward to getting another attempt at national competition. Sadly some COVID cases have affected their numbers but they still look to bring a solid team who really want to have fun at the weekend. The team combines experience with newer players which, as it did at mixed regionals, may help them perform better than they first expected. 


Southampton proved at the last regionals that they are truly a contender for a top spot at the weekend. An impressive finish of second place and an incredibly close final against Bath showed Southampton and the rest of the teams that they are a very tough team to play against. Both mixed and men’s tournaments this year have resulted in nationals qualification for the first time in years, and the women now take their turn to repeat this success. Captain Abi Cohman (GB Women’s) leads a team split between experienced players and freshers who have really come together in their first BUCS matches, winning two out of three. Southampton hope the newer players continue their incredibly fast development and top players like Dianne Lopez (SYC) and Provi Cowdrill (GB Junior) can bring a challenge to any team they face at the weekend.


Swansea have the home advantage for the weekend, but with two teams entered who are both iron-manning they hope to use a big sideline to overcome tired legs. Their second team is full of freshers excited for the experience, while their first team is stacked with experience. Captain Aimee Hawksley (Horsham) will lead the group of five which includes two GB Junior players. Such experience and small team will surely mean Swansea bring a cohesive team and big challenge to the rest of the tournament. Having beaten Bath in BUCS this season, Swansea will know they have the quality to win against teams at the weekend, and will have to hope the limited number of players does not get in the way of giving a strong performance.


Warwick are one more team who have consistently thrown their name in the hat for top position finishes in recent years. With fifth and fourth place finishes in the years prior, they may be coming into this year wanting to improve on their seventh place at the last regionals, and fight for one of the top four Div 1 qualification spots. They have lost some key players, but a very impressive second place at mixed regionals means the Warwick women know they have the quality to beat many of the teams and will want to show the South West teams they can do the same to them. Warwick also managed to hold a strong Birmingham women’s team to a tight outdoor game, only losing 5-6. As the only team to finish above Warwick at Mixed, they will come in hoping to get the edge on Birmingham this time around, along with the rest of the teams.

Spectating this event in the past has been one of my favourites, with the wide array of universities attending it can feel almost nationals-esque and produces many entertaining games. A lot of teams are coming in hoping to show the development and hard work of these first couple of months back and use their mixed and BUCS experience to step up a level at the weekend. Although we’ve been back a little while now, there has been an overwhelming sense of excitement ahead of the tournament, with lots of teams really looking forward to this one in particular. There are bound to be lots of games going against the seeding and I predict lots of improvement from the newer teams as the weekend goes on, perhaps making for some shock results in rematches on the Sunday.

All this makes it very hard again to predict, but some teams will be relying on their strong experience to see them through against the array of new competition, while others will have additional challenges following the introduction of top teams from the other region. 


  1. Birmingham
  2. Bristol
  3. Southampton
  4. Bath
  5. Exeter
  6. Warwick
  7. Cardiff
  8. Swansea
  9. Plymouth
  10. Keele
  11. Bournemouth

Thanks to all the captains who helped me out with the preview, and good luck to all the teams playing in Swansea this weekend!

UWIR 2021: Scotland preview

Nick Byrne previews the Scotland region of women’s indoor regionals!


Edinburgh have managed to get a medal in both regionals so far. The pattern would suggest that Edinburgh 3s are going to get a bronze medal this weekend.

As unlikely as that is, their first team may well be able to do the job. There are a lot of very good players on this Edinburgh women’s first team and it would not be a massive surprise to see them in the top three. 

It is also impressive to see that, in a year where some universities have struggled to even put together one team for this tournament, Edinburgh have managed to enter three teams and that is a real testament to their recruitment.


Glasgow will be bringing a very strong squad to UWIR this weekend and will be playing hard for a gold medal to match their kit. They have had very successful mixed and men’s campaigns so far, reaching nationals for both, and I would strongly predict a Division 1 nationals spot coming their way this weekend as well.

There are a number of standout players on the team, particularly captain Eva Jones who brings both skilful throwing and an impressive threat in the air.


While Dundee are going to be bringing a somewhat inexperienced team, they are still going to post a very real threat to the top teams at this tournament and they are desperate to prove themselves and claim a top four spot.

Their captain, Sophie Baird, is going to be a main player to watch throughout the weekend. Her hight, experience and throws allow Dundee to play an attacking style of ultimate which a lot of teams may find difficult to deal with.

A Division 1 spot if definitely going to be up for grabs for Dundee, and no matter what these girls will gain a lot of experience from the weekend and will show themselves to be a real force to be reckoned with in the next few years.


Strathclyde have had a dominant women’s team over the past few years and are coming in this year with another super strong team. While there are a few other very strong women’s teams this year, the Dark Horses will still be confident of medalling.

Caroline Charnley and Erina Brown are the two players to really watch, both having played for SCRAM together in the past and played on this university team together for a number of years. Caroline’s speed paired with Eri’s grabs and the chemistry that they have together are certainly a winning combo.

St Andrews

The Saints ladies look to be putting together one of the strongest women’s teams that have played at university level for a while. These girls already have a gold medal from mixed a few weeks ago and it would be difficult to bet against them getting a second this weekend.

Katie Trimm, who was recently selected to play for the GB women’s indoor team, is going to be a dominant player at the tournament. In addition to that I could probably give a shoutout to every player on that team as they all bring a lot to the tournament.

The Saints are definitely going to be the team to beat at the weekend.


The Blazettes have had a decent recruitment year and so will be bringing a number of players who are looking to develop their game for the future. This gives all of their players a chance to establish themselves and show off what they can do without any pressure this weekend. Due to the setup of this year’s regionals, there is a very high chance of being able to qualify for nationals which further takes the pressure off this inexperienced team and allows them to work and learn and develop themselves. Hopefully someone will be able to come out and establish themselves so that we will be talking about them as the big name leading into nationals next semester.


While there are not as many women’s teams as we have had in the past at these regionals, and that is a real shame to see, the quality of the teams entered means that this is still going to be a very exciting tournament.

There is a fairly realistic chance that we may see a St Andrews v Strathclyde final for the third regionals in a row, a matchup which currently stands at 1-1, so this would be a very exciting matchup to watch.

Also, this week Stevo is no longer the TD and so we may actually get to find out who wins spirit without any funny business.


  1. St Andrews
  2. Strathclyde
  3. Glasgow
  4. Dundee
  5. Edinburgh
  6. St Andrews 2
  7. Stirling
  8. Edinburgh 2
  9. Glasgow 2
  10. Edinburgh 3

UWIR 2021: East preview

Magnus Oakes and Arjun Bhushan take a look at women’s regionals in the East and London region.

After a highly successful and very well spirited UMIR we look forward to the last regional indoors tournament of the year: UWIR. With 18 teams attending and a wider regional pool to draw on it will be very exciting to see how this tournament turns out. With five Div 1 and four Div 2 nationals spots on the line this looks likely to be a hotly contested tournament with quite a few exciting rivalries to watch.

Brunel women are coming off exceptional play at UXIR and will have high hopes for this tournament. Their match against Imperial this tournament is one to keep your eyes on as it may play an important role in deciding the narrative of this budding rivalry between the two schools. Their women were especially great and isolating players at mixed so it will be exciting to see how they perform without their male counterparts.

Cambridge is looking to continue their streak of nationals qualification at the last regional indoors tournament of the season. With a few players who weren’t at UXIR they may have a surprise or two for the teams who might think they know the Cambridge team well. It’s a regional tournament with Oxford in it so Cambridge are looking to continue from their strong performances at fake Varsity last year and beat Oxford.

UEA are again a team to watch at this tournament. Their dangerous zone and players who are basically walking highlight reels mean that they are undeniably a threat to whoever they go up against. Hopefully they bring the enthusiasm and amazing spirit they normally contribute to this tournament too.

Imperial unfortunately weren’t able to secure nats spot at mixed or men’s, so at this tournament they’ll really be gunning for a nationals spot. Despite their women’s team being littered with some international level players, they’ll be adopting a spartan mentality going into this tournament and looking to end their indoor season strong.

KCL are looking to make it three-for-three in winning regional tournaments but will certainly face stiff opposition here. With a selection of powerful cutters and handlers they must been seen as a favourite team to place highly in the tournament but may find it difficult to replicate the success they had in men’s or mixed. With a recent loss to UCL women outdoors it seems that they may face a tougher road to the final here than in their other competitions.

LSE are something of a dark horse. Not competing in any of the other indoors tournaments, it will be interesting to see what sort of a team they bring.

Oxford’s men performed very well at their regionals and their women must be looking to replicate their success. It will be interesting to see if they can get revenge against Sussex who dominated both mixed and men’s regionals against Oxford. Some of the players on these teams will have played in a game that generated extremely low spirit scores at mixed, so that may be something to watch going into this tournament. Additionally, it’ll be exciting to see Cambridge and Oxford’s 150-year-old sporting continue to play out.

Both Chichester and Oxford Brookes had success in only their mixed regionals so we can expect both teams to be looking to replicate that success in this final regional tournament.

Portsmouth narrowly missed out on a nationals spot at mixed indoors and won spirit with a very impressive 12.57 average. To perform well in a tournament and win spirit always says good things about a team’s chemistry so we believe they are a team to watch.

Watch out for Surrey’s women at this tournament. With a strong existing squad including Claudia Carnell and Eve Magawon from Guildford Ultimate and massive pick-ups in Iceni veteran Hannah Brew and GB Junior Eleanor Stratton, this team is experienced and is confident in their ability to take home some silverware.

Sussex are looking very strong going into this tournament. Matching Kings with a two-for-two record at indoor regional tournaments, the match up of those two will certainly be an exciting one. With a few exciting international student additions, their fast-paced offence and flexagon defence will present a definite challenge to all the teams at this tournament.

UCL have qualified for Div 1 in the previous tournaments this year, and their women will look to be no different. This time they’ll be bringing some new faces and pickups to this tournament in hopes finally taking home a trophy. With third at mixed regionals and second in men’s regionals, they’re looking for a first place finish at this tournament.

Overall, due to the combination of regions that is occurring in this tournament, this is a harder one to call. With that in mind we predict the first teams will place:

  1. Surrey
  2. UCL
  3. Kings
  4. Imperial
  5. Cambridge
  6. Sussex
  7. Oxford
  8. UEA
  9. Chichester
  10. Oxford Brookes
  11. Brunel
  12. Portsmouth
  13. LSE

EUCS 2019: UK Nationals Womxn’s

The showpiece of the domestic season is taking place this weekend in Birmingham. UKU Nationals is what these teams have been building towards all season with nine places at the European Ultimate Championships Finals on offer – four in the open division, three in the mixed division and two in women’s. As always, the ShowGame is making sure you know everything you need to know. David Pryce talked to every women’s captain about this weekend about how their teams are shaping up. Thanks to UltiMates for the great stats resource!

Continue reading “EUCS 2019: UK Nationals Womxn’s”

EUC 2019: previewing Great Britain and Ireland

The European Ultimate Championships start this weekend, with teams from all over the continent converging on Gyor in western Hungary. There are six teams of interest for readers from these shores – three teams each for Great Britain and Ireland. Those teams go with some stacked squads, some high hopes, and some heavy expectations. Consider this a brief overview of each team, where they might be aiming and who they’ll need to beat to get there.

Let’s start with the division that saw the teams play each other in the final last time around. There, Great Britain won the final 17-13 against an Irish team that broke up before WUGC 2016 the following year. That continued a trend that GB will be looking to further again here; no team other than a British squad has ever won this title. That weight of history makes the target that’s on the backs of GB squads whenever they play in Europe even bigger for this mixed team, and it’s something they’ll have to wear well given the depth in this division. The Irish, on the other hand, have a very different-looking team and will be looking to cause some shocks.

Great Britain
The team should have pretty good cohesion, with many of the players having played together before, either at club level or with a different GB team (some senior, some different age-level teams). The main handlers are among the most dynamic in the country; Joe Wynder added a different dimension to the Chevron WUCC team last season and brings the biggest throws in UK Ultimate, Carla Link was a key part of Bristol’s title-winning team last season and Sam Vile’s ability to move the disc around the field and get free in the handler space makes Deep Space a threat against any mixed team. Additionally, Becci Haigh has played at the highest level the sport has to offer at the World Games in Cali, Colombia. Alongside Scots Katie Flight and Andy Boxall, as well as Chevron stalwarts Dom Dathan and Josh Kyme, this team is not going to want for players who can challenge their mark and exploit the break side.

Their cutters have a wealth of experience and dynamic athleticism – Bailey Melvin-Teng, Tessa Hunt and Rachel Turton would feature heavily in any discussion about the most athletic woman currently playing in the UK. All three are able to run past or jump over defenders and will be huge mismatches against even the best teams. Rollo Sax Dixon, Steve Kolthammer and Issa Dualeh are Chevron teammates and bring a significant aerial threat to the squad alongside the all-around games of Andy Lewis, Lucy Barnes and Ben Burak, while Ellie Taylor and Nick Williams are among the fastest cutters around. That I haven’t yet mentioned players like Ange Wilkinson and Sam Turner shows just how deep this squad is; there isn’t a weak link anywhere on the roster.

It seems from the outside, with the talent and experience on this roster, that the outlook should be (to quote Megan Rapinoe) championship or bust. The French and Russian squads are very talented, and this team lost to upstarts Sweden in a warm-up tournament so they’re not invincible. The temptation is to focus on WUGC in the Netherlands next year, to think about competing against the USA, Australia and Canada. However, if this team can hit its stride and focus on the opponent in front of them, another European gold is well within reach.

This is a young team, and one that may struggle to live up to the legacy of the 2015 squad. Their job has been made harder by injury concerns to key cutter Keith Mernagh and handler Aidan Kelly, but there’s some talent to make up for that here. John Doherty is a veteran of many Irish national teams and brings big throws and a strong aerial game to the team, while American-born import Eric von Kampen will be able to keep the disc moving against anyone. Deirdre Kavanagh, one of the few holdovers from the 2015 team, will be an important cutter too while Aine Ahern will see a lot of the disc in the backfield.

This squad made the quarter-finals at Windmill before falling to the Germans. They have a tough pool, with the Germans and the Russians, featuring many of the players who blew the field away at EBUC in Portimao earlier this year – both formidable foes. They should be able to work their way into the bracket with a strong showing in a potential lower pool against teams like Slovenia, Norway and Belgium, but the bet is that they find it tough to get to quarters – particularly if Mernagh isn’t available.

The women’s division was long one where Great Britain competed at the very top but couldn’t manage to break through and win an elusive gold. Silver medals in 2011 and 2007 were followed with a slight disappointment in 2015 as they took fifth. The team this time around is a relatively young one. Ireland, on the other hand, finished 12th in 2015 and have never been a fixture at the top of the division. That looks set to change in Hungary.

Great Britain
The British women are led by some disc handlers who have played at a high level throughout their Ultimate careers. Hannah Brew and Caitlin Wilson are two of the best throwers in the UK, and Megan Hurst brings a level of consistency and lefty craft that will be vital to the team. Cutters Leila Denniston, Helen Roberts and Avril Hunter all played at WUCC, competing and thriving against the best, while Eyan Sham, Rachel Naden and Sophie Wharton add dynamism and athleticism. There is also some sign of a younger generation coming in to make an impact, with Vix Wilby, Rupal Ghelani and Saskia Kantorowicz likely to play vital roles.

One of the things that coaches Paul Waite (formerly a Clapham player and coach of Iceni) and Callum Spiers will be wary of is that few of these players have played for the GB senior team before. They face a very strong German side fresh off a Windmill win in the pool, and will have some tough battles on the horizon. The quarterfinal is likely to be against a team like Russia, Germany or Finland – all teams with extensive experience that will be tough to stop – and so the top eight could be the limit for this team. If it all comes together they might be able to get into the semis, but my money isn’t on that gold medal drought ending this time around.

The Irish women have something of a golden generation together here. They have players capable of matching up with anyone in Europe across the squad, and depth in every spot. They’re serious, real contenders here and will be looking to bring a medal home for the first time at this event.

It starts with the star players – Kelly Hyland, Sarah Melvin and Fiona Mernagh. American-born Hyland has been playing since discovering the sport while studying abroad in Cork and brings extensive experience having played for Washington DC Scandal in the USA. Mernagh has played for Ireland women plenty of times before and competed with Gravity at UK Nationals last year, while Melvin was one of the breakout stars of the Eurostars tour in 2018. All three are capable of doing whatever their team needs on the field and will need to be accounted for whenever they’re on.

Supporting them is a talented squad. Aine Gilheany, Grainne McCarthy and Lulu Boyd are all very good handlers, while under-24 Emily O’Brien will play an important role downfield. This is another team without a weak link.
Everything is in place for this team to succeed. They lost in the quarterfinals of Windmill to Finland in a very contentious matchup, and most of the team was there when DESKEAGH made the final of Tom’s Tourney this year. They have a great shot at a medal even when Germany, Russia, Finland and Belgium will all be factors in a strong year for women’s Ultimate in Europe. If they hit their ceiling this could be a year to remember for the women in green.

The final division is another in which GB has long experienced success. They won gold in 2007, beating Sweden, and continued that storied rivalry in 2011 when the Swedes won in one of the more controversial pre-social media games I can recall. The team got back to winning habits in 2015 with a victory over Germany and will come into this event with designs on another trophy. The Irish are one of the main teams standing in their way, with a deep roster full of experienced players and exciting young talent looking to make their mark.

Great Britain
The squad is, predictably, largely made up of Clapham players. 14 of the 25 players hail from the perennial UK and European champions (and another two used to play for them), which is fewer than in previous years but still a substantial chunk. The big names will be familiar from previous GB open teams – Justin and Ash are both basically mononymic in UK Ultimate at this point and are still a vital part of the O line – but there’s an infusion of exciting young talent here too.

Conrad Wilson of Clapham and Alexis Long of SMOG are the two young players on the O line, while Chevron players Seb Allen, Dec Cartwright and Josh Eeles combine with Josh Awcock of Devon, Steve Gillman of SMOG and EMO’s Joel Miller to add youth on the D line.

They also have players who can fit in the kinds of roles needed in these big tournaments. Will Rowledge, Connor McHale and Ollie Gordon can challenge anyone in the air defensively and get blocks against anyone. Ben Funk and Robbie Haines are vital cutters who can do a bit of everything, while James Mead and Josh Briggs can either keep the disc moving or take downfield shots as needed. The squad is deep, talented, experienced and focused. They’ll be tough to stop.

The Irish had a disappointing Windmill by their high standards. They lost close games to GB and Condors, the Californian team, in the Swiss draw and then were upset by the Czech Republic in quarters. They have the talent to run with anyone in Europe for stretches and will be hoping that the experience they gained in Amsterdam will help them avoid any letdowns in Gyor.

This is another team with a good blend of youth and experience. On the younger side, Tadhg Deevy has shown signs of becoming one of the better cutters in Europe, Andrew Cleary is having a breakout season as a downfield threat while captain Ferdia Rogers has the potential to be one of the best handlers around.

Rogers combines with Padraig Sweeney to form a formidable pair – they were unstoppable at times at Windmill and have the ability to take defences apart in a variety of ways. Owen Binchy, Robbie Brennan and Niall McCarthy will all be important parts of the D line and will get blocks, while Rob Holland and Conor Hogan will help them turn those blocks into breaks.

This team has the potential to be a spoiler, to reach the semifinals and cause real headaches for anyone once they’re there. They were in a number of close games at Windmill, though, and struggled to come out on top in those matches. If they can start turning that luck around they have a shot at a medal. If they really get on track, they could see their arch rivals GB in the final.

It wouldn’t be a preview article without me giving my 100%, iron-clad, guaranteed-to-be-right-predictions for what’ll happen. I’m pretty optimistic about the chances of our teams taking home trophies – in fact, my prediction is that every division is won by teams in this article.

My pick for mixed is that GB beat France or Russia in the final, while Ireland narrowly miss out on a quarters spot and finish in the top 10. In women’s, I’m saying that GB will fall in the quarters and finish in seventh or eighth, while Ireland make the final and beat either Russia or Belgium (Ireland will also want to top their pool, because the power pool if they finish second looks like a stinker – Germany, Russia and Belgium are all potentially in there). In men’s, it’ll be very tight but I think Ireland lose out to Germany for top in their power pool, leading to a GB v Ireland semi. I see GB winning there and defeating the Germans, and Ireland beating Switzerland or Austria for the bronze.

If you want to follow along, the coverage is all on Fanseat and we’ll try to get some links out on social media. Good luck to all six teams!

Nottingham Windfarm Women’s Division 2019

A warm welcome to Maya Israel as a ShowGame debutant and for giving us her view on the Women’s division in Nottingham.

This weekend, Nottingham Windfarm tournament will mark the launch of the new ranking events in the Women and Open divisions. It is due to be a particularly intriguing weekend for the Women’s division who will have five national teams present: GB u20s, u24s, Seniors and Masters as well as the Irish u24 team. Last year at this tournament, Iceni were victorious, followed by Reading 1 and Bristol Women’s Ultimate. The likelihood of a similar outcome is difficult to ascertain. GB Women will most likely take one of the top spots, with GB Masters pushing in close behind. However, it is difficult to predict how greatly the loss of club team players to GB will affect the top club teams’ performances. Yet one thing is for certain, the finishing table will be shaken up.   Continue reading “Nottingham Windfarm Women’s Division 2019”