xEUCF 2013: Mixed and Masters.

Bear Cavalry, Bordeaux, Masters, Mixed, Previews, xEUCF

David Pryce briefly previews xEUCF 2013 for the extended divisions: Mixed and Masters.

The last month after Nationals has been a flurry of activity, booking flights, last minute throwing and even first time training for some teams!?! In the calm before the storm, I will briefly discuss the UK’s prospect in the Mixed and Masters divisions.

Mixed

Going in number 1 seed Bear Cavalry have already made a statement at Nationals, in all fairness I can’t see many other teams challenging them. With their superstars of Joe Thompson and Dave Tyler we can expect big things.

Cambridge Ultimate are one of the teams I think could challenge Bear Cavalry, but they have to play their best and step up from Nationals. Let’s hope the fire has been stirred in their bellies and they will come out and take the challenge on!

DED broke into xEUCF by beating strong Scottish contingent Black Eagles but have picked up some added quality in Rich Gale (GB Open and World Games), exciting right? I think this team can really cause some upsets and get into the top half.  They have also been tweeting us some interesting facts – here are two of my favourites:



Finally the lucky call ups: Thundering Herd. After a drop out and strength calculation the UK got another spot and the London team were lucky enough to get the call. With little time to prepare and get players to France it is hard to predict how well this team will do, but they will as always be looking to take some European scalps. The one thing you can count on is that they will be easily spotted in their trademark friesian!



Masters

As the smallest division (7 teams) of the tournament anything could happen in Bordeaux. From the UK we have Zimmer and Blue Arsed Flies. The first is essentially the GB Beach Masters team who successfully took on Europe once this year already at ECBU, honestly I cannot see them faltering here. BAF take a very strong squad with the likes of Jason DeCicco, Merrick Cardew and Wayne Retter to name a few; could we see an all-UK final?


Cannot wait to get over there, remember to follow the hashtag #xeucf2013 for social media updates and watch the stream provided by Playo.tv. DP @ tSG.

UK Nationals to xEUCF 2013: Women’s

Bordeaux, Iceni, LLL, Nice Bristols, Previews, SYC, Tournament Reports, UKU Nationals, Womens, xEUCF
Charlie Blair looks back at EUCR-W (UKU Nationals) and forward to this weeks xEUCF 2013 in the Women’s division.

This year’s Nationals finished just as expected, with all of the teams seeded in the top four comfortably claiming their spot at the xEUCF finals in Bordeaux. However, amongst the top four, there was a distinct lack of upsets. Particularly after Tour 3 had somewhat wetted the appetite for some tight results and big shake-ups to the status quo. Perhaps with no real challenge required to assure qualification for Euros, these teams were not forced to push themselves in a way that one would expect Nationals to demand.

In fact, both Bristol and SYC have admitted they are disappointed that they under-performed during the weekend, especially against Iceni. Indeed, neither team were able to take any more than seven points off of the eventual champions. But Cesca Tyler is adamant that SYC ‘definitely have much more to give’ against the teams they finished behind. Indeed, their performance against Leeds is testament to the way that their captain knows SYC have the potential to play. It was undoubtedly the highlight of the women’s division at Nationals. SYC played beautiful, fast paced offence. Their cutting was incredibly confident. With their flow so difficult to shut down they took a six point lead early on. Even in the face of a stoic Leeds resistance, they kept themselves in the game until universe point, where they eventually emerged victorious.


Word from the Leeds leadership is that very same game was the best of their whole season so far. Indeed having gone six down and then rallying to score eight consecutive points to take the half is one of the most impressive comebacks of the season. Yet despite failing to take any big scalps, Leeds should be particularly proud to have produced the tightest scorelines amongst those who qualified. Especially since their already predominantly youthful team, lost further experience, most notably in the form of Tash Nishiyama to the mixed division. Having come within three points of Bristol also, Leeds were the only team who looked likely to threaten the seedings. Even the match up between Bristol and SYC, 2nd and 3rd seeds, didn’t prove to be as close a contest as either of their games with the fourth seeds.
SYC vs Nice Bristols at UKU Nationals 2013. Photo courtesy of Patrick Ward.
Iceni on the other hand ended up finishing the domestic season as they had started it, with a pretty clean sweep at Nationals. Back to an almost full strength squad after having split the team for Savage during Tour and lost others to international duties, they held a strong margin of difference throughout the final against Bristol, closing it out at 15-6. Despite both teams employing notably stricter line calling, both showcased the talents of their newer, developing players. In particular, of those returning from u23 World Championships in Toronto. The sibling connections between the Owens was a potent force for the Bristol O line. Equally, Renny Norman, shone on the Iceni D line displaying such confidence and pace you’d be forgiven for thinking her doppelganger teammate, returning World Games star Jackie Verralls, was playing every point!

Despite the scoreline, Bristol did not go down without a fight. If given the chance to play expansively, they often profited with some lovely scores that involved very few passes. The start of the game however was plagued by longer points generated by an awful lot of turnovers from both sides. Iceni were able to stem Bristol’s flow by heaping up the pressure on the sideline trap. Bristol’s preference to look for the IO resulted in point blocks for both Lauren Bryant and Alex Meixner on the Iceni D. Nevertheless, the Iceni offence also struggled, particularly from leading discs being thrown beyond their receiver and out of the pitch. It was eventually Iceni’s patience to favour the around that allowed them to start taking away the game with their first five points all a result of throws to solid under cuts in the endzone.

Looking forward to Europeans then, how are the British contingent likely to fair?

Heading up the summit of the four pools are Cosmic Girls (Russia), Iceni (UK), Ultimate de Cologne (GER) and Lotus (Switzerland). Iceni will be returning to defend their title, very conscious of sending a message to the rest of the teams attending the World Club Championships of what to expect from the UK number one. Significantly, they are definitely taking the biggest squad in the women’s division to Euros.
Iceni after winning UKU Nationals 2013. Picture courtesy of Philipa Sturt.
Captain, Ange Wilkinson, is particularly wary of the Russians (Cosmic Girls), notably on the ascendency after their victory at ECBU earlier this year. Equally Lotus are expected to again bring great fight, after two ‘tough but rewarding games’ against the Swiss last year. As for the Germans, whilst this may be their first European Championships they do not lack in talent or experience. Even though this team has replaced Woodchicas as the premier German representation, Cologne has rehomed its most influential playmakers.

Both Bristol and SYC have their eyes set on the second qualification spot for Worlds, which would require them to finish as the highest seeded British club (excluding Iceni). Both are eager to match up against some European opposition and to escape the repetitiveness of the domestic season this year. Unfortunately, as one would expect, SYC’s seeding leaves them witha tougher route to the top eight.
Whilst Tyler anticipates a gritty match up from the likes of Hot Beaches, the Czech outfit were noticeably weaker than in previous years at Windmill, missing their twin sister playmaking pair. However, this still leaves them with Lotus and Lemon Grass to better. On the other hand, Bristol should expect to at least hold seed in their pool since first time qualifiers Lay D’s, although bulked by one the aformentioned Hot Beaches sisters, are reportedly unable to take their whole squad.

Despite a strong performance this season from their young side, the Leeds leadership still recognise that the aims for this tournament are very different from the ones of the side that made the finals of xEUCF 2009. In direct contrast to that squad, the majority of Leed’s current roster has not met European opposition outside of fun tournaments. However, here’s hoping after getting so close at Nationals, they do manage to take down some strong teams. Like, for example, pool opponents Prague Devils. They have won the Central European League twice already. However their team makeup is also significantly youthful and athletic, and are too, reported to suffer a dearth of experienced handlers.

I believe all the British teams have the strength to finish in the top eight. Rising to the challenge of Europe is something that all these teams need and desire. Thus, I am so thrilled that all four of them have the opportunity to do so. At this stage of the season, the British contingent should be making no excuses to not be reaching full stride in Europe. Since one can only speculate what to expect, there is everything to play for, in contrast to another somewhat predictable domestic season. The British should be ready to show Europe and beyond their full potential. If they do, we will see great results! The confidence that a strong performance that xEUCF can give our clubs is crucial to the future of women’s ultimate in the UK.
  • Iceni vs Jinx 08.50 (GMT+1) 26/09
  • Cosmic Girls vs Nice Bristols 14.05 (GMT+1) 26/09

With only 4 days left until #xeucf2013 we are very excited! More re-previews to come …. DP @ tSG.

    The Grapevine – 20/09

    Bordeaux, BUCS, EUCR-S, European Ultimate, SkyD, The Grapevine, Ultiworld, Understanding Ultimate., xEUCF

    The Grapevine – ultimate links and news from around the globe.

    Understanding Ultimate gets literary in an interesting post that meditates on the relationship between artistic creativity and sport, and argues convincingly for the benefits of self imposed constraints in ultimate training.

    The UKU have announced a new ultimate event at Fistral Beach in partnership with BUCS open to all…

    Getting excited for xEUCF? The schedule for all divisions is now available…

    Take a moment to fill in this feedback form for Nationals and xEUCF if you haven’t already!

    From across the pond…

    Lou Burruss discusses the history of offensive tactics in a post that will be of interest to anyone concerned with ‘the gap’ between UK and US teams that has been discussed of late…

    The commercialisation of US ultimate continues as Keith Raynor argues for an aggressive branding of College teams.


    A storm is brewing in European ultimate and its set to break out at Bordeaux. Keep an eye out for our xEUCF previews early next week! – JCK @ tSG.

    The Grapevine – 12/09

    Jen, SkyD, The Grapevine, UKU Nationals, Ultiworld, Understanding Ultimate., xEUCF

    The Grapevine – all the info without the mess of picking it out yourself.

    Jen Ultimate has got off the ground and we interviewed one of the founders, Sam Bowen, earlier this week.

    With xEUCF just around the corner a lot has been happening, both planning for on the pitches and off. Also go make your predictions to win a cap! Cannot wait!

    Understanding Ultimate seem to be enjoying this recent wet weather by getting into the ultimate mindset of “So it’s raining…”

    We have changed our front page look, what do you think?

    Liam Grant writes for SkyD on the recent Ranelagh 2 win over All of Ireland!

    Ultiworld look into how WFDF are pushing Ultimate slowly into the Olympics.

    Those waiting for Nationals reviews, we are combining them into xEUCF previews so sit tight! Until then enjoy the view…

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    Ranelagh at EUCR-S

    An Irish Eye, Bordeaux, Crazy Dogs, CUSB, EUCR-S, European Ultimate, Flying Angels Bern, Freespeed, Ireland, Irish Ultimate, Panthers, Ranelagh, Tchac, ultimate, xEUCF

    Mark Earley returns with An Irish Eye looking back at Ranelagh’s performance at EUCR-S.

    Two weeks ago Ranelagh travelled from Dublin to Bern in Switzerland for EUCR-S hoping to have a crack at a region renowned for its strength. It was only the second time an Irish team had attempted qualification for EUCF and was to prove more difficult than the last attempt (when a Dublin Ultimate team full of pick ups finished 1 spot away from qualifying in 2010 in Nantes). The team was nearly at full strength, but also had a lot of new young players as well the established core.


    Day one saw Ranelagh (9) face Italian champions CUSB (3) in the first game of the day. It started well for the Dublin team as they took the lead having started on D and stayed ahead until midway through the first half. Bologna fought back with a couple of breaks of their own and lead for a while until another Ranelagh surge saw them take half 8-7. In the third quarter of the game a combination of increased defensive pressure and some Ranelagh miscues saw Bologna jump out to a 3 point lead which they held onto to see out the game 14-10.

    The second game was against Crazy Dogs (6), a team from Stans who have been turning heads both this season and last. It was a tight game, ebbing one way and flowing the other with neither team ever further than 2 points ahead. At 10-10 Ranelagh scored a break to take the lead 11-10 when lightning struck, literally. (Not on our field but not too far either). The 3 second thunder clap rule was adhered to and all play was stopped by the TD. There remained 10 minutes on the game clock. Everyone went to the nearby stadium for lunch and all games were postponed until further notice. About 90mins later the teams warmed up and played the last 10 minutes. Again it was a very closely fought affair although the nature of the game was different. Both teams were a little more anxious, a little more physical and happier to take long shots that the weather had prevented earlier on. Ranelagh went 14-12 up in a game to 15 but Crazy Dogs came back to score 3 on the trot and win 15-14. A tough loss for the Irish team that saw them go into a more difficult crossover.

    Ranelagh’s last game of the day was against Parisians Iznogood and it was approached much like the other two – a full warm up and knowing that a win was needed to stay alive in the competition. Unfortunately the start was unusually flat and Iznogood took full advantage. Despite a time out and some renewed energy, the 4 point gap proved too much for Ranelagh. The shortened game ended 11-6, a scoreline that reflected a strangely off performance by the team in black. While Iznogood progressed to a quarter-final against Freespeed, Ranelagh were left to lick their wounds and play out the next day in a bottom 3 pool with Solebang and Panthers.

    Sunday morning and the rain was back again, but without the thunder and lightning of the previous day. A depleted Solebang squad (10 players) were up first and both teams started well with fast offense being the order of the day. Much like the opening pool games the teams were pretty evenly matched and until 10-10 it looked like anyone’s game. In that all important final quarter the Ranelagh D took charge and with it the Solebang legs began to tire. The game ended 15-11 to the Dubliners, both teams looking forward to future match ups with two full squads.
    Ranelagh’s last game was against the less famous of the Bern teams, the Panthers. A strong start from the Irish resulted in a 4-0 lead but the Panthers regrouped and threw some unusual zone looks that got them back in the game. Another dogfight was brewing and both teams exchanged the lead as the game came to the final stretch. However, it was to be Ranelagh who ended up victorious, closing the game out 15-11 after a long hard battle to finish as seeded, in 9th place. A disappointing but interesting visit to the European qualifiers scene for a team that felt it didn’t perform quite as well as it could have.

    Elsewhere, there were a few teams that stood out for me. FAB looked very strong (until the final), with a practically faultless & precise offence. Tchac were exciting to watch –  a young and athletic French team with power and pace to run with most teams. Freespeed didn’t look as good as previous years, with some odd mistakes, especially in big games but they dug deep and took 3rd so won’t be too worried. CUSB were the surprise – a team loaded with talent and youth with well thought out systems, a very strong running game and receivers to compliment the throwers’ range of throws.

    The tournament itself was very well run and excellent value too. Two breakfasts, two lunches and a hot dinner all included in the fees as well as decent fields. The TDs faced a tricky situation and dealt with it quickly and openly. While the weather was a pain in the ass, the experience was one that Ranelagh will bank and learn from. The style of play, the pace of the games and the new systems made for a change from the UK Tour and something that might be useful going into next season with places at WUCC and EUCF soon up for grabs.
    Finally, does it not strike anyone else as odd that qualification for a tournament taking place in 4 weeks time takes place so late on the season? If we had qualified – flights, accommodation and all other costs would have proved difficult for a large portion of our roster. Surely these competitions could be moved to earlier in the summer? Also, it seems a shame that not all countries can be represented at xEUCF. It is, of course, the pinnacle of club Ultimate for Europe and ideal for the best teams to be there so our elite can grow to challenge the elite clubs worldwide, but for clubs gearing up for WUCC it seems a shame for them to be unable to attend xEUCF (or in old money the much more open EUCC). Growth has to happen at the two ends of all spectrums.

    Both images courtesy of Flying Angels Bern.

    Sadly no Ranelagh in Bordeaux but some Irish players will be there for UK teams! More news, views and opinions to come … DP @ tSG.

    UKU Mixed Nationals 2013 – Review

    ABH, Bear Cavalry, Black Eagles, Brighton, Cambridge, DED, JR, Mixed, Thundering Herd, Tournament Reports, UKU Nationals, WUCC2014, xEUCF

    David Pryce reviews the Mixed division at UKU Nationals.

    Last weekend saw eight UK Mixed teams competing at Southampton’s Wide Lane Sports Ground for the title at UKU Nationals, a spot at WUCC 2014 and a place in the top 3 to go to xEUCF 2013 in Bordeaux.

    In the first round all games went as expected, although JR came close to upsetting Black Eagles the Scots pushed for the win in sudden death. The second round saw two early big match ups in DED vs Black Eagles and Bear Cavalry vs Cambridge. Going with tour seedings Black Eagles dispatched DED 15-10 but the return of David Tyler and too many mistakes from Cambridge gave Bear Cavalry an easy win 15-6.

    These two rounds acted as seedings for the QF’s on Saturday afternoon which all went to tour seeding and put Cambridge vs Black Eagles in one semi and DED vs Bear Cavalry in the other. Semi final 1 was the closest but Cambridge utilised their clinical offence and took full advantage of Black Eagles turns in the wind and rain of Sunday morning, game ended 15-10 Cambridge. The other semi was a very one sided affair; Bear Cavalry winning 15-2. 

    DED snatch 3rd and a place at xEUCF. Photo courtesy of Andrew Moss.


    The final and the game to go to xEUCF were as a result replays of the second round games: Cambridge against Bear Cavalry and DED against Black Eagles. The final started off very close, with both teams getting used to the cross wind but still able to fire in goals with relative ease. Towards the end of the first half Cambridge’s O didn’t seem to click and Bear Cavalry took advantage with a couple breaks to take half 8-5. This loss of concentration carried over into the second half and the lead was extended to 10-5. Cambridge then turned on their zone and tightened up all over to get back to trading 12-7, however it was too little too late. Capped to 13 and on defence Bear Cavalry got the D and scored the final point to take the championship for the second time in a row. MVP of final: James Freeman from Bear Cavalry.

    On the show pitch the game to go provided the other great rematch with the added excitement of the winner qualifying for xEUCF. Having not been able to watch much of this game live or on VOD I cannot say too much but from what I do know, DED took half, up a couple breaks and held on to take third and a spot in Bordeaux by the same score that Black Eagles beat them the day before. This means Black Eagles only hope of going to WUCC lies with RGS not going or an extra spot being given to the UK. DED will have to finish above Cambridge in Bordeaux to secure a spot in Lecco next summer also. We can only wait and see.

    Congratulations to Bear Cavalry on winning the tournament plus joint spirit winners and securing spots at xEUCF and WUCC, also to Cambridge and DED who will also be representing in Bordeaux. Full game results can be found on our Ultiapps score reporter plus final results below.

    Finishing Positions
    1. Bear Cavalry (qualified for xEUCF and WUCC) [Spirit winners]
    2. Cambridge Ultimate (xEUCF)
    3. Dog Eat Disc (xEUCF)
    4. Black Eagles [Spirit winners]
    5. Brighton 
    6. Thundering Herd
    7. JR
    8. ABH

    Bears with their medals, now go represent!! Photo courtesy of Matt de Lacy Alders.

    REMINDER: for the remaining WUCC spots (similar to the Open and Women’s divisions) the 2nd spot will go to the highest UK team at xEUCF that is not Bear Cavalry. The third and (for now) final spot will then be allocated based on Tour 2013 rankings. 
    Thanks to PushPass for filming so many games and getting them out very quickly, since I was not playing in the Mixed division, would have been impossible to write this without them! Go buy all the games for £10.99, thats less than £1 per game = bargain!

    Keep updated on facebook, twitter and here! Nationals reviews, xEUCF previews and more to come! DP @ tSG.

    The Grapevine – 30/08

    PushPass, THANK YOU., The Grapevine, UKU Nationals, Understanding Ultimate., xEUCF

    The Grapevine this week looks back at Nationals and a little forwards to xEUCF 2013! Plus a huge THANK YOU!

    Congratulations go to Clapham, Iceni, Bear Cavalry and Zimmer who took the titles in their divisions! All results can be found via our Ultiapps reporter and more stats on the UTC app. Our UK and Irish reviews will be going up soon enough!

    Make sure to check out the PushPass clips from Nationals and why not buy all 17 games for £10.99, bargain! 

    Congrats to one of our authors James Burbidge for topping the UKU Fantasy Ultimate! Check out your scores!

    Understanding Ultimate discusses what calls you should make from the sideline for a force, left/right or inside/around?

    Check the British Thumber Time Ramones-esqe disc, it’s swag!

    Fifteen UK club teams will be in Bordeaux representing us in 4 divisions, our partners Get Horizontal have got the details of all the clubs there

    We have reached a milestone! As of this morning the ShowGame has had over 50,000 views. We would like to THANK every single one of our readers and hope you continue to come back for more. Kind of crazy! 

    But we are not done there, got any ideas? Want to contribute? Easy, click the link on the right and make the ShowGame even better! DP @ tSG.