tSG Awards ’21: Player of the Year

The award that recognises the player who performed at the very highest level in each division. These players all had fantastic seasons and were all very worthy of recognition, but there can only be one winner. Well, four winners…

MIXED (MALE-MATCHING)

Third place: Sam Vile, Deep Space

Sam’s ability to not only keep the disc moving but to take decisive shots downfield and gain yards in chunks was a huge reason that Deep Space were able to reach the Nationals final. He’s surrounded by great talent on the O line – Leila Denniston, Conor Hogan, Nina Finley and Gus Morse to name only four – but he’s the conductor of the show, keeping everyone else on the same page and dictating the tempo.

Second place: Eddy Codd, SMOG

Eddy stood out this year precisely because he didn’t always stand out. He was always in the right spot, always able to offer a good option and almost never the reason a point turned south for the SMOG O line. He was reliable in the deep space, he was reliable with the frisbee and he was reliable when the disc turned and he needed to play D. None of this is to diminish his ability, he’s a fantastic cutter and very difficult to stop when the disc is in the air, but he’s the kind of player that every great team needs; a player who excels in his role and fills in every gap that the team needs them to.

WINNER: Nick Williams, SMOG

The addition of Nick from Chevron was a huge boost SMOG, adding a Great Britain player with longstanding ties to the team going all the way back to his university days in Durham. His speed, defensive ability and cutting threat added a dynamic dimension to the D line that was crucial to their title win. His block deep on Gus Morse in the final was an example – Gus is one of the best deep cutters in the division and, despite giving up several inches in that matchup, Nick went up early and came down with the disc. He can match up against any cutter in Europe and feel good about his chances, something that is going to be important for SMOG as they head back to Cincinnati next year.

MIXED (FEMALE-MATCHING)

Third place: Helen Thompson, SMOG

SMOG’s new captain was another excellent addition in 2021. She kept the disc moving around the field and used her throwing ability to drive the offence forward. Her ability to break marks and beat her defenders into power positions added another player capable of running a point at any given time, giving the already strong handler group for SMOG a shot of adrenaline. She’s also a very solid defender on the turn, and an all-around player that makes a difference for whatever team she’s playing on.

Second place: Leila Denniston, Deep Space

One of the toughest marks in the mixed division, Leila had another excellent year for Deep Space. She’s tall and quick, a lethal combination for deep defenders trying to stop her attacking the endzone. She’s also a good thrower and an excellent defender, giving her the ability to attack the opposition in whatever way is needed. Her ability to take the top off defences was a driving force for Deep Space, and she’ll be one of the leaders driving the team as they build towards Cincinnati next season.

WINNER: Tessa Hunt, SMOG

Maybe the most difficult player to defend in the division, what Tessa did to very good defenders at Nationals was almost rude at times. She’s developed into a good thrower, particularly when going deep, and her outstanding athleticism means she can defend anyone she needs to. It’s her cutting prowess that really stands out, though, as she just runs past people to get score after score, and if they actually can keep up with them she just goes over the top to sky them. A tour-de-force performance in the Nationals final put the cherry on top of an excellent season.

WOMEN’S

Third place: Rupal Ghelani, SYC

It takes a special player to be considered for the Player of the Season despite not making the final at Nationals – it’s a conversation that has been had many times in many sports, but team and individual success are so difficult to disentangle in a sporting context. Rupal, though, is one such player. She seemingly has fewer and fewer weaknesses every year, a testament to her dedication and work ethic to continue improving. She had another brilliant season for SYC in 2021 and there’s no reason to expect her to stop improving at this stage.

Second place: Molly Wedge, Bristol Women

A spectacular addition to an already excellent team, Molly added exactly what Bristol needed to win back the title they won in 2018. She’s a very good thrower but it’s her ability downfield on both sides of the disc that sets her apart. Her ability to get open and generate yards and positive plays in high-pressure situations was absolutely crucial, particularly in the final, and her defence was unbelievable all season. With her in the fold, Bristol will have a chance in any game.

WINNER: Carla Link, Bristol Women

Carla has been one of the best players in the division for the last few years, and been one of the players people have known about as an up-and-comer for even longer than that. In the last few seasons her dedication to consistent improvement has elevated her game to another level. She’s a good defender and can cause problems downfield, but there’s no better player in the division at running a game, breaking marks and driving the disc downfield. Another player with a spectacular performance in the Nationals final for a Bristol team missing her longtime teammates and favourite targets Alice Beeching and Bailey Melvin Teng, her partnership with Molly was crucial. They’re deservedly our top two.

OPEN

Third place: Ollie Gordon, Clapham Ultimate

Ollie has played with Clapham since 2014, and this season diversified to go onto the O line as a downfield threat. His height and athleticism made him a perfect fit in the role. He was open whenever Clapham needed him to be, he was able to make big plays but perhaps most importantly he was able to make run-of-the-mill plays, the basic stuff that looks easy when an offence is flowing well and is vital to teams winning. When you’re playing the kind of opposition that Clapham plays, getting everyone’s best shot, that stuff definitely isn’t easy. That it looked easy was testament to how well Ollie played.

Second place: Justin Foord, Clapham Ultimate

Justin is maybe the best player to come out of the UK. He’s won all 13 national title since he joined Clapham in 2008, and has also won eight European titles. Despite that longevity, he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. If you’re reading this I don’t really need to explain what Justin is good at, but just in case you do here’s a hint: it’s everything. He’s developed into an excellent thrower and he’s still able to go over the top of almost anyone if he needs to. That he’s second here is something of an upset and probably a result of one other person having a brilliant season rather than any slip from Justin.

WINNER: Connor McHale, Clapham Ultimate

Connor joined Clapham in 2016 as a fairly raw athlete. He’s always been fast and able to jump, and he has always been able to throw a long way, but his throwing was still a work in progress as was his field awareness. In the last five years he’s worked on every aspect of his game, responding to missing out on the 2018 WUCC roster by making himself better and better until he’s now central to the success of the team. He’s now the main threat with the disc on Clapham’s D line, throwing a number of assists in the national final and scoring the final point both there and at Euros in Bruges to snatch the title back from CUSB. He’s still athletic, he still gets huge layout blocks and he still pulls better than maybe anyone else in the division, but the addition of his ability to control the offence after the turn means he is the Player of the Year this season.

tSG Awards ’21: Coach of the Year

This award is combining all three divisions for a pretty simple reason: coaching for elite teams in the UK is still in the very early stages of development so there aren’t many people that we could think to nominate. Every time I speak to European colleagues they are baffled by the dearth of coaches available for teams in the UK, especially at the Great Britain level, and think it holds us back. However, that is starting to change and people up and down the country are starting to dedicate themselves to developing players and making teams better. This is the only award where we’ll highlight the entire shortlist because all of these people deserve a shout out for the time they’ve put in. Hopefully in future years we can split this out to three different awards.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Sam Vile, Oxford Ultimate

As well as playing for Deep Space, Sam spent time coaching the Oxford Ultimate players every week during their National Cup and Nationals runs. Combining playing at such a high level with coaching another team is hugely impressive and Sam (along with the other coaches who help out at Oxford) deserves huge credit for doing so.

Mike Lewis, Devon

Devon branched out this season and accepted players from all over the country. Mike and his coaching team spent time early in the season instilling the kind of things that such a new group would need when it got to Nationals, and was rewarded with a semi-final place.

Paddy Ward, Bristol Open

Paddy coached Bristol Open through an excellent season, reaching the National Cup final and Nationals. He also does other work in Bristol, maintaining the club as a whole and playing a role alongside others in helping to ensure that anyone who wants to play in Bristol has somewhere to do that.

THE TOP THREE

Third place: Oliver Browne, SCRAM

Oli has coached at a number of levels, including currently coaching the St Andrews teams to excellent results in Scotland. His work this season with SCRAM was impressive, taking a young team and helping to develop them to the point where they finished sixth after running teams above them close. He worked with captains Lulu Boyd and Rhona Gordon to build SCRAM’s tactic and continued to offer a calm presence on the sideline. They’ve now qualified for WUCC in their second competitive season and will head to Cincinnati to continue that development.

Second place: Philippa Hackett, SYC

Phil has been involved in coaching SYC for a number of years, first as part of a group and this past season on her own. She played for SYC for a number of years so knows the team well, and was able to integrate a number of new players last season while also ensuring that the veterans of the team were able to maintain their high standards. A semi-final spot at Nationals, where they pushed eventual winners Bristol very hard, shows how effective that work was and the reward is another spot at WUCC.

WINNERS: Ruth Tayler and Ben Hall, Bristol Women

This coaching duo came together largely by chance but captured lightning in a bottle this season. Ruth, a Bristol player, was injured for the season and Ben worked more on one-to-one skills and development, leaving Ruth to cover the big picture approach. While Ben was the quiet, calm presence, Ruth was the motivator and the energy on the sideline, working with the captains to drive the team on and play to their fullest potential. With Ruth unable to go to Nationals, Ben stepped up into a more primary role and helped the team on their way to the title. While it came about by chance, it seems to have worked brilliantly and they are our coaching duo of the season.

tSG Awards ’21: Community Spirit Award winners

For the first award of the inaugural tSG awards, I thought it would be best to focus on the people that were nominated as those who have helped to develop the ultimate community this year and in previous years. These people have given a lot of their time to grow the game and invested in the sport across the UK. Many of them have done that in very different ways, but our sport is in a better place because of all of them.

A quick note here – we had so many great nominations. There were university coaches who coach for free, there were university captains who travel with every team and provide support for the whole club, there were people who’ve helped establish and maintain clubs and there were a few people who were just great teammates who were welcoming, friendly and the lifeblood of their clubs. To everyone who nominated someone, thanks for sharing so many wonderful stories.

A final thing before we get to the nominees is to say a separate than you to all the Covid officers across the UK. The last two years have been so different to what we are used to that it’s been almost unrecognisable. The hard work of volunteers to make sure everyone was kept safe throughout the pandemic has been incredible, and everyone who has played a part should be commended and should feel proud of themselves. Hopefully your jobs become obsolete sooner rather than later.

Without further ado, here are the winners. We’ll have more on each of these people in the coming weeks, once we’re able to talk to them and to the people that nominated them and who see them all the time, but here’s what we have for now:

SHAUN AND PHIL WEBB, GLASGOW

Scotland has been churning out good players for many years, but Glasgow in particular has been a breeding ground for players that have made a huge impact on all levels of the game. Shaun and Phil have led those efforts for many years through Glasgow Ultimate, an organisation which now has a huge array of opportunities for those in the local community. There’s an elite team but there’s also pickup games, leagues in summer and winter and a youth development programme to get more kids playing the sport. There are plenty of people who have played a role in making Glasgow Ultimate a success but Shaun and Phil stand out as worthy winners here.

JAKE WALLER, BRISTOL

Jake established North Bristol Ultimate several years ago to get more beginners into the sport. Since then it has been brought under the Bristol Ultimate umbrella and is now called Bristol Ultimate Development (BUD). He spent time coaching, organising and developing both the club and the new players, with three sessions every week now dedicated to bringing more players into the sport. He’s also played for and captained Bristol Open and Mixed, as well as coached the elite teams for Bristol Ultimate, and next year will be branching out the help develop ultimate elsewhere in the country as he coaches Spice ahead of their WUCC 2022 campaign in Cincinnati.

FI RAE, SYC/BRIXTON/MESH

Fi plays for SYC and has been one of the Brixton captains as well, helping bring more beginners and inexperienced players into the sport that way. She’s also hosted a forum for women to discuss leadership and team building (and an episode of our podcast on that very issue) and is part of the UKU women’s mentoring programme. But the reason she was nominated specifically is the huge amount of work that she has done to help facilitate the MESH project alongside Rupal Ghelani and Fowzia Mahmood, doing admin work and organising and helping the whole event happen. With all this stuff going on she also found time to make the GB mixed masters going to Los Angeles in 2022.

CHRIS BAMFORD, LEEDS

Bamford has been instrumental in the Leeds community for a number of years, but this season set up numerous new sessions to help people get back into playing after the pandemic, catering for all experience levels, and has continued to help develop players that were playing with Leeds already. He’s always looking for ways to improve what the club can offer, and always keen to help players improve.

NATHAN SANDERS, LEAMINGTON LEMMINGS

Nate was one of Lemmings’ star players this season and combined that with being the key conduit between his old school team, Aylesford School’s Evolution, and Lemmings. That has created a pipeline of extremely talented players into Lemmings and they have reaped huge benefits, qualifying for Nationals in two divisions this season. Nate took on the responsibility of coaching the mixed team, leading multiple sessions every week, as well as leading sessions at Aylesford to help the kids in the club there develop as well. Their beginner team won a tournament in Warwick against university beginners teams, so it looks like this is just the start for Lemmings.

BECKY THOMPSON, LONDON WILD

Becky, one of Iceni’s new captains, was instrumental in setting up London WILD last season. WILD provided an opportunity for women in London who didn’t play for one of the top teams to play, develop and enjoy the sport. She led sessions and helped younger, less experienced players in taking on leadership roles. WILD helped to address the issue of women having few places to play in London outside of elite, competitive teams and has provided a place for them to learn and develop in an encouraging, empowering environment.

PAUL RUFF, AIRBADGERS

Paul has led the ultimate programme at St. Peter’s School in Exeter since 1997. He has developed dozens of players who have played at a high level in the UK, including plenty of GB representatives at all levels up to masters, but just as importantly has introduced the game and the concept of spirit to hundreds of kids who never played after they left school. Despite never having played the sport to a high level, his coaching and guidance has built an incredible club that has dominated junior-level ultimate for years, with AirBadgers now one of the models for people trying to develop ultimate in schools.

CONOR HOGAN, SEND IT

Hogi has developed ultimate in a slightly different way to everyone else this season. He’s travelled around filming games, particularly those in the National League and at Nationals during the summer, so that more people could see the games they might usually be able to keep up with at Tour events. Media coverage is growing in our sport but it’s still difficult to find coverage of games outside the main tournaments, and Hogi was able to provide that in plenty of instances this year including the MESH game in September.

The ShowGame Awards 2021: an overview

Over the next few days, we’ll be announcing the winners of the inaugural ShowGame Awards. These awards will try to reflect the best of what we’ve seen this year, as well as recognising the people who have worked hard to make the sport what it is.

This is obviously the first time we’ve done these awards, so the process is brand new. That means we might have missed people you think were obvious picks, or maybe we picked the wrong people or even the wrong order. That’s fine! We’re after discussion here after all, but rest assured that any omissions were not for the want of trying and that we don’t hate your team or anyone in it. We’ll see how this year goes and try to improve the process for next year whatever happens, so if there’s anything that you’d like to see changed or needs to be done differently, let us know!

As a reminder, here are the categories we’ll be awarding:

  • Player of the Year
  • Best Newcomer
  • Best Thrower
  • Best Cutter
  • Best Defender
  • Best Young Player
  • Best of the Rest

  • Coach of the Year
  • Play of the Year
  • Community Spirit Award

We’ll be doing separate awards for all three divisions in the first list with two POTYs for mixed. Otherwise, those awards will cover both male- and female-matching players in mixed. The final three awards will combine all three divisions into one category.

The final thing to note: if a player wins POTY, they are automatically ineligible for any other award. That’s why we’ll be doing that one first, since the detectives amongst you probably would have been able to work out who won POTYs after not seeing people mentioned in the slightest ahead of the announcement.

Here’s a timeline for when we’ll be announcing everything:

December 19: Community Spirit Award

December 20: Coach of the Year, Player of the Year

December 21: Best Young Player, Best Newcomer, Best of the Rest

December 22: Best Thrower, Best Cutter, Best Defender

The voting for the Play of the Year award will start on New Year’s Day!

Final Great Britain World Games training squad

The final trial list for the Great Britain World Games team has been announced. The final trial, held in Edinburgh in February, will see the final 39 trialists compete for a place on the team that will represent Great Britain in Birmingham, Alabama. 

The team includes players from across the UK, with players from nine teams attending the final trial including representatives from all six teams that competed in the finals of UKU Nationals. Clapham lead the way with 12 players on the final list, while Iceni have seven and SMOG have six.

Three of the players have played at the World Games before – Tom Abrams, Justin Foord and Ollie Gordon, all of whom played in Cali in 2013.

The final team competing at the World Games will consist of seven male matching and seven female matching players.

TEAM LIST

NAMETEAM
Tom AbramsClapham
Cameron AgnewAlba
Andrew BoxallAlba
Alex BrooksClapham
Hannah Brew Iceni
Ben BurakChevron
Declan CartwrightChevron
Thomas CartwrightClapham
Leila DennistonDeep Space
Justin FoordClapham
Nina FinleyDeep Space
Katie Flight Iceni
Rupal Ghelani SYC
Ollie Gordon Clapham
Robbie HainesChevron
Andrew HillmanClapham
Tessa HuntSMOG
Marius Hutcheson Deep Space
Lucy Hyde SMOG
Amelia KennethIceni
Fiona Kwan*Iceni
Karen KwokIceni
Carla LinkBristol
Alexis LongClapham
Connor McHaleClapham
Bailey Melvin Teng Bristol
Rachel Naden SMOG
Bex Palmer Reading
Will RowledgeClapham
Ellie TaylorIceni
Becky ThompsonIceni
Helen ThompsonSMOG
Rachel Turton SMOG
Sam Vile**Deep Space
Molly Wedge Bristol
Conrad WilsonClapham
Nick Williams SMOG
Nathan WraggClapham
Ashley YeoClapham
* – Did not play in 2020, played for Iceni in 2019
** – Also team manager

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.

Bath

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 

Predictions

  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!

UMIR 2021: Yorkshire and East Midlands recap

Tanny Karimi and Sasha Squires recap the men’s regional championships for the Yorkshire and East Midlands region.

After an intense weekend in Leeds, we are here to give you an insight into Men’s Indoor Regionals in the Yorkshire and East Midlands division. 

Despite some hesitancy on the predictions, the majority came out to be mostly accurate. However, Huddersfield seemed to be the outlier on our predictions, finishing 10 places below what was predicted. 

Loughborough continued to dominate, taking first place and having two teams qualify for nationals. Their five teams meant that their chants were heard loudly across Leeds. 

After their great performances at mixed, Sheffield and Leeds remained consistent, taking second and third place respectively. It will be exciting to see how they perform in women’s to see if they continue this hot streak. 

Despite not qualifying for any national divisions in the 2019/2020 season, York played to expectations, taking the final qualifying position for Division 2 nationals. 

After a strong performance at Mixed Regionals, Nottingham Trent looked set to gain another nationals spot, finishing fourth on the Saturday after winning every game. However, they just fell short of qualifying for Nationals. Hopefully they will see more luck at women’s regionals this weekend. 

An intense showdown was seen between Nottingham 1 and Nottingham 2, with Nottingham 2 coming out stronger, seeding one spot above the first team. With the loss of Sam Gelling from the first team, Nottingham 2 were able to come away with the higher seed. 

Leicester did a brilliant job of bouncing up and down the table. They started seeded third, finishing Saturday seeded 19th. After a nearly undefeated Sunday, they managed to push back up to an impressive 10th seed. The improvement of this team is highlighted in their rematch against Leeds Beckett, losing 7-3 on the Saturday and then winning 10-6 on the Sunday. 

Leeds Beckett came in as the underdogs and they proceeded to go above and beyond to exceed expectations. Finishing an impressive 12th, this can be seen to be a win for them as they have not been seen playing at Men’s Regionals for a while. 

Iron-manning is not the easiest of jobs yet Sheffield 3 managed to perform highly despite their team being mostly newer players. It will be exciting to see these players develop over the year and we hope to see them perform highly outdoors next season. 

Huddersfield 1 were one of the big surprises of the weekend. We predicted them to finish eighth after their great performance in the 2019/2020 season. However, they fell short by a large margin and managed to finish 18th. Not only did they lose some of their key players such as Sam Folley and Dougie Braid (who played for Leeds Beckett), they iron-manned the entire tournament with one lady and four male freshers. Given the difficult circumstances, they should be extremely proud of their efforts and hopefully this is something that they can take away from the tournament. 

There were some great performances across the weekend at Leeds. A massive congratulations to all the qualifying teams. It was really interesting to see how the table was partly defined by teams who had retained more experienced players and how well teams were able to develop their freshers in such a short period of time.