Childcare provision: changing the game for masters players

Walking around the pitches here at WMUCC it’s typical to see a kid on almost every sideline. Sometimes they’re wearing the kit of a parent’s team; sometimes they’re exhibiting impressive throwing skills. What happens to the kids when the parents are playing ultimate is an especially relevant issue here at WMUCC. The tournament organisers in Limerick have provided a clever way to help parents out.

In partnership with Adventure Worlds Camps the tournament organisers have arranged for a holiday camp to run from 9.30am to 3.15pm from Monday 27th June – Friday 1st July. It’s based right here at the venue in the University of Limerick Sports Arena and costs parents $115 for the week. This initiative is a great way to help parents out and increase accessibility, allowing more players to come, and bring their family with them. This got me thinking, though, how are parents coping with playing and watching the kids? Earlier today I spoke to a few people to find out.

This morning I found Evie Dirgo with her one-year-old son, Leo, supporting her husband, Andrew, who players for the Canadian masters open team Carbon. I asked her how it had been going so far having Leo at WMUCC with them. “It’s been going well so far. We’re staying in the dorms here at the venue and being so close to the fields is a big help,” said Evie. She went on to explain that she “was nervous at first about the dorms because [she] was concerned that being a non-player they wouldn’t be able to book it, but that was all fine.”  She also told me that there was another parent who has brought his child, so they weren’t the only ones on the team.

I then asked her how she thinks becoming a parent affects people playing sport. “It generally stops players continuing because sport becomes less of a priority. I also play ultimate and my first tournament back after having Leo will be Canadian nationals later this year, where both Andrew and I will be playing.” Evie also told me that she’s keen to get Leo involved with the sport as he gets older. He is currently too young for Evie and Andrew to put him in the holiday camp, but Evie told me she thinks it’s a great idea and that they would certainly make use of such an initiative in the future.

Later I spoke to Alex and John Davidge from South Africa who both play for Chilli Legends. They’ve brought three kids, aged 5, 8 and 11, with them and described the experience as “an adventure” for all of them. “The kids bring lots of spirit with them. It’s also the first time for them doing lots of things, like going on a plane,” said Alex. Their kids will all be going to the holiday camp tomorrow, which they are very excited for. John explains that having kids “makes playing sport harder not just because of the time you need to look after them but also because of other costs like babysitters.” Although they weren’t able to stay at the venue because there weren’t any family rooms, overall, John is very positive about everything the tournament organisers have done to facilitate bringing the family. “[This tournament] has a completely different feel to London 2016, where we were discouraged from bringing the children onto the pitches,” he said.

Finally, I chatted with Leila from Southern Charm, who had come with her 10-year-old daughter Zoe all the way from the US. “I have two kids and I gave them the choice of coming. The younger one chose to stay at home with her dad, but Zoe wanted to come with me” she told me, while Zoe was off playing with some other kids on the side-line. Leila also said she thinks it’s “great for her to see her mum playing, whilst spending the day outside and also meeting some other kids.” She hadn’t heard about the holiday camp but thought it was a good idea and would definitely be helpful to parents when they’re playing.

It’s clear from talking to parents here today that childcare provision is an excellent idea. The holiday camp starts tomorrow and is lined up to be a great success. It would be fantastic to see more initiatives like this at all tournaments going forward. Above all, if it allows more people to play ultimate, then it’s something we should all be supporting.

Daily roundup: better conditions as next stage of WMUCC comes into view

The pool stages are well under way now, with masters mixed and grand masters mixed finishing their initial pool stages, setting them up to go into power pools tomorrow. The other divisions will continue their pool games into tomorrow. Here’s a rundown of the highlights from day three at WMUCC.

Descent barely put a foot wrong in masters mixed

The US team Descent had two more convincing wins yesterday, beating Amsterdam Ultimate Club 15-3 and Birds of Paradise 15-1. This means they top their pool, and so far, have only conceded five points in total. The four other US teams in this division are also all winning their pools. The most promising challengers to the Americans are likely to be Reading (from the UK) and the Canadian team, Epoq.

Still and Magic Toast look to challenge the Americans in masters open

The British team Magic Toast and the Canadian team Still have both won all four of their games so far in the masters open. Today Magic toast will face their toughest competition in their pool from Iznogood and Voltron2020, who might be the favourites for the title. At the other end of the leader board, Columbian Urutau Ultimate Club and Indian Puyal have both struggled, losing all of their games so far.

LMU victorious over Berta in the masters women

A big 15-9 win from the London team, LMU, against the Canadian Berta puts them up there in competition with the likes of Molly Grey and Soar *sore in their pool. Ahead of all of them, however, are Canadians lowercase who remain undefeated after beating Molly Grey and Berta today. In the other women’s pool, Reboot Squad, StellO and Ripe all won both their games yesterday as well.

The initial pool stages in grand master mixed come to a close

Grand masters mixed is another division that will have pools followed by power pools. Canadians Grey Owl and Brits Big Fish, Little Fish miss out on places in the higher power pool, meaning they can’t be placed in the top 4. Surly GMX from Minneapolis pipped Happy Campers (CAN) 13-12 and beat Southern Charm (USA) 14-11 to make them the only undefeated grand master mixed team. Today the power pools will begin.

Can Black Cans go all the way in grand master open?

Black Cans (USA) came away with an important win over FIGJAM (CAN) in a physical game that finished 13-12. This puts them at the top of their pool for the moment. In the other pool, the two US teams, Surly GM and Shadows, comfortably continued their winning streak. These two teams will face each other today in what should be an exciting match up.

Surly GGM cling on to the top spot in great grand master open

The number three seed, Surly GGM from the US, managed to remain undefeated today after their match with Recycled, also from the US, went to universe point and finished 12-11. They’re the only undefeated team in the great grand master open division. Qualification for the semi-final is currently looking unlikely for the three teams not from North America (Flash, JETS and German Alltime Ultimate Lovers), who all had tough days yesterday.

Daily roundup: pool stages in full swing

Sunday was the first full day of matches and it was another one of unpredictable weather. All the teams had to cope with changing wind directions and intermittent showers (or should I say downpours?) All teams have now played at least one game, so we’re starting to see how things might unfold. Let’s start with the mixed divisions.

Teams finding their feet in the masters mixed

A few teams are looking strong, with Snowbirds, SOS, and Members Only from the USA, along with Epoq from Canada, all winning both their games. The top two seeds, Slower and Descent, both from the US, only had one match today each. They both came away with convincing 15-1 wins against Halal and Distètics, respectively.

There were also some less expected results as 10th seed Heidees from Germany beat French number seven seed, PUC Ultimate, but then went on to lose to the 28th seed Long Donkeys. Meanwhile, Reading had a very close game with Members Only, in which they were ahead in the earlier stages of the game, leading by three of four points, but eventually the Americans caught up, and overtook them, to win 13-11.

Showdown between grand master North American clubs

Notably in the grand master mixed division, Happy Campers from Canada are looking strong, having won both their games today. Meanwhile the American team Southern Charm battled it out in a close match against Grey Owl from Canada, which was eventually won 13-12 by Southern Charm. Close match ups between the Canadians and Americans are expected to continue.

This division is dominated almost entirely with Canadian and American teams, with only one British and one German team. All teams have now played at least two games so we should soon start to see which of the North American clubs will come out on top.

Canadians upset the seeds in both masters open and grand master open

A notable result in the masters open today was the Canadian team Dead Circus beating one of the top teams from the USA, Pacemaker. The Americans launched a strong come back at the start of the second half, soon drawing equal at 9-9. But Pacemaker began to run away with it again towards then end, and the game finished 15-10.

Other masters open teams that are looking strong include Canadian teams Still and Woolly Mammoth.

Meanwhile, the Canadian grand master open team FIGJAM also upset the seedings today, coming out strong and beating the top seeds from the US, Johnny Walker, 15-13. FIGJAM also bagled SG Uncles, putting them in a strong position in their pool. Other teams that are looking strong in the grand master open division include US teams Surly GM and Shadows.

In the great grand master open (another division almost entirely made up of teams from the USA and Canada) the French, British and German teams are yet to challenge any of the top seeds. Surly GGM, Relics, Recycled and TOAST all remain undefeated so far.

Can anyone upset the USA women?

Finally, in the women’s division, games were mostly played on the TUS campus today. Five of the 18 teams in this division remain undefeated: Reboot Squad (USA), Molly Grey (USA), Ripe (USA), StellO (CAN) and lowercase (CAN). Despite being seeded second, Molly Grey had to fight hard for their wins today, beating PUMAS 12-10 and Soar! *soar only 14-13.

So far, the biggest threats to the US dominance are looking to come from either StellO from Canada or the British team LMU, who lost a close game to Soar! *soar but comfortably beat jinx.

Keep your eye out for more updates to come and make sure to check out for the livestreamed games!

Game recap: opening showcase from the hosts

WMUCC 2022 kicks off with a showcase match from the women’s division. The Irish home team, Masterclass, faced StellO from Canada’s capital Ottowa.

StellO had the first pull, meaning that Masterclass started on offence going downwind. The first point was long, with both teams struggling to complete passes in very wet and windy conditions. Deep shots failing to find receivers were common from both sides to begin with. StellO eventually managed to get the score, a huge boost for them having started both on D and going upwind.

In the first few points we continued to see plenty of “huck and D” type tactics, with players attempting to get the disc down the field, even if it came at the expense of losing possession. When they had possession, it seemed that Masterclass players were looking up field with no good options and StellO eventually scored again, making it 2-0.

Masterclass then had the wind with them, and the connection of talented Irish veterans Fiona Mernagh and Sarah Melvin allowed them to reel in their first score, taking it to 2-1. StellO then scored again, making it 3-1, and soon looked like they were going to put in another one, but they called a timeout just short of the endzone line. This didn’t pay off for them and after a few more turns, Masterclass scored to bring them to 3-2.

Points so far had been long, and all but the very first point were scored downwind. The upwind team was typically finding themselves stuck on their own endzone line, unable to move the disc very far up the pitch. StellO stuck to playing slightly poachy defence, while Masterclass mostly played their zone.

The teams continued to trade over the next couple of points as the wind made it incredibly difficult to get a break. StellO were very patient working it around Masterclass’ zone and a few points later the score stood at 5-3. Masterclass scored again with O’Mahony taking a shot into the endzone and finding a McMorrow laying out to make it 5-4. Despite this, the strong wind meant Masterclass were unable to equalise and StellO instead took it 6-4 before half time was called 55 minutes into the game.

After seven minutes break, StellO came out on offense going downwind. This point was long, but eventually won by StellO, who then quickly put in another to take the score to 8-4 and widen the gap.

Masterclass, however, did not give up and a great read from Jen Kwan allowed her to poach off and get an unexpected turn. The disc then quickly made its way upwind towards the endzone, where Melvin reeled in another score, taking it to 8-5.

Masterclass then had both the momentum and the wind with them, allowing them to score again, making it 8-6. There were then some promising connections from the Masterclass players, but they couldn’t quite put in the upwind break they needed. The two teams then traded again in a series of quick points, taking the score to 10-8 to StellO after a bold hammer from Masterclass’ Kwan across the endzone and into the hands of McMorrow.

After another slightly longer point, StellO’s Rioux put one up for Polowyk to make it 11-8 just before the soft cap went. The rest of the game felt like Masterclass had slightly lost momentum. StellO scored again, confirming that it would be a game to 13. At 12-8, Masterclass would have had a lot of work to do if there were going to pull this back. It wasn’t long, however, before StellO scored again, with Green coming down with the game-winning catch, ending the game at 13-8.

Although the score got away from Masterclass slightly at the end, this match was closely fought as both teams got accustomed to the wind and rain. The women’s division is organised into two large pools, with nine teams in each. This means both Masterclass and StellO could go on to do well in their pool, but we’ll have to wait to see how things play out.

Daily roundup: getting accustomed to the wind and rain

There was a sense of excitement around the venue today as all of the planning and preparation – from players and organisers alike – was finally coming to fruition. In the opening ceremony representatives from each team paraded onto the show pitch behind their country’s flag and the rain thankfully held off while the tournament organisers gave short speeches. This was followed by the showcase game between Masterclass and StellO women’s teams, where the players and spectators were not so lucky as conditions became increasingly wet and windy. About a third of the teams also got stuck in for the first round of matches. Here’s a brief overview of what happened in the tough conditions this afternoon.

A strong start for the US women’s teams

It’s difficult to read too much into the women’s division yet, with only three games having been played so far. The Irish home team, Masterclass, put up a good fight against StellO but the Canadians, having led throughout the match, came out on top, winning 13-8. It’s unusual to see a Venezuelan team in the mix, but today saw Spanglish enter the fray and experience a tough loss 14-3 against PDXtra from the USA. Finally, another USA team, PUMAS, were also victorious in their pool, beating Samsui from Singapore 12-6.

Canada dominating in grand master mixed

There were also only three games in the grand master mixed division today. Here it’s the Canadian teams that are look strong. Grey Owl beat Surly GMX from the USA 15-6 and Max Power beat Southern Charm (also from the USA) 15-7. The last game of the day saw one more Canadian team, Happy Campers, take on Woodies from Germany. The Canadians came out on top once again, winning 15-2.

Teams from the USA living up to their seeds the masters open

A clear picture is yet to emerge in the maters open division as to which club will come out on top, but there is obviously some division beginning to appear between the teams. The top two seeds, US teams Johnny Encore and Voltron2020, both had convincing 15-2 wins against Urutau Ultimate Club (from Columbia) and Puyal India, respectively. It is not unexpected that the American teams will perform well, with the top six seeds all being teams from the USA. Indeed, all seven teams from the USA in the masters open division that played today won their matches.

The Brits from Devon had a close game with King Louie (from the USA), which traded all the way, bar a couple of points towards the end of the first half. They were never able to recover these and eventually lost 15-12. This is closest any country came to upsetting the Americans. It remains to be seen whether anyone can displace the top US teams.

Three teams in this division, Warao Ultimate Turmero, Wolpertinger and Ragings Bananas, are yet to play and will begin their first matches tomorrow.

We’re just getting started!

Many teams are yet to have a game, with the masters mixed and both the grand master and great grand master open divisions not playing any games today. There’s plenty to be excited for, particularly in the mixed division, where the pool stages will be crucial because there will not be an opportunity to cross up for the team that finishes bottom of the pool.

Stay tuned for updates and make sure to check out the livestreams from, being broadcasted on the WFDF YouTube channel.

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!

Windfarm: The Return

It has been nearly three years since there has been a proper, full Tour event. Windfarm, once derided for the difficult conditions it inevitably provides (hence the nickname we gave it that eventually became the official tournament name) will be something of a triumphant return for the super-event we were all so used to before the pandemic, with more teams and pitches than any of us will have seen for years.

The 63 teams are split between open and women’s, with 41 and 22 respectively. It’s been a busy week at ShowGame towers and there’s a lot of teams that I have only a passing knowledge of so I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with a preview of the top teams for now, and we can take a look at the teams throughout the draw once the dust has settled and we’re able to have a better idea of where everyone stands.

The schedule is a little odd, with the open semis and final at 90 mins compared to 70 mins on the women’s side. It does seem as though there are fewer games for the top open teams so that’s likely the logic here, but there’s definitely some annoyance over it. Given that the women’s final slot is last it seems like there could have been a pretty easy compromise here, and some advance discussion probably would have avoided the issue entirely. Still, scheduling is hard (I assume, it looks hard) and everyone is out of practice with all elements of tournaments at the moment. Still, this is probably something that’s best thought through a bit more comprehensively in future.


Let’s start on the women’s side. The top seeds are the national champs, Bristol, and they are largely at full strength after fielding some varied teams at their events so far this season. Talismanic playmakers Carla Link and Molly Wedge have been occupied with World Games trainings up to this point but should be back, and the squad retains enough talent and depth to win this tournament. They face Masterclass and Thundering Her in the pool. Masterclass are the Irish entrant into WMUCC in Limerick and should pose quite a few problems to Bristol, not least with the return to these shores of Eurostar superstar Sarah Melvin. It’ll be very fun to see a Wedge/Melvin matchup, so hopefully we get to see that play out. Thundering Her is (predictably) the female side of Thundering Herd, entering Tour again as they did in 2019 to get some extra reps with the mixed season in mind. Both Masterclass and THer have reasonably short rosters but both will be looking forward to taking on a big name early on.

The next pool features the reigning National League champions, SMOG. They defeated both Bristol and Iceni in the midlands last year and return to the (kind of near) scene of the triumph to try and repeat the feat. As we have seen in both women’s and mixed competition, the women of SMOG are extremely strong and we can be pretty confident that they’ll be challenging their opponents with some nigh-on-impossible-to-stop deep shots. They face Scots SCRAM who have had a nice start to the season and will be looking to push themselves and keep developing ahead of their trip to WUCC in Cincinnati in a few weeks’ time, as well as Cambridge Women. SMOG should win this group but SCRAM against Cambridge could be a fun game, with some strong Cambridge-based players having played largely in mixed in the last few years.

The next pool seems like a pool of death. Iceni and SYC will renew their rivalry, the two London teams having played recently in a pretty close one. Iceni came out on top there and the expectation would be that they do again since they are reasonably close to full strength with only a couple of absentees. SYC will be confident having played their rivals close so recently, and have a reasonably full team although there will be one or two absences. Also in this pool are reigning European bronze medallists Dublin Gravity. When last the Gravigals were in the UK they left with the national championship title, so there’s clearly quite a legacy of success behind them. The team that was in Bruges was extremely adaptable and cohesive, with excellent frisbee IQ pairing with ability to make them one of the best teams on the continent. They’ve been at a few warm up tournaments and will be heading to WUCC as well, but this team may well be a bit more mixed with non-WUCC players and guests. Either way, this pool is one to watch.

The final pool in division 1 sees LMU face Spice and Reading. LMU defeated Spice last season in the inaugural National Cup final after coming from behind. LMU will be strong, as usual, but will have a pretty small squad, as usual. It’s always difficult to predict exactly who will be around but I understand that Jenna Thomson is around, which means they have more than a shot of being competitive. Pairing a team this smart and experienced with a team like Spice, full of players nearer the beginning of their elite frisbee careers, is a nice clash of styles. Spice will also be heading to Cincinnati and look to have added well this spring and will pose a tough test to the masters. Reading round out the pool and will, like SMOG, be extremely good despite minimal experience together in women’s. Players like Bex Palmer, Helen Roberts and Ania Godbold have all played at the highest level and you can always expect that Reading teams will be well-drilled and prepared.

This is a tough tournament to call with the strength at the top, but if Gravity are anywhere close to the team we have seen before, 10th seed looks low. They could cause some chaos in the later brackets. An Iceni/Bristol rematch could be on the cards but last time LMU faced Iceni, at Tom’s, the masters won, and SMOG loom with their League title in hand. I daresay it’ll all be a bit clearer come Saturday evening but for now it looks like a tough call! I’ll go for a SMOG win with LMU, Bristol and Iceni finishing the top four and prepare to eat those words.


First thing to note here is the split schedule, and second is that Clapham are absent. That means the field is a bit more open at the top, and may mean we get a barnstorming finale. The top section of the open division is four pools of three, with the next section starting as a bracket to give teams the chance to progress upwards.

The first pool sees top seeds Chevron up against acronymic teams PELT and EDI. Chevron were largely untroubled last season in reaching the national final and finishing second in the National League. They have long mixed experience with youth, and had a sizeable contingent of less experienced players last time around. Those players will all have gained a great deal from last season and could position the team well to grow this year. They did as well as expected at Tom’s, beating both French teams (Iznogood, the eventual winners, and Tcach who finished fourth) and losing only twice, to GRUT men and one of the CUSB teams. This pool puts them up against Limerick team PELT and Scots EDI. PELT usually travel with pretty small squads but are always tough to beat and come with a huge amount of cohesion and confidence. Chevron will back themselves but it’s unlikely the Irishmen will roll over without a fight. EDI have been building for a couple of years and have done a good job developing into a competitive outfit with Alba growing as a regional power. It’ll be a good test for them to play against two teams that have been to EUCF in the recent past.

Speaking of Alba, they are second seed and lead the next pool. They are the only team other than Clapham that seriously pushed Chevron last season – in fact, the last three times these teams have met on these shores have ended with sudden death Chevron wins despite Alba having the disc (Chevron ran out comfortable winners at Tom’s, though). The Scots will be aiming to turn those tables late on Sunday. They match up against the Smash’d boys and Fire. The latter two teams met in the first round of the cup last season, a brutal draw considering the relative strength of both, and will be very up for a rematch. Smash’d have had some roster turnover from last year but are still young, aggressive and athletic and will be a stern test for a rebuilding Fire outfit. Alba should have enough to stay above the fray but this will certainly be the most physical pool so there could be some variance based on how each team deals with that.

The third pool is the most intriguing at the top of the open division. Devon are a longstanding national power nowadays, having qualified for WUCC 2018 and consistently finished in the top four since then. Last year they overcame a very tight call with Smash’d to solidify that spot and make the Nationals semis. The team has a way of playing that has worked for them for years, has great chemistry and a very solid internal culture that keeps them at the top of the division. In Nottingham they face the men of SMOG and Leamington Lemmings, the story of 2021. SMOG will, of course, be good. Just like the women’s team, this is a team of serial winners that have back-to-back national titles in their back pockets and have been preparing to take on the best in the world at WUCC as a whole squad, given that they have two teams going to Cincinnati. They can match Devon’s athleticism, but the boys in green have a bit more experience in open and might have the edge in physicality too. Lemmings qualified for Nationals in both open and mixed last season and have a range of good players to call on. Whether they can mix it with the big teams in open remains to be seen but if they consolidate the best players from both those teams they have a good chance to make two elite teams very uncomfortable here.

The final pool sees Reading’s men face Ka-Pow! and Bristol. Reading’s squad is obviously strong but is missing a few of the men that will make up the male side of the WUCC team so might have less top-end depth than some of the other top seeded sides in the division. They should still have enough to top the pool here, although both Ka-Pow! and Bristol can certainly cause them problems. The Londoners are still going through a rebuilding process and had a relatively young but talented squad last year, while Bristol have been developing slowly but surely for a number of years. Ka-Pow! won this matchup when they faced at Nationals last year but Bristol have had competitive outings already this year at Tom’s so might be slightly sharper.

It’s difficult to pick anything but a rematch of Alba vs Chevron in the final, such is the strength that these two teams continue to possess. Hopefully we get another exciting instalment in the series if that does come to pass. Look out for SMOG and Reading to challenge the top teams, I would expect one of them to make it into the semis unless Smash’d can step up and take that fourth spot.

Further down the open draw there are some fun teams to watch out for in the middle bracket. Zimmer, now a grandmasters team but still full of quality GB players from the mid-2000s that can absolutely still play if the final of EMUCC is anything to go by, are around and will be fascinating. Birmingham are always a tough team, Cambridge have some very good players that have been in the mixed division with their women in recent years so could cause some issues if they are able to cross up and both Manchester Ultimate and Rebel have been top 12 teams at UK tours in the recent past. YCU made Nationals not long ago, so as far down as the late 20s could see teams that eventually break into the top bracket.

Good luck to everyone in managing the wind this weekend. I’ll be playing for Thundering He so feel free to come and tell me how rubbish these pared-down predictions are.