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 Ulti.tv 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 Ulti.tv, being broadcasted on the WFDF YouTube channel.