What Went Down At: Mixed Tour

Main Editor/Discussion Chair: hazard (Reading 1/2, former JR)
Main Contributors: geegee (GB u24/Mighty Hucks), amazzon (GB u24 assistant coach, former SMOG/Thundering Herd), dp (ShowGame cofounder)
Additional Contributors: ali, hillmaniaa, tadhgb

Welcome to the post-Mixed Tour chat! Here we'll be discussing Mixed Tour in general, but particularly Mixed Tour 3. We'll also be looking a bit ahead to Mixed Nationals.

Here are the headlines we'll be discussing:
Black Eagles manage to send two teams and dominate every tour
There have been a lot of big movers/shakers this tour season
The GB U24 Development Program has been going strong
The first club tournament uses of endzone picking genders - do we like it or not?
Looking ahead to Mixed Nationals

Two quick announcements:
The ShowGame is looking for writers for the upcoming tour season! If you’re interested (particularly in covering B/C tour) then drop them a line. I personally know they respond to messages on their facebook page really well.
Someone took my left boot from lost property at tour. If you have it, please could you message me? I’m a poor student who really doesn’t want to have to buy a new pair.

Some handy links:

For ease, we've included the top 20 here:
1. Great Black White Sharks
2. Royal Canadian Goaltimate Society
3. Black Blackbirds
4. Reading Ultimate 1
5. Mighty Hucks
6. Deep Space
7. GB u24 Red
8. SMOG 1
9. GB u24 White
10. Glasgow Ultimate
11. TBC
12. Devon
13. Brighton Breezy
14. Birmingham Ultimate
15. JR
16. Cambridge
17. Thundering Herd 1
18. Thundering Herd 2
19. Cosmic Manatees
20. GB u24 Blue   


hazard:   I've noticed a lot of people are following the Reading approach to Tour this year - using it a lot more like a training program, rather than seeing Tour victory as a goal in itself. In particular, Deep Space (a new London team on the block) and Black Eagles. Black Eagles then surprised everyone by dominating all of Tour with their two trialling teams (Great Black White Sharks and Black Blackbirds). Does anyone have any comments on the Bleagles dominance, after having played them?

geegee:   Mixed Tour felt very interesting and different this year from all of the teams. Last year I remember it being pretty much dominated by JR, Brighton Breezy, Thundering Herd, Mighty Hucks and Reading. Black Eagles just seemed to come out of nowhere during this tour season and really didn’t hold back in retaining a title for every event. I have no doubt that Mixed Nationals will prove to be exciting with Black Eagles contesting the top spot against European champs Reading.

hazard:   Last year Black Eagles were the second-best club team at Tours 1 and 2 (losing out to JR both times - they didn't enter Tour 3). This year they just seemed so much better, even than that.

amazzon:   I think that's a combination of players committing to mixed in the run-up to the tours, allowing them to train a bit more combined with the lack of mixed commitment from top players on the other teams - it looks like a large proportion of the top players at last Mixed Tour are focusing their efforts on open/womens, with it being a WUCC qualification year.

hazard:   Are there any teams you think have suffered from that in particular?

geegee:   I think Swift have a fair few girls on both Black Eagles teams - they did pretty well at women’s tour last year so their girls committing to mixed could affect their Nationals standing.

amazzon:   I think if JR finished a tour 15th last year they've have been mighty disappointed. And the same goes for Brighton.

hazard:   I can speak for JR when I can say that - squad wise - they haven’t actually lost that many players to open/women’s squads. They've also actually (shock) started training this year! My personal opinion is it's actually a bit of the opposite problem. They've tried to bring in a few too many extra people at once, and it's meant they haven't gelled as well last year. JR's strength was always in its ability to be a team - something I haven't seen quite as much this time round.

amazzon:   Interesting - I don't think the overall level of competition at tour this year is higher than last year so maybe that does show the detrimental effect of having too many new faces.

geegee:   I had never played JR until this year but was surprised at the results they were getting. They have some incredible dedicated athletes that have played together for a while but just couldn’t seem to compose themselves as a team at the right times i.e. playing against a zone in the wind.

hazard:   Since we've been discussing it, the results from last year can be found here.
I'm actually going to skip over Brighton here. They only entered one tour (Tour 3) and were only seeded so that they could only finish 13th seed at highest. Which they did. Which means we can’t really extrapolate anything from that. They're going to be interesting to watch, if they do focus on mixed this year.

I am interested if anyone has any opinions on Thundering Herd though. Finished 3rd overall last year, even winning Tour 3. This year, not so much. Has the emergence of another London mixed team damaged them? Or is this another case of players choosing other squads for WUCC qualifying?

dp:   I would say Herd have lost a fair proportion of top end players over last few years which has hurt them. Couple that with a bit of dissonance with the squad (I hear that some people want to be quite serious but others are there just for fun, doesn't make for a strong tour performance).

amazzon:   Agreed that they've had some big losses but I would point to the success of the 2s as a sign of a rebuilding year.

dp:   ^^ yes, good point @amazzon.   

geegee:   Thundering Herd have lost a few players and gained others so it’s probably differing structure to last year that has made them lose a bit of chemistry. They managed to have some big names like Conor Hogan play for the final tour (largely supporting for the first two tours due to injury), but the team itself seems to be in high spirits. I admire their team ethos if anything; they’re all for each other regardless of the result and have loads of fun playing. Potentially a rise in the team next year?

amazzon:   The ones and twos played each other at MT3 so they're clearly relatively balanced. Couple that with some unfortunate absences and I'm not sure it's all that bad.

hazard:   In the final game too (17 vs 18). The firsts won 10-4.

dp:   I think if they don't make WUCC, which isn't looking likely right now, they might lose a couple but yeah would be a good level to build off of and like @amazzon says it's not all bad news there. They have a good place to build from I guess.

hazard:   A small shout out here to ShowGame writer Sean Colfer for correctly predicting all 4 teams to be crossing up into the top 16 of tour, including both Herd teams.

I think that's enough of which teams struggled this tour. Let's turn our attention to some of the success stories (i.e., teams which were consistently in/near the top 8). Let's start with Mighty Hucks. They finished 5th at every tour this season, and I know they're looking at entering Mixed Regionals this year.
Deep Space and Mighty Hucks fighting out out at MT3.
Michele Ghansah and Jonathan Saunders go big for a disc.
Picture courtesy of Sam Mouat for the ShowGame.
geegee:   Consistency seems to be a big factor with Mighty Hucks this year - we finished 5th for each tour (3rd overall however), and yes there are plans to enter a team in for Regionals. Tour 1 and 3 had bigger squads which, while it benefitted tired legs, probably didn’t help in building chemistry, so at times we crumbled under pressure where team chemistry could have pushed us a little further. I think when it comes to Regionals the core squad of Ben Bruin, Hayden John, Kat Cheng, Sarah Harrison and several others will be able to pull together and perform very well. On the other hand, a few key contributors to the tour team will be going to open/women club teams (Connor McHale for EMO, Rollo Sax Dixon for Chevron, Lloyd Cheesman for Clapham) and could be detrimental in their bid for a spot at Nationals and Euros. 

Basically it’s a tough call and I’m very bad at making predictions…

amazzon:   I assume they'll be entering Northern Regionals? If so then I reckon they'll be hard to knock out of the last Club Nationals spot

geegee:   There’s currently a poll on the Facebook group whether it’ll be a Northern or Southern entry. So far no preference has been given but I would expect it to be Northern if there’s teams such as Reading, Breezy and Deep Space to contend with in the South.

hazard:   Let's actually take this further and look at another strong team this season - SMOG. They've been building themselves year on year, and are really a force to be reckoned with at this point.

amazzon:   I would agree, a few years in the top 10 overall, good competition for 1st team spots and pretty much everyone who went to tour going to Regionals (excl. Nick Williams to Chevy) sets a good platform for success

hazard:   I find them a very interesting team to play. They actually reminded me a bit of Black Eagles - a team that's really not afraid to make full use of their height and depth.

amazzon:   That's a diplomatic way of saying it.

dp:   Athletic.

amazzon:   'Wang it to the tall one'.

hazard:   I have to give a shout out to Tessa Hunt here as well. I'm honestly more scared of her deep than most of the guys on the team.

amazzon:   I was just about to say - most of the success comes from the strength of the ladies.

geegee:   Was literally about to mention her - she’s one of the hardest girls to mark.
Tessa Hunt bids for a disc at MT3.
Photo courtesy of Sam Mouat for the ShowGame.
amazzon:   More than anything, everyone on the team trusts everyone else which opens up options other teams don't have.

hazard:   Hannah from Mighty Hucks is the same (though she uses her height a little more). A think having really threatening female deep receivers is a must for a good modern mixed side.

amazzon:   Well it worked for GB u23s last cycle. Not that I'm biased.

hazard:   Moving on - Deep Space. They've done really well for a new squad this season (9th, 7th and 6th), but I can't help but feel they'll be a little disappointed with that. This is a team built by captains Sam Vile and Matt 'Smatt' Hodgson this year specifically to qualify for WUCC. They've certainly got the personnel. And all of their players aren't entering open/women's so they can focus on mixed. But it didn't seem to quite click for them this Tour season, even if only because of a few 3-way ties. Did anyone who played them have any thoughts?

amazzon:   Well they said yesterday that pre-season was over now but I think deep down they'll be pretty disappointed in the results. Player for player they're better than that. I think they're obviously missing some chemistry being a new team but also the squad seems imbalanced. Maybe one or two workhorse receivers short.
https://twitter.com/Deep_Space_Ulti/status/864023743974211585 Photo from Deep Space twitter, boasting the end of their preseason.
geegee:   They have a mixture of very very experienced players and some new upcoming players, that may not have necessarily experienced high level ultimate at least to the same extent as the others. But you also look at the roster and it’s full of really strong open and women’s players - you put them on a mixed team and you cannot expect instant results. It’s easy to forget how different mixed is to other divisions, but with some more training and experience as a team then yes they will click and be a huge force to be reckoned with.

amazzon:   Well the core is from GBX last year. I agree with the experience point but when you can put on a line of five senior national players who have played together, you need to be putting the points consistently. Plus they have real superstars in Ange Wilkinson, Sam Vile and Smatt.

hazard:   They have a number of players with Iceni/Clapham experience. I'm certainly scared of them for the future.   

The final team-based chat will look at the GB u24 Development Program. They've been mixed up every tour, so you can't really gain anything by looking at overall performance by one team. But I'll leave it @amazzon: to explain briefly what it is, and what it has looked like this tour season.

amazzon:   Well there's 120 of the finest young athletes split 50/50 gender-wise who have attended three high intensity training weekends before playing at least one mixed and one single gender tour with a mixed up team of other dp: athletes. The plan is to be picking the squads for u24 Worlds (Perth, 2018) from this 120 after O/W tour

The aim of mixed tour was to get everyone comfortable with high level mixed (most have never done so before) and hopefully give everyone a platform to show off their best abilities before selection, as well as having a great time

Overall Callum Spiers (GB u24 head mixed coach) and I couldn't be happier with how the teams performed - we weren't interested in the results, we were purely focussed on the processes we went through to get to the end and the teams performed exceptionally well. We have some really good players coming through the system and I can't wait to see what we can do when we get out mixed team. And that's a key aim for us - we don't want to convert everyone to mixed (we want everyone to play what they feel most comfortable) but we do want everyone to experience the atmosphere you get with a top mixed team.

GB u24 Red vs GB u24 Blue in the show game at MT3.
Ben Alba on the force, as Jonah Leake looks off an open pass to Axel Ahmala.
Photo courtesy of Sam Mouat for the ShowGame
hazard:   Do any of our GB u24 trialists have any thoughts from being inside it?

geegee:   It’s been a pretty great experience so far. On a larger scale it’s a chance for everyone to play with people they’re never met before, come up against teams they may not necessarily face with their respective club teams and experience high level mixed for what it really is. Also getting the opportunity to learn captaincy, spirit, fundraising and working for a team is a bonus. On smaller scales it has given some players a view into what mixed is as a sport, for example I got to play with a few guys this weekend that had never even played mixed before! Learning all round and great fun getting to know new people.

ali:   I only went to one Tour with them, but it was the highest level mixed I've ever played, everyone seemed really committed to making the team gel and everyone was in high spirits the whole weekend. 10/10 would recommend.

hazard:   Thanks both! I'm really looking forward to seeing how well the team manages to gel after selection. To me that'll be the real crunch point of this program.

For anyone that played tour, you'll have experienced the new 2017 rules. Part of that was the introduction of one endzone always picking gender (rather than just the team on offence). How have people found this? Does it make the game more interesting? Or more gender balanced? Or is it just not a big impact?

(Shoutout to everyone who has already started using the word “GenZone” to describe the endzone picking the gender)

geegee:   I really enjoy the Endzone A rule - it changes up the game a little bit and allows for teams who want to rely on their girls or guys more a chance regardless of who is up or down in the game. It seems to be that ‘four girls’ is actually called more often (at least from my experience at CXIN and all three tours) compared to previous mixed tournaments, which is refreshing. I’ve found that some women are turned away from mixed because the guys don’t throw to them or their not put on the line enough - having this rule has forced teams to adjust and play through every single member on the squad regardless of gender.

hillmaniaa:   Personally, I loved it. I felt there was definitely a larger proportion of 4 women points. (Coming from Loughborough Uni we loved it because our girls are sick)

ali:   ^ agree

hazard:   I think I'd also agree. Good rule change WFDF!

amazzon:   I think it balances out the game, offense picking means that the losing team picks more often and that seems like an arbitrary rule. At least this way it's balanced. It does require a bit more brainpower but we can live with that.

hazard:   Final points and then we can all leave. Quite simply, I'd like a prediction of which teams we think will make UK Club Nationals. UKU has split the UK into North and South, and I've highlighted the key/historic mixed teams below. The North has 4 bids, the South has 3 (and Ireland has 1 - @tadhgb, feel free to add an Irish eye if you'd like). Feel free to add thoughts on the structure too.

North (4 bids)
South (3 bids)
Brighton Breezy
Black Eagles
Deep Space
Black Eagles 2 (potentially)
RCGS (if they decide to enter)
Thundering Herd 1
Thundering Herd 2
and Mighty Hucks are still choosing a side.

amazzon:   Bleagles, Smog, JR, Hucks, Reading, Brighton, Deep Space, Rebel

hazard:   My view is that we'll see Black Eagles, Glasgow, SMOG and JR in the north. Those sides are all very strong, have experience at high level mixed tournaments, and will lose the least players to other sides.

South will be Reading, Deep Space and Mighty Hucks. If I were Hucks, I'd pick this region, and I can't see Herd causing an upset. Brighton have potential, but given their Tour showing I'm guessing they'll have a focus on other divisions this season.

While we haven’t really mentioned them, Reading are looking much stronger (tour wise) this year. Last year they saved all their strength for Nationals/Euros. This year, they managed top 4 twice, and one of those teams was definitely weakened. As for Glasgow, they were definitely weakened by there being two Black Eagles sides (as well as unfortunate injuries). The fact they were still consistently making top 8 is amazing, and means they’ll certainly reach Nationals in my opinion, once some of those who were injured/trialling are free to return.

tadhgb:   On the Irish side of things, I'm afraid it's more like politics than anything else. We have the same EUCR bid allocation system we used when Ireland were in the Southern region. Basically, the winners (and runners up division depending) of the previous years All-Ireland Ultimate Championships get the bids. So as it stands, it's actually Dublin Gravity (last year's AIUC Mixed winners) who have the bid.

Now, at the time of writing, they haven't confirmed if they are taking the bid or not, so I can't say for sure whether they will be at UK Nats or not (they have a Women's team entered for Windmill so that division may be their focus for the season). If they don't accept the bid however, it'll almost certainly be Rebel getting the Irish bid, as PELT, who were runners up last year, will be more focused on the Men's Division.

What Went Down At: UMWON

Main Editor: Hazard
Additional Editing: Ali
Other contributors: jonnyarthur95, h.christou, andrew, hillmaniaa, geegee, katie

hazard  (University Coordinator, Oxford)
Welcome to the University Nationals chat!

And so, the University season has finally come to an end. But it really came to a head in style. Some shock results, plenty of upsets, and even a few teams doing as expected. There's certainly a lot to discuss, so let's get on with it.

For anyone curious, the full results can be found here:

And preview articles can be found here:

And finally, some live streams of the Men's/Women's finals can be found in this Facebook group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1439718906079462/

If you'd like to continue the discussion, please add a comment or head over to reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/UKUltimate/comments/68hgm0/university_menswomen's_nationals_2017_post/) to continue there. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Right, on with the chat! We'll start with Men's Div 1
(We’ll be moving through the Men’s divisions, and then move onto the Women’s divisions, for those wanting to scroll through)


Final Results:
1. Sussex
2. Bath
3. Glasgow
4. Birmingham
5. Strathclyde
6. Dundee
7. St. Andrews
8. Portsmouth
9. Durham
10. Loughborough
11. Warwick
12. Bristol
13. Exeter
14. Manchester
15. Sheffield Hallam
16. Hertfordshire

Let's start with @jonnyarthur95. Sussex as winners. Feeling happy with that?

jonnyarthur95 (Men’s Southeast Contributor, Sussex)
Feels pretty decent.

uploaded this image:

Looking good!

Some serious hard fought games, particularly the final.

Having played Bath in the group we knew we were in for a really tough physical game and that's exactly what we got.
Have to say though we felt the final was really well spirited for such a competitive and important game. There were always gonna be calls but it felt like both teams sorted them well on the pitch.

Sussex really did themselves proud this weekend. According to Felix, they have now won Men's/Open Outdoor Nationals more than any other University. (http://felixultimate.com/2017/05/01/sussex-mohawks-win-uku-uni-mens-nationals/). Is there anything about the place that breeds consistently good Ultimate over the years?

A lot of the credit for recent years has to go to Felix, he has put a lot of work in over the years and is really good at getting our freshers up to standard. Other than that I think our focus on simply doing the basics well and having a really flexible style of play will always give us a chance against most teams.

Reckon you'll do as well next year?

Well the boys have a chance to put a serious good team together again. Only 6 players from that first team squad are leaving so if the up-and-coming players put in the same level of effort we did this year anything is possible.

And maybe we can convince another GB player to come out of uni retirement, who knows.

Was Ashley Yeo only back for the one year?

He was and said this was "definitely" his last uni nats.

Nice! Let's go onto the second main story - Bath. They really came strong this weekend, dominating their semi-final against Glasgow and beating all predictions. They've always been good, but this was great. @andrew, any thoughts?

andrew (Men’s Western contributor, Swansea)
It makes me not want to make Ultimate predictions ever again, haha.
In the BUCS matches they were okay, but ran really close games against both Bristol and Exeter. And both of those teams said they'd struggled with graduations and people leaving. So they didn't look so strong headed into Nationals.

Having played Bath twice this weekend I felt their strength lay in having a bigger squad than most teams, good fitness levels and solid basics for everyone on the team.

A squad built for tournaments.

I had a quick  chat with Bath at the tournament actually, I hadn't quite realised the depth they had. A number of GB U24 players, and a lot of experience in high-level teams like Ka-Pow! and Reading. Given how strong their second teams tend to be, I wouldn't be surprised to see them being one to watch in future.

Me either, they'll almost certainly be the dominant team in my region for another 3 years at least.

Alright. Next up is Scotland. Despite VC Lookfly's best attempts on the official stash Scotland were very much a part of this tournament, even if they weren't quite as dominant as predicted when it came to trophies. @h.christou, was it a case of depth but no luck?


h.christou (Men’s Scottish Contributor, Dundee)
I'd agree with that. I would like to first point out that I was pretty spot on with my predictions with the exception of St. Andrews and regardless of Axel/Duncan not playing...
What was strange that, in my opinion, the teams finished in reverse order of their squad strength.

St Andrews seemed to have thought they could coast it to the final, especially as Manchester were very weak and Portsmouth did not trouble them this year. Dundee had a similar problem, we failed to respect UBU and I think failed to complete a pass before it was 3-0. Went 10-5 down and had it on a downwind point at 10-9. Just couldn't convert. So between us two, lack of mental game I'd say.
Glasgow and Strathclyde had great weekends though. Glasgow pulled a bronze out of the bag without their two best players which was huge for them. Also, Strathclyde finally put together a good performance for once, their mental game has often let them down in the past.

Yeah, especially considering Strathclyde were a wildcard. Permanent extra spot for Scotland, do you reckon?

I hope so, I'd even argue that Edinburgh are a top 10 side too. They proved that at UMIN. 5 spots again…?

Maybe if they can actually beat whichever Midlands team they face in the Div 2 final next year.

Well let's not just give Scottish teams a permanent advantage that comes with the Div 1 nats games. I'm all about that equal opportunity.

Needing four years to get a degree already gives you guys far too much time to play more ultimate than the rest of us.

I'm not convinced the league is the best format for qualification. It was exciting to start with but too much relies upon regular availability, away games are tough, and I don't think 3 guaranteed spots for each region best accommodates qualification of the best 16 teams.

We also find it cripples training attendance, which then turns freshers away. Big clubs can survive - those with almost separate teams (Men's & Women's, and maybe a second team as well).

Having been relegated last year after winning Div 2, I'd strongly agree.

geegee (Women’s Eastern Contributor, Surrey)  
I would also agree, it’s turning many freshers away including female freshers and gives teams an unfair disadvantage (sorry Oxford).

Also it should be Open… It gives everyone a fair chance #Iwannaplaytoo

Speaking of far too much time for Scottish players, are the rumours true that even Dickers's parents think he's leaving this year?


Yes I am 99% sure he's leaving.

99%. Well, we'll take it for now.

I'll wrap up the Div 1 discussion by asking if anyone knows what happened to the Northern teams? Manchester/Durham were expected to be strong this year, but neither really seemed to get up to gear.

Manchester ended up without some key players this weekend due to prior commitments I believe, never really looked like they got going.

We faced Durham in pool play and they looked good. They beat Loughborough, lost out on a 3 way tie and then faced Sussex. That's a rough run in.

That's very fair actually. They nudged out Loughborough to take plate in sudden death. Shame BUCS tournaments don't actually award a trophy for 9th.

Alright, let's call that a wrap-up for Men’s Div 1, and take a look at Men’s Div 2. Results were as follows:
1. Nottingham
2. Edinburgh
3. Surrey
4. Warwick 2
5. Cambridge
6. Swansea
7. Leeds
8. UCL
9. Falmouth
10. St. Mary's
11. York
12. Durham 2

Alright. Who knows exactly what happened with Warwick 2 this weekend. @ali?

ali (Women’s West Contributor, Div 1 Women’s preview writer, Warwick)
The comment from Warwick is that we took two first teams to Nats. The identity that Warwick 2nds have forged for themselves over the past year is incredible, it's no longer just a team of players that didn't make Warwick 1sts, but a team in their own right

Their communication and energy was really inspiring to watch.

I personally felt they were a bit lucky to only have to beat York and Durham 2nds to reach the top 8. However, beating Leeds in sudden death was genuinely impressive.

hillmaniaa (Men’s Midlands Contributor, Lougborough)
After scoring the winner against Leeds in universe, the Warwick 2nds player did a backflip it was amazing.

He's a Frisbee fresher too. One of three on the team.

Got it. So backflips, communication and identity is what I'm taking away as the main thing you need to develop a second team.

And truly terrible meme kit.

uploaded this image:

Alright, onto my second topic for Div 2 Men’s. University Nationals has been held at Nottingham three of the last four years. And in the three years it's been there, Nottingham haven't been beaten once. Do we actually need to start talking about a home-field advantage for them, being able to train in that wind?

I think that's a fair consideration. Still, you could make the argument that big winds simply exacerbate small differences in throwing skill. So a 55/45 game becomes a 70/30.

Notts women aren't undefeated, for balance.

On average teams that are good in the wind would defeat teams less good in the wind anyway, no?

And it's not like wind only happens in Nottingham, everyone can just make the choice to train in it.

As someone who lives in a place with pretty much no wind, I would contest that. It's not coincidence that Oxford teams ran zone less than most teams this weekend, even in the Women's final.

I'd also like to say that I'm not arguing Nottingham aren't a good team. You don't win one Div 1 and two Div 2 titles just by home-field.
@andrew, do you have any comment on how they (or Div 2 in general) looked this weekend?

I played against them with Swansea, and even though we lost, they did not feel overwhelming. Game was 10-7 to Nottingham.

Looking at the bracket results, they had fairly close games in most of their matches. They may be one of those teams that's just really good at playing to an opponent, adjusting as the game progresses.

A lot of people thought that missing Ben Poole would gut them (and I personally would add a few other leavers like Tom Tongue). It still seems like Nottingham have a decent bit of strength left though.
A final note @andrew, was it satisfying to beat UCL after losing to them in the pool?

Oh man, it was the first time in Swansea history we'd said “yeah, we could take them in a rematch” and then gone on to actually do it, haha. We were well pleased.

I'm wrapping up Men’s Div 2 here, onto Men’s Div 3 now. Thankfully, this one was actually reasonably well behaved from a prediction standpoint. It ended as:
1. Oxford
2. Newcastle
3. Sheffield
4. Southampton
5. Brighton
6. St. Andrews 2
7. UEA
8. Sussex 2

A few personal points, having played it - the top four were actually of a remarkably high quality. We (Oxford) had very good games against all of them, having to come from behind and get an upwind break multiple times.

Honestly, I would be willing to make the argument that any of the top 4 could have finished top half of Div 2. Especially since we've seen Sheffield beat Hallam (a Div 1 team) in their varsity, Oxford beat Cambridge (5th in Div 2) in theirs, and Newcastle beat a number of top tier teams in a warm up tournament. Oxford won Div 2 last year. I would honestly say the games, on average, were harder in Div 3 this year than Div 2 last year.

Oxford's captain Nathan Wragg showing great layout form vs Southampton.
Photo from markbuntingphotography.co.uk

There were several teams in Div 2 that were significantly weaker than the rest and should perhaps have been placed in Div 3.

Does anyone think that the standard was higher across all Divisions?

Honestly, I wouldn't have said noticeably. Given that 8 teams from last year's Div 2 tournament could only make Div 3 this year, I'm actually surprised it wasn't more pronounced (only three of those teams actually qualified and attended this time, though).

I'm also predicting now either Sheffield (who just missed out on promotion) or Cambridge (who've just been relegated) to win it next year.

A final point that Oxford won the spirit trophy over Sussex 2 in a very controversial Rock-Paper-Scissors (both teams were tied on spirit points).

Highly controversial. Having to contest after losing rock paper scissors.


Clearly you go back to when the infraction occurred. Jack (the Sussex 2 captain) threw Rock on 3, rather than after 3. Even though our captain then threw scissors. A rematch was the only fair outcome.

Especially after choosing scissors when we all know rock always wins.

This is the discussion I was waiting for.

Oxford sees rock, chooses scissors. Should probably take that degree away.

Mate, they let me stay for a second one somehow. It's all about how good you look in black tie.

Right, Women's Div 1 time!

Yes, moving swiftly on.

Results were as follows:
1. UCL
2. Oxford
3. Edinburgh
4. Birmingham
5. Bristol
6. St. Andrews
7. Glasgow
8. Durham
9. Strathclyde
10. Leeds
11. Warwick
12. Sussex
13. Nottingham
14. Imperial
15. Loughborough
16. Cambridge

So the big shocker was UCL, honestly I think they were as surprised as anyone to have won, at least that's what their captain told me!

Not many other surprises in the top 10 except maybe Leeds placing below Durham and Strathclyde absolutely bossing it.

Yeah, UCL actually lost to Oxford 11-4 in their Regional semifinal. But they honestly looked like the stronger team at Nationals, even though they only had 9 players (and many of those had injuries).

Absolute machines. Oh and of course Bristol did amazingly, topping their pool and only losing one game (to Oxford) all weekend.

They (UCL) have been playing together for a few years (except one or two) so I think their chemistry as a team really propelled them forwards. Especially when you’re up against teams like Oxford and Birmingham who are renowned for taking the title themselves.

There were two things I noticed in particular in the final. The first was that Oxford didn't play zone - we have nowhere windy to train, so it's not that surprising. The second was how strong UCL's hands were - they were catching very difficult discs! Particularly Thundering Herd player Alix Henry.

I think it was the consistency across the small roster that gave them the title. And great throwing faces, of course.

Nina <3

It seemed very tight in Women's this year. I know Nottingham only lost in sudden death, despite finishing 13th. I watched their game against us (Oxford) and even though they ended up near bottom, I could see they were strong. What was your view of the division in general, @ali?

I think it's clear that all the teams were very strong, though I will say that the wind made some games closer than they otherwise would have been.

For example, Warwick's game against Strathclyde was 100% downwind points.

So, any idea what did actually happen to Leeds? After all, in Regionals, we saw four teams dominate their tournaments (Oxford, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Leeds). Three of them ended up finishing in the top 4, but Leeds never really seemed to click.

I didn't see them play I'm afraid, so I don't know. My guess would be that they couldn't adapt to the wind.

Alright, nearly done. Finally, Women's Div 2. It was hit heavily by dropouts, but still produced some interesting results:

1. Huddersfield
2. Southampton
3. Bath
4. York
5. Swansea
6. Exeter
7. UEA
8. Sheffield
9. Edinburgh 2
10. Newcastle

katie (Women’s Western Contributor #2, Southampton)
Well indeed! So very different to the predictions, and to what I expected!

How was the final? And am I right in saying Huddersfield only had 8 players?

You would be correct! Huddersfield absolutely dominated the division going undefeated all weekend, and absolutely deserved the win. Their team chemistry was incredible and they just had no issue scoring in both wind directions (the final was played on an up/downwind pitch).

We (Southampton) were just so shocked to even be there, and had an absolute blast - fantastically spirited game. We didn't get any upwinds which just proves how much Huddersfield deserved it.

On the note of up/downwinds, I know previously there has been some mention about how it was unfortunate for games to be decided on the toss. What I think is absolutely incredible looking at the final scores for each of the women's Div 2 final games is that all bar the 9v10 was won with at least one upwind break,which I think is absolute credit to the standard of women's ultimate even in Div 2! :)

It really is. I remember watching the equivalent of Women's Div 2 four years ago, and the improvement over the years is really impressive. Especially when you consider how many teams didn't come (including the Indoor Women's champions and runners-up) the depth is really good to see.

It’s also something to note that most of the Div 2 teams have players on the GB U24 Development Squad.

I think it's fantastic that in Div 2 every team was competent. And yes you raise a good point geegee - I feel like most teams had a similar spread of players, often one or two key players (often GB U24) and then a mix of mid level and beginner players. Given the weather though I think what decided games was the bottom end of the roster more than the top, and that's what Huddersfield had.
Not so much super stars mingled with beginners, but just solid players throughout their squad.

So Huddersfield, like UCL, relied on a smaller squad with a strong overall ability.

I think that sums it up yes. Perhaps that's the winning formula particularly for wind play? Since any slightly weakness in throwing is going to exacerbated so much.

I do think it was fantastic that pretty much every team we played had freshers on them though! (Yay for women's development!)

It's worth noting that Oxford and Edinburgh both had much bigger squads - but tended to rely in a core group of handlers (and a couple of cutters) to try to deal with the winds, so small squads weren’t the only route to success this weekend.
That's really cool though. It'll be good to see all those players in a few years.

Yes indeed - super excited to see what next year brings!

Gutted we (Surrey) couldn’t be part of it.

By the way, is it right that Women's Div 2 is the only division where there aren't medals currently? This seems like something that should be mentioned.

Yep thats correct. I kicked up a fuss because I wanted my first ever frisbee medal :p
Turns out the reason is just to do with BUCS point allocation. Since there aren't any points available for Women’s Div 2, they don't give us medals!

Huh. That seems like something that needs to be changed.

Makes me wonder why they feel the need to divide it into two divisions at all!

And I agree! By all means, if you can get me a medal Harry I'll take it!

I do have two now. And the Div 3 medal has literally zero engraving indicating it's for a lower league (or even Ultimate at all).

That’s a really good point actually. If they’re not going to give out medals it should really be one whole division. With Huddersfield being undefeated (I’m assuming) they maybe could have given some of the Div 1 teams a bit of trouble.

For sure. It would have been interesting to see how they would have done overall. No team was even close to them. Their closest game was the final, 8-3.

They actually came 8th in their Regional, below Newcastle and Sheffield (who both did worse than them at Nationals).

I'd be interested to find out what happened at Regionals! Perhaps they just excel in the wind.

That seems like a nice point to end on.

So, well done to the following teams on winning trophies this weekend.
Sussex (Men's Div 1)
Nottingham (Men's Div 2)
Oxford (Men's Div 3)
UCL (Women's Div 1)
Huddersfield (Women's Div 2)

Also to the following teams for winning spirit!
Hertfordshire (Men's Div 1)
Nottingham (Men's Div 2)
Oxford/Sussex 2 (Men's Div 3)
Cambridge (Women's Div 1)
Newcastle (Women's Div 2)

Congratulations to all, and well done on a great weekend. Thank you to all my contributors, it's been a pleasure doing Uni coverage with you all this year.

8 Takeaways from: Open Tour 2 (A Tour)

Writer: Buzz Editor: hazard Schedule/Results This weekend saw 39 Open teams take to the pitches of the Llanrumney playing fields of eas...