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)


https://twitter.com/SwanseaUltimate/status/857954325120897025


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.


jonnyarthur95   
uploaded this image:



hazard   
Looking good!


jonnyarthur95   
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.


hazard   
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?


jonnyarthur95   
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.


hazard   
Reckon you'll do as well next year?


jonnyarthur95   
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.


h.christou   
Was Ashley Yeo only back for the one year?


jonnyarthur95   
He was and said this was "definitely" his last uni nats.


hazard   
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.


jonnyarthur95   
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.


hazard   
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.


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


hazard   
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?


https://twitter.com/UltimateUoN/status/858366341480411138


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.


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


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


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


jonnyarthur95   
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.


h.christou   
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).


hazard   
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


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


https://twitter.com/DundeeUltimate/status/858353906606383104


h.christou     
Yes I am 99% sure he's leaving.


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


hazard   
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.


jonnyarthur95   
Manchester ended up without some key players this weekend due to prior commitments I believe, never really looked like they got going.


h.christou   
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.


hazard   
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.


hazard   
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.


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


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


ali   
And truly terrible meme kit.

ali
uploaded this image:



hazard   
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?


andrew   
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.


ali   
Notts women aren't undefeated, for balance.


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


jonnyarthur95   
And it's not like wind only happens in Nottingham, everyone can just make the choice to train in it.


hazard   
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?


andrew   
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.


hazard  
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?


andrew   
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.


hazard   
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


hazard   
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



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


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


hazard   
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).


jonnyarthur95   
Highly controversial. Having to contest after losing rock paper scissors.


ali   
Cute!


hazard   
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.


jonnyarthur95   
Especially after choosing scissors when we all know rock always wins.


geegee   
This is the discussion I was waiting for.


jonnyarthur95   
Oxford sees rock, chooses scissors. Should probably take that degree away.


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


*cough*
 
Right, Women's Div 1 time!


ali   
Yes, moving swiftly on.


hazard   
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


ali   
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.


hazard   
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).


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


geegee   
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.


hazard   
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.



geegee   
Nina <3


hazard   
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?


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.


hazard   
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.


ali   
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.


hazard   
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!


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


katie   
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! :)


hazard   
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.


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


katie   
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.


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


katie   
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!)


hazard   
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.


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


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


hazard
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.


katie   
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!


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


katie   
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!


hazard   
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).


geegee   
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.


katie   
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.


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


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


hazard   
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.

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