Interview with Jonny Arthur & Will Seth (Captains of UMON winners Sussex)

Interviewer/Editor: Harry Mason

Let's start with introductions! What are your names, and who are you?


Jonny
Jonny Arthur, Sussex Men's Captain.

Will
Will Seth, Sussex Men's Captain.

Jonny
aka this year's Uni National Champs.


So, how did it feel to win nationals? What have you done with your medals?

Jonny
Feels pretty good, especially after losing the indoor final, getting that trophy and gold medal was something special. And, yes, I did wear that medal for about a week straight.

Will
It was kind of a weird sensation, when that final point was converted I wasn't sure that we'd won. I wore the medal for quite a few days without taking it off, but it's now taken pride of place on my wall.

Will Seth (left) and Jonny Arthur (right) answer our tricky questions

What were some of the challenges/toughest games you faced this season?

Jonny
Our first real test this year was in the league in december against Portsmouth. we knew they would be tough opposition after finishing fourth at last year's Nationals. so coming away with a decent win in that game was a big confidence boost for the rest of the season.

Will
We'd struggled with injuries a lot throughout the season, so taking a large squad was with that in mind. However, in the build up, and over the weekend, we managed to keep everyone fit which definitely helped us.

Jonny
And then losing to Strathclyde in the Saturday pool games was really tough to come back from. We knew we had the ability to beat teams but that game showed the overall strength of a number of teams.

Will
I agree, losing to Strathclyde on the saturday was a bit of a knock in confidence, but we were able to maintain positivity going into the crossover against Durham, and a reasonably comfortable win against a strong Durham team got us back on track for the sunday.

Jonny
And how easy it could be for us to drop down the bracket


How did you find being co-captains? Did you both have the same role, or slightly different roles? And is it something Sussex usually does?

Will
I think we were selected* for the role because we had similar targets for the season. We also had quite similar views on the way we wanted to run offence and defence. I'm not sure how often the team is co-captained but it definitely worked well this year. Jonny was definitely more vocal throughout the season within the team too.
*The previous captains select the new captains after an application process, where players state their ambitions and what they can bring to the role. We were chosen by Christian Turvill because he believed that we'd make a good captaining partnership.

Jonny
As I was abroad the year before having a co-captain was super useful to me, as I needed to get to know a lot of the team and establish what we could achieve. I also think personality wise we complimented each other really well, I'd generally get loud and get everyone hyped up and focussed on things, then will would get out on pitch and just get some huge skies or lay out D's to get people going.
Mohawks don’t always do co-captains but a couple of times in the last few years it's happened as we just had candidates who work well together


Now, I understand you guys had an interesting coaching situation this year. How did you find it, and how important do you think coaches are for University Ultimate?

Jonny & Will
We feel that having good coaches is massively important and has been a big strength for Mohawks in recent years. Felix Shardlow has done a great job for nearly 10 years now as a coach and is especially good at introducing new players to the game and improving them quickly, best shown by us qualifying a second team for nationals 3 times in the past 5 years. Since Christmas Felix has been off running coaching clinics all around the world so we were lucky enough to have Glen Newell take over trainings since then. John Maule has also been coaching us for the last couple of years and having those two with us at Nats was a massive help. Basically we have been incredibly lucky in having two top quality coaches consistently for the last two years which dramatically improves our training sessions.


Do you have any strong club connections at Sussex? Do many of your team train with clubs outside of the University?

Will
We are lucky to live in a city with a massive ultimate scene. Almost all our team at nationals have played at the highest club level with Brighton City. There are also regular trainings run by Brighton Ultimate, the community of ultimate players in Brighton, for both club and uni players which helps progression of everyone massively.

Jonny
Also a large number of Brighton City players are ex-Mohawks so are always happy to help us out in any way they can.


Who were your star players this season?

Jonny
We did have a really strong Clapham player this year in Luis Semple who was huge for us this year.

Luis Semple, laying out to get the upwind break score in the final at Nationals. Photo courtesy of Vicki James.

Will
A strong handler set who had been playing with each other for a number of years (Christian Turvill, Chris Wastell, Chun Lee, and Dom Burnham) also really helped in the wind at Nottingham.

Jonny
Oh and Ash Yeo (Clapham Captain, GB Open Beach Captain).


What is your relationship with the Women’s team at Sussex? Do you train together, support each other, socialise together, etc….

Jonny
We have a pretty close relationship with the women's team. lots of mixed training, always socialising together. since the league started we don't train as much together but we still view ourselves all as one teams.

Loads of incestuous frisbee relationships as well.


Which helps team cohesion?

Jonny
Yes

Will
Yes
The women's team were also a massive sideline for us at Nationals.


Speaking of Nationals sideline, how cool was it to have your second team there as well?

Will
Having such a massive cohort of mohawks at nationals definitely helped a lot, just having such a huge number of the club there. It's just sad that someone had to steal the spirit trophy of them.


Alright, moving on. What are your opinions of the BUCS league system?

Jonny
Well, there’s a huge discussion to be had about that so just we probably won't get too in depth.

As a big uni club it worked out ok for us but it certainly wasn't without its difficulties. Having one of the few remaining second teams in the country shows just how difficult it has made it to get freshers competitively involved outdoors. But it also obviously helps in raising the sport recognition and funding from unis now more BUCS points are on the line.

Will
It definitely limits the amount of training we did as a whole club. We did a lot of extra trainings on weekends as a first team to compensate. As Jonny said, there has been such a lot of discussion about this and we are lucky to have coped well with the changes from the old regionals format.


Any advice you'd give to someone starting out as a uni captain next year?

Jonny
Set ambitious goals for your team at the start of the year, and make sure it's something that everyone buys into.

Will
Set goals. Identify the strengths of players and decide on a strategy that everyone will buy into.

Jonny
And build a team identity, both on and off pitch, that suits your players. each team should find a style of play that suits them, not just copy what's worked for other teams before.

Sweet. Cheers Guys. Any final points to add/question you'd like to have been asked?

Will
nah we good

Jonny
just enjoy uni ultimate innit

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