What Went Down At: Women's Tour 1

Main Editor/Discussion chair: geegee (GBU24, former SYC)
Contributor/Addition Editing: ali (GBU24)
Other Main Contributors: hazard
(Fanseat Commentator),  jonnyarthur95 (Brighton City), hannahbrew (Brighton Women), 
amazzon (GBU24 DP Assistant Mixed Coach), dp (ShowGame cofounder)

Welcome to the post-Women’s Tour 1 chat!
Here we will be discussing the drama and the hype from Nottingham Wind Farm.

We will be discussing several topics throughout this chat including:
The presence of new teams (Uprising, Chaos, SMOG, Red).
Iceni dominate again - how do they do it?
Nice Bristols development squad at Tour 1 and 2 - what will they bring to nationals?
Brighton loved the wind and it got them second place.
GBU24 finishing 4th for their first appearance at tour.

For ease and clarity here are the top 13 teams:
1.    Iceni
2.    Brighton
3.    SYC
4.    GBU24
5.    SMOG
6.    Swift 1
7.    Hydra
8.    Chaos
9.    LLLeeds
10.    Reading 1
11.    Nice Bristols
12.    Glasgow
13.    Reading 2


geegee   To start off, let’s talk about some of the new teams that have made an appearance onto the women’s scene – Uprising, Chaos and SMOG to name a few. What sort of twist have some of these new teams given to the women’s division in the UK? Who caused some upsets in the lower brackets?

To kick off the discussion it would be great to mention some of these new teams rising up the rankings. This year has really seen an expansion in UK women’s ultimate with additional teams competing at tour, and there are now schemes in place to find teams for women without weekly training. Relentless was a team that bossed top 8 quite consistently over the last few years but seem to have disbanded into other teams to create the first SMOG women’s team and other ladies filtering into Hydra (who have two teams by the way, that is awesome).

hazard   I'm not sure if I'd call all of these new teams. Uprising were born out of the old Dragon Knights team as well. Chaos do seem like an interesting new team on the circuit. Some injuries meant they were a bit depleted in their final games. SMOG were the real underseeding though, in my opinion. They smashed their way into the top 8, and were undefeated all tournament.

geegee   I agree, it would have been really interesting to see them face up against any of the top 4 finishers. Their ladies are all mega athletic and experienced so I wouldn’t be surprised if they did start to face off in the top 4 at future tours.

hazard   Also, shout out to Reading 2 for climbing 10 seeds from 23rd to 13th (only losing to that strong SMOG team). Having Hannah Pendlebury and GB's Cat Ashton may have meant it was slightly stronger than your average second team, mind you...

geegee   Definitely. Having spoken to one of the Reading girls, they seem to make their teams off of training commitment rather than splitting into first and second team. So really if you’re playing against Reading, do not underestimate them.

hazard   The fact that many of them are constantly training as the Reading Mixed team also won’t hurt. The same applies to SMOG.

ali   It's great to see some London teams really challenging the top 8 that aren't Iceni and SYC, especially considering there are a lot of women's teams in London that ended up near the bottom. Kudos to Brixton for bringing a women's team to tour for the first time ever as well.

geegee   Moving swiftly on, Iceni came to dominate and they did dominate, winning undefeated and quite convincingly. How do they consistently come out on top? And what should we expect for the rest of the season?

hazard   I was lucky enough to watch two of Iceni's games. They are athletes, and good ones. Coach Paul 'Voodoo' Waite has picked the 22 players he wants to qualify for Worlds already. The team is a complete package - unphased by the difficult weather, and very clinical. They only turned once (via their D line) in the first half of the final. And they won that half 8-1 against a strong Brighton side.

geegee   Iceni are hands down my favourite team to play against. It is not just the physical challenge of trying to keep up with their sheer athleticism, but they are all also very intelligent players and know your next move before you even know it yourself. I am really excited for Worlds qualification and their potential at WUCC.

dp   All I can say is that Iceni train and have aims to ensure that every player is a part of their machine. I hear they enjoyed matching up against SYC and swift.

dp   With some clever D on SYCs part to make Iceni go to plan A through C. I also know they were super happy to see U24s finish 4th ;)

geegee   Thanks everyone! Onto the next topic: Bristol started off in 5th seed for Tour 1 in a tough pool with three teams that ended up in the top 5 themselves. There have been words of a weakened squad entered for T1 and T2 but full roster for T3, Regionals and hopefully Nationals - what do you think we can expect during the rest of the season from Bristol?

hazard   Not much at Tour 2 - apparently they're depleted then too. They were strong enough, looking at them. They've clearly got some talent. But not quite connecting on the hucks to their tall receivers in the wind, and not able to get the results this weekend.

jonnyarthur95   I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) Bristol were short a few key players which hurt them a bit.

geegee  They have a fair few members on the GBU24 squad, and there was a massive frisbee wedding going on (also made Chevron lose a few players), so they are likely to lose a few members. But I agree they definitely have the talent - I have high hopes for them going to Nationals. Bristol always seem to gain strength as the season goes on, so I would expect the same to happen again this year.

Right! Now onto what was a pretty exciting final - Brighton. These ladies love the wind and they showed their prowess and confidence against the elements. Who got a chance to watch Brighton over the weekend?
Iceni and Brighton pose after a tough final. Photo taken from the UKU Women's Ultimate page
jonnyarthur95   Well it all just seemed to come together for Brighton women this weekend. Having not been able to get regular 7v7 at training your 1 was meant to be about coming together as a team. Then it turned out that they were just better at throwing in the wind than almost everyone.

geegee   They had an incredible zone as well - it managed to slow down teams just by containing the handlers, and it was difficult to break through. What are Brighton expecting for the rest of the season?

jonnyarthur95   Yes, it seemed to work against a lot of teams, shutting down pretty much any system other teams had practiced. Well after a very successful Tour 1 captains Rachel Clarke and Amber Perret are looking to keep the team having fun and just see how high they can keep finishing. I'm told they will have kit at future tours as well so that's a bonus.

hannahbrew   I coach the team and our entire training programme involves skills and not plays or tactics . So pretty much our entire offence and defence is something that we create and develop over the course of tour. It allows players to think on their feet, and that’s what you need when you face environments such as Nottingham!

geegee   That is fantastic, I’m looking forward to seeing them at other tours! Thanks both. Our final topic to cover this evening is GBU24 playing their first tour event together. Only one team was entered with 25 strong roster, and could have made for difficult gelling but a 4th place finish cannot be argued with. What did you all think of the U24s?

amazzon   I watched the German U24 women's team in the final at Tom’s Tourney and they really set the bar. There's so much potential in the GB team but there's no denying that there's a long way to go. I think we have a great chance in Perth given everyone buys into the process and works really hard for the rest of the year. I can't wait to see more.

hazard   Last cycle (in 2015) the U23s finished 5th and 6th. So for them to finish 4th this year off the bat is very promising. I think it's that experience against higher level teams that will set them apart from previous teams, if they can keep up this level.

hannahbrew   The current U24s are the strongest bunch of junior women that have been around for a long time!

geegee   There is still a long way to go - the Dev squad has around 45 women (I believe) with most of them playing during the tour season for GB. But after this weekend it has been a great place to start. The coaches know what areas require improvement and that will be the basis for future trainings with the finalised squad.

Molly Burd shows one of the few ways to get past the GB U24 side. Photo from Rachel Turton.
hazard   How come you guys only had one team this weekend by the way?

geegee   We had 25 signed up to play for Tour 1, and I don’t think the coaches we comfortable fielding two teams, especially with a few players that have injuries as well. It was the best decision really. It should be an exciting tour season for the GB ladies, and I’m looking forward to the final decisions made by the coaches and upcoming trainings for all three divisions.

geegee   With nothing more to cover for the women’s division I think it’s time to wrap up this discussion. Before we go I would like to give a quick shout out to LLLeeds who had four of their games go to universe - including a 30 minute universe point against Chaos (both teams deserve a load of credit for that grit).

Thank you to all of our contributors, and see you at the next post-tour discussion in July! Watch out for some of our athletes going across to Windmill this weekend over on Fanseat, and you can watch back the Tour 1 games from their archives.


Editor's note from The Cutting Lane Floor
We really enjoy these discussions, and we hope you do to! If you have something to say that you think hasn't been said (maybe you represent a team we don't, or see we missed something) please comment, or even message us if you'd like to join in next time. There is a contact form on our website, or you can message us through our Facebook page.

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