|Bath 1 Men's team enthusiastically celebrate their victory.|
Photo by Tommy Pengelly
Ben: I'm Ben Giles, vice-captain and also in my 4th year
How did it feel to win Nationals? Were you aiming to win, or did it come as a surprise?
Ben: I've been walking round with a smile on my face ever since the final finished (despite the fact I had a very unfinished dissertation due the week after the tournament). As a uni we've had some incredible players over the past few years with a large GB representation, so to go further than any of those teams have is huge for this current team.
How did you build from last year's silver medal success then? Did you retain a lot of the same people?
Can you elaborate on the training/mentality differences from last year?
Do you think the Bath 2017 side would have won Nationals this year? Or that the Bath 2018 side would have won last year?
Ben: I'm not convinced we'd have coped with Ashley Yeo that much better than we did last year though!
What were your favourite games this weekend?
Ben: Mine would be the Strathclyde game. We knew going into the tournament they would be our biggest test and the fact they're all so nice meant the atmosphere in the game was great! We got our noses ahead early and despite it probably being our messiest game on offence our D line was phenomenal at applying pressure to the Strath offence and we ground out the victory
Who were some key players (or what were some amazing plays) you'd like to give a shout out to?
Ben: Compared to other teams we don't have those star names, we don't have a Canada U24 captain or multiple players who have just gone to worlds or are going to worlds this summer. we have a squad of 15 players who we trust to play any of the points and we felt that was the difference between us and any of squad there this weekend
What sort of club/country connections do you have in your team (beyond the junior players already mentioned)?
Ben: Although Oli and Kiran have only just joined Ka-Pow!, so have yet to play A-Tour
I feel at this point I have to give a mention to Bath 2, who have had a phenomenal year. What is your approach to development as a club?
Matt: Yeah, Bath 2 have had a fantastic season qualifying for Div. 3 Nationals and coming 3rd in their league. We built a development squad at the start of the year for players that were on the fringes of the 1st team squad last year and all trained together so that they could play high level ultimate to improve their skills. As the year went on we added more and more people to it who we saw were improving steadily until we had a training squad of nearly 40 players! We also took it upon ourselves to provide individual feedback to the players throughout the season to give them targets to improve their overall game which will hopefully help them going into next season.
Ben: As long as we felt we didn't have to teach the basics to players we wanted to get them involved. Often freshers can get disengaged if they aren't being tested and made to improve so ensuring that wasn't the case was crucial for us
Ben: The men's first/second team squad is simply coached by Elmo and I.
What are your thoughts on the BUCS league?
Matt: I think the BUCS league is great for our second team as it gives them a lot of match experience against a wide range of teams which helps them develop. For the premier division, it would be nice if there were a couple more teams in the league just so the first team could have more practise. However, it does make it difficult for beginners to play with first and second team players to improve their skills as we are away for a lot of Wednesday training afternoons (which are our main session) so finding a good balance is critical.
Ben: It has impacted our main training sessions on a Wednesday afternoon with often none of the best 30 male players at training which reduces the quality and makes it difficult for the guys not in the first 2 teams. We also find the cost difficult at £50 BUCS fee. For the first team this is fine but to ask freshers to pay when they may not get much of a game is fairly pricey
How do you think Bath 1 will do next year?
What advice would you have to anyone taking up a captaincy role at university in the coming year?
Matt: My advice to Ben would be keep providing each player with a set goal as it much easier to improve with a target in mind other than just 'get better'. As well as that, keep the positive mindset and the friendly atmosphere that has been apparent this year as I think that was one of the keys to our success this year.
Any final thoughts?