Main Contributors: Axel (Glasgow), Dylan Spiers (SMOKE), Megan Brass (Glasgow), gyanhan (Birmingham), nads (Reading 1)
Additional Contributions*: Ben Bruin (Mighty Hucks), Black Eagles captains, Dom Knight (SMOG 2), Deep Space captains, Amelia Kenneth/Lawrence Hill (Reading A), Andy Moss (Thundering Herd), Slender/Jessie Davidson/Daniel Lovesey (LLLeeds), Alex Walsh (LED), Giulia (Purple Cobras), Andy T (MIST)
*We had a lot of one-off contributions for this chat! Any quotes from people who didn't have access to the chat will be put in italics for clarity.
Mighty Hucks go one better than Tour 1, claim the title
Black Eagles return to dominance by splitting their squads again
Glasgow rock up to tour, win one game, deservedly call the weekend a success.
SMOG show strength in numbers across all of tour
Glasgow 2 and SMOG 2 shake up the lower brackets
Reading continues its development push
Birmingham crack the top 8
Thundering Herd and Cambridge continue their successful tour seasons.
MT2 North Schedule
MT2 South Schedule
tSG North preview
tSG South preview
Selected finishing positions
1. Mighty Hucks
2. Black Eagles 1
3. Black Eagles A
8. Reading 1
9. Reading A
11. Thundering Herd 1
12. SMOG 2
13. Glasgow 2
15. Deep Space
16. Sneeekeys 1
17. Cosmic Manatees
1. Purple Cobras
2. St Albans
Hello and welcome to your guide to What Went Down At: Mixed Tour 2. We'll be focusing on Mixed Tour North (as the one which featured the majority of teams), although we have a recap from the winners of Mixed Tour South at the end (as well as some Mixed Tour 3 predictions, for those that just want to scroll).
By sad coincidence, no one active in our chat played against Mighty Hucks. So we'll start off with a small interview I did with captain Ben Bruin, before moving on to the other teams.
So, what finally clicked for you guys between a tour final at MT1 and victory at MT2?
I think the main improvements from MT1 were having the desire and belief that we could win our first ever tour after reaching the final previously. Our defence has always been great and it's what we pride ourselves on, but for the majority of MT1 and throughout MT2 our offence has really started to come together.
Who were your key players this weekend?
We had Ben Burak debut for us at MT1 and his presence along with returning Rollo really helped control the offence and then with Joe Wynder making his come back it really gave us another another dimension to our play. I think what really needs highlighting from our performance at MT2 is the grit, determination and desire from our women who pretty much had to iron woman the weekend and still managed to put in a top performance at the end of Sunday. We have struggled a bit on numbers this season due to other teams 'borrowing' our women for WUCC, and it is likely to be a similar story at MT3, but that hasn't stopped us so far.
What are the goals and ambitions for Mighty Hucks the rest of this season?
Mighty Hucks has always just been a group of mates getting together to play some fris and will no doubt continue to be that. We will take the same approach for MT3 as we have for the other two, which is just giving every game everything we've got and if we burn out by the end, so be it, we'll go as far as we can.... hopefully that results in another semi/final. As for Regionals/Nationals, who knows. It will be something we discuss at a later date
|Mighty Hucks pose with a deservedly earned trophy. Photo by Kat Cheng|
I didn't get to play against the Hucks, which is a shame cos it's always a great game. Judging by the score in the final, either they were incredible, or maybe Glasgow managed to tire Eagles out horrifically ;)
I was a little sad not to get to play them either. I got two match-ups against them at MT1 though, so it seems fair they got a break from methis time. Bruin also highlighted their semi-final and final against Black Eagles as his favourites of the weekend, saying "Both games were hard thought, thoroughly enjoyable and filled with plenty of big plays and great D whilst maintaining great spirit. Hopefully plenty more games like that will follow at MT3.".
So, let's move onto Black Eagles! They shrugged off their critics (and 'bad' 5th place finish) from Mixed Tour 1 by finishing second and third with split squads. Opening it up to anyone who saw them and wants to comment - how did they look? Was it a return to the same dominant force we saw last year?
The only time I saw them really was playing against Black Eagles A for SMOKE, we had a fairly sloppy game against them but they were on top form; playing the loud, confident, assured ultimate that we have come to expect from them. They finished as comfortable winners over an otherwise very tight pool (pool A).
Also speaking from experience of playing against Eagles A - they looked strong, but it was clear they had actually picked up a few non-WUCC women, and so were not quite as strong as I've seen them previously. Still very strong though, it should be said. And you should never read a huge amount into the first game of a tournament, like ours was.
Eagles 1 looked fairly good as well. I'm saw them play against Herd. The game was evenly matched for the first few points, but Herd didn't seem to be able to cope with the Bleagles zone at all.
We (Glasgow) played against both Eagles teams, and they looked strong despite the non-WUCC pick ups. Their zone was good - our O-line struggled against it in our first game as well. Our semi and 3v4 were more evenly matched against them but I think both the Eagles teams managed to keep cooler heads when it started nearing the end of the games.
That semi clearly made an impact on the Bleagles captains too, who gave me this quote about their weekend:
Both teams had similar weekends, unbeaten Saturdays followed by tougher Sundays. We worked well on the processes this weekend and improved on the things we've worked on at training. Our victory over GUX in the semi final was huge! 9-12 down to win 13-12 shows the grit we want to have in games
They also prefaced their quote with "We did tell you we'd be better this tour ;)", which I enjoyed.
It was clear at Tour 1 that Bleagles were far from full strength, goes to show the difference having a northern tour makes...
Our semi-final against Black Eagles was also definitely our favourite game of the weekend, despite losing on universe in the end. Really intense and hard-fought.
Megan Brass, what made that final so hard/intense? A desire to be top Scottish team? Or just two great teams enjoying matching up with each other?
It's not necessarily a desire to be the top Scottish team, obviously they are national champions so we still have a long way to go to be able to match that. But there is always some local rivalry when we play them, we know the team well and we know they will push us to play our best if we want to be able to compete with them. In the semi we wanted to prove that we deserved to be in that bracket alongside the top teams in the country. Its always great for our squad to push ourselves against teams like Bleagles, and it always end ends up super intense.
Both Eagles teams were pretty strong. I feel that we have a good rivalry and it was good to renew it. But these games, particularly the semi final, were very enjoyable. They are very experienced at that stage of the tournament and I think we let the situation get to us. However we emphasised in a T/O before Universe Point that we were here to learn and whatever happened in that point couldn't detract from the improvements we had already made from Game 1. I also think playing with a shorter squad during a tour weekend is a bit easier than with a larger squad but it also is a testament to Eagles' ridiculous depth to finish where they did.
So, do you reckon that Glasgow will be able to beat Bleagles at MT3?
MT3 will be interesting. As a team Glasgow need to see how we can progress away from the tournament scene. Skill-wise I think we are close, but the experience on Eagles is amazing. Their self-belief to almost know they will win helps them. For us, I think there is that idea of winning the first one is hard, but when you've done it once it'll get easier. A substantial part of our team will not have beaten an Eagles outfit. But it could be coming, who knows when.
How come Glasgow didn't enter MT1? You guys manage three teams here, two of which were competing right at the top.
Going to Cardiff is a super long journey and costs quite a bit. So I think it was sacrificed as a tour because we are going to Windmill which has been deemed by higher powers to be a better warm up for us, will probably end up costing the same and definitely involve less travel time.
Glasgow 2 had a lot of familiar faces from previous tours, as well as some younger talent. We are using the run up to WUCC to develop a lot of the newer players in the club (I definitely fall into this bracket myself), so we have a large training squad who will benefit from our preparations. I think their 13th place finish shows how successful this could be for the club in the long run, there's definitely a lot of players showing promise and its exciting to think how far they could go as the season progresses.
GlasLegions were a bunch from Glasgow Ultimate not associated (currently) with the WUCC team and it's developmental aims, bar a few more experienced (but young) players gaining experience in leading a team. However they were a great group of those young players who went along to have fun and push themselves at the same time. For a lot of them it was their first tour and they were likely scoping out the club scene a bit, maybe seeing if the travel etc is worth it ;)
Also, has anyone mentioned the Scottish return to dominance?
1st - Team of friends (4-1)
2nd - Scotland (4-1)
3rd - Scotland (4-1)
4th - Scotland (1-4)
Those records speak for themselves you know.
Did you consider a split squads approach to tour between Glasgow 1 and 2? Or was it always going to be first and second team?
To be honest, I'm not entirely sure. See I was away and out of any decisions. However I think that the Captains are keen to get the WUCC squad gelling as we have some new additions to the team and with the late bid, we started our prep a bit later. But it seems to be popular on the mixed scene at the moment eh. So at least we aren't normies.
We played Glasgow first game of the weekend and it was a really tight game with lots of breaks for both teams. We thought their women in particular looked stronger than in previous seasons, even without Katie Flight.
Onto SMOG now! Their top teams were split into two - SMOKE and MIST. And they certainly didn't have a weak performance: with SMOKE missing out on top 4 through a three way tie, and MIST making top 8 the hard way after a low initial seeding. Dylan, what happened this weekend with you guys?
MIST had a relatively easy Saturday, rounded off with a surprisingly tough game against Glasgow 2. Partly due to Glasgow being good and partly because we were slow off the mark and maybe didn't give them the respect they deserved. We did well to clutch it out when we needed to and could have easily lost it.
SMOKE had a tougher Saturday with the full worlds pool that was always going to be close. In our games against Glasgow and Reading game the losing team scored the final point of the game as a result of the hard cap, this was a bit of a shame as we all want to see those close games being played out all the way.
Some would call that one the group of death. Reading A, Black Eagles 1, Glasgow and SMOKE all in one pool (Black Eagles A, Mighty Hucks, Cambridge and Thundering Herd were the other top pool).
Both of those teams had convincing Sundays which was a good confidence boost on home turf and our only unavenged loss was to Black Eagles in pool play (MIST beat Reading A). We are looking forward to playing as a full squad possibly at tour 3...
The big highlight of the weekend for SMOG overall was SMOG 2's huge win over Deep Space. With both worlds teams free to watch and sideline the atmosphere was excellent and the game did not disappoint. SMOG 2's energy and hot match defence got them out to an early lead and even though Deep Space had a resurgence, SMOG 2 showed great character to keep it clean on offence and see out the game. This was incredible to see from a pretty youthful team with the majority of the team still at university. On Sunday it was a big shame that SMOKE had to play SMOG 2 and end their unbeaten season. Even though SMOG 2 lost their games on Sunday they were all still very close with some very well established clubs, losing 12-10 to Cambridge and Thundering Herd.
|While SMOG caused a lot of upsets this weekend, it seems like this was the biggest upset of all.|
Photo from the SMOG Facebook page
SMOG 2 captain Dom Knight summarised their impressive weekend:
We came into the weekends with high hopes of potentially being able to upset the top seed in our pool and make short work of the rest, which was capable only due to the sheer effort put in every point by every player. It helped a lot that we had a massive sideline cheering for us every step of the way as well!
We knew we had a lot to prove after beating a great team like Deep Space without people thinking it could of been a one-off and we came into Sunday trying to replicate our intensity from the previous day, we lost 2 very close games against Cambridge & Herd that we were slow to turn up to and were always chasing to a degree, but we managed to keep the score lines close by the end. Unfortunately we were just came out a little flat to start in each game.
SMOG 2 had three whole unbeaten days at tour. A really impressive feat no matter where you start.
I'd have loved to see a Glasgow 2 - SMOG 2 game at the end of the weekend. Glasgow 2 took an early loss to Brighton as they were still getting to know how to play with each other, which I think excluded them from the 5-12 bracket. At the end of the weekend I'm sure that game would have gone very differently.
Agreed, both were very youthful teams with lots of energy and a willingness to strike deep. It would have been a great match up. I watched Glasgow 2 take on Deep Space and again it was their hot match defence and aggressive offence that seemed to take the more experienced team off guard.
This seems like an ideal time to post my quote from the Deep Space captains:
While we've had some positive periods over the first two mixed tours, we've struggled so far to bring it all together for full games. We're going to continue building with more training and competition as we go through the season. We're confident we'll be able to continue to grow and show more consistency later on in the season.
Let's move onto Birmingham now, particularly since it was a SMOG team that gave them their only loss of the weekend.
Brum had a decent Saturday, started with a strong win against Herd 2, then faced Guildford in a very, very close game then ended with a draw, and then also another strong win against Flyght Club which meant we topped our pool. We were worried about point difference, but Herd 2 managed to beat Guildford anyway so we were safely at the top. We had the 5v12 game (imo possibly the hardest cross up) on Sunday and we were running low on ladies but also well aware that Herd was going to use that to their advantage (they had 8, we had 5). But we came into the game looking to win it, and we capitalised quickly on their mistakes and put on some solid defence and won 12-4 (similar scoreline to when we beat Herd 2 13-3).
From what I know this is our first time cracking the top 8 so we were all really happy, and we also knew going in to Sunday the only way was up from 12th seed (due to scheduling). We had another close fought game with MIST, where we nearly let the game get away from us but managed to scrape back some breaks and give ourselves a chance to win. Despite it being our only loss for the weekend, we were happy with the performance in that game. We capped off the weekend with a win against Reading 1 that was reasonably comfortable, though from what I heard 2 of their players left before the game because it looked like it was going to rain and they had to keep their young child sheltered. So that might have ended up differently!
Overall I think Brum had a great weekend, when we were up in games we didn't let up the pressure and continued to churn out the points, and when we were down (e.g. in the Guildford game we were actually down 4-0 and 7-4 before we went up 8-7 and final score 8-8, as well as in the MIST game, we were down by 3 at some point before tying it up at 8s) we didn't just hang our heads and give up but kept trying to get back into it. It's been two tours with them for me so far and in general we're a pretty positive and gritty team, and I'm excited to see if this places us in the top 8 pools for MT3.
My first thought is it's nice to see Guildford (the original GU) still scrapping it out with the top teams.
My impression of Guildford is that they are a team with huge potential and solid players, but may play a bit to the level of the other team as seen by their close games with Brum and Deep Space, but lost to Herd 2. We've played them at both tours so far and both have been cracking games
Two years ago we (Glasgow) actually played Guildford for the acronym GU and for the colour green. We won, so Harry, we are the original GU.
Any more talk on the game vs Reading 1? Beating a Worlds team doesn't feel like something we should brush over.
For the Reading game, they are a solid team but I think relied a bit much on the more experienced players, so we capitalised on the other match ups we thought we would win and managed to come up with Ds and smooth offensive flow. One of their players that stood out for me was Maks Tobiasiewicz who had an incredible game defensively, had some sick Ds. I think our deep shots connected more than theirs did, which led to some quick scores for us
Birmingham were very slick, they got some great run through Ds and had a very nice long game against us (Reading 1) which worked very well in their favour. We had an incredible weekend, breaking into the top 8. The aim of the tour season is development and we want the opportunities to showcase the talent that the whole club has not just the worlds squad. I think by the time we got to our last game we had had a few injuries and our heads had dropped, this allowed Birmingham to get a few points on the board before we really showed up to the game. Credit to them for running hard right to the end.
So, that's how Reading 1's weekend ended. How did the rest of your matches go?
I don't think that our weekend could have gone much better! We had a range of experience on our squad from GB players to first tournaments. It took a game to gel which led to a very close game against cosmic manatees. From that point on we went from strength to strength working on our fundamentals and confidence as team. The highlight being beating Cambridge in the 7 v 10 to move into the top 8. We knew that the next two games would be our toughest of the weekend, but this didn't stop us from putting points on the board against the SMOG or Birmingham team.
Do you reckon you could have beaten Birmingham or SMOG on another day?
That's a tough question, they had incredible depth across their squads. Maybe without a few of the injuries and tired legs we could have pushed the score line a little close. I was very happy with the result even without the win. Depth and height in SMOGs case. We'll have to see what happens at MT3
Alright, an even tougher question. Reckon you could have beaten Reading A? (We never got to have both Reading teams to play each other at tour)
We did technically beat you ;). I think we were very relieved not having to play the other Reading squad. I think they probably would have had the edge
So, onto that Reading A side. Initially top seed, we came out bottom of a three-way tie after having a shocking time with our offence against Glasgow. We lost a close game against a good MIST side in what had to be the most thrilling of the crossovers, and then got a bit bitter about that and saw off Herd and Cambridge by decent margins to take 9th. Here's what the Reading A captains had to say.
Ameila Kenneth: Overall a great weekend, we knew it was going to be a tough fun pool on Saturday and were a little disappointed to come out at the bottom of a three way tie but thoroughly enjoyed the games and the difference in play from all opponents. I think every individual progressed this weekend and by tour three the connections will be there to do even better as a team. We adapted well to the different oppositions offensive and defensive looks and generally kept a good mental game and heads up attitude. Kept fighting until the very end and our commitment to each other shone through in the last two games of the weekend. Definitely a weekend of growth.
Lawrence Hill: Agree with what Amelia said completely. Very proud of how the team grew over the course of the weekend!
|Reading had a good weekend, but found themselves one step behind SMOG.|
Photo by Tristan Millington for the ShowGame
From a personal view, I was very happy with all our players. The development players (from first tour to GB) fit in seamlessly. Tour newbie Katherine Goodwin was destroying people deep in a zone, and Ruth Cawdron was my personal MVP of the weekend. She got a phenominal high grab followed by a point-saving layout D in our first Bleagles game.
So, lets finish with quick discussions on other teams, before ending with predictions. Thundering Herd?
Herd moved a few players between teams for this weekend to get a better idea of who might eventually make the Regionals squad. Although losing fairly convincingly to Black Eagles and Mighty Hucks in the pool stages, we beat Cambridge to climb to 5th seed at the end of Saturday. However, Sunday morning saw a loss to a strong Birmingham team which put us down in 12th. Though it started close and we managed to get some turnovers on D, we failed to convert those into scores. Mistakes crept in on our offence and they ended up running away with it. After that we faced a Reading team feeling hard done by their loss from a three-way tie, and ended playing (and beating) SMOG 2 in the 11v12. We arguably deserved 10th since Cambridge got to play SMOG 2 in their semi to then face Reading in the 9v10, but that's the way the schedule goes! Tour 3 will seem some more movement between the teams.
It's nice to see them fighting at the top, but I have to say they looked weaker than at Tour 1. Still a strong side, but either they play better in windy Cardiff conditions (Durham was remarkably calm), or they were missing a couple players to help them make that final killer pass.
LLLeeds have been slowly climbing up the ranks (finishing 18th at MT1 and 14th at MT2), so ShowGame writer Sam "Slender" Higginbotham got these quotes from the captains.
Jessie Davidson: I'm really proud of the growth we've seen from tour one, our connections have really developed and our fresh talent has grown in confidence. Our team has got a very strong positive attitude, with everyone on the team working hard to maintain that by calling out people if they start to get down on themselves or each other, which is exactly what I want from a mixed team.
So, we're going to see the WUCC teams going with full squads at MT3. I'm going to open by saying I think Reading will come out on top. We already won one tour with at least seven non-WUCC players, decided that wasn't enough and upped it to ten for tour 2. When we come together as our full squad, I think we'll be lethal. Bleagles showed that one "bad" tour doesn't mean anything - I'd back them next.
Weirdly, though we beat SMOKE and lost to Glasgow, I'd say SMOG were the better team (controversial, but our connections were *so* bad in Glasgow I don't personally read much from that result. Not that Glasgow weren't good, just that we really weren't good). So SMOG 3rd, Glasgow 4th.
Mighty Hucks obviously next, I'm not brave enough to have them above full WUCC squads again, possibly to my detriment. Then Herd, Birmingham, SMOG 2. And Cambridge in 9th. Oh, and a jacked up Reading 2 with all our development players in 10.
5. Mighty Hucks
6. Thundering Herd 1
8. SMOG 2
10. Reading 2
Saying that, I forgot Flat Perth/JR when writing that list since they weren't at MT2. So they'll probably be in the mix too.
8. Flat Perth
... Might be completely baseless predictions :p
Prediction wise I would go with the following:
1. Bleagles (They have won it before and have the pedigree)
2. SMOG (we are actually going to have squads of more than 13 players and the connections should be established a bit more)
3. Reading (I think whilst adding second team players to both squads has long run benefits it always seems to impact the team and Tour even when you go all out (like last year at MT3 where you lost groups games and ended up in either Third or Fourth I believe)
4. Mighty Hucks (They have been top notch so far this season but will struggle a bit more now that the three teams above have gone all in)
5. Glasgow (Only played one Tour so far and Cheltenham is a long way to go - they will have a tough group like everyone else and having only played one Tour will take longer to adapt in my view)
6. Brum (They have the same players year in year out and so far this season have really looked the business)
7. SMOG 2 (Doubt this lot at your peril as many teams have already seen - many of them had never played together even at Tour 2 so I'm backing them hard!)
8: JR (A quality side but will underestimate SMOG 2 at the last moment :p)
9. Cambridge (Depends on personnel whether they can get higher)
10. Deep Space (Yes they have had two tough tours and tough losses but I find it hard ot believe that they won't now be super driven to bounce back - if the schedule allows)
Flat Perth are struggling a bit for numbers from what I know so I have no ability to predict for them
I'm probably entirely wrong but this is my gut feeling on it
3/4. SMOG/Hucks (depending on who Bruin wrangles in)
5. Flat Perth
10. Reading 2
5-10) the south
Though depending on who turns up, Hucks and Glasgow could be switched.
There you have it readers! If you have any feedback, predictions of your own, general quotes or thoughts, you're always welcome to comment (or send them along to us before we do our chats).