What Went Down At: UMON Division 1 2017/18

Chair/Editor: Alun P
Additional Editing: hazard
Contributors: jonnyarthur95, Slender, Rush, andrew, Clackers


Headlines:
1. Bath see off ~the evil empire~ Scotland, win their first title
2. Scotland fills the remaining semi-final spaces, opens a bagel shop
3. Midlands all make top 8
4. Sussex surrender title without making quarters
5. South East earn wild card spot, take bottom three places (plus ninth).
Links:

Finishing Positions:
1. Bath 1
2. St. Andrews
3. Strathclyde
4. Glasgow
5. Loughborough
6. Durham
7. Birmingham
8. Nottingham
9. Sussex
10. Sheffield Hallam
11. Bristol
12. Manchester
13. Essex
14. Imperial
15. UCL (Spirit)
16. Portsmouth

Alun P
Welcome to the Men's Div. 1 chat. Opening up the discussion, how good did Bath 1 look? Could this be the start of a dominant run?


jonnyarthur95
On Bath, I'd like to take credit as being the first person to call them as potential favourites. All the way back in the spirit circle of last year’s final I said that looking at their squad they should be targeting the win this year.


hazard
Bath have looked great all year. Having two indoor teams in the top eleven at Men’s should be a sign that Bath, more than anyone else, have depth. Captain Matt Elmore seems to think that they’re in with a chance of winning it next year too as well.


Slender
It wouldn't surprise me if did win it again, they have a great core of a good team along with high level star quality in players like Seb Allen etc..


hazard
Last year they complained we predicted them too low, and they came 2nd. This year we predict them 2nd, and they come 1st. Any thoughts on how we predict them from now?


Alun P
Out of interest, who here besides Jonny had them as favourites going in? I was begrudgingly backing Strathclyde...


Slender
Same, though I thought Bath would probably make the final if the seeding had allowed it.


hazard
I predicted them as top for Mixed Outdoors in one of our private chats. I’m claiming that one rolls over as thinking they’re capable of a medal at least. (It also rolls over to me thinking Bath Women would win one too)


Bath 1 seemed beyond the reach of any team this weekend.
Photo by Alberto Rossi for the ShowGame

Slender
The final was pretty exciting. Really high quality throwing on show but both teams got jumping and turned over loads right on the upwind end-zone line.


hazard
If anyone wants to watch the final (or quite a few other games), you can find it on fanseat for the low low cost of £7 a month or a 14-day free trial.


Alun P
Word is, despite some big goal line calls, things stayed pretty calm and spirited, in a nice change from indoors.


andrew
One way to predict Bath in the future may be to look at how the second team does at indoors. They did pretty well this year and made Div. 1 last year, but didn’t even make Div. 2 the year before that.


Slender
Yeah it was pretty good, one of the most spirited finals I've seen, both teams seemed extremely calm throughout in all aspects really... except for their end-zone plays.


hazard
Interestingly, the Bath captain thought Strathclyde would be their biggest test going in (it ended up being their semi-final). He mentioned how great the atmosphere and spirit was in that game too.


Alun P
While Bath may have won, Scotland kept up their record of winning medals at every Nationals, and claimed fourth to boot. How do they keep doing it?


Rush
Hate to sound like a broken record but we really are just that good


jonnyarthur95
Meh. If you ask me this is the sort of strength  Scottish teams should be showing every year. Four year degrees should be a difference maker so starting to live up to it. But if anyone mentions the “dominance” word they can leave until one of them actually wins the thing. What is it, 14 years or something since the last Scottish team won? Someone with the trophy will have to check but I think it was Edinburgh in like 2004 or something.


Rush
It helps that we have Glasgow Ultimate and Black Eagles (Scottish club teams) with quality coaches nearby to improve our first teams. St. Andrews and Glasgow both have two top quality coaches in Ben Heywood and Phil Webb. The problem with the schedule is that we always end up killing each other off to leave an opening for a decent English team e.g Saints-Glasgow semi final


hazard
So, I’d say the reason St. Andrews do so well is how supportive the University actually is of Ultimate. Benji has been there for years and has been solidly improving the team (and himself as a coach). Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde have benefited from a strong club scene, coaches, and a really strong community aspect you don’t get in any other region. I think the other teams then just benefit from playing against them. Other strong coaching scenes have seen similar improvement, as have local areas of community (see Loughborough/Leicester back in the day).


Rush
We’re only going to improve as well, there’s whispers of a second tier league in Scotland with Strath, Glasgow, Edinburgh and St. Andrews looking to put second teams into that division.


The Scottish were strong this weekend - and wouldn't let Bath 1 elbow their way into victory without a challenge.
Photo by Sam Mouat for the ShowGame


Slender
Do you think the lack of relegation in the Scottish league helps them?


hazard
I think relegation of Scottish teams might kill off Heriot-Watt. They already have enough incentive to not enter BUCS with the big fines from not entering Nationals through exams.


Alun P
Given that the same four teams finish in the top four every year, I suspect it wouldn't make much difference to the top end, but it might pull the next tier down a bit, denying them quite so many games against top competition.


Clackers
With a second league, there's less automatic qualification into Nationals - you don't have to enter the cup, it's a separate competition


Rush
That lower league will reap just rewards further down the line with Scottish players becoming used to high intensity game situations. They’ll get better at decision making, punching in points and mentality will only improve


Slender
I think most teams would struggle to throw as much money around as Saints, but some unis are reaping the rewards from having coaches. Despite being humiliated in the quarters but Strath, Nottingham did finish in the top 8 of Div. 1 with a team that is definitely not the 8th best in the country.


Alun P
In light of Saints' success, will we see full time coaches start to appear elsewhere? Or is nowhere else mad enough to throw that much money into ultimate?


Rush
There’s whispers from Edinburgh that we might pull in Sam Lord, Danny Hoyle and James Glover (all ex-GB) in to coach the first team on certain nights of the week and the SU might get behind us.... big names with good knowledge will reap rewards in coaching


hazard
Nottingham had their first external coaches this year (Kat Cheng and Pete Garnett). Honestly, bagel-aside, I’d say they had a fairly decent weekend. Certainly can’t complain at top 8. I don’t think it’s a surprise that more teams are finishing high with coaches. But yeah, money is likely to be the thing preventing most teams from being able to go with coaches full time. I also think coaches are useful for development purposes, as a way to link Uni Ultimate teams with the world beyond Uni Ultimate.


Slender
Hopefully it's a trend we continue to see. I think the biggest advantage you get is the consistency in teaching and tactics you have with just one person in charge, as opposed to several senior team members all coaching different sessions in different ways.


Alun P
Just below Scotland, Midlands managed to land all three teams in the top eight, but none of them could get any further. Upward trend, or hitting a ceiling?


Rush
I very much doubt you’re gonna break through that Scottish wall. There’s just too many good teams in our league that can defeat midlands teams


hazard
Midlands have been dominant as a region for a while. I think a quick glance down the schedule shows that it’s still a region with a huge amount of depth.


Slender
I agree with that, Birmingham will be unhappy with where they finished though after 3rd at UMIN surely?


hazard
Potentially. Just mentality wise, I’d have backed Birmingham to break the medals out of the Midlands team attending Div. 1 .With that said, I actually think we should be very pleased with all three in top eight. I wouldn’t necessarily say that they had the strongest rosters of the teams there, but all the midlands teams play together very well and tend to be a strong squad, rather than a strong collection of individuals. Birmingham and Nottingham I would back to be up near the top again next year. Loughborough should do well too, but I think a few graduations are likely to hit them hard this year.


Alun P
And there may still be hope of a higher finish. Loughborough upset Strathclyde in the first round of pool play.


Rush
Yeah Strathclyde were not happy about that. I spoke to their captain afterwards and he was pretty annoyed at how his team performed.


hazard
If Loughborough had beaten Durham first time of asking (rather than waiting until the repeat game in the 5 vs 6), I think we’d have a different story. For one, their quarter final would have been against Nottingham instead. And we all know how the Nottingham quarter-final went. This would also have guaranteed a Midlands team in top 4, as it happens. In other words - Durham are to blame.


As an aside, Durham are another team which is clearly benefiting from a nearby club team. SMOG are actually quite a recent side, but you can see the current Durham side benefiting from their influence (with at least three of the team going to WUCC).


Liam Reddy of Nottingham found himself outclassed at the Windfarm for the first time in many years.
Photo by Sam Mouat for the ShowGame


Alun P
Just outside the top half, Sussex couldn't quite muster the title defence they'd have hoped for, finishing ninth. Where did it go wrong?


Slender
They lost Christian Turvill and Ash Yeo?


jonnyarthur95
For me the real story is just how tight it was outside the very top and bottom. 2 three way ties in the group stages shoes this. And Sussex are the big name to lose out in it, only losses this weekend were to the 2nd and 4th team and they drop out the top 8. Just goes to show just how important it is at these tournaments it is to get hot at the right time. I reckon you could change around most teams from 2-10 and you couldn’t call it a major upset.


Clackers
I sort of guessed that Sussex wouldn't do as well this year considering they didn't make it to Div. 1 Indoors.


hazard
I saw Sussex play a bit. I have to say they looked decent. Far better than I honestly expected, given how they were at the start of the season. Sure, they weren’t the dominant side of last year, but I think Jonny is right when he says they deserved their place in Div. 1, and that they got a bit unlucky with crossovers.


Slender
Yeah they are definitely a high level team. But as you said, it's very fine margins at the top and losing one or two players can make a big difference in where you finish.


Alun P
Will they be able to bounce back, or is there a longer term malaise setting in?


Slender
They should be okay, they have strong club links with Brighton City and a good core of players. They be around Div. 1 for the next few years at least.


hazard
They have structures as a club. Felix and the rest of the Brighton Ultimate community have strong connections to Sussex. I’m not sure we’ll see them rise to medals again for a couple of years without a big pickup, but I’d be surprised if they dropped much further. And top 10 isn’t a bad place to settle if you have to settle somewhere.


No matter what Sussex tried, they were unable to break into the top 8 this weekend.
Photo by Sam Mouat for the ShowGame.


Alun P
Outside of Sussex though, it was a pretty grim weekend for the South East, filling up the bottom three spots after claiming the wild card bid. What's going on down there? And should there be a rethink on how the wild card is allocated?


jonnyarthur95
On the South East being bad: well, it's not unexpected. I expected the bottom two spots from my region so the only real shock was Portsmouth who I thought should have been in that mid-pack mess. But it seems they followed tradition and only brought a tiny squad to Nats and this time paid the price. It might have worked for them before but I hope this shows to everyone that if you want to do well then a big squad is a must. Tournaments are as much about keeping a healthy team as having the seven best players. Hopefully Portsmouth learn their lesson from what should be a massive disappointment.


Clackers
Imperial missing Roland Turnell-Ritson would have hurt them over the weekend. With him I could see Imperial going further.


hazard
I know Josh Awcock got injured for Portsmouth, which is a major blow. Previously they’ve done really well with a small, focused group. I think some tight results against Hallam and Bristol showed they had at least some promise initially. Personally though, I think the fact that Imperial were beaten 10-3 by Exeter in the 13 vs 14 game should tell you that there was a bit of a gap between the South East and the rest, at the top at least. By usual promotion/relegation, the South East would lose three bids. Scotland would gain one, Midlands two.

4 comments:

  1. Sussex didn't only lose to 2nd and 4th, they beat Glasgow (4th) and got beaten by Manchester (12th)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Herriot Watt also beat Glasgow this season, does that make them top 4? Or is extrapolating results unreliable. You choose.

      Delete
  2. Ridiculous suggesting Scotland don't show dominance and then saying Midlands did well. One region had 3 in top 4 and easily won div 2, the other 3 in top 8.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also won women's handily, having had SC1 knock out SC2 in quarters, and still placed 2 in top 4 (just to highlight the dominance across the board). Let's not even talk about Glasgow's 2/3 year (?) mixed unbeaten run, with Strathclyde joining the party this year outdoors.

      Delete

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