What Went Down At: UMON Division 2 2017/18

Chair/Editor: Rush (Edinburgh)
Additional Editing: hazard (Oxford)
Contributors: andrew (Swansea), Alun P (Leeds), Tristan Millington (Southampton), Clackers

Headlines:
1. Edinburgh finally make the gold and lift the trophy crushing all comers. Oxford also crush all comers but pull an Edinburgh in the final and lose their winning mentality.
2. Seeds 3-6. How would that have turned out without Edinburgh and Oxford?
3. Bangor and Dundee only brought 8 players. Exam season difficulties?
4. Leeds... what happened there?

Links:

Final Results:
1. Edinburgh
2. Oxford (spirit)
3. Warwick 1
4. Swansea
5. Bangor
6. Newcastle
7. Dundee
8. Southampton
9. Leeds
10. University of the West of England
11. Hertfordshire
12. Nottingham Trent 

Rush
Hello and welcome to the Division 2 Men's chat, Edinburgh and Oxford just looked unstoppable but look at what happens when the unstoppable force Oxford meets that immovable object Edinburgh. What was the Oxford perspective from the weekend?

hazard
Alright. I’m going to say this with no disrespect, but Oxford and Edinburgh seemed a class above everyone else this weekend. Oxford lost our captain Ian Roper in our second game. He’s one of our best players. Despite that, we had one semi-close game before the final - and that was due to an heroic display from Bangor after we took half 7-2 (We still won by three, but really had to work for it).

What that meant was your final position in Div. 2 was determined by when you played Edinburgh or Oxford, rather than anything else.

Rush
Yes Oxford and Edinburgh were a class above but I want to say good show to Bangor, they only had 8 players and had some quality performances even though they finished low down.

hazard
As did Dundee in fact. If either of those teams had more players, there may have been a different story. I also want to say - I don’t think any team we played was bad. Actually far from it. There were lots of good displays of skill and plenty of moments that had us on edge. Just that Edinburgh and Oxford were both top 10 at Men’s/Mixed Indoors, and it felt weird to have them scrapping it out in Div. 2. With that said, we never played against Warwick, who gave us a good game in the league. We did play every other team in the top 8 though.

andrew
I agree that Edinburgh and Oxford were just a cut above, there didn’t seem to be anything teams below could do to claw out the win.

In most games, Oxford caught the simple discs.
Photo by Sam Mouat for the ShowGame

hazard
As for the final, I can only apologise to Edinburgh. Our captain came right out and said it, it was by a margin the worst we played all weekend. We dropped simple discs. We threw away. And they were better. For some reason we saved our best play for Swansea in the semi (sorry Andrew)

andrew
Appreciated! You guys were the better team. I think the next loss stung a little more...

hazard
My personal feeling is that changing from the strongly upwind-downwind game we’d played the two matches before to a crosswind pitch for the final threw us off. Our tactics were all wrong, and Edinburgh rightly capitalised.

Rush
I watched some of the Swansea-Oxford game and Oxford were just on fire. Breaking the cup like it wasn’t even there, no defence could have stopped you that game. The final was good fun and I know we came out firing on all cylinders to try and get the win

hazard
It’s unfair! That had been our tactic so far that weekend, and then you pulled it on us!

Rush
We made sure we adjusted to throwing in the crosswind with a drill and attacking the disc in the wind. I think we got our tactics, mentality and preparation spot on and that comes down to the captain. The joy on Chris Habgood’s face after the final point made me feel great for the team

hazard
You mean this face?

Added during chat to show Chris Habgood's face.
Photo by Mark Bunting Photography
Rush
Yep that’s the face

hazard
Was it the same on Edinburgh’s side? Seemed like you guys had some closer games.

Rush
I don’t think we had that many close games? Dominated our pool, eased past Swansea and Newcastle even though they played excellently and then close against Warwick but we never felt uncomfortable

hazard
Mainly Warwick, was who I was referring too. A small point as well - it was nice to see the three promoted teams from Div. 3 last year all in the same pool (Oxford, Southampton and Newcastle). That made for some initial nostalgic rematches.

Rush
Moving on to Warwick, Swansea, Bangor and Newcastle... they all had decent weekends only losing out to the finalists in the knockout brackets (before the final game) to make up the rest of the top 6.

andrew
It was a very interesting weekend, Swansea didn’t have the best win-loss record but won games where we needed to only to lose out on a pool game rematch. Before I forget, I want to give a huge nod to the mental and physical fortitude Warwick showed for taking every. single. game. bar one!! to universe point… Or so they said

Rush
What happened with the Swansea-Warwick-Leeds pool? Did you guys come from behind to win or hold out for the victory?

andrew
Against Leeds we never felt comfortable but held a one or two point lead for most of the game, while Warwick was the opposite. The only difference was when we were down a point to Warwick during soft cap, we knew we only had to tie it up to win the pool. We put a universe line to win it and then we were too tired to close it out which dropped Leeds into the bottom when they came third in the tie

hazard
Did you play zone all weekend? Or just the slightly windier Sunday?

andrew
We mixed it up, tended to play it when opposing teams had the upwind or just to switch things up. We occasionally set it on offence. I guess a little more Sunday? We played it both days.

Rush
Edinburgh played man for most of the weekend with an occasional zone on the Sunday. Was defo a bit breezier on the Sunday and required more thought process.

hazard
We played Newcastle in the final last year in an incredibly close game. This year seemed a bit different. Having Ross Nugent was a huge boost, but I would say the team seemed a little less confident this year. I think the fact that last year they were unbeaten until the final meant they were in better spirits. This time they’d just played Southampton (in a pool structure designed to favour top seeds), and were over-reliant on Ross’s quite excellent hucks.

Clackers
The second half of your game against Newcastle was closer though, they must have picked it back up then.

hazard
Bangor were obviously a strong side though. I’ve mentioned the determination they had in our game. A small team, but one with each other’s backs. Ed Simpson and Dom Knight would be welcome in any uni team, and their less well-known players (like Hari Tidswell) were putting in a strong shift too.


Hari Tidswell put in a real shift for Bangor this weekend.
Photo by Sam Mouat for the ShowGame

Rush
Small teams seems to have been a theme for this year’s Div. 2 especially in Dundee and Bangor. Exam season always seems to be a detriment to Nationals with some players not wanting to lose the time and would rather focus on revision/assignments. Do we think that moving Nationals a week earlier would help bring the best players down and not risk iron man squads?

Clackers
If Mixed Tour 2 was rearranged, yes.

hazard
We hadn’t started term officially when Nationals was held. Some of our players wouldn’t even have been back in the country if you moved it a week earlier.

andrew
You’ll never not have someone complaining about the timing of Nationals. It is unfortunate, but until you see teams actually dropping out at an alarming rate, maybe don’t fix what ain’t broke?

hazard
We’re already out of term-time during Mixed Nationals. It’d be frustrating for it to be three for three (with Women’s too)

Rush
I suppose the date is picked to fit in with most university times. But Bangor still performed well and Dundee did alright for themselves with their small squads

hazard
I think Portsmouth’s squad size is more out of choice, as well. We should mention Heriot-Watt not being here at all with this exam talk though. I actually think at the end of second term would be an ideal time.

Rush
At the end of second term is dangerous though as everyone’s exam times finish differently, many players go home, on holiday or just don’t want any more university frisbee

Clackers
England has three terms.

andrew
End of second term is the ideal time? March is ideal??

Clackers
Late March, but then there is clash with Mixed Nationals, and an early Easter. Furthermore, there may be some issues with getting entries through BUCS/AUs in the small gap after league games finish

hazard
I have a feeling this scheduling chat will soon get a little dated.

Rush
Alright, we’ve talked about Dundee and Bangor playing well but what in God’s name happened to Leeds… they have so many strong players but their weekend fell apart. What happened?

Alun P
Our weekend was pretty comparable to what happened to Sussex in Div. 1. Lost the pool on a three way tie with the teams that finished 3rd and 4th. We reckon if the schedule had been a little different, and we hadn't played a fresh Swansea straight after our universe game with Warwick, we could have had them. I'm not sure how well the back to back games work with a three team pool, where a tired team plays a fresh team, as seen when fresh Warwick then beat tired Swansea to create the tie. We were the only team in the pool to beat a fresh opponent. Anyway, after that, Bangor was a nasty crossover, and we slightly bottled it. 1-5 down, to 6-5 up, to 6-8 loss. No excuse other than that they're good, and probably could've made semis with a different draw in the bracket. After that, all we could do was stomp the round robin, which we did. We reckon we could have come around third or fourth, and reckon our pool results would back that up.

andrew
Coming third in a three way tie in their pool group probably didn’t help their mentality in the games going forward and then they had to play Bangor to escape the bottom 4.

hazard
So they lost to 4th and 5th?  Ouch.

andrew
But they beat 3rd. Unfortunately points difference let them down

Rush
Any final thoughts to wrap up Div. 2?

Tristan Millington
From a Southampton perspective I think we had a reasonable weekend. The BUCS league hasn't been kind to us, so it was nice to see how our results would differ in a tournament format. Special mention for our rematch against Swansea. The result was the same but the score was a lot closer, with only 1 upwind break in it. We particularly struggled in the wind on the sunday, Southampton isn't particularly windy (good for a port, bad for frisbee training) so we haven't trained those looks much. Dundee in particularly really showed us some excellent upwind offense with some great short ball through a cup.

andrew
I’ll close with the increasingly cliché: The overall strength of Div. 2 teams is increasing. I’ve played in the league for the last 3 years and you can see the standard getting higher. Still too soon to tell if it’s a long term trend, but here’s hoping.

hazard
Hertfordshire’s Ernie got injured, but I don’t think it speaks well for South East that they only won one game despite that (I think they may have had exams too though). Also, Nottingham Trent broke the Midlands streak of all teams in top half of Div. 2. It’s their first Men’s Outdoor Nationals in a while, so I’m seeing this more as a building block for them.

Finally - if BUCS don’t fix the wildcard bid system for next year we can expect a similar story again. It’s bad enough that league games don’t reflect how well a team will do at a tournament in a number of cases. It’s really not good that Midlands/Scotland have clearly been the strongest regions in Div. 2, and had one wildcard spot in three years.
Ah well. At least we didn’t win and get relegated again this time.

Clackers
Only granting one wildcard spot won't really be enough to change that. But ideally the winners of Div. 2 should gain the wildcard Div. 1 spot for their region

hazard

Rounding up with an all star power line. Chris Habgood, Lochlan Fisher (Edinburgh), Aiden Penn, Hamza Alawiye (Oxford), Ed Simpson (Bangor), Adam Carver (Warwick), Ross Nugent (Newcastle).

Rush

I think my top 7 would be:
Chris Habgood (Edinburgh)
Lochlan Fisher (Edinburgh)
Hamza (Oxford) 
Ed Simpson (Bangor)
Dom Knight (Bangor) 
Ross Nugent (Newcastle) 
Will Waddell (Swansea)



2 comments:

  1. FYI Adam Carver didn't actually play until the final game where he was somehow able to get a lift from Chevron's weekend training to join us (and made a big difference as the 10 men we had left were exhausted), not sure if he's eligible for the power line

    Can confirm all our (Warwick) games except Edinburgh went to universe, and with half our first team players missing due to exams/injury it really wasn't fun. Really wish we could get a rematch with Edinburgh with our full team, they were really good and that would've been enjoyable.

    Sucks for Leeds too, they were a great team and definitely didn't deserve to be stuck in the bottom round robin.

    I don't know why most of the discussion of how to fix the BUCS system seems to be centered around wildcard slots. In my opinion the much bigger problem is the fact that your performance in league games one season fully determines which division you're able to play in the following year - you know about this @hazard after being stuck in division 3 last year.
    It's gonna be the same situation for Warwick next year, which is ridiculous as pretty much our entire first team is staying after finishing 3rd at div 2 nats with a short roster. They should definitely get a chance to play in higher divisions if they are clearly better than the bottom teams in league 1.
    Same situation with Cambridge this year, they should've had the opportunity to have a playoff game with Nottingham Trent to move up to div2. As harsh as that might be for Trent, at the same time I'm sure they agree that they didn't really stand much of a chance this season and would have done a lot better and had a more fun time in div3.
    Warwick 2 was the same last year, in league 1 despite some much more deserving teams being stuck in league 2 (namely Oxford). The league promotion/relegation system doesn't make any sense for amateur university sports in my opinion, where turnover from year to year is so huge - particularly for ultimate where players all learn the sport at university and so the quality of your fresher class is a huge factor in your success. If BUCS regulations don't allow us to change the league system, surely UKU can at least change the nationals format to allow teams which have been screwed by the league system to redeem themselves at nationals.

    I'm pretty passionate about this, as I feel particularly bad for the Warwick players which will be graduating next year. They're looking to be a really strong team (as I said, this season our team was full of really inexperienced players which developed a ton throughout the year and I reckon they'd be competitive in div1 next year if allowed to play) and yet they'll just be stuck in league 2 and div 3 nats for their final season before graduation. I'm sure this applies to other unis too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fair point about Adam. As said, you were the one top 8 team I didn't play. I felt Warwick (at 3rd) deserved some rep in a powerline, so did some quick research to make sure he was there, and based my choice off our league game.

    As for BUCS - my personal BUCS opinions are known to not be 100% in favour, but I keep my specific thoughts quiet so that I can neutrally provide coverage. With that said, I do think wildcard slots need to be better used. The Div. 1 discussion is out there already - the South East coming bottom both years they have a wildcard is evidence that system is flawed. 14 teams qualify for Div. 2, and 10 for Div. 3. I think 16/8 makes better tournaments, and could fairly easily be allocated based on last years top Div. 3 teams. This ignores the dropouts we get each year though.

    If you fancy writing a full opinion piece on this for me to put on The Cutting Lane Floor, let me know. The site is explicitly for anyone to air opinions after all.

    ReplyDelete

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