What Went Down At: UWON 2017/18

Chair: ali (Cambridge)
Editor: gyanhan (Oxford)
Contributors: AnnieB (Edinburgh Alum), k-j (Durham), Becky Greenwood (Loughborough), Louise Webster (Stirling), Clackers
Additional Contributions - Nina Montaña Brown (UCL)
Additional Editing: Hazard

Talking points:
Edinburgh claim gold and Div. 1 spirit
UCL make their second final in a row at UWON
Birmingham get caught by Cardiff and/or the schedule
How was spirit this weekend?
Oxford fall from Div 1 final last year to Div 2 final this year
Regionals on Saturday – did we like it? Did it work? Who was it unfair to?
Women’s leadership workshop, run by Chesca Tyler-Weddell – how was that? 
Gender equity – Women’s Div 2 winners get medals, but no BUCS points – shoutout to some of the Oxford men for giving their Div 2 silver medals to the ladies.


Final Results:
Division 1
1. Edinburgh (Spirit Winners, Scottish Champions*)
2. UCL (Eastern Champions*)
3. Bath (Western Champions*)
4. Glasgow
5= Strathclyde
5= Newcastle 1
7= Imperial
7= Cardiff
9= Birmingham
9= Leeds
11= Hertfordshire
11= Huddersfield (Northern Champions*)
13. Loughborough
14. Warwick
15. Southampton
16. St. Andrews
---
Division 2
1. Cambridge
2. Oxford
3. Swansea
4. Durham 1
5= Reading
5= Sheffield
7= Sussex
7= Kent
9= Exeter
9= Nottingham
11= Stirling
11= Bristol
13. Brunel
14. Durham 2 (Spirit Winners, Top 2nd Team)
15. Newcastle 2
16. York 
*These are the teams that won their initial regional bracket, and so can be considered winners of their "regionals". Aside from Huddersfield (who finished below Newcastle/Leeds), they were also the teams that achieved the highest final rank for their region.


ali
A (mainly!) sunny weekend saw both Regionals and Nationals squeezed in. Edinburgh took home gold in Div 1, Cambridge in Div 2. AnnieB, can you give us the inside scoop on Ro Sham's success, and/or any gossip from the weekend?

AnnieB
The inside scoop on Edinburgh can be seen with one look at the roster! That is one seriously talented squad. Edinburgh have been consistently top 5 for the past many years, and if they hadn't grabbed that top spot I would have been very surprised. 

ali
Any idea what changed between this year and last year? (Edinburgh were third last year, losing to Oxford in the semi)

AnnieB
Oooh that's awkward... the difference is I left.  And the addition of Lulu Boyd and Helena Slater (GB, Ireland, Black Eagles etc) definitely boosted them! Edinburgh have also been cultivating their upcoming talent and it's certainly paying off. Unlucky wind at last year's semi kept Edinburgh out of the final, and there was disappointment about that, so with a strong squad they were really going for it. They were confident going in as well!

Editor's Note: You can find out more about Edinburgh's weekend by reading our interview with the captains! In addition, we weren't able to discuss UCL's great weekend in our chat at time of publishing. As such, we're very grateful to UCL player Nina Montaña Brown for calling us out and giving us this small summary:

Congratulations to Edinburgh for taking the tournament, and Bath for the sick weekend - it was an absolute pleasure to play such high standard, hotly contested women’s Ultimate this weekend, with some nail-biting finishes in the final four. However, is there nothing noteworthy about UCL making the final two years in a row? No mention about Alicia Claire Tan (SYC, GB U24) for her sick handling despite playing with a broken hand? Or the fact the team has a whole club (women’s club!) player line, between SYC and Chaos? I find it a strange journalistic choice to not talk about the final or acknowledge the athletes that took silver in the women’s division. Since there isn’t a peep about UCL in this article I’m going to give a shoutout to my teammates because they totally deserve it! 

Ruth Kilsby (Texas Melee, Chaos) for her tireless deep cuts, Angelica Kristen Yeo (Chaos) for her uplifting and confident captaining (so proud to have seen her grown so much this year in the leadership!), Emma Oh Chun Jing (Chaos), excelling in the deep zone whether it were taking down some huge throws or D-ing them out of the sky and Jia Yi Thed (Chaos), always there for the continuation. Jessie Gold Low, working the zone all weekend, playing through injury. YanWen Chong - best sideline. Our freshers, Sheryl Wylie and Miyen Ho, free literally all the time, with great cutting timing and continuation, and Yuxi Loo (Chaos), run-through Ds all day.

Edinburgh were leaps ahead this weekend.
Photo by Sam Mouat for the ShowGame

ali
Awesome stuff. Unfortunately I don't think I can ask any of you what it was like playing them, since they only played two non-Scottish teams during the weekend, which brings me onto...scheduling!

What were people's thoughts on the Regionals/Nationals structure? Did it work? Did you get to play a mix of teams? Did you feel like your seeding screwed you over?

Becky Greenwood
Had we had a proper Regionals I think it is safe to say the weekend may have looked differently across the whole of the women’s division!

gyanhan
I thought the regional brackets worked out pretty well for the East, the 3 teams that went to Div 1 (UCL, Imperial and Herts) deserved the places. Cambridge and Oxford probably feel hard done by the number of Div 1 bids the East had, but that’s a different problem altogether.

Becky Greenwood
Speaking for the Loughborough women - we definitely loved having to fight for every game one step at a time with the knockout format!

gyanhan
The Nationals structure with straight knockouts probably screwed overall seeding over by a bit (e.g. Birmingham finished 9th, might have finished top 8 otherwise), but I thought it was a decent way to arrange things given the situation.

Becky Greenwood
To be honest I was impressed with the scheduling! I think it could be safe to say that the women’s teams got separated into two divisions better than the guys did throughout BUCS! 

AnnieB
I know you covered this is the men's chat, but kudos to the team for arranging the format - it was a tricky situation with no real right solution!

ali
It was a bit of a shame some teams only got to play two Regionals games as well. But I doubt there would have been another way to do it except have Saturday be Swiss Draw, which is always carnage.

gyanhan
I had a 5 hour 20 min break between games on the Saturday, never had that at a uni tournament before and it was lovely, got to watch so many other people play haha :p

ali
Is that really a good thing though? Such a huge gap?

gyanhan
Well probably not in terms of keeping the team going and all with momentum but I didn’t mind, the pros outweighed the cons.

ali
Kent apparently also had a huge gap, as did the team they were going to play next, there was a pitch free so they asked the TDs if they could play it early but were told no...

gyanhan
Also seeing as this is my last ever UK uni tournament, I had a good time chatting with everyone I had met over the years.

ali
Did anyone go to the Women's Leadership workshop?

AnnieB
I wasn't at Nationals this weekend, but I highly approve of the idea!! 

gyanhan
I went for the one at 12:45

ali
Want to give us a summary? 

gyanhan
Our captain strongly encouraged the team to go, we had about 3/4 of the team there J As well as much of Durham 2, Nottingham and Cambridge. The format was basically that they split us into 8 groups to discuss 8 questions about women in leadership such as “Does a good leader have to be a great frisbee player?” “What makes a good female leader?” etc. And then each team presented and the room would discuss it for a while, it was nice to see people sharing their own experiences.

I’m not fully sure what the aim of the session was, whether it was more of a feedback collecting thing for UKU or a session for us as women to think about our role in the ultimate community.
But I left the session feeling that hey, I’m not the only one who has faced these problems as a female leader in ultimate, and it was nice to see others who had the same problems and hear their suggestions. Someone suggested that there should be a network for female leaders to share their questions and solutions with each other which was a lovely idea.

I think there could have been a clearer aim of the session, but as a start it was great to gather all these women together in the same room, some who were already in leadership positions, and others who would one day be. One of the freshers on our team who came along actually said on Sunday that the forum had been her highlight of the weekend, she never really thought so much about the big picture before as a female player playing ultimate, and she was really inspired.

There was a big focus on gender equity this weekend, from the leadership workshop to the shirts in the VC-Lookfly store
Photo by Alice Hanton for the ShowGame

AnnieB
Well put :)

ali
It was the first one, I think it was advertised on BritDisc but they might do well to reach out to captains as well.

gyanhan
Some of the UKU staff who were asking about the scores also went around telling people about the forum, someone came to remind us and was really pleased that we were all going :p.  It was also posted in all the regional facebook groups, though for better attendance they could have put word out much earlier once they knew they were going to hold them.

Becky Greenwood
I would be interested to go next time! I didn’t know it was on this time round!

ali
This year was my first time playing Div. 2, and I thought the Spirit was so much better than in Div. 1. How were everyone else's spirit experiences?

Becky Greenwood
As I wasn’t playing due to injury, I don’t have the best perspective but I thought the teams were well spirited throughout Div. 1.

gyanhan
Glasgow had a really low score, anyone knows what happened there?

AnnieB
When I joined Edinburgh they were really concentrating on improving their spirit and reputation so I'm so pleased to see that pay off!

ali
Huddersfield and Glasgow are both very physical teams, I'm not surprised to see them at the bottom but it is a shame. Not to say that Spirit in Div. 1 last year was bad, but in Div. 2 this year we did actual calls and fun slaps after games.

Ok, let's move on to everyone's favourite part of Nottingham - the wind. How much did it affect everyone this weekend (if at all)?

Becky Greenwood
We definitely struggled in the wind and there were teams there who dealt with it a lot better than us.

gyanhan 
Saturday was really un-windy, and the wind on Sunday definitely isn’t the worst I’ve seen at Nottingham. We managed to put in upwind breaks on Sunday and the wind was definitely present enough for breaks to generally come in pairs, but didn’t stop the other team from also putting in upwind breaks. The crosswind was a bit more tricky in our last game, especially having played upwind-downwind all weekend, Oxford was at a bit of a loss.

Becky Greenwood
Talking about the wind - the handler of Cardiff, Jo Lewis, does wonders for the team, and it goes to show just how much having confidence to throw in the wind benefits a team overall! Congrats to them for having a super successful weekend.

ali
Yes, Cardiff beat Birmingham convincingly, mainly on the strength of being able to huck upwind.

Jo Lewis is a useful thrower to have on your side.
Photo by Alberto Rossi for the ShowGame

ali
Before we do individual team stuff does anyone want to talk about any aspects of Div 1?

AnnieB
Yes - Strathclyde was an unfortunate victim of scheduling! They really could've been top 4 and the way things played out meant they couldn't break in. Unfortunate for them as they are an excellent team.

ali
Oh no they had to play Edinburgh twice, that's brutal.

AnnieB
Totally brutal. Had things happened otherwise it might have been Edi-Strath final!!

gyanhan
I watched some of the Strathclyde-Edin quarter final on Saturday, it was really really close. They were tied for ages before Edinburgh got double breaks to take the game. Both teams were playing zone, and both teams were really working through it well, just down to the last throw that didn’t come off for Strath as successfully. My impression of the game was also that Strathclyde was very Katie-Hayley dominant (not saying there’s anything wrong with that when you’ve got such an incredible dynamic duo), while Edinburgh used the entire team more effectively.

ali
Alright, honourable mentions to Bath and Huddersfield for both massively improving on their seeds from last year, they’ve both got some stellar players and I hope they keep it up next year.
Becky do you want to round out Div. 1 with your experience of the weekend?

gyanhan
I am actually kinda surprised how well Huddersfield did... I thought they were just an indoor team :p

ali
I think a lot of the Castaway girls play football as well, lots of transferable skills.

Becky Greenwood
I thought Bath were amazing. They just have an amazing women’s club and also a very successful men’s team. To be able to be that successful on both sides of the club is inspiring and I hope it pushes other teams to follow suit. The women thoroughly deserved both the bronze medals they’ve won this year and it’s been so much fun playing against them.

Becky Greenwood
I though the Loughborough women did really well and the wins that we had were full of grit and grind. As it was the first time we were actually playing together, it was so good to see all the girls playing in their own element by the end of the weekend. The way we played at the start of the weekend and the way we played at the end of the weekend looked like two completely different teams!

Stand out players include Kathryn Styles on the handler side of the disc, fantastic breaks all weekend. Same with Annie Wood, she’s only really been playing for one year but has incredible spatial awareness and some money zone offence! On the cutting side, stand out players include Zoe Stratton-Knowles who brought down everything in the air and was a force on D. It’s a shame to see these three players go at the end of the season but everything they have contributed to the club has been amazing and they will be massively missed!

Becky Greenwood
Just in relation to Loughborough’s game against Warwick – I’d like to give a shoutout to, in my opinion, their standout player Hannah Yorwerth. Only in her first year but making all the big plays, definitely one to watch out for in the uni scene in the future!

ali
Ok, onto Div 2. k-j, you oversaw two Durham teams in the division, both with very different experiences. Are you happy with how the weekend went?

k-j
Without Regionals, it was very difficult to know what to expect coming into the weekend. We were definitely hoping that our 1sts would break into Div. 1, and were disappointed that on the back of two universe-point losses, and 2 matches where we bagelled the other team, we didn't make it there! But I could not be more proud of our 2nd team - it was the first tournament for all of them, and they won two games, AND they won spirit. So annoyed at scheduling, but proud of my teams!

ali
Durham 2 were amazing, they were swinging the disc better than some of the first teams we played!

k-j
Haha that is what happens when you force a team of beginners to train against an experienced first team! Proves how in just a year of hard training you can achieve so much. I think that both Newcastle and Durham getting out a 2nd team is a testament to how women's Ultimate is growing - neither team exactly caused an upset, but they deserved to be there.

Becky Greenwood
Shout out to Newcastle for testing us in that heat, a deserved top 5 finish for those girls who we've had some incredible match ups with all season. We had an amazing game against Durham 1, gutted for them to not make Div. 1 because they are such a fantastic team with some amazing players! Just a shame it was our first game of the weekend because the game could easily have gone either way!

Louise Webster
It was also the first time that Stirling women have been to Outdoor Nationals, and there were a few freshers on our team. We gained so much experience from it, especially being able to play teams out of Scotland as we don't have the experience the top Scottish teams do. It was great to just see such a large amount of teams especially ones involving freshers as I believe that's the best way to gain experience, through going to tournaments. We played Newcastle 2 and they were an inexperienced team but they put their all into the game.

ali
Ok, let's go through Oxford's weekend. WOW came second at UWON last year, and beat Cambridge in Varsity this year. At the risk of sounding harsh, what happened?

gyanhan
WOW had a really strong team last year, and have graduated most of the players from last year’s Nationals team, only two of them were there this weekend. We knew it was a development year, we knew we weren’t going to finish as highly this year for sure, we wanted to have a fun weekend and develop our newer players who would have to step up next year when many of the remaining experienced players, in particular handlers, would have left.

We beat Cambridge at Varsity when the wind died and your zone was no longer effective :p  Then we went on a giant 7-0 second half run to beat you guys then. Shame we didn’t figure out early enough how to tackle the crosswind to give you guys a closer final at UWON. Of course we would have loved to beat you guys again because #rivalry but, we are very very happy with our final placing, we had 2 incredible games on Sunday to even get to the finals where everyone really just stepped up and we had many upwind breaks that we wouldn’t even have thought we could achieve on Saturday. The team really came together on Sunday and all the newbies improved so much over the weekend.

Cambridge were focused on claiming those Div. 2 medals
Photo by Alice Hanton for the ShowGame

Clackers 
Can I give a shout out to Reading, who came =5th in Div 2 whilst only bringing 8 players, several of which were beginners

ali
Incredible effort, they iron-womanned at least one game on Saturday as well due to injury.

ali
Alright, thanks so much everyone! Before you go, can I please have a starting seven all-star line of players, and if you like, a hypothetical top 5 in a universe where Regionals went ahead and there was less chance for everyone to be screwed over by seedings.

gyanhan
Hypothetical top 5: Edinburgh, Strathclyde, UCL, Bath, Glasgow

k-j
She must get a bit tired of hearing it, but Rupal Ghelani remains one of the best players in university Ultimate, so she'd have to be on there! Helena Slater from Edinburgh; Jo Lewis from Cardiff; Amy van Zyl from Bath - then any three of my Durham gals and it's a killer line

Becky Greenwood
Rupal has been an absolutely incredible women’s captain this year and has truly transformed the women’s team - both off and on pitch! She will be massively missed within all of Haze!
She’s handed over being women’s captain to Laura Mott and Grace Wilkinson, which we are all extremely excited for.

gyanhan
Starting 7: Jo Lewis (Cardiff), Katie Flight (Strath), Alicia Tan (UCL), Helena Andres (Cambridge), Helena Slater (Edinburgh), Bea Perks (Bath), Ola Kulikowska (Hertsfordshire)

ali 
Alright, Div 2 powerline: Charlotte Marriott (Reading), Ali Thomas (Cambridge), Helena Andres (Cambridge), Immie Wong (Swansea), Rhiannon Lees (Durham 1), Nikki Bliss (Reading), Sarah-Jane Rodgers (Oxford)

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