2011 University Open Outdoor Division Two Nationals Preview

University Open Outdoor Nationals are fast approaching. With BUCS points again up for grabs in Sheffield, Tim Sanders organised previews of the teams vying for the title from each region. North 4. Fish (Lancaster) 5. Phat ‘eds (Sheffield) 6. Reservoir Discs (Bangor) Overview Northern regionals were held in Bangor, where heavy rain in the week leading up to regionals meant that three of the four pitches deteriorated over the weekend, resulting in many heavy-legged cutters. The weather remained calm and sunny throughout the tournament, which benefitted strong indoor teams that relied on overheads and teams with strong long games. Perhaps, had there been more wind, DUF and a much improved Liverpool team would have had a better chance of qualification. Fish (Lancaster) Captain: Jon McNaughton Fish had failed to qualify for outdoor nationals throughout the period that BUSA and BUCS points have been awarded, but have sporadically qualified for indoor national tournaments. Having lost the core of last year’s team in Charles Cranston, Sam Grimshaw and Mike Watson, and with only a sprinkling of club experience with York Open and Sheffield Steal, Fish were definitely the surprise package of the northern region. Their success was based upon tall, fast deep receivers with sticky hands — such as Will Doole, Peter Garnett and Mat Francis — who were capable of taking down long shots under pressure. Fish were seeded eighth and placed in arguably the strongest pool with Halcyon, Liverpool, DUF 2 and Phat ‘eds 2. They started impressively by scoring six points against Halcyon and beat Liverpool to secure second place in the pool. From this position they faced a tough second day, starting with a close crossover against Halcyon 2 which they edged. They then started their ascent with 3 or 4 point victories over Hallam, Reservoir Discs and Phat ‘eds. In their final match, tired legs began to show as the Pies cutters got free easily, but it was Pies’ zone that broke down the Fish offence. With the exception of Pies, all their opponents, most notably Liverpool, were not happy with the way they played against Fish. This cannot be a coincidence and Fish must be commended for putting their opponents off their game. Jon McNaughton admitted that Fish came into the tournament aiming to squeeze into a qualifying place and was delighted to have achieved that goal so handsomely. Buoyed by their success, Fish will be going to division 2 nationals aiming to win. Phat ‘eds (Sheffield) Captain: Ben Bruin Phat ‘eds had qualified for division 2 for the past three years and despite the loss of Sean ‘Buck’ Colfer, David ‘Sailor’ Pryce and Martyn ‘Why’ Brown yet again find themselves in the four to six bracket at regionals. Phat ‘eds had perhaps the easiest passage to nationals. The only significant challenge that they faced in their group was a bad-tempered match against local rivals Hallam. Phat ‘eds were invariably a point or two up but were unable to convert their defensive pressure into a convincing lead, but they held on to win by a couple of points by the end of the 45 minute match. The team were glad to have won their group and secured their qualification on the first day and despite experienced handler Rob ‘Penny’ Foster’s assertions that they would try their utmost to get into division 1, it didn’t seem like the rest of the team believed they were capable of beating Halcyon, Jedi or Pies. Indeed, they lost 11-3 to Halcyon and 11-1 to Pies on the Sunday morning. The 4-5 game against Fish was a much tighter affair but Phat ‘eds were unable to keep pace with Fish’s long game. Phat ‘eds first aim for nationals is to get a fully fit squad, most importantly captain and LLLeeds player Ben Bruin. Bruin’s aim is to improve on their fourth and fifth place finishes in the last two years and win division 2. Reservoir Discs (Bangor) Captain: Tom ‘Yellow’ Lees Reservoir Discs rose to prominence at indoor tournaments last year, finishing second at division 2 indoor nationals. They built on their indoor success this year by qualifying for division 1 indoor nationals. Consequently, until now, Reservoir Discs have been considered an indoor team. The team have been working very hard on their outdoor game in an attempt to qualify for outdoor nationals. Many of Discs’ main players — Tom ‘Yellow’ Lees, Patrick ‘Paddy’ Ward, Graham Jenkins and Ewan Povall — who will be recognisable from the indoor circuit, played Tour together as Gravity over the summer. As with the other teams who qualified from the northern region, Reservoir Discs cruised through most of their group games. They finished second in the group, having been outclassed by Pies late on Saturday. Discs continued to perform well in the crossover on the Sunday morning, comfortably beating Hulltimate 10-3. In their next match Discs recovered from a strong DUF start to win 7-4. They made the most of the calm conditions and their indoor skills in this game with accurately placed hammers and knives to break through DUF’s arrowhead. Having lost to Fish, Discs faced a rematch of last year’s 6-7 match against Hallam for a place at nationals. Discs, who felt hard done by last year by a mixture of poor calls and match timing, were out for revenge. They were always in control of the match but did not put it to bed until the cap. Given that all their efforts had been focused upon qualification for nationals it was difficult for Tom Lees to formulate an aim for nationals. He said that he would push his players with more fitness and outdoor training sessions (he even mentioned the possibility of starting yoga classes) so that they would perform better at nationals and win some matches. Report by Tim Sanders ------------ South East 4. Surrey Scorpions (Surrey) 5. UCL (University College London) 6. HU (Holloway) Overview South Eastern Regionals were held in Chichester, West Sussex. The week leading up to regionals was typical wintery weather, with some showers hitting Chichester leaving the pitches damp, but not boggy. The weather was forecast to deteriorate over the weekend, thankfully it held out so the pitches remained in fairly good condition. The teams went into the regional tournament fairly certain that Mohawks and Sublime would place at the top based on their past performances, but it was uncertain who else would qualify. Scorpions (Surrey University) Captain: Tom Pierce The Scorpions retained five players from last year’s team, which left a solid base to build a successful team this year. Despite losing half the team, including their captain, they had some strong D, solid breaks and successful deep play. Overall, they were pleased with the way they played during the weekend, particularly in qualifying for division 2. In previous years they managed to miss out on qualifying, so this year they’re building on the success of placing 13th in division 1 indoors and are hoping to make an impact outdoors in division 2. The team admitted that they had not really had much opportunity to train together leading up to this tournament. Considering this they played very well. Based in Guildford, many players play for Guildford Ultimate, however quite a few others are also playing for Ltd Release. UCL (University College London) Captain: Tom Eckersley-Waites UCL had lost five or six players from last year’s squad. Like LSE, as a London team they have a large American contingent; despite this they felt that they had performed poorly this year, underperforming at mixed and not doing well at indoor regionals. However, they had big hopes for the weekend with their athletic freshers additions to the team. They performed well in their pool games with only one particularly tough and tense game against Kings. The following day brought them face to face with Sublime, then the grudge match with LSE before they lost to Surrey to secure their division 2 position. Despite having their division 1 hopes dashed, they secured the spirit prize for the weekend which they were very pleased with, spirit is the ultimate winner after all! Having a fairly young team meant that only the handful of more experienced players had played for club teams: Burro Electrico, Thundering Herd and Curve. Captain Tom Eckersley-Waites also mentioned that they would have had a couple of girls, GB and Iceni players, on the first team had they not been injured. Perhaps they will appear for Nationals and help UCL achieve a solid place in division 2. HU (Holloway) Captain: Will Basham HU lost three players from last year’s first team squad. They were over the moon to have qualified for division 2, as it’s the first year that they have managed it. They placed 13th in division 2 at indoor nationals, and feel that they are actually better in an indoor environment, despite not finishing quite where they hoped this year due to a tough and unlucky crossover against RUF. Therefore their aim for nationals is to just have a good time, enjoy the experience and do their best. Captain Will Basham was really pleased with the way that the team performed this weekend, working hard and achieving a well deserved place in division 2. There were two freshers on the first team and they intend to have opportunities for quite a few other freshers to play at nationals. Their captain said they have a lot of potential for the future. Currently, around half their team play for Kent Open, with others playing for Strange Blue. They are hoping to encourage more players to compete in club Ultimate this summer. Report by Louise Smith ------------ Ireland 2. Trinity (Trinity College Dublin) Trinity Ultimate Frisbee Club (Dublin University Ultimate Frisbee Club) Captain: Cian Quinn Feeling the effects of poor freshman recruitment in past years, Trinity Ultimate will be sending a very young squad to UK Nationals this year. Only six players return from last year's team. Two of those, including captain Cian Quinn, have theses due the day after Nationals. The team has also seen ex-captain David Rickard finally finish his PHD studies after six years. Even considering these losses, Trinity are a strong team, with much expected of national team player David Ferguson. Trinity's main handlers, Conor Hickey and Finnian Flood, are very athletic and should keep the game to a high tempo in Trinity's style. The Irish Regional tournament sees only the top two teams qualifying for UK Nationals and the weekend of the tournament saw gale force winds, which is perfect practice for windy Sheffield. Trinity had tight games against Limerick and neighbours UCD (7-5) before going into a make or break semi final against Dublin City University. Trinity won this game 9-2 to guarantee travel to nationals, but could only qualify for the division 2 after a 13-1 hammering by UCC in the final. Report by Gearoid O Fearghail ------------ Scotland 4. Blaze (Stirling) 5. Positive Mojo (Aberdeen) 6. Dark Horses (Strathclyde) Overview The Scottish regionals fell foul of the weather. The tournament was cancelled at the first time of asking because the pitches were unsuitable for play. The teams congregated again last weekend (12-13 March), only for the tournament to be cancelled half way through due to poor weather conditions. The Scottish teams have kept their seeding from regionals going into nationals and are therefore something of an unknown quantity. Report by Tim Sanders ------------ Reports are not available for the Division Two teams from the Midland and West regions. However, the standings from those tournaments were as follows: West 4. BLT (Bath) 5. Mythago (Bristol) 6. Heat (Bournemouth) Midlands 4. Aye-Aye (East Anglia) 5. Haze (Loughborough) 6. Random Fling (Nottingham)