What Went Down At: Mixed Tour 3 2018

Editor/Chair: hazard (Reading A)
Contributors: Dylan Spiers (SMOG 1), Andy Moss (Thundering Herd 1), Katie Ackerley (SMOG 1), gyanhan (Birmingham)
Additional Contributions*: Megan Brass (Glasgow 1), Black Eagles Captains, Greg Mann (ExƎ), Alice Hanton (JR), hilmaniaa (LED)
*Those who sent quotes rather than taking part in the chat. Those with no access to the chat have been italicised.


Tour Headlines
Black Eagles win Tour decisively on the Sunday, claim joint-victory in overall Tour rankings.
Glasgow get historic Saturday win over Bleagles, claim second.
Reading and SMOG make a full WUCC top four with all teams sending non-split squads for the first time.
Mighty Hucks take fifth, and also joint-overall victory
Birmingham defy predictions, finish 6th
Deep Space bounce back from MT2 slump to take 7th

Bonus Topics
Who are our big underperformers/overperformers at Mixed Tour?
Are Black Eagles our top pick for WUCC?
What should the next GB cycle look like?

Links
tSG preview
Schedule
Spirit

Results
1. Black Eagles (Joint Tour winners)
2. Glasgow 1
3. Reading A
4. SMOG 1
--
5. Mighty Hucks (Joint Tour winners)
6. Birmingham
7. Deep Space
8. ExƎ
9. Thundering Herd 1
10. Cambridge
11. Flat Perth
12. Rebel
--
13. Guildford
14. Purple Cobras
15. SMOG 2 (Highest second team)
16. JR
--
17. Thundering Herd 2
.
.
.
44. Cambridge Ultimate 2 (Spirit winners)

***hazard
***A very small note at the start. I'm not going to be running/editing any chats for Open/Women's Tour. I'm very happy to facilitate and join in - but I'm only in the country for OWT1. We'll try to find other people, I'm just getting the excuses in in advance in case we don't. Thank you all for reading these, hope you enjoy!

hazard
Welcome to the MT3 chat! We're getting into the closing stages before WUCC (Worlds) now, with only two months to go. As such, this chat will be a whistle-stop Tour through the top teams, with some more general mixed chat at the end.

We saw all WUCC teams start to get close to full strength with their rosters, with Black Eagles, SMOG and Reading all combining into one top squad for this Tour - and not forgetting Glasgow (who would do that?) who entered close to a full strength team to MT2 as well.

Let's start in pool A: Reading, SMOG, Might Hucks and Thundering Herd. Mighty Hucks have been the strongest non-WUCC team so far, and so I think they've merited an early mention.

Dylan Spiers
A really solid team, bringing one of the largest squads I've seen them with (mainly more men). Having Connor McHale for the show game was obviously a big boost, he came up huge more than once

hazard
He certainly did, but I have to say in my opinion getting Merrick Cardew as a pick up for the full weekend may have been more of a boost (as opposed to Connor for a game). A very solid, experienced player, who was able to bring down a few amazing grabs himself.

Andy Moss
Yep they are a great group of players. Probably suffered a bit in terms of numbers during games on Saturday against other much larger squads. But bounced back from coming fourth in the pool in their Sunday games.  Herd had a 12-7 win over them on the Saturday, where I think they got pretty frustrated with what wasn't working for them. They started strong, but actually didn't take many many of the long shots seen in their other games, and made a fair few overthrows when they did. The 10 ladies Herd had also helped and they were playing 4 women as much as possible.

gyanhan
Hucks have a really solid deep game, when we played them in the 5v6 final the Joe-Rollo/any male connection was rather unstoppable. Whether it was a early stall huck or a last minute release valve, they brought it down more often than not. But while they seemed almost unbeatable in the earlier Tours, they didn't seem as much this Tour. Brum gave them a really good, close game, and started off with a 3-1 lead even before the score went back to serve

hazard
I'm going to end with one final thing I think still separates Hucks from the level of the WUCC non-split squads. They need some more women. Those they do have are still capable, but it is clear that teams are taking advantage of the fatigue in their later games. I think this is true across all Tours, at least from my perspective. With that said, well done Mighty Hucks in sharing the Mixed Tour title, and good luck to the Hucks players playing Worlds on their own with various teams.

Mighty Hucks elevated themselves to a (joint) Mixed Tour title this year
Photo by Andrew Moss for the ShowGame


hazard
We'll move up based on finishing position. Let's find out about how SMOG's weekend went.

Dylan Spiers
Glad that we fended off the non-worlds teams and had some great games against other worlds teams it was a shame that we didn't come out with wins in our two games against Reading and semi vs Glasgow.

We were missing two of our main O line handlers in captain Alexis Long to uni exams and Tom Lees (yellow) to injury. I think this made it really tough in some of the games as extra pressure was placed on the remaining players having to step into new roles on the fly

hazard
I would say not having Rachel Turton until Sunday may have made an impact too - the Reading vs SMOG Saturday game swung on some quite sharp momentum shifts.

Dylan Spiers
I think Reading went on a 4 point D roll at one point being completed with a layout Callahan! I think that with a few more O line legs the bleeding would have been stopped much sooner

hazard
As someone who isn't the biggest fan of having O and D lines, I will certainly concede that point.

Dylan Spiers
we are learning all the time how to use our large squad to its fullest and that game was certainly a very useful experience that is hopefully going to help us later in the season

Katie Ackerley
It definitely gave us something to think about. In our games on Sunday we adapted a lot quicker so I'm actually quite glad it happened when it did.

hazard
Any final thoughts on what adaptations to make before Worlds?

Katie Ackerley
You'll have to ask the captains about that one. I'm sure they've been talking a lot. But I'm sure getting our missing O line handlers back (as well as the huge D line players we were missing) will change a lot. I'm not worried.

hazard
Onto Reading (A)! I believe the only WUCC squad with their entire team there, albeit with injuries. We had one really educational loss against Black Eagles, but apart from that a successful weekend. Many hard fought games, practice at both coming from behind and defending leads, and also lots of positives in our play (including Erin McGready scoring a game-winning sudden-death Callahan vs Mighty Hucks). The rock-hard ground and some pre-existing niggles did lead to a bit more of an injury list than we would like though.

I think the measure of our success can be seen by our dispatching of Thundering Herd. They are a good team which played well, and we felt like we never let them get into the game.
With that said, I would really have liked a game against Glasgow. They earned second-place with a Saturday win over Black Eagles and a semi-final win vs SMOG.

Andy Moss
I didn't touch the disc during Herd's game against Reading :sweat_smile: think you only gave our D line two or three chances and I wasn't on the pitch for one of them. Avril played great that game - we couldn't really stop her scoring.

hazard
In MT2, Glasgow found themselves up against a Black Eagles side in the semi-final, but were unable to close it out. Here in Cheltenham, we had a similar situation, but Glasgow held on against a four-point Bleagles comeback to take the game. A little bit of a reflection of the small squad Glasgow have, but they seemed to have gelled very quickly as a side.

Glasgow may have a small squad, but they can still get up tall.
Photo by Andrew Moss for the ShowGame


Megan Brass
The weekend was great for Glasgow. We went down with just 15 players from our worlds squad, with a few key players missing, but that didn’t stop us from turning up and really showing what we can do. We went up early on in our first game against Black Eagles and I think the energy that brought to the team is what carried us all the way through for the win. Mentality is something which sometimes causes us difficulty on the pitch, especially when we’re nearing the end of a match, but even when Bleagles took the game to universe we kept our cool, which felt like a great achievement for us. I could say a similar thing about the flat Perth game as well - we went a few points down at the start of that one, but managed to fight back for the win in the end. 

A semi with smog on Sunday morning felt like a familiar fate after last year. It was a brilliant game to play, and I think both teams wanted it as much as each other. It was probably our best game of the weekend, we managed to nail some of the structures we’ve been training all season. And winning it felt extra special (I won’t call it revenge.....). 

Dylan Spiers
It was a really intense game and they played really aggressively all the way through, I am not sure if the legs got the better of them by the final but they certainly put a shift in the semi. Their offence was very stoic in the face of a lot of different defensive looks we threw at them with breaks coming at a real premium

Megan Brass
To be honest we didn’t really show up in the final, and black eagles really did. Huge credit to them for managing to remain as dominant as ever even when they’re missing a lot of their more experienced players. It was really great to prove that we deserved that top 4 spot at Tour 2 despite only getting through on point difference, and our spot at WUCC despite the late bid. I think we really showed that we are competing on a level with the likes of black eagles and smog, and knowing that we are able to beat them will do wonders for our confidence too. I think the weekend has made us really hyped for heading to America (at least it has for me). Knowing we can only improve over the next few weeks it’s going to be exciting to see how we’ll match up against the rest of the world.

hazard
Finally, Black Eagles. Following their Sunday performance, I think we can say deserved winners of MT3. The Black Eagles captains sent us this:
We started the weekend slowly against GUX. The first half was not up to the standard we expect. They capitalised on this and were a lot more clinical.

From that point onwards we were very pleased with our performance, intense D and composed O.


It was a young money inexperienced squad playing this weekend with 12 players missing from our WUCC team. Full squad back together next weekend at Talampaya which we're using as our main warmup for worlds.


No one could touch Black Eagles when they got into their groove on Sunday.
Photo by Alice Hanton for the ShowGame

hazard
Matching up against them in the semi was intimidating. When Cameron Agnew (a fairly respectable threat on all parts of the field) is their shortest male player, it was not unexpected that they roasted us long and high for a lot of the game. 
I think the relatively calm conditions of Cheltenham may have helped them though. I'm not saying they couldn't have played their game in stronger winds, just that they became near unstoppable with the way things were.

Would people say, given their strong Tour performances, Black Eagles are the most promising British prospect (in mixed) at this stage for WUCC?

gyanhan
Looks like it, if half their squad are missing yet they still win comfortably, they're only going to be stronger at WUCC

Dylan Spiers
Very true, although perhaps their performance at euros last year is a little bit of a warning as they didn't really make an impression despite having a dominant domestic season

hazard
I would agree with Dylan - I've yet to see them prove themselves beyond the British stage.

This is not to say they can't - I think they've been missing a couple players each time at EUCF, and have definitely come on from their 2014 squad in terms of ability and experience. Just that we haven't seen it yet - and internationally there's quite a few different styles of Ultimate we don't see as much in the UK. If they do well at Talampaya then consider any reservation I have withdrawn.

Dylan Spiers
Exactly, these top teams have played each other countless times and so it is hard to read too much into results. I am looking forward to seeing results of Talampaya and Windmill which will really give an idea of how the teams are going to perform at worlds.

Can Black Eagles take on the World in the same way they took on the UK?
Photo by Alice Hanton for the ShowGame

hazard
Ok, back to the UK for a second, and I think it would be unfair not to mention Birmingham. A very successful MT3 to wrap off a very good overall season.

gyanhan
We won our pool quite comfortably to play the seeding game against Rebel. It's nice to play a non-UK team and Rebel were certainly very good and difficult to turn.

hazard
I was quite sad to see Ireland don't seem to be sending a mixed team to WUCC, but it's great to see Rebel over here all the same.

gyanhan
We played the 6v11 cross up against Herd 1 in a rematch of our cross at MT2 and we won again, starting off strong to take a huge lead and that was a nice cushion throughout the rest of the game.
It only shows how much Birmingham deserve to really be in the top 8, and I was sorely disappointed when we were seeded outside of the top 8 so we couldn't take a crack at the WUCC teams.

The 6v7 against Deep Space was close, we spent the whole game chasing till 10-10, and won on universe. While we struggled at first to stop their really slick offense, the defensive pressure just kept building and we got the turns we wanted. The final 5v6 against Hucks was similarly close, we started strongly but unfortunately a couple of miscues gave them the breaks they needed to secure their lead again. We ran our offense largely through our women but a few well timed poaches from their men got the blocks. Nonetheless it was a great effort by Brum, and shows again how well we can hang with the top teams.

I believe this was the most successful Mixed Tour run Birmingham has had, and hopefully this puts us in good stead to be seeded in the top 8 at the start of the next mixed season, rather than have to keep crossing up into it .

hazard
I believe that's true. Even the year Brum won Mixed Nationals (2014) they didn't have as successful a Tour season. Signs of good things to come.

Now, who do we think were the over/underperformers at Tour?

hazard
I'm going to start with ExƎ. A surprise top 8 finisher at MT3 (with a decent MT1 too), captain Greg Mann gave me the lowdown

ExƎ is a team of Exeter grads (or soon to be) that entered mixed this year with the aim of finishing top 20. After MT1 we realised we could compete on the same level as the established names in the mixed game. Going into MT3 our motto for the weekend was: ‘Good basics, good choices’. Playing the athletic style of game you’d expect from a team with roots in Devon and sticking with this motto allowed us to take some big scalps over the weekend, the most notable of which was Cambridge. I’m particularly proud of the way the team played against Cambridge, after trading out the first half (starting on D), at half we reaffirmed our focus for the weekend and put Cambridge to the sword in the second half winning it 8-1.

Dylan Spiers
I'm gonna jump in with SMOG 2, they have had a huge season finishing Tour 3 once again as the highest second team

hazard
SMOG 2 certainly did well, but I think we have to say a successful Tour for second teams in general! Herd 2 finished higher this year than last year, and Reading 2 faced off against them in a thrilling "plate" final (17 vs 18). Glasgow 2 have been holding their own against some good teams too.

Dylan Spiers
It is great that clubs going to worlds have still been able to focus on developing the next generation. it will be interesting to see how these clubs take on Open and Women's Tour

They may be second teams, but don't count them out - Reading 2 vs Thundering Herd 2 was a well fought 17 vs 18 game.
Photo by Andrew Moss for the ShowGame

hazard
Were it not for their MT3 performance, I think I would have put Deep Space in underperformers. Coming 7th here earns them enough credit to avoid that title though, in my opinion. Excited to see if they can build further. Guildford and Cambridge are other clubs who seemed to have built up successfully this year. Otherwise, Curve sending three clubs and LLLeeds doing decently on a long-awaited return to Mixed Tour round off my list. Finally, I got sent this by LED, who have had a really impressive season as one of the youngest clubs in Tour.

hillmaniaa
Being a uni team we really appreciated the lack of wind as we could really rely on running around and having solid structure rather than having to come down with 50/50s. We had a really great start against York and BAF where the guys stayed patient and we torpedoed our offence through our girls. This was only LED’s second year at Mixed Tour and we’re really proud of how we utilised our women and can’t wait to see how that progresses to uni next year and beyond. We stayed up late and came out slow against a solid Reading 2 team. The great thing about that game was that we knew that everything we were doing was right, we just played a bit pants. Lots to look forward to from the LED camp.

Dylan Spiers
I think I would add JR have to be in the underperformer category, they were a top 8 team last season but dropped away a bit this year

hazard
I would agree with JR, but I think the reason for that is fairly clear they put a lot into trying to qualify for WUCC last year, and so took a bit of a more relaxed approach this year. With that in mind, their MT1 performance is still quite impressive to me.

Alice Hanton
While ideally we'd have finished higher, JR had a really fun weekend (and Tour season). As you said, last season was big for us with eyes on WUCC qualification, so taking a less serious attitude this year. We had several slow starts to games this weekend where we only really showed up in the second half: better pre-game preparation could probably sort this out, but again, this is a relaxed year for us. We had especially good games (and wins) against LLLeeds and Purple Cobras, although a round robin 3-way-tie put us below Cobras in the final standings.

hazard
I feel Cosmic Manatees, Brighton, and Black Sheep all slipped a little this year. Many potential reasons (people leaving, alternate focuses, etc.), but I think the results show that this year wasn't as successful as last year for them.

One final question I'm going to float - and if anyone reading this article is interested in making this into a more full chat, let me know as I'm happy to mediate it.

What should the GB cycle look like next year? Last year's Men's team took a very London-centric approach, while the Mixed/Women's teams were a bit broader. Is there enough Scottish talent to justify a more localised GB team? Or maybe only slightly localised (i.e. a Northern one to take in SMOG?). Or should we be trying to take the best of all talent in the UK, with the possible result of fewer trainings?

Dylan Spiers
I definitely think that the top mixed teams should be heavily represented. The level of mixed in the UK has been really pushed recently as it has come into its own with more and more top players prioritising it over the single gender divisions.
Taking clumps from each of the worlds team would give a huge head start in terms of in built connections rather than trying to squish together a group of all stars.

hazard
I certainly think the Scottish teams have done well enough to justify this question being asked. My personal thoughts would be a potential split approach - a very clear north and south pod which come together for some group trainings, but train regularly together locally. In my eyes there is a bit of a midlands gap in mixed (Birmingham aside) which would justify this approach. Having some development players in each pod to boost numbers would also add some outreach.

Dylan Spiers
As long as North is actual north not just "above Birmingham". tbh should probably actually just be in Scotland

hazard
North of England starts at Sheffield. Come at me Internet. Meeting people at my uni who considered Oxford as the north genuinely scarred me.

Alright, I'm closing this off now with a final question I like to ask. If you were to pick an all-star line (top four men and top four women from any teams), who would you pick?

My line:
Women: Tessa Hunt (SMOG), Ania Godbold (Reading), Avril Hunter (Reading), Katie Flight (Glasgow)

Men: Rollo Sax Dixon (Hucks), Mike Noblett (Black Eagles),  Cameron Agnew (Black Eagles), Shaun Webb (Glagow)

Dylan Spiers
I pretty much entirely agree with you except I think Bleagles women deserve some representing so I would add maybe Lucy Barnes instead of one of the Reading women. I would also have Tom Bennett (SMOG) in there, just because him and Tessa are too good a connection to miss out on

hazard
I might agree with you, but Black Eagles squad is so well rounded I actually had trouble picking out anyone in particular. I do think Black Eagles tended to use their men a bit more this weekend (and Reading use their women more), which is a personal perspective but reflected in my picks. Although Bella Tait of Bleagles would make it if I was just picking a D line rather than a generic line, as I thought she was very tough for people to play against.

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)

What Went Down At: Mixed Tour 3 2018

Editor/Chair: hazard (Reading A) Contributors: Dylan Spiers (SMOG 1), Andy Moss (Thundering Herd 1), Katie Ackerley (SMOG 1), gyanhan (Birm...