What Went Down At: UMIR 2017/18

Chair: H.christou (tSG Men's Uni Editor, Dundee)
Other Contributors: Hazard (Oxford*); Rush (Edinburgh); Andrew (Swansea*); Clackers (Lancaster); Slender (Sheffield); Alun P (Leeds); Hillmaniaa (Loughborough), Jonnyarthur95 (Sussex*); Ed Hanton (Bristol**); Andy Moss (tSG Photography Editor*); Sam M.**
*Contributor was not present at tournament
**Contributor is part of the tSG photography team, rather than a dedicated writer

Qualifying teams
(In the order we discuss the regions)

Scotland:
1. Strathclyde 1
2. Dundee
3. Glasgow
4. St. Andrews
5. Edinburgh
6. Aberdeen
----------------------
7. Heriot Watt
8. Strathclyde 2

West Midlands & Wales:
1. Warwick 1
2. Birmingham
----------------------
3. Bangor
4. Warwick 2

North:
1. Manchester
2. Liverpool
3. Durham
-----------------------------
4. Newcastle
5. Liverpool John Moores
6. Northumbria

Yorks & East Midlands:
1. Sheffield
2. Loughborough
-------------------------
3. Leeds
4. Nottingham
5. Sheffield Hallam

South East:
1. Oxford
2. Reading
3. Surrey
-----------------
4. Sussex
5. Chichester

South West:
1. Bath 2
2. Bath 1
---------------
3. Bristol
4. Exeter

East & London:
1. Imperial
2. Hertfordshire
-----------------------
3. LSE
4. Cambridge


Full Results:

---------------------------------------------------------------

H.christou
Welcome to the post-men’s regionals discussion! We have 6* regions to cover and some huge headlines to get through. We also have early predictions for Nationals, Regional all-star teams, and close with a debate over a preference for hard-court or 3G venues. Let’s get to it!
*For Men's, we don't have an East & London contributor. Sorry.

Scotland

Hazard
Let’s start in Scotland, where Strathclyde seemed to have played a blinder across the board. 

H.christou
Strathclyde were very good. One thing which have let them down in previous years is their mental game. They overcame Glasgow in the semi (first time Jonny Shaw has beaten them in a BUCS competition in his 5 years), and wiped the floor with us (Dundee) in the final. They have a bunch of guys returning from successful club seasons with Black Eagles/Alba/Glasgow Ultimate. Looks to be paying off.

Jonny Shaw was thrilled to finally beat Glasgow this weekend.
Photo by Alberto Rossi for the ShowGame
Rush
Literally wiped the floor with Dundee, they would have hit cap had they not turned as the buzzer went.

Hazard
It’s nice to look at the full squad. Strathclyde not only won, but had the best performing 2nd team (8th, winning the game-to-go to Division 2) and the best performing 3rd team too (14th). Really successful all the way through.

Rush
In other news, Stirling unfortunately lost out on the game to go to Div. 2 nationals against Strathclyde 2, and Heriot Watt lost out on the game to go to Div. 1 nationals to Aberdeen 1.

Hazard
I mean, Stirling started all the way down in 16th seed. Should they be disappointed with that final result?

Rush
Yes they were unfortunately seeded very low due to last time out (they couldn’t field a team on Sunday, and hence fell down the seedings). But they fought back, and captain Finlay Watson should be very happy with how they performed. I even played them under Edinburgh 2 and I was extremely impressed with how they played.

H.christou
I think that Stirling really missed Fraser MacDonald with GB Mixed. He's one of the best in UK uni ultimate right now, and for a team like Stirling to miss him is a huge deal.

Hazard
I know Scotland is very humble about having so many representatives in GB U24 teams. Did the absence of those players make a big difference this weekend? Do we think any results would have flipped?

Rush
I mean there were a fair amount of absences Chris Habgood (Edinburgh) and Gabe Schechter (St Andrews) are both captains of their teams and will have had a big impact on how the other teams performed. But many will have stepped up this weekend to the plate and managed to get their teams through to nationals as expected

H.christou
St. Andrew's were also missing Jack Lynch, Arek Aspinwall (GB), and Chun Lee. Which, along with Gabe, are 4 key players. I think they did well for 4th.

Hazard
Another big story, Dundee actually playing up to their potential (for once). Signs of big things from the Dundee boys this year?

Rush
I'll let Haydon do the talking for Dundee but from my perspective they did well considering they lost a big player in the form of Andrew "Dickers" Dick this year, and many younger players stepped up for them; plus they sent 3 teams.

H.christou
I hope so. The final was frustrating since we found ourselves 4-0 down and had to take risks to chase the game, hence the cricket score. I think we've cracked something with our mentality, we used to be (rightfully?) arrogant a few years back and we didn't transition well from the mass graduation. It's had to wait 2 years, but you might be right...

Hazard
Could Glasgow feel hard done by with third? They lost their semi vs Horses in sudden death, then wiped the floor with St. Andrews in the 3v4.

H.christou
Yes. That was the final really. Although, I think we could have taken them down...maybe...

Rush
Glasgow should feel hard done by, they didn't play to their best I don't think and could potentially have beaten Strathclyde even though they are very strong this year.

Hazard
Any final stories I’m missing? Scotland getting an extra bid to Div. 1 nationals this year (they have *6* now) means that you guys are really going to have to perform well across the board, although I’m sure the home field advantage will help (for once).

Rush
I mean, we will be strong across the board as most of our strongest players will be available for Nationals and keen to go and showcase their talent.

The final story is Aberdeen 1 losing their crossover to Strathclyde to slip to a lower seed but gaining redemption against Heriot Watt (and Aberdeen were a side I tipped not to do well this year).

H.christou
Scotland is very strong (again), don't be surprised if 5 reach the top 8. I echo that too @Rush, Aberdeen in Div. 1 is a shock. Heriot weren't particularly great despite their personnel or massive height advantage.

Rush
I mean I have tipped big things from Heriot this year, even though they are potentially going through a "rebuilding year", so I was a little disappointed to see them not climb into Div. 1.

Hazard
Early predictions for nationals?

Rush
I expect all six Div. 1 teams to finish inside the top 10, we really are that good. Strathclyde 1 will finish 1st, Glasgow 3rd, St. Andrews 4th, Dundee 5th, Edinburgh 6th, and Aberdeen 10th. As for Div. 2, Heriot will finish 3rd and Strathclyde 2 in at 8th.

Hazard
And to finish, can we get a top 8 for the region, given that seemed to be a typical squad size?

Rush
Team = Chris Habgood (Edinburgh), Sam Finlay (Glasgow), Hannes Ludewig (St Andrews), Gavin Nicholson (Heriot Watt), Johnny Singh (Edinburgh), Joel Terry (Glasgow), Fraser MacDonald (Stirling) and Johnny Shaw (Strathclyde) would be my pick of the bunch

H.christou
No Dundee? Boo.


West Midlands & Wales

H.christou
Ok next up is West Midlands & Wales. @Andrew let's start with your lot (Swansea), and in particular, your game to go to Division 2 Nationals. How was your weekend?

Andrew
It was a pretty good weekend for Swansea, even though we're disappointed not to qualify for Nationals. I was unable to attend due to injury so I'll stick to generalities.

I have to say, looking at the top ten teams, there are few surprises, except for the exclusion of Birmingham 2 and the slight surprise that Warwick 1 beat Birmingham 1 to win it all.

But as I said in Mixed chat, there has been a lot of talk in the region of Ubu weakening. This result seems to bear that out.

Hazard
Warwick beating Birmingham is a big enough upset (certainly historically) that it counts as interesting.

Andrew
It is interesting, especially since they won Mixed regionals, but if you were going to pick a year for Warwick to upset them, this would be it.

Hazard
Warwick won last year. However, I believe Birmingham have always done better at Nationals, and the Mixed results this year seemed like it would be a return to form for them. Also: I’m convinced Warwick lose all but three of their players every year. They still have a couple of solid handlers (Jack Frigate and Adam Carver), and a couple cutters. But they somehow seem to pull good performances out of their players each year.

H.christou
Warwick haven't, in recent years, been at the top of Div. 1. Is this their year or will two teams stretch them out too thin come Nationals?

Andrew
Well their second teams do pretty well too, so I think there's always been depth there.

Hazard
We (Oxford) played Warwick at BUCS, and they had a little trouble off the bat, especially with some of their less experienced players. Take some of those out and give a full weekend to work out any kinks, and it’s not too surprising they performed well at Regionals.

As for Nationals, I’m not sure. Personally, I’d say they’re still lacking some height for indoors. Outdoors maybe, but there’s a risk some of the taller teams could take advantage here.

Additional fun fact: we have our third Wilson brother in UK Uni Ultimate! And all of them (Dan: Warwick, Benji: Reading, Sam: Loughborough) seem to have qualified for Div. 1 this year.

H.christou
Any other business?
Andrew
I do want to say that, aside from moving up or down a place here and there, these results closely mirror that of mixed, those that were in the same region/sent teams, anyway. And the region, as a whole, felt weak then. I believe they will struggle against powerhouse regions, like Scotland. I could see Bangor 1 and Warwick 2 doing well in Div. 2, however.

Hazard

Andrew
Haha, very cute.

Hazard
Bangor also lost the game-to-go in sudden death, so I can see them doing well. I believe they may be missing Ed Simpson to GB U24 Mixed too.

H.christou
Also, @Andrew since you're our writer. Predict the fate of Warwick and UBU in Div. 1 please.

Andrew  
Oh man, tall order, I'm not too good at predictions. Although Warwick won, Hazard's right that Birmingham outperform them at Nats. Maybe something like Birmingham 8th, Warwick 13th??

H.christou  
Bold. I like it.

H.christou
Anyone have additional talking points?

Andrew
Yeah I promised my boys on Swansea 2's a shoutout for beating Ubu 2's in universe 😉

North

H.christou  
Ok North! @Clackers, business as usual for Manchester?

Clackers  
Manchester have gotten some payback after their second place at UXIR a fortnight ago, although perhaps less easily than in the past. Liverpool put up a great fight in the final, but Manchester were able to keep the intensity up the entire time.

H.christou
Any shock results from the region? Don't believe I've seen Liverpool John Moores (LMJU) or Northumbria at nationals before?

Clackers
Not really, although Liverpool were seeded below Durham, it wasn't a surprise that they beat them. Last year, Lancaster and UCLan had the 5th and 6th spots, with the former having sign-up and injury problems, and the latter not having any players anymore, LJMU and Northumbria were able to slot into these positions confidently.

It is LJMU's first ever UMIR as well, so it's quite a special feat for them to make it in their first year.

H.christou
Let's chat about LJMU then, first ever Regionals and Nationals in one? How?

Clackers
Oliver Browne coaching them is a massive boon, and they have a good stock of tall athletic men which certainly doesn't hurt.

H.christou
Have they always had a team and not been able to field a men's team to Regionals? It's an impressive feat, at this rate they're surely favourites to win Div. 2?

Clackers
No, as I was saying at Mixed chat, they've only been a club for a year. There tends to be a gap between the top 4 and everyone else in the region, Newcastle have the edge over them.

H.christou
There seems to be some discussion over a home advantage, with Manchester, Liverpool & LJMU all doing well. Is there any substance in this?
  
Clackers
Sleeping in one's own bed rather than a floor is beneficial for sure, although Manchester aren't exactly home in Liverpool. Last year, when UMIR was in Newcastle (at Northumbria), Newcastle came 2nd, so maybe home advantage does play a part.

H.christou
Speaking of whom, Newcastle. From mixed Regional champs to 4th at men's, are their girls that good, or a slight under performance?

Clackers
Mainly the former. They performed well this weekend, but were just not able to beat the others.

H.christou
Anything extra you wish to add from the North?

Clackers
I suppose I'd better mention Lancaster briefly, we had a weaker team on paper than previous years, but were able to maintain top 8. Nationals would have been nice, but we played well as a team and surprised a few clubs.

H.christou
Early predictions for nationals?

Clackers
For Div. 1 Nationals, Manchester 4th, Liverpool 9th, Durham 11th, perhaps. I don't think the region is greatly affected by GB U24 players as much as some other regions.

For Div. 2, Newcastle 1st, LJMU 6th, Northumbria 10th.

H.christou
Thanks. And we'll finish with your regional top 8 please.

Clackers  
Oliver Gray (Manchester), Siôn Regan (Liverpool), Dylan Spiers (Durham), Steve Dixon (Manchester), Ross Nugent (Newcastle), Will Carter (Liverpool), Will Collier (Durham), John Bradley (LJMU)


Yorks & East Midlands

H.christou
Next we'll head to the Yorks and East Midlands. Let's start with Sheffield. In as 5th seed, a shock to win it?

Slender
Not as much as you might think. We got to the final and came 3rd last year but because we only went to Div. 3 outdoor Nationals last year it affected our seeding I gather. The team has played together for almost 4 seasons now, so it really is the culmination of a lot of work and development from the club.

Alun P
It's usually very level between the top four or five teams, so it's hard to call anything too much of an upset.

H.christou
Played together for 4 years, is this a golden generation?

Slender
The core of the squad started as freshers 3 and a bit years ago now (and came 10th as a 3rd team). We added a few more the year after and one super fresher from last year so perhaps you could call it that. I don't think we really have any superstars but great chemistry and everyone performed at their best at the weekend.

H.christou
Superstars are overrated.

Slender
We certainly didn't feel like a golden generation compared to some of the clubs alumni but...we won Regionals and they never did so....

H.christou
1st time? How were the nerves?

Slender
1st time in about 10 years and 1st time since the region change. A bit, the majority of the squad had played the finals the year before so I really think that experience helped.

H.christou
And @Alun P, how close the region is was one of my observations too. A lot of tight results, any in particular which could have gone either way?

Alun P
Both Loughborough vs Leeds games were right to the wire, especially the D1/D2 game to go, where we started universe on O, then had a moment of madness and passed straight to a Loughborough player right in front of our own endzone. Our wins felt more comfortable (don't they always), but pretty much every bracket game was one slip away from a different result.

Loughborough found themselves only a few inches short of total victory this weekend.
Photo by Alice Hanton for the ShowGame
H.christou
In the South West Bristol struggled to bounce back from the South West final loss and then lost the game to go to Div. 1 nationals. How did Loughborough cope in your match?

Alun P
They seemed just as up for it as in the semi, and broke us first point. There were more turns from both sides, but very little difference.

H.christou
I didn't spot that it was a rematch, that's twice the pressure!

Slender  
I think what swung that match was the relative level of inexperience on that Leeds squad compare to Loughborough. They just had one or two fewer silly drops and turns.

Alun P
In the end, we felt like they always had a high bailout shot available, and we couldn't stop that, and that stopped us really generating enough pressure on D.

H.christou
Let's discuss 2nd teams. Both Sheffield and Loughborough had depth and something I've not often seen - two 2nd teams fighting for a shot at a nats. How was that game?

Hilmaniaa
Can confirm, Loughborough were really up for the 2v3. We had just played such a good final against Sheff who we have come to be really good friends with (our team has done a similar cycle of 4 years) and so didn’t feel particularly gutted to have lost, only indoors! Just had to make sure we stepped up for the 2v3! Although felt a lot less confident starting on D losing 6-7 game to 8…

Slender
While I am really proud of our 2nd team, and they played some great stuff at times, they were quite convincingly beaten after the first few points unfortunately.  Loughborough 2s play the same offense as their first team and are very well drilled and that's what won them the match. Sheffield 2 developed their own unique brand of offense over the weekend that unfortunately couldn't quite beat Loughborough's defence.

Hilmaniaa
Watching Sheffield 2 I was amazed at how good they were with the disc. Obviously our 2s (luf) are great but we rely on being fast...was really excited to see how Shef look outdoors until I was told they’re in league 2... but that’s a conversation for a different day I suppose

Alun P
Loughborough 2 were very strong, which is becoming a theme. They really threw pool C into disarray, putting Nottingham down to 3rd in the pool. I was actually surprised when Hallam beat them in the game to go. Sheffield 2 may have benefited from pool B being weaker (Hull were playing with 3 or 4 players for most of Saturday, and still got 3rd). I'd have liked to see how they matched up with Lincoln (9th place.)

Slender
Loughborough 2s will be really upset though. They would have been worthy of the nats spot but they played Hallam's game, which they're pretty good at unsurprisingly.

Also, Hull did amazingly. They had 3/4 players for the whole of Saturday and only picked up their 5th on Sunday.

H.christou
Literally playing with 4 guys?

Slender
3 for the first match

Alun P
Which they won

H.christou
9-3 vs York 3. 3rd team or not, they had 3 guys on the line. Impressive

Any other shocks or gossip?

Alun P
Huddersfield fell off hard without their women, right down to 14th.

Slender
Nottingham played pretty atrociously on the Saturday and I believe went down by at least 2 goals at the start of every match that day. They did really well to regroup overnight, come out fighting, screw a few teams over in the crossovers and take a Nationals spot.

Alun P
Nottingham on Sunday actually looked happier than I've seen any of their men's squad look in a long time. I think they got in their own heads when teams didn't roll over against them on Saturday, but came back really well with a different attitude.

H.christou
Ok and we'll finish off with some early Nationals predictions.

Alun P  
Frankly, a Leeds/Nottingham Div. 2 final wouldn't surprise me too much. Hallam to finish in the middle bracket. For Div. 1: Sheffield around fifth, Loughborough to pull an outrageously unlucky crossover and take 9th.

Slender
Loughborough and Sheffield to be pushing for top 8 at Div. 1. IF Leeds and Nottingham both bring the squads they CAN bring then Alun's right it will probably be the Div. 2 final. If not they'll finish around the middle bracket. I'd back Hallam to get to at least a quarter. 

H.christou
Nice, and finish off with your all-star top 8 please fellas.

Slender
Dan Hillman, Omar Khan, (Loughborugh) Nic Peters (Leeds) Drew Fitton (Hallam) Joel Miller (Nottingham) Max Larkinson, Mike Ellis and myself (journalistic integrity, I know!) (Sheffield).

Alun P
Nicolas Peters (Leeds), Max Larkinson (Sheffield), Joel Miller (Nottingham), Dan Hillman (Loughborough), Omar Khan (Loughborough), Rupert Daniels (Leeds), Slender (Sheffield), Calum Dawkins (York)

Slender
Yeah Calum Dawkins was pretty close to making my list.


South West

H.christou 
Now we'll move onto the South West, Bath 1, 2, 3... is anyone able to explain?

Andrew
The only reasonable explanation that I can think of that Bath 2 finished higher than Bath 1 after being defeated by Bath 3 is that the team is just so incredibly deep that such results are possible.

Bath entered 5 teams and 4 of them placed in the top half of the tourney with the top two going to Div. 1 Nats.

Ed Hanton
Bath 2 and Bath 1 never played each other due to the schedule so unknown who is better between them, but still a very, very strong performance none-the-less. Bath 3 beating Bath 2 is more of a conundrum but likely due to Bath 2 underestimating them and Bath 3 just getting incredibly hyped for the game.

Bath 1 was full of their big name players and a recent Netherland U20 pickup. But that just left many of their fringe players on the 2nd team who were playing safe frisbee and letting other teams throw it away.

The Bath squads were strong all the way to the top at SWUMIR.
Photo by Ed Hanton for the ShowGame
H.christou
Just having a good look at the scores in the brackets, they don't really make much sense. This region looks to be all over the place. Anyone know why?

editors note: (apparently not)

Andy Moss
Plymouth were looking strong, so I was surprised they missed out on a spot at nats. They smashed Bournemouth... whilst Exeter had two close games against them.

Andrew
Yeah I also thought Plymouth had a very good chance to go, but they are a rather small team, if I'm not mistaken. Maybe they were just too tired by the end of the tournament?

Ed Hanton
Plymouth were missing tall man Jamie Rabbetts who they used heavily in mixed. They've still got good players but I think they've got so used to him in clutch situations that they couldn't pull it out of the bag.

H.christou
But they lost 12-0 to Bath 1!

Andy Moss
Correct me if I'm wrong but I think Plymouth won mixed?

Ed Hanton  
Yes.

Andrew
Ah missing Jamie "He's Pretty Tall" Rabbetts is a big loss.

Ed Hanton
Exeter were missing George "also kinda tall" Stubbs and a few other players, dropping them to 7 players for the weekend. Airbadger pickup Kofi helped a lot but again, not quite enough.

Andy Moss
Plymouth's result against Bath suggests they weren't so strong then!

H.christou
Let's chat about Bristol, a narrow win vs. Bath 1 in the semi-final, then lost the final and then the following game to go to Div. 1. How hard is it to pick yourself up after a loss in the final?

Ed Hanton
We were absolutely gutted after the final to be honest. We were over the moon after taking down Bath 1 in the semi (from 5-2 down for a 6-5 win). But then it all seemed to go wrong in the final.

We were down in the final and managed to bring it back with a score after the hooter to sudden death, but then couldn't get the final score in.

By the time it came to the 2v3 game to go we were all shattered and just didn't have the legs to put in another shift against Bath 1.

H.christou
Was it just legs or anything else? A 3-0 comeback compared to a 7-3 loss is quite a swing. The classic saying is that it's tough to beat a team twice in a weekend...

Ed Hanton
I think that's definitely true, especially against a team as strong as Bath. We weren't able to pick ourselves up after the final, and that was combined with Bath 1 coming of a strong 12-0 win vs Plymouth whilst we had a hard and demoralising final vs their 2nds.

H.christou
Yeah that's tough. Has anybody got additional things about the SW?

Ed Hanton
Lower down the order, Southampton just missed out on the game to go (Exeter 8-7 Southampton). They played well together but just weren't quite consistent enough over the weekend from what I could see.

Bournemouth dropped down since last year, missing some key tall iso players from last year.

And rounding out the top 8, Falmouth were looking weaker than previous years having lost Robin Ellis-Cockroft and Tom "another tall one" Berry. Arthur Holt keeps them in the running along with a solid team, but they just don't have those star players to get the scores they needed (perhaps a solid base of players for future years though).

Chris Redd has also switched from Falmouth to Exeter, a big loss and gain respectively.

H.christou
Ok thanks Ed, what about early predictions for Nationals from those who qualified?

Ed Hanton
Bath were missing a few players this weekend (Notably Seb Allen and Ex-badger fresher Pieter Keenan) which will bolster their squad and it felt to me like they had more emphasis on indoors last year so I expect them to be pushing for a top 5 finish. I'll go with 4th.

Bath 2 I don't think will have what it takes to really perform as well as they did last year (13th) so 17th (but maybe I'm just bitter).

For Div. 2, if Bristol work on not going down at the start of games and having to constantly comeback I'll go with a tentative 5th place. Finally, Exeter at full strength can also do some things at Nationals, 7th.

South East

H.christou
Ok South East let's go. The big headline?

Hazard
Neither of last year’s Div. 1 teams (Sussex and Portsmouth) made it to Div. 1 this year. Instead, Oxford, Reading and Surrey claimed the top spots. This is after Oxford and Reading claimed 1st/2nd in Mixed too, establishing themselves as powerhouses in the region. Portsmouth were hit hard by the loss of Josh Awcock to a GB U24 Men’s session, and Sussex are just a bit weaker this year. Surrey will be happy though: The extra Div. 1 spot for the region is one they earned by finishing 2nd in Div. 2 last year.

H.christou
So Oxford as champions, a surprise?

Jonnyarthur95
Hmm… don't think it's a surprise Oxford won, they've been challenging at the top since they moved into the region a few years ago. You always know they are hoping to be very calm with the amount of experience Oxford teams always have.

It appears this year they managed to include the big plays to go along with that you need to get over the line and win the final.

Sam M
Oxford were a very solid team, not surprised to see them take the win. Lots of experience on the pitch, and some very good coaching from Jon Daly (Ka-Pow!). Looked to generate space, very much felt like outdoors ultimate on a smaller pitch, with big receivers (like Andrew “A*” Bunting) to make endzone plays when needed.

Hazard
Oxford were actually much closer to full strength here than at mixed, and it may have shown by the 4/5 point margin in the final. Only missing the dashingly attractive Harry Mason [citation needed], American Aidan Penn and token tall ginger play Andrew A* Bunting returned from a hiatus at mixed to give some depth and firepower to the team. Once we got our gears rolling (and after a big comeback from 8-4 down against Sussex to take the game in sudden death 9-8), we were unstoppable.

Oxford might just be the big team in the South East.
Photo by Sam Mouat for the ShowGame.
H.christou
Aside from Hazard's self-professed good looks, is there anything else about Oxford there we'd disagree with? You mention it was perhaps coming that Oxford would win it, are they a powerhouse?

Jonnyarthur95
I'd agree with most of that. Like I said the first spot isn't a huge shock, but the shake up of the rest of the established teams in the SE certainly took me by surprise.

H.christou
Let's chat about that then, a few results caught my eye…starting with Sussex. Reigning Outdoor national champions and 2nd placed at Indoor nationals, is this a fall from grace?

Jonnyarthur95
It certainly looks like it does it? Considering how nearly all this squad have gold medals from outdoors and silver from indoors I certainly had higher expectations than 4th. Especially with how smooth they were looking at the warm up tournament they were at a few weeks ago.

From the looks of scores like that Oxford comeback, they did have the quality to win but choked at key points. Not quite the same mental game from last year

H.christou
Aside from Ashley Yeo, were they lacking anything in particular to get into Div. 1?

Jonnyarthur95
Well I think it's very difficult to pinpoint. Yeo aside this team is probably just as good as last year, I'd probably just suggest the team hasn't quite gelled enough to play at their best consistently. Maybe a couple of good handlers less but otherwise quite similar.

Sam M
Interestingly, Sussex also looked like they were playing outdoors on a smaller pitch. They were all around solid and had zero trouble maintaining possession, but seemed to lack a little when it came to finishing points off. They either scored in flow or got stuck. Even with big receivers such as Luis Semple, there was a lack of deep game.

H.christou
What about Surrey then, were they strong? Pipping Sussex to the final Div. 1 spot.

Hazard
Surrey claimed that Div. 1 spot, despite being absent at Mixed (due to lack of Women in the team). Captain Ashley Long has just returned from an EUCF call up with SMOG though, and that experience does seem to have done him (and therefore the team) a lot of good.

Jonnyarthur95
Well Surrey are always solid, they consistently put strong teams together. I was worried they might struggle this year after dropping into Div. 2 outdoors but was pleased to see them still able to challenge at the top.

All credit to Ashley for keeping up the standards I expect from Surrey and taking advantage of the fall of those other teams to get into the 3rd Division 1 nats spot. Looking at how Oxford and Reading played I think that's the best result for them.

Sam M
Surrey had standout players Ash Long and Sam Fowler, who did a lot of work on both O and D all weekend. Double losses to Reading and Sussex left them with a tough route via the backdoor bracket into Div. 1, but they were very motivated and really keen for revenge going in to the 3v4 game to go, especially with ex-Surrey mens captain Sam Bonsor playing on the Sussex squad.

H.christou
Fair enough, and then the final headline I see is Portsmouth. Any idea with that one?

Jonnyarthur95
As mentioned, they appear to have massively missed Josh Awcock to the GB weekend. With him around running the team they would have been pushing into the nationals spots but without him they just don't have that top level quality to trouble the other teams in the region.

H.christou
I suspected that would be the case, a shame for them then. Any other headlines coming from the South East?

Jonnyarthur95
First of all congratulations to Reading. They've been steadily improving over the last few years and deserved their final spot. Perhaps just lacking in some big game experience that saw the final get away in the second half, but will have the big plays to trouble lots of teams at nationals.

And would finally like to point out that with the top 3 being Oxford, Reading and Surrey it means that the best team in the South East likely doesn't even play in BUCS Division 1 outdoors. (Oxford are Midlands, Surrey and Reading are SE 2A)

H.christou
That's a fun fact.

Jonnyarthur95
As for nats predictions, I'd put Oxford and Reading in the 5-9 region with a controversial prediction of Reading doing better than Oxford on the bigger 3G pitches. Surrey around 12th.

H.christou
What about Sussex and Chichester?

Jonnyarthur95
If Sussex get pumped up and get on a roll they could dominate. Chichester has the wiff of a mid-table side, West Brom performance

Sam M
Chichester had an effective zone which saw take early leads in games until the opposition figured it out. Possibly lacking more than one big receiver to really push the Div. 1 teams, and the zone will probably lose some of it’s venom on the larger Ravenscraig pitches.

I also found it surprising Brighton didn’t make nationals. They had very good offensive flow, moving the disc quickly through their whole team. I think the lack of height on their team is what stopped them challenging the top teams. They were definitely the loudest team at the venue in terms of energy and hype during important points/games. One to watch for outdoors.

H.christou
Finally, @Clackers you said you managed to watch a stream of the final! Any thoughts on that?

Clackers
I caught the middle and end of the final, and watched Reading and Oxford trade until Reading actually broke 7-6. However, from that they just didn't seem to be able to get past the Oxford defence anymore, Oxford really stepped up their game

H.christou
Did Oxford look strong? Tip them to do well at nats from what you saw?

Clackers  
Nothing special really, probably similar to Manchester

H.christou
"nothing special" @Hazard nice quote to finish things off.

Hazard
If Oxford finish below Reading, it's because we sadly have to say goodbye to two Americans (Dylan Salzman and Nick Fuller). So I'm getting my excuses in early. However, we've won Mixed Regionals, Men's Regionals, and I have faith our Women (2nd outdoors last year) will make it 3/3 for Regional victories.

3G vs Hard court

H.christou
I have one final open question.

Last year was a hard court nationals, this year we're back to 3G. Do you think having some Regionals/Nationals on different surfaces is a big deal to adjust to?

I'll start with a Scottish perspective, we're blessed with 3 very good indoor 3G venues (Aberdeen, Edinburgh & Glasgow). When we came down to Nationals last year, we all struggled to adapt (not that it showed in results) but it wasn't easy. It definitely felt like a different style of indoor ultimate.

Do you have a preference between the two?

Clackers
I've never played indoors on 3G, so I'm not used to anything but hard court. There are minor things I dislike about both though. I find that with hard court, there is significant internal variation. One of the pitches at UMIR had virtually no grip, and I found it impossible to turn well on it

Slender
None of our team have ever played on indoor 3G so I can't really comment. We are all really excited for it though, no more sliding across those hard courts.

Jonnyarthur95
Yes I think it can make quite a difference. First of all pitch size can vary quite a lot which can have a big impact on how effective teams are and what tactics you can use. On 3G you also tend to have a lot more space around the pitch, might not seem to be that big to some but having a brick wall about a metre from the side of the pitch will be something you have to consider on hard court. I always felt like hard court is the real indoor experience that makes it properly different from outdoors. 3G often just feels like small outdoor games with no wind.

Andrew
Having played both, I have a very strong preference for hard court. My sense is that 3G pitches are generally wider, with deeper end zones and of course, you play in boots. The Alan Higgs' are technically "indoors" in the sense that there's walls and a roof, there's huge gaps in the structure that means you're basically playing outside on a windless day.

Jonnyarthur95
Those horrible memories of Alan Higgs.

Andrew  
People seem to like them, but I've noticed the things they like about it make it more similar to outdoors, which kind of defeats the purpose, in my view.

Alun P
It's a different game. Personally, I think that surfaces, or at least pitch sizes should be standardised for each year. Otherwise, you get teams (potentially) qualifying through a hard-court region by using a really good space restricting zone, which then becomes wholly useless on larger 3G pitches, or vice versa with an offense based on big isolated spaces.

Andrew
Yes, great point. I would add onto my comments that Swansea play just such a zone, and I freaking love zone. It's a bit less effective on 3G, so that's a bit of my bias.

Clackers
I have been to Alan Higgs two years ago to watch Nationals, it was very cold. A teammate also lost a pair of boots to splitting, something which I have done outside on 3G before.

Alun P
Most hard court venues do have walls too close for comfort, but there are some (such as the one in Derby used for CXIN last year) with plenty of space, and they produce my favourite indoors.


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H.christou
Since I have your attention still, why not help out a frisbee/flatmate power duo raise money for charity? Mihael Dimitrov (Dundee) and I are doing Movember, we are just short of our next 2 goals. At £115 Mihael will get a mohawk and at £150 I'll dye my moustache the colour of the highest donator! A little or a lot, it's all appreciated!

Check it out here


What Went Down At: UMIR 2017/18

Chair: H.christou (tSG Men's Uni Editor, Dundee) Other Contributors: Hazard (Oxford*);  Rush (Edinburgh);  Andrew (Swansea*);  Clacker...