Scotland Ultimate Interview

Interviewer/Editor: Harry Mason
Additional Help: Haydon Christou

We sat down with Matthew Tomlinson (Captain of Glasgow Ultimate - GU) and Matthew Fletcher (Captain of Edinburgh Ultimate - EDI) to discuss the formation of an exciting new Open team which just announced trials - Scotland Ultimate. If you’re interested, the deadline to apply is 26th June, and you can sign up here


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So, what is Scotland Ultimate?

Matt F
The scene in Scotland is going strong as it always has with healthy club structures in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Both teams are at a point where pushing for the top of nationals isn't in the clubs goals, but as a nation we're comfortably ready to push into Europe.


And why do the two clubs need to join for this, if you don't mind me asking? EDI have already managed to show they can hold their own in A Tour, and Glasgow managed make a very good name for themselves in Europe last season.
Matt F
It's mutually beneficial.
Matt T
The mixed scene in Scotland this year is so strong, with Black Eagles dominating and Glasgow putting in consistent results in the top 8, it could have been easy to let the open scene take a back seat. By running as GU and EDI through the tour season we can develop as separate squads, help improve the local talent, but then be able it pull together for a real shot at Euros.


So the aim is for GU and EDI to stay as separate teams throughout tour, and then combine for UK Regionals/Nationals?
Matt T
The depth in quality of Scotland is just fantastic and there is more than enough talent for a truly elite mixed and open program. The Ultimate community in Scotland is also very tight, many friends play on either side of the GU/ EDI divide and this is a great opportunity to compete together. Not to mention the other parts of Scotland that are interested in getting involved, most notably the St Andrew's boys that are spending the tour season with GB.


Do you see this as a one year thing? And if so, will it always be separate teams at tour to a combined team at nationals?
Matt T
We haven't looked that far ahead yet.
Last year GU was the force in Scotland, but despite the name many of our players were based in other parts of Scotland, such as Edinburgh/ Dundee. By re-branding as Scotland Ultimate for regionals, nationals and beyond we feel the team name and style is more reflective of our diverse player base. Our hope is that players will want to band together around the team Scotland idea, rather than side with 1 particular city. It also gives us a great excuse to have specialised Scotland Ultimate kit designed, which is looking SICK!
I would like to add, however, that the intention of Scotland Ultimate is not to detract or undermine the success of what GU and EDI are doing domestically. These clubs are more than just tour teams, they teach beginners, volunteer at schools, run fun tournaments and promote Ultimate to everyone that they can. These clubs are nurturing grassroots frisbee and helping the sport to grow in their regions, so I don't want to do anything to take away from their success. The goal of Scotland Ultimate is to offer a platform for high level players to train hard and push each other to greatness.  


Are there any development plans with this team (e.g. take some training squad players, field a second team, train with some local unis), or do you just see it as an elite club for nationals?
Matt F
It's too early to say but anything is possible really. This team is about continuing the development of Scottish Ultimate first and foremost. How we achieve that and the different ways in which we could are still very much under discussion.
Matt T
GU and EDI are very good at developing players and providing something for everyone. trainings, skills sessions, second teams etc.
Early aspirations for Scotland Ultimate is to bring the top talent of Scotland together. Where the future will take us, we can't say right now, but the future of Ultimate in Scotland is looking very bright and we hope this club is the start of another great chapter in its continued development.


What are you guys aiming for with the team? Top 5 at nationals? Top 10 in Europe?
Matt F
Win, and keep winning.



Interview with Jonny Arthur & Will Seth (Captains of UMON winners Sussex)

Interviewer/Editor: Harry Mason

Let's start with introductions! What are your names, and who are you?


Jonny
Jonny Arthur, Sussex Men's Captain.

Will
Will Seth, Sussex Men's Captain.

Jonny
aka this year's Uni National Champs.


So, how did it feel to win nationals? What have you done with your medals?

Jonny
Feels pretty good, especially after losing the indoor final, getting that trophy and gold medal was something special. And, yes, I did wear that medal for about a week straight.

Will
It was kind of a weird sensation, when that final point was converted I wasn't sure that we'd won. I wore the medal for quite a few days without taking it off, but it's now taken pride of place on my wall.

Will Seth (left) and Jonny Arthur (right) answer our tricky questions

What were some of the challenges/toughest games you faced this season?

Jonny
Our first real test this year was in the league in december against Portsmouth. we knew they would be tough opposition after finishing fourth at last year's Nationals. so coming away with a decent win in that game was a big confidence boost for the rest of the season.

Will
We'd struggled with injuries a lot throughout the season, so taking a large squad was with that in mind. However, in the build up, and over the weekend, we managed to keep everyone fit which definitely helped us.

Jonny
And then losing to Strathclyde in the Saturday pool games was really tough to come back from. We knew we had the ability to beat teams but that game showed the overall strength of a number of teams.

Will
I agree, losing to Strathclyde on the saturday was a bit of a knock in confidence, but we were able to maintain positivity going into the crossover against Durham, and a reasonably comfortable win against a strong Durham team got us back on track for the sunday.

Jonny
And how easy it could be for us to drop down the bracket


How did you find being co-captains? Did you both have the same role, or slightly different roles? And is it something Sussex usually does?

Will
I think we were selected* for the role because we had similar targets for the season. We also had quite similar views on the way we wanted to run offence and defence. I'm not sure how often the team is co-captained but it definitely worked well this year. Jonny was definitely more vocal throughout the season within the team too.
*The previous captains select the new captains after an application process, where players state their ambitions and what they can bring to the role. We were chosen by Christian Turvill because he believed that we'd make a good captaining partnership.

Jonny
As I was abroad the year before having a co-captain was super useful to me, as I needed to get to know a lot of the team and establish what we could achieve. I also think personality wise we complimented each other really well, I'd generally get loud and get everyone hyped up and focussed on things, then will would get out on pitch and just get some huge skies or lay out D's to get people going.
Mohawks don’t always do co-captains but a couple of times in the last few years it's happened as we just had candidates who work well together


Now, I understand you guys had an interesting coaching situation this year. How did you find it, and how important do you think coaches are for University Ultimate?

Jonny & Will
We feel that having good coaches is massively important and has been a big strength for Mohawks in recent years. Felix Shardlow has done a great job for nearly 10 years now as a coach and is especially good at introducing new players to the game and improving them quickly, best shown by us qualifying a second team for nationals 3 times in the past 5 years. Since Christmas Felix has been off running coaching clinics all around the world so we were lucky enough to have Glen Newell take over trainings since then. John Maule has also been coaching us for the last couple of years and having those two with us at Nats was a massive help. Basically we have been incredibly lucky in having two top quality coaches consistently for the last two years which dramatically improves our training sessions.


Do you have any strong club connections at Sussex? Do many of your team train with clubs outside of the University?

Will
We are lucky to live in a city with a massive ultimate scene. Almost all our team at nationals have played at the highest club level with Brighton City. There are also regular trainings run by Brighton Ultimate, the community of ultimate players in Brighton, for both club and uni players which helps progression of everyone massively.

Jonny
Also a large number of Brighton City players are ex-Mohawks so are always happy to help us out in any way they can.


Who were your star players this season?

Jonny
We did have a really strong Clapham player this year in Luis Semple who was huge for us this year.

Luis Semple, laying out to get the upwind break score in the final at Nationals. Photo courtesy of Vicki James.

Will
A strong handler set who had been playing with each other for a number of years (Christian Turvill, Chris Wastell, Chun Lee, and Dom Burnham) also really helped in the wind at Nottingham.

Jonny
Oh and Ash Yeo (Clapham Captain, GB Open Beach Captain).


What is your relationship with the Women’s team at Sussex? Do you train together, support each other, socialise together, etc….

Jonny
We have a pretty close relationship with the women's team. lots of mixed training, always socialising together. since the league started we don't train as much together but we still view ourselves all as one teams.

Loads of incestuous frisbee relationships as well.


Which helps team cohesion?

Jonny
Yes

Will
Yes
The women's team were also a massive sideline for us at Nationals.


Speaking of Nationals sideline, how cool was it to have your second team there as well?

Will
Having such a massive cohort of mohawks at nationals definitely helped a lot, just having such a huge number of the club there. It's just sad that someone had to steal the spirit trophy of them.


Alright, moving on. What are your opinions of the BUCS league system?

Jonny
Well, there’s a huge discussion to be had about that so just we probably won't get too in depth.

As a big uni club it worked out ok for us but it certainly wasn't without its difficulties. Having one of the few remaining second teams in the country shows just how difficult it has made it to get freshers competitively involved outdoors. But it also obviously helps in raising the sport recognition and funding from unis now more BUCS points are on the line.

Will
It definitely limits the amount of training we did as a whole club. We did a lot of extra trainings on weekends as a first team to compensate. As Jonny said, there has been such a lot of discussion about this and we are lucky to have coped well with the changes from the old regionals format.


Any advice you'd give to someone starting out as a uni captain next year?

Jonny
Set ambitious goals for your team at the start of the year, and make sure it's something that everyone buys into.

Will
Set goals. Identify the strengths of players and decide on a strategy that everyone will buy into.

Jonny
And build a team identity, both on and off pitch, that suits your players. each team should find a style of play that suits them, not just copy what's worked for other teams before.

Sweet. Cheers Guys. Any final points to add/question you'd like to have been asked?

Will
nah we good

Jonny
just enjoy uni ultimate innit

Interview with Alicia Tan (Captain of UWON winners UCL)

Interviewer/Editor: Harry Mason

Let’s start with introductions. What’s your name, and who are you?

Hi, I'm Alicia Tan, people usually call me Ali on the field, and I was captain of the UCL women's team this year!


Let’s get straight into it. How did it feel to win Nationals? What have you done with your medal?

It feels amazing, and still very surreal, I need to look at the medal sometimes to remind myself that it happened! It's currently still sitting on my desk, it was good motivation through the exam period and is definitely something that will remind me of what I've learnt this year!

Alicia Tan (purple bandana, top) celebrates with her UCL teammates


Who were your standout players this season? What did they bring to your team that you found so valuable?

I would hesitate to label a few players because I honestly feel that all of them were crucial and made our team what it was - if I may, small shoutouts to all of them? Alix Henry and Nina Brown for their incredible handling in the notts wind, they really made a difference 😀. Thed Jia Yi, Chua Yu Wei and Emma Oh for tirelessly giving us cuts, I'm so thankful for their determination to run down every disc! and of course my incredible freshers (Jessie, Yanwen, Juliet and Val) who’ve put so much effort this year, they’ve improved so much and played so well, i’m honestly so proud and happy! 😀


Did you have a coach this season? If so, did you find it useful? If not, was it a conscious choice?

Nope we didn't- we lost our coach the year before and definitely would have wanted a coach. Our committee is currently looking for a coach, so perhaps a shoutout for anyone who would like to coach a really fun uni team? 😉


If you don’t mind me saying, you guys were a real surprise package at nationals this year. I think it was the first time we were able to see you on the nationals stage this season (UCL came 8th at UWIR, 7th at UXIR and didn’t enter UXON). How do you prepare your team mentally for this situation?

To be honest, I think we really surprised ourselves as well! But that's the lovely thing about it, I think everyone that played during the weekend went away from it with a newfound excitement of the potential of the team. We were actually really grateful that we were able to field a team for nationals, there were many drop outs and we’ve suffered a couple of injuries this year. But going into a tournament, I mostly tell the girls to just give their best and to play for each other, and I really want them to have fun doing so. I also believe that it's during tournaments like these where you’ll surprise yourself and do somethIng amazing you didn't expect!

My aim this year was to build a team that would genuinely want to train and play together because of the friendships formed here, and I hope that In the years to come, the team will really feel like a family because that's what will make players want to give their all on the field.


Do you think your region was the toughest? The East region saw four different teams win medals (Chichester, Gold, UWIN; KCL, Silver, UWIN; UCL, Gold, UWON; Oxford, Silver, UWON), and you notably saw off Oxford in the final of Nationals, after they had beaten you at regionals.

It's difficult to say, because I feel that the crazy wind that weekend made it quite an even playing field for all the teams.  However I do agree that strong teams have come out from the east region this year, I was looking forward to seeing Chichester and Kings outdoors, but it was a pity they couldn’t make it! Birmingham was a tough team to beat in the semifinal, and I think the midlands have strong teams that we unfortunately didn't get to play against. Oxford has always been a really strong team and their offense is lovely, it’s so fun playing against them because it's always a challenge!


What teams/matches did you particularly enjoy this year?

I think all the teams gave us different challenges, we enjoyed playing against Strathclyde and Sussex, and Oxford once again gave us a great game!


What is your relationship with the Men’s team at UCL? Do you train together, support each other, socialise together, etc….

I’d say that we have a pretty good relationship, we train and socialize together, and I definitely look to maintain good relationships with the men’s captains. They’re a really fun bunch 🙂. I think that we’ve supported each other more this year compared to the past years; for example, I try to be there for all their BUCS matches on Wednesdays, and some of the men had come all the way down to support us for regionals! I’ve had great advice given to me by the men, and i’m really thankful for their presence and their friendship.


Do you have any strong club connections at UCL? Do many of your team train with clubs outside of the University?

UCL does run combined trainings with Camden on Sundays, and we have quite a few members playing for Thundering Herd, which is probably our strongest club connection. Not many of our women train with clubs, there are only 3 of us so far. I do want to encourage more of the women to find and play with a women’s team as I think it’ll be hugely beneficial.


Any advice you’d like to give to anyone just starting out as a uni captain this year?

Hm I think I'd say, just get to know your team really well and invest in them personally. I'm not sure about how easy it is to get freshers interested and pull them into the sport, it was really difficult for UCL to attract many women this year but for the ones that stuck around, I watched them during training to give them individual tips of how to improve, and I hope that helped! Also socials definitely help, and just hanging out with the team after trainings.


Finally, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just wanted to once again express how grateful I am to the girls, I can't thank God enough for such an amazing team and I hope that this win will motivate us to train harder next year because there’s always something to improve on and I believe we can push ourselves even further! I also want to thank everyone who we played against through the weekend, and i hope that we’ll be back at nationals next year to have more great games 🙂  

What Went Down At: Women's Tour 1

Main Editor/Discussion chair: geegee (GBU24, former SYC)
Contributor/Addition Editing: ali (GBU24)
Other Main Contributors: hazard
(Fanseat Commentator),  jonnyarthur95 (Brighton City), hannahbrew (Brighton Women), 
amazzon (GBU24 DP Assistant Mixed Coach), dp (ShowGame cofounder)

Welcome to the post-Women’s Tour 1 chat!
Here we will be discussing the drama and the hype from Nottingham Wind Farm.

We will be discussing several topics throughout this chat including:
The presence of new teams (Uprising, Chaos, SMOG, Red).
Iceni dominate again - how do they do it?
Nice Bristols development squad at Tour 1 and 2 - what will they bring to nationals?
Brighton loved the wind and it got them second place.
GBU24 finishing 4th for their first appearance at tour.

For ease and clarity here are the top 13 teams:
1.    Iceni
2.    Brighton
3.    SYC
4.    GBU24
5.    SMOG
6.    Swift 1
7.    Hydra
8.    Chaos
9.    LLLeeds
10.    Reading 1
11.    Nice Bristols
12.    Glasgow
13.    Reading 2

Links:

********************
geegee   To start off, let’s talk about some of the new teams that have made an appearance onto the women’s scene – Uprising, Chaos and SMOG to name a few. What sort of twist have some of these new teams given to the women’s division in the UK? Who caused some upsets in the lower brackets?

To kick off the discussion it would be great to mention some of these new teams rising up the rankings. This year has really seen an expansion in UK women’s ultimate with additional teams competing at tour, and there are now schemes in place to find teams for women without weekly training. Relentless was a team that bossed top 8 quite consistently over the last few years but seem to have disbanded into other teams to create the first SMOG women’s team and other ladies filtering into Hydra (who have two teams by the way, that is awesome).

hazard   I'm not sure if I'd call all of these new teams. Uprising were born out of the old Dragon Knights team as well. Chaos do seem like an interesting new team on the circuit. Some injuries meant they were a bit depleted in their final games. SMOG were the real underseeding though, in my opinion. They smashed their way into the top 8, and were undefeated all tournament.

geegee   I agree, it would have been really interesting to see them face up against any of the top 4 finishers. Their ladies are all mega athletic and experienced so I wouldn’t be surprised if they did start to face off in the top 4 at future tours.

hazard   Also, shout out to Reading 2 for climbing 10 seeds from 23rd to 13th (only losing to that strong SMOG team). Having Hannah Pendlebury and GB's Cat Ashton may have meant it was slightly stronger than your average second team, mind you...

geegee   Definitely. Having spoken to one of the Reading girls, they seem to make their teams off of training commitment rather than splitting into first and second team. So really if you’re playing against Reading, do not underestimate them.

hazard   The fact that many of them are constantly training as the Reading Mixed team also won’t hurt. The same applies to SMOG.

ali   It's great to see some London teams really challenging the top 8 that aren't Iceni and SYC, especially considering there are a lot of women's teams in London that ended up near the bottom. Kudos to Brixton for bringing a women's team to tour for the first time ever as well.

geegee   Moving swiftly on, Iceni came to dominate and they did dominate, winning undefeated and quite convincingly. How do they consistently come out on top? And what should we expect for the rest of the season?

hazard   I was lucky enough to watch two of Iceni's games. They are athletes, and good ones. Coach Paul 'Voodoo' Waite has picked the 22 players he wants to qualify for Worlds already. The team is a complete package - unphased by the difficult weather, and very clinical. They only turned once (via their D line) in the first half of the final. And they won that half 8-1 against a strong Brighton side.

geegee   Iceni are hands down my favourite team to play against. It is not just the physical challenge of trying to keep up with their sheer athleticism, but they are all also very intelligent players and know your next move before you even know it yourself. I am really excited for Worlds qualification and their potential at WUCC.

dp   All I can say is that Iceni train and have aims to ensure that every player is a part of their machine. I hear they enjoyed matching up against SYC and swift.


dp   With some clever D on SYCs part to make Iceni go to plan A through C. I also know they were super happy to see U24s finish 4th ;)

geegee   Thanks everyone! Onto the next topic: Bristol started off in 5th seed for Tour 1 in a tough pool with three teams that ended up in the top 5 themselves. There have been words of a weakened squad entered for T1 and T2 but full roster for T3, Regionals and hopefully Nationals - what do you think we can expect during the rest of the season from Bristol?

hazard   Not much at Tour 2 - apparently they're depleted then too. They were strong enough, looking at them. They've clearly got some talent. But not quite connecting on the hucks to their tall receivers in the wind, and not able to get the results this weekend.

jonnyarthur95   I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) Bristol were short a few key players which hurt them a bit.

geegee  They have a fair few members on the GBU24 squad, and there was a massive frisbee wedding going on (also made Chevron lose a few players), so they are likely to lose a few members. But I agree they definitely have the talent - I have high hopes for them going to Nationals. Bristol always seem to gain strength as the season goes on, so I would expect the same to happen again this year.

Right! Now onto what was a pretty exciting final - Brighton. These ladies love the wind and they showed their prowess and confidence against the elements. Who got a chance to watch Brighton over the weekend?
Iceni and Brighton pose after a tough final. Photo taken from the UKU Women's Ultimate page
jonnyarthur95   Well it all just seemed to come together for Brighton women this weekend. Having not been able to get regular 7v7 at training your 1 was meant to be about coming together as a team. Then it turned out that they were just better at throwing in the wind than almost everyone.

geegee   They had an incredible zone as well - it managed to slow down teams just by containing the handlers, and it was difficult to break through. What are Brighton expecting for the rest of the season?

jonnyarthur95   Yes, it seemed to work against a lot of teams, shutting down pretty much any system other teams had practiced. Well after a very successful Tour 1 captains Rachel Clarke and Amber Perret are looking to keep the team having fun and just see how high they can keep finishing. I'm told they will have kit at future tours as well so that's a bonus.

hannahbrew   I coach the team and our entire training programme involves skills and not plays or tactics . So pretty much our entire offence and defence is something that we create and develop over the course of tour. It allows players to think on their feet, and that’s what you need when you face environments such as Nottingham!

geegee   That is fantastic, I’m looking forward to seeing them at other tours! Thanks both. Our final topic to cover this evening is GBU24 playing their first tour event together. Only one team was entered with 25 strong roster, and could have made for difficult gelling but a 4th place finish cannot be argued with. What did you all think of the U24s?

amazzon   I watched the German U24 women's team in the final at Tom’s Tourney and they really set the bar. There's so much potential in the GB team but there's no denying that there's a long way to go. I think we have a great chance in Perth given everyone buys into the process and works really hard for the rest of the year. I can't wait to see more.

hazard   Last cycle (in 2015) the U23s finished 5th and 6th. So for them to finish 4th this year off the bat is very promising. I think it's that experience against higher level teams that will set them apart from previous teams, if they can keep up this level.

hannahbrew   The current U24s are the strongest bunch of junior women that have been around for a long time!

geegee   There is still a long way to go - the Dev squad has around 45 women (I believe) with most of them playing during the tour season for GB. But after this weekend it has been a great place to start. The coaches know what areas require improvement and that will be the basis for future trainings with the finalised squad.

Molly Burd shows one of the few ways to get past the GB U24 side. Photo from Rachel Turton.
hazard   How come you guys only had one team this weekend by the way?

geegee   We had 25 signed up to play for Tour 1, and I don’t think the coaches we comfortable fielding two teams, especially with a few players that have injuries as well. It was the best decision really. It should be an exciting tour season for the GB ladies, and I’m looking forward to the final decisions made by the coaches and upcoming trainings for all three divisions.

geegee   With nothing more to cover for the women’s division I think it’s time to wrap up this discussion. Before we go I would like to give a quick shout out to LLLeeds who had four of their games go to universe - including a 30 minute universe point against Chaos (both teams deserve a load of credit for that grit).

Thank you to all of our contributors, and see you at the next post-tour discussion in July! Watch out for some of our athletes going across to Windmill this weekend over on Fanseat, and you can watch back the Tour 1 games from their archives.


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Editor's note from The Cutting Lane Floor
We really enjoy these discussions, and we hope you do to! If you have something to say that you think hasn't been said (maybe you represent a team we don't, or see we missed something) please comment, or even message us if you'd like to join in next time. There is a contact form on our website, or you can message us through our Facebook page.

What Went Down At: UXIN Division 1 2017/18

Chair/Editor: Alun P (Leeds) Deputy Chair/Editor: hazard (Oxford) Contributors: gyanhan (Oxford), Slender (Sheffield), Becky Greenwood (L...