What Went Down At: Open Club Regionals

Editor/Main Chair - hazard (Reading/Facebook Live commentator)
Contributors - tadhgb (PELT/ShowGame preview writer), aido19 (Ranelagh/ShowGame preview writer), connormch (EMO), hodge (Chevron), h.christou (Alba), catpope
Additional editing - ali (Facebook Live streamer)

Here are the headlines we'll be discussing:

Northern Regionals
Chevron claim title of ‘king in the North’ in close-ish 14-11 final
EMO come second comfortably
Manchester come third equally comfortably
LLLeeds, Alba and SMOG round off the qualifiers, all three teams having started in the same pool

Southern Regionals
Clapham dominate
Fire come from behind in their semi to claim second against Ka-Pow!
Devon come from behind to claim third against Ka-Pow!
Reading come from behind against Ka-Pow!, fail to seal victory
Flump round off a season in A Tour by coming 5th
Both Brighton teams struggle, but squeeze through against strong Fire 2/Camden sides

Irish Regionals
Split into East and West, Pelt and Ranelagh win their regions.

General points
Predictions for Nationals?

Final Results
1 Chevron Action Flash 
2 EMO 
3 Manchester 
4 LLLeeds 
5 Alba 
6 SMOG 

---
7 The Brown 
8 Vision 
9 BAF


Southern Regionals
1 Clapham
2 Fire of London 1
3 Devon
4 Ka-Pow!
5 Flump
6 Reading 1
7 Brighton City
8 Brighton Legends
---
9 Camden Ultimate
11 Bristol 1
12 Kent
13 Reading 2
14 Bristol 2

The ShowGame Previews
Ireland preview
GB preview (written on the Saturday. Prediction Score: Very good!. Only Fire 2/Camden not within one position of final placing.)

Nationals Pools
Group A: Clapham, Ranelagh, Ka-Pow!, SMOG
Group B: Chevron, Manchester, Flump, Brighton Legends
Group C: Fire, EMO, Leeds, Brighton City
Group D: Pelt, Devon, Alba, Reading



hazard
For those who weren’t aware, a set of UKU Regional tournaments occurred this weekend, in addition to two Irish Flying Disc Association (IFDA) Regional tournaments in Ireland.

For the UKU Regional tournaments, they were attempting to qualify for UKU Nationals, also known as EUCR-West (the qualification tournament for the European Club Championships). There were six bids for nine teams in the Northern Region, and eight bids for fourteen teams in the Southern Region.

Two Irish teams, PELT and Ranelagh, will be joining the UK teams at EUCR-West this year. The Irish qualification tournaments are actually for EUCR-West next year (2018). But the tournaments are a nice chance to discuss the strength of the Irish sides and whether they need more bids in future years.

Alright, that’s the dull stuff. Let’s actually start in Ireland, with @tadhgb. How were things on Pelt’s side of the isle? Were you able to get a good run-out in preparation for the end of August?

tadhgb
For PELT anyway, it was a good outing up to Galway, with PELT 1 and 2 teams coming 1st and 2nd respectively, and both qualifying for Division 1. While the second team had four games to get through to earn that spot, PELT 1 got two solid games in against Rebel and Ballincollig, getting the wins fairly handily. The work that the club has been putting in for the summer is all starting to come together from the looks of things, so when the full squad gathers for EUCR-W, we'll be ready.

hazard
How do you reckon your second team would do if they were allowed to enter UK Nationals? It’s very impressive to have two teams at the top of your region.

tadhgb
Tough enough to say (I'll let you know after All-Irelands :P). While I don't think it would do any major damage to the top teams, it would certainly give some lower down teams, maybe midcard teams a run for their money. All depends on who would make the trip I suppose!


hazard
Alright. Let’s have a look at the other side. How did things go in the Eastern Irish Regionals @aido19 ?

aido19
Well I got the top 4 spot-on in my predictions, but it was an interesting weekend. Ranelagh kept their run of 16 unbeaten Regionals games going with only one scare coming in the very first game. They found themselves 7-6 down (I think) to a determined XVI before taking half and pushing on from there. After that, XVI and Ranelagh 2 fought in a really tight game where the Lagh's second team looked to be on top until the very end, where XVI stuck on a really tough zone which helped them win 10-8.

With those three at the top, there was a significant drop off after that. Masterclass and Gravity ended up scrapping for the final spot in a universe point game that Grav pipped.  I think the old legs of Masterclass struggled to keep the intensity up for seven games after starting so strongly on day one!

hazard
How do we think the Irish teams will do at Nationals then? There will be four qualifying spots. Could the Irish take two?

aido19
I would bank on both Irish teams making top 5. Now that it's only 4 spots it makes things very interesting.

hazard
Could they even take the title? I believe Clapham have a 16 streak record there of their own, although that’s just for tournament wins. It would be really entertaining to see the Irish come over and take the title straight off the bat (although we might then ban you, like we did at University level).

tadhgb
I don't know about that, but PELT have already had a few clashes with Clapham this year, and Ranelagh are at that level. We do love playing the underdog every now and again, so anything could happen come August. If it did happen, I think it's only fair that EUCR-W 2018 is hosted in Ireland though :P

hazard
As long as it’s reasonably hellish for the Scottish teams to travel to, I’m sure UKU will consider it as an option.

aido19
Who knows! I know from a Ranelagh standpoint the team will look to take every game as it comes with the goal of the weekend to make EUCF. Wouldn't be too shocked if we saw a Ranelagh/PELT final somehow but then again UKU will probably fix it so that can't happen ;)

hazard
Excellent, thanks guys!
So, onto the Northern Region. I think the team most people had their eyes on was EMO. After two really strong Tours (and a third Tour which didn’t go so well), we were really keen to see which EMO side would be turning up in the final stages of the season. @connormch, were you happy with how the weekend went?

connormch
Very pleased after a disappointing Tour 3. Our strongest squad of the year (after a tough selection process) performed as well as we’d hoped on day one and Sunday morning, and didn’t drop more than eight points in a game before the final.

The final was 100x better than any performance at T3, despite the loss, and we all agreed we still had more to bring which is very promising.

hazard
EMO actually ended up in the pool of death (as it were), with all four teams in pool B managing to qualify (EMO, SMOG, Alba, LLLeeds).

@h.christou, how did they look in your game? Also, how did Alba find the weekend?


h.christou
Tough to judge from our game since we were a new team. But in comparison to T2 when we (GU) beat them they were much better at Regionals. Probably because they had a lot more of their betters players back but they were very slick. Alba traded with them at the start and EMO pulled away convincingly.

Alba had a decent weekend. Tough when none of us had played together but the EMO game was really fun. Despite the score we feel it could and should have been a little tighter. We're still figuring out our best offensive and defensive sets, also working our actual squad for Nationals. So who knows what will happen in 3 weeks time.

For more context on our results:
SMOG was a 4/5 point D roll to win on universe.
We were 8-5 down at half to LLLeeds (I think) and lost 12-6.
EMO was a tight first half.

Results all over the place...

hazard
As you're co-captain with Gabe Schechter, you're in an ideal place to tell us a little bit about who Alba are as well. They’ll likely be the only unknown name for many on the Nationals schedule.

h.christou
We are basically those not involved in either Scottish mixed team. A bunch of young guns but also some experienced club players too. It's been put together since there was a load of talent leftover for open in the hope to have one strong team as opposed to entering two weak EDI or GU teams separately.

hazard
I believe that sudden death SMOG victory carried all the way through the tournament as well, to give you a better seeding at Nationals. Well done!

Alright, let's turn to @hodge and tackle the elephant in the room. How come Chevy are looking so strong now? For the first few Tours they were a little bit shaky. Come Tour 3 and Regionals, and they’ve taken (nearly) all comers.

hodge
A combination of progressively larger squads, as we've notoriously had very short lines at Tour for the past few years. There's also been a rethink in how we approach games, we're bringing a lot more energy and positivity which is helping a lot.

hazard
I don’t think it’s unfair to say that Chevy are currently favourites to finish second at Nats. So, two questions follow:
1. Do you reckon you can beat Clapham this time and break their streak?
2. Who are you most scared of coming from below? Did EMO prove themselves a worthy opponent this tournament? Is it the traditional enemy of Fire? Or is it the new threat of the Irish?

hodge
Yeah, we think we can. We've had progressively closer games the last two Nationals that I've been with Chevron. We know the small things that we need to do better to get over that hurdle, the challenge is just executing them in the toughest game of the season.

I'd personally lump EMO, Fire, the Irish and a full-strength Reading (which I assume won't be the case at Nationals) together at present.

hazard
Any ideas how the North in general will fare? I have to be perfectly honest, it seems like there’s a bit of a jump after the top three.

h.christou
I will agree with you. It's going to be a tough ride for LLLeeds, us and SMOG at Nationals. I think any of us breaking the top 10 would be a great result.

hodge
Agreed. After the top three the South would probably win every head to head from Regionals finishers. I wouldn't look past two Northern teams in the semis though...

hazard
Alright, onto the Southern Region. This was actually getting close to proper tournament stage. There were 14 teams all hoping to claim one of 8 spots.


Brighton City and Brighton Legends both qualify, making three Brighton teams at Nationals
Photo by @ironside1987 on instagram

Clapham dominated, using it as a nice warm-up before heading over to the USA. You can see their final against Fire of London here.


Their closest result all weekend was actually a 14-8 victory against Fire of London 2 in the pool stage. We’ll cover Clapham enough come Nationals/Euros, so let’s ignore them for now.

The Southern Region then has a number of teams all at a similar level (those who might fancy they’d reach middle/top half of A tour). One such team, and one we haven’t really spoken about so far this season, is Devon. @catpope, should we be scared of them as we enter the final stages of the season?

catpope
Yes, I think so. In the past they've been quite an unpredictable team, but this year they've put a lot of effort into recruiting and even some training. They came 3rd at Regionals with a small twelve man squad, at Nationals they'll have their full squad back.

hazard
Any notable players returning we should watch out for?

catpope
Cowie springs to mind, pretty sure he's their MVP. They'll also gain Ed Hammond, Max Craven, Samuel 'Cowboy' Luxa, Joe 'Mojo' Bampton, Macca Oldfield, James 'Wolfie' Wolverson, Richard 'Cowie' Coward, and a few more.

hazard
I’ve got good odds on Si Hill.

catpope
They had a great comeback in their rematch against Ka-Pow! to take 3rd. They were down 8-4 and eventually won in sudden death 10-9. 3rd is good result and they'll be aiming for top four at Nats. I think they'll have some super exciting, intense games.

hazard
Isn’t being exciting and intense part of the Devon playbook anyway?

catpope
Pretty much, fab team to watch (hence why I fangirl them all the time). You can tell they really want it this year. Quote from Josh “Ginge” Awcock: "Heart and legs!"

hazard
It’s actually quite interesting they managed to take down Ka-Pow!. They were last year’s surprise Nationals package. There were some hints of strength this year, but the fact that both Fire 1/Devon recorded successful comebacks (and Reading were one pre-half break from doing it) indicates there’s still a bit of a mental game they need to match their physical skill.

Other stories from Southern Regionals were: both Brighton sides narrowly squeaking in, Reading qualifying in Open to secure a team in every division at Nationals (whoo!), and Fire 2 being pushed out of the game-to-go by Camden.


Fire of London 2 seemed a little bit uncertain at points this weekend.
Photo by Tristan Millington for the ShowGame
Alright, for everyone who took part, here is your closer. Please give your top six for Nationals.


hazard
1. Clapham
2. Chevron
3. EMO
4. Ranelagh
5. Fire
6. Pelt

h.christou
1. Clapham
2. Chevy
3. EMO
4. Fire
5. Pelt
6. Devon

hodge
1. Chevron
2. Clapham
3. Pelt
4. EMO
5. Fire
6. Ranelagh

catpope
1. Clapham
2. Chevron
3. Fire
4. Devon
5. Ranelagh
6. EMO

tadhgb
1. Clapham
2. PELT
3. Chev
4. Ranelagh
5. Fire
6. EMO

aido19
1. Clapham
2. PELT
3. Ranelagh
4. Chev
5. EMO

6. Fire 

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