Who Will Go To Open And Women’s Worlds?
The big question following the Tour season.
The dust has settled after what was an extremely exciting Tour season. Both divisions saw volatility at the top end with teams varying wildly in strength throughout the season. The focus now turns to Regionals in two weeks time, and then Nationals at the end of August where we will get to see the top teams battle for a place at Worlds this time next year in Cincinnati.
If you haven’t watched any of the coverage from the Tour season, make sure you go and check it out on Fanseat.com (where you can also rewatch the coverage from Windmill and Beach Worlds) as there were plenty of fantastic games from all three Tour events.
Iceni didn’t show up to Tours 2 and 3, however, they are still far and away the best team in the country and will still take gold at Nationals. The real debate is around which team Iceni will beat in the final.
Looking at the results from the across the season, the contenders appear to be Brighton, Nice Bristols and SYC.
Brighton made the final at Tour 1, and managed third at Tour 3 with only nine players! It will be extremely interesting to see how they get on at Nationals with presumably a full squad.
Bristol didn’t really show up at Tour 1 or Tour 2, but they were dominant at Tour 3 — beating SYC 12–6 in the final — and will be difficult to stop if they continue that form at Nationals.
SYC had to face Iceni in semis at Tour 1 but comfortably beat GB in the 3v4 game to take third place. They then went on to win Tour 2 and make the final at Tour 3, showing more consistency across the season than Bristol or Brighton.
It’s difficult to call but I believe the top 4 will look like:
- Nice Bristols
Of course the format of the tournament could shake things up a bit but this is the order in which I think the teams are when they are playing at full strength. This gives Iceni and Nice Bristols the Worlds spots if we get two (although Bristol will have to perform well at Euros to secure their spot). We will have to wait and see what happens at Nationals!
Once again, Clapham are the best team in the country and will win Nationals without a doubt. The real question is which teams will fill the remaining spots.
Looking at the Tour results, it seems that the names in contention are Chevron, Fire and EMO. There are a few other teams — Devon, Ka-Pow, maybe even Manchester? — who could get in their way if Fire or EMO have an off game in pool play. Of course, Pelt and Ranelagh will also be at Nationals (although only playing for Euros spots and not a Worlds spot) so that is worth keeping in mind.
Chevron didn’t have a full squad for the first two Tour events but showed their class at Tour 3 pushing Clapham the whole way in the final, eventually losing 15–12 (which is a great result for them but Clapham were missing a few players and weren’t really trying as hard as they will be at Nationals). The only team, besides Clapham, that I realistically see Chevron losing to at Nationals is Pelt, who pushed Chevron hard in their semi-final at Tour 3 despite only having a 12 man squad.
Fire had a tough time at Tours 1 and 2 not bringing a full strength first team but were very impressive at Tour 3. If Chevron have an off game and Fire are on form then Fire could well win that match-up.
EMO were the standout team at the first two Tours this year, making the final of Tour 1 and coming out on top of all teams that weren’t Clapham at Tour 2. Tour 3, however, proved to be their undoing. Devon showed up with a full strength squad and took down EMO in the group stage in a pool that was topped by a strong Ranelagh side, pushing EMO out of the top eight. EMO then fell to Manchester and Ka-Pow to finish 11th at Tour 3. These are teams that EMO will need to beat at Nationals if they want a Euros or Worlds spot and it must be a little worrying for them to be showing some weakness this close to Nationals.
Again, not as easy to call as it has been in the past but my predictions for Nationals are:
Which gives Clapham the spot in the Elite division at Euros with the remaining teams going to the Challenger division, and Clapham, Chevron and Fire going to Worlds — assuming they retain this order at Euros, and assuming that we get three bids to Worlds.
A quick note about Regionals coming up very soon: the format looks a lot better than previous years where most regions had a fairly uninteresting tournament. This year, however, there are only two regions (North and South) as well as a Mixed division (there was supposed to be a Women’s division as well but not enough teams entered). We will have to wait and see how it pans out but I have high hopes that Regionals this year will be a lot of fun and my next post will probably be reviewing the new system.
Until then, enjoy watching back the footage of the Tour season on Fanseat, and if that isn’t enough then you can now also watch the documentary ‘Chasing Sarasota’ for free on YouTube. It is a must watch for any ultimate player, so go check it out if you haven’t already seen it!