Tour 1 2013: London Calling is the most highly anticipated Tour event that has ever happened. The club teams at the top are bringing their strongest squads, the Open Under 23‘s are in the mix for the first time, the international attendance is plentiful, new teams will be flexing their muscles, the fight for the top 4 in A Tour will be fierce, the qualification spots from B Tour will be harder fought than even before, and articles and predictions are flying around the social media sites like wildfire. Not to mention now is when the battle for WUCC 2014 qualification begins!
09:00, Pitch 17
Iceni Savage v Nice Bristols 1
Iceni have again entered 2 teams, one of them being incredibly small on numbers (7 or 8 in case of injury I think). They performed great last year, actually finishing above the regular Iceni team, but do they have it in them to upset the seedings in this match? Nice Bristols have gradually but consistently gone from strength to strength over the last few years, winning this game could cement their place at the very pinnacle of UK women’s ultimate in many people’s minds.
Prediction: 15-13 to Nice Bristols.
10:40, Pitch 4
EMO v CUSB
No game with Davide Morri playing can be boring, especially ones which are set to be close… With both teams having plenty of young athletic talent on board, expect both bids and words to be flying left and right in this battle. Neither team will be happy with finishing bottom of this group – EMO’s captain having recently been outraged at his team not receiving coverage in an article about the top teams by The Secret Frizzer, and CUSB having travelled to the UK with the intention to battle it out at the top. These teams finished 12th and 13th at EUCF 2012 (CUSB on top that time). EMO will be missing their captain Joe Wynder to GB U23 this Tour, which could be the difference…
Prediction: 15-12 to CUSB.
12:20, Pitch 1
Clapham v GB U23
This is the match the U23 squad must’ve been hoping for – the ultimate test against the best team in Europe. Predictions for how U23 will perform at Tour 1 have ranged from winning it to finishing outside the top 8 of the A Tour, and if anything will prove the unbelievers wrong then coming out with a victory here will be it. An U23 team competing in Tour has never been seen before, so nobody really knows what will happen! Keeping their heads on offence and putting in the goals no matter how long it takes will be key if they are to take the victory.
Prediction: 15-12 to Clapham.
12:20, Pitch 2
Chevron v Brighton City
A rematch of the 3v4 at Nationals last year, European runners-up Chevron have lost 9 of their young players to the GB U23 team, and some of their older players to Zimmer, whilst Brighton have only lost a couple to U23 and a couple to Brighton Echo, so are bringing a large team with 8 players not seen last season (a combination of youth coming through from Mohawks/Panthers, satellite players, and players returning from injury / time abroad) – after only 4 points separated them at the end of 2012, it will be interesting to see how the teams now match up at the start of 2013 with their much changed lines.
Prediction: Sudden death thriller.
12:20, Pitch 3
Bad Skid v Clapham Dogs
Bad Skid have performed consistently well at EUCF, giving Clapham trouble in the quarter final in 2011, and rising all the way up to 5th from the lower pools in 2012 (they were missing a couple of key players at their regionals, thus were under-seeded and knocked Brighton out of contention in the group stages). They are a young team, which means they are likely to be even stronger this year, especially after their experiences at recent EUCFs. Clapham are never to be underestimated, every one of their players bringing quality to the game, but will the D team have the patience and accuracy to put away their offence consistently?
Prediction: 15-13 to Clapham Dogs.
14:00, Pitch 2
Zimmer v Glasgow Ultimate
There has been plenty of chatter but little information about Zimmer – I can reveal they are a masters team, featuring countless names familiar to anyone who has been playing Tour for a few years – Dave Sealy, Dave Bixler, Dave Grayson, Dave Barnard (sure are a lot of Daves, reminds me of Glastonbury – speaking of which…), Rik Shipley, Si Hill, Si Weeks, Chris Berry… the list goes on. The amount of experience here is daunting.
On the other end of this game, Glasgow Ultimate – Shaun Webb and co have been doing plenty of work up in Glasgow to build a strong and self-sufficient ultimate community, and foster an environment of learning within a competitive atmosphere. This year sees the strong Glasgow-based players who have previously played for Fusion (also in their pool!) at Tour commit to the Glasgow Ultimate team, and combining this with the new talent which has been brewing beneath the surface for a while, it might just be enough to run circles around the experienced but “not quite as spritely as they used to be” Zimmer. The juxtaposition of youth vs experience here will be a sight to behold.
Prediction: 15-9 to Zimmer, who will throw a zone defence.
A Tour prediction:
2. Bad Skid
3. GB U23
4. Clapham Dogs
B Tour prediction:
2. Ireland U23 Open
3. Manchester Ultimate
4. Glasgow Ultimate
C Tour prediction:
1. Guildford Ultimate
2. Portsmouth Ultimate
4. Limited Release
Full info and schedule for the event is available here.