Leeds Ultimate Frisbee club has once again had an extremely successful weekend, with both the mens and womens 1s winning their respective outdoor regional tournaments, earning them both places at nationals. For the men, they earned one of only two Division 1 spots at nationals.
Despite a shaky start, the women comfortably won all their pool games on Saturday, holding their second place seeding into Sunday’s matches. No one really knew what to expect with this womens team, with several key players away at GB commitments, the squad was made up of both experienced and developing players. Experienced handlers Rachel Douglas, Katie Lear and Rachel Finch worked the disc up the pitch to key point-scorers Alexis Soo and Jess Gregson.
The men also won all of their pool games on Saturday, holding their third place seeding. Given that the men’s team placed second at Indoor Nationals earlier in the year, the squad for regionals was expected to be very strong, and they did not disappoint, bringing a very experienced team to the tournament. This team included GB players Will Carter and Rob White, Ireland player Nicholas Peters, as well as ex-captain Nick Moss and current captain Dan Lovesey.
Sunday’s games were stepped up a level as the top teams from the region fought it out for a place in the final, and places at Nationals. However as well as tough games for our teams on the Sunday, the weather also decided to play its part, bringing 45mph winds and rain to the pitches. Such extreme weather made playing conditions very difficult, but also highlighted the really skilled players at the tournaments. These players with the most experience seemed unfazed by the wind, simply using their knowledge of the sport and skill to work around it. The wind meant that games often turned into a trading of upwind and downwind points, which meant that at times the results of the toss to decide which teams started at each end was pivotal to the result.
This contributed to the 15th place position for the mens 2s. The team, despite being more inexperienced than the first team, demonstrated great promise and skill, particularly given that a large number of players only picked up the sport in September. Stand out developing players were key point-scorer Josh Holden and strong defensive player Mike O’Sullivan. The team even managed to get a crucial upwind point thanks to a pitch length huck by captain Nick Mortimer.
Despite the adverse weather conditions, both first teams reached the final on Sunday, with the mens 1s playing Sheffield in a close game with both teams breaking through the wind and scoring some upwind points. Men’s captain Dan Lovesey reflected that for the 1s to go undefeated all weekend in what has been shown to be a very difficult region was very pleasing, with the whole team raising their game. It was also impressive to see everyone coping so well with the tough weather conditions.
The womens 1s came up against Loughborough yet again this season, having previously lost the semi-final to the same opposition at Women’s Indoor Nationals.
Captain Amelia Kenneth puts the women’s success down to ‘coming out fighting for every point and utilising each individuals strengths on the pitch’. We can be proud of the entire club for playing hard in gruelling conditions, gaining experience for all our developing players and being rewarded with a double Leeds victory.
This is shaping up to be an extremely successful season for Leeds Ultimate Frisbee, particularly with the recent announcements that so many of our players have been selected to play for Great Britain, and one player for Ireland. The society look forward to the Nationals in April where they will no doubt look to dominate.
Image courtesy of twitter.com