It was an early start for the Ultimate Frisbee team, gathered outside Parkinson steps at 6:30 to pack themselves and their kit in to vehicles for the trip to Nottingham for the UK Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Nationals – our final tournament of the season.
As a sport that prides itself on its pursuit of gender equality, there are both mixed and gender separate tournaments. Although separate Nationals, both
genders played on the same pitches, presenting a great chance for the teams to support each other on the sidelines, and to showcase the high-calibre of play across the sport and country.
The women’s weekend began with a regionals pool, as the earlier planned regionals tournament was cancelled due to snow. In typical Leeds fashion, we were a little slow waking up and suffered an early loss against Newcastle. The next match, against Huddersfield, also proved difficult but the women finally kicked into gear for the game against Durham. After a tense, hard-fought battle, Leeds ultimately won on universe point, securing a place in Division One!
The first day of competition for the men saw them play Warwick, Swansea, and Bangor. They had an amazing line up of final-year PhD students, undergrads, and a few first years who have shown massive improvement over the year. They defeated Warwick early in the day, before a close match against Swansea, which unfortunately ended in Swansea’s favour. With their pool tied up, the men played a close cross-over against Bangor – narrowly missing out on a win. On the second day of play the men were unstoppable, winning all their games – against UWE, Hertfordshire, and Nottingham Trent – by a margin of at least four points! It was exciting to watch; full of long throws, high grabs, and incredible defence.
Emboldened by the Durham win, the ladies entered day-two fired up and ready to work hard. Ranked 14th at the start of the day, we beat 11th seeded Warwick by two points. Despite losing to Cardiff, the team’s zone defence solidified, which proved useful in our final game of the tournament – a rematch against Huddersfield. The wind meant we traded downwind points in an exhausting and intense game. With chilly offence and great communication in defence, the women defeated prevailed in a 7-6 win, securing a ninth-place finish!
Outdoor Nationals were challenging but rewarding as the Frisbee teams came together to play great Ultimate, cheer each other on, and share the love of the sport.