Tuesday, 6 August 2013

UKURegionals 2013 - Wrapup

Here is my preview which I put out last week. I think overall I am happy with my predictions! The Show Game also put out a set of predictions and previews for each region. Let's see how we did (1 point for correct team in correct qualifying position, 1/2 point for correct team in incorrect qualifying position).

Scotland
Apparently, Black Eagles (Mixed) almost caused a big commotion in the Scottish national Tournament, by only losing their Semi final in sudden death and, though I don't know their opponents, if they had gone to the final and won it would have caused a lot of chatter prior to nationals and they have to feel good about their results from this tournament and their season as a whole when going into Mixed nationals. The region was won by Glasgow Ultimate who took the only Nationals spot over Fusion. Correct predictions by myself and TSG so 1 point each.

North
No-one was tipping anyone but Chevron to take this region, but they were bested in a Sudden death Final game by Manchester Ultimate who took the regional title and the better seed going into nationals. Chevron took the second spot in convincing fashion:
Neither myself or TSG called this and the piece on TSG was written by a Manchester Ultimate player. If rumours are to be believed, Chevron took a small squad and will be fine for Nationals, but this does present an interesting job for the UKUltimate team who will be seeding Nationals. Chevron finished 2nd at Tour, but should be placed below Manchester due to their regional defeat. Manchester, on the other hand, finished Tour 11th and so it will be interesting to see how high they climb. TSG and I picked the two qualifying teams correctly, but in the wrong order so I'll give us each a half point per team. (Me: 2 TSG: 2).

Midlands
In the Midlands EMO were in control and took first place. Second were EMO 2 with Birmingham finishing third and taking the last spot to Nationals. This will be a good end to a good first season for a young Birmingham squad who started in the C-Tour and also shows EMO's strength in depth to take 1st/2nd. I predicted Birmingham 2nd, but their semi was against EMO 1 so that didn't happen. TSG: 5 Me: 4

South West
Don't think anything more needs to be said here. 1st: Devon 1, 2nd: Devon 2, 3rd: Devon 3
TSG: 8, Me: 7

South East
Here's where things get interesting. Again there was a dominant team at the top (Brighton City) and like the Midlands the action was for the other qualification spots. With DED concentrating on Mixed, their Open squad was weakened and was scared early in the day by the likes of Guildford Open. My predictions put them outside of qualification, but at the end of the day they were in the game to go against Release (who I had put as taking the 3rd spot). The game finished 10-7 to Release, another team to start the year in the C-Tour. Whilst DED were weakened through the mixed focus, this should still be going down as a massive upset by the home team who TSG predicted would finish in 7th place in the region. My other call of Reading making the final was spot on meaning I went 3 for 3 in this region. TSG: 9, Me: 10

London
I'll finish the running score there as I only predicted the 4th and 5th spot finishers in London, and TSG didn't provide any predictions (also, it conveniently finishes with me taking the win!). London regionals was a great day featuring upsets and one dominant team similar to most of the other regions. Clapham (despite going down 3-2 to Curve) would retain their title and the 1 seed at nationals.
I was quietly confident about Ka-Pow's chances going into the day, hoping to build on our momentum from Tour 3 and the high quality training sessions since then. We won our group against Jekyll and Hyde 2 (13-0) and Tooting Tigers who were winding down a tough and disappointing season with 9 players (some of whom would be playing in the mixed division anyway) (13-5). We went into our Semi final against Fire 1 with a bigger break after they had longer group games and took the early lead. The short game times meant that we were almost at the end of the game when we took half 7-3 (I think). The buzzer went at 8-4 (?) and we closed the game out 9-5 to advance to the Final and automatic qualification. Fire 1 were able to take the third spot and hold seed, but did not have the best of days. In the final, we stayed with Clapham early. They had taken a smaller squad but not small enough to make a difference with only 2 games (one of which was a 13-3 blowout) and so legs weren't a factor. Clapham were making mistakes and so were we, but they just made less and managed to pull away. The final score was 13-7, but we were still happy with our day and holding the second London seed to take the higher start position at Nationals which could prove to be a big difference maker given the other regional results.
As mentioned earlier, Fire 1 would go on to take 3rd. Their 3 v 4 was against Flump who upset Fire 2 in their "qualification semi" (3-6 bracket). Another team who started their season in C-Tour came up big at regionals to guarantee a nationals berth and beat a Fire 2 team who have had another strong year.
In the game to go, Fire 2 beat out Burro electrico to take the final spot.

The interesting outcome of this weekend is the (already started) Nationals seeding rumour mill. If it was purely based on this year's tour rankings (of the finishes based on spots in each region) and regionals finishes, the seeding would look like this:
1. (GL1 - Tour 1st: Clapham) Clapham
2. (N1 - Tour 2nd: Chevron) Manchester (Tour 11th)
3. (ML1 - Tour 3rd: EMO 1) EMO 1
4. (SE1 - Tour 5th: Brighton City) Brighton City
5. (GL2 - Tour 6th: Ka-Pow!) Ka-Pow!
6. (GL3 - Tour 7th: Fire 1) Fire of London 1
7. (GL4 - Tour 8th: Fire 2) Flump (Tour 23rd)
8. (SW1 - Tour 9th: Devon 1) Devon 1
9. (SE2 - Tour 10th: DED) Reading (Tour 17th)
10. (N2 - Tour 11th: Manchester) Chevron Action Flash (Tour 2nd)
11. (SC1 - Tour 12th: Glasgow) Glasgow
12. (ML2 - Tour 14th: BAF) EMO 2 (Tour 22nd)
13. (ML3 - Tour 15th: Cambridge) Birmingham (Tour 25th)
14. (SE3 - Tour 17th: Reading) Release (Tour 33rd)
15. (GL5 - Tour 18th: Tooting Tigers) Fire 2 (Tour 8th)
16. (SW2 - Tour 24th: Devon 2) Devon 2

This would provide some interesting first round matchups including: Manchester v Fire 2 and Flump v Chevron (with Flump as the higher seed!).
In the grand scheme of things though, seeding Chevron 10th would put them in a quarter final rematch against Manchester. Given that Chevron would go into that game with a full squad, Manchester should feel hard done by with that matchup. Arguments could be made that Manchester should be preparing to hold their seed against all comers, but the likelihood is that seedings will be slightly altered based on where each team finished at Tour rather than based on the finish of each regional spot was at tour. If I was in charge (and I'm glad I'm not) I probably produce a nationals seeding that would look like this:

1. (GL1 - Tour 1st: Clapham) Clapham
2. (ML1 - Tour 3rd: EMO 1) EMO 1
3. (SE1 - Tour 5th: Brighton City) Brighton City
4. (N1 - Tour 2nd: Chevron) Manchester (Tour 11th)
5. (GL2 - Tour 6th: Ka-Pow!) Ka-Pow!
6. (N2 - Tour 11th: Manchester) Chevron Action Flash (Tour 2nd)
7. (GL3 - Tour 7th: Fire 1) Fire of London 1
8. (SW1 - Tour 9th: Devon 1) Devon 1
9. (GL4 - Tour 8th: Fire 2) Flump (Tour 23rd)
10. (GL5 - Tour 18th: Tooting Tigers) Fire 2 (Tour 8th)
11. (SC1 - Tour 12th: Glasgow) Glasgow
12. (SE2 - Tour 10th: DED) Reading (Tour 17th)
13. (ML2 - Tour 14th: BAF) EMO 2 (Tour 22nd)
14. (ML3 - Tour 15th: Cambridge) Birmingham (Tour 25th)
15. (SW2 - Tour 24th: Devon 2) Devon 2
16. (SE3 - Tour 17th: Reading) Release (Tour 33rd)
On paper this looks fairer, with the bottom 4 teams being put in as the teams with the lowest tour rankings and alters the seed of Fire 2, Manchester and Chevron based on their tour finish whilst ensuring the regionals results aren't ignored. It also puts all the regional winners (except Glasgow) in the top 8.
The problems don't all go away with this solution though, with Brighton City drawing the quarter final matchup against Chevron and EMO 1 drawing a quarter against Fire 1. I think the organisers are in for a couple of headaches along the way, but if I'm being honest, there does appear to be a quite clear top 6 teams going to this tournament and if I was going to list them (in alphabetical order) they would be:
Brighton City, Chevron, Clapham, EMO1, Fire 1, Ka-Pow!. The next four, based on Tour would be Devon 1, Glasgow, Manchester and Fire 2 and then the rest, but we saw at Regionals that Flump were able to upset Fire 2, so why should Flump start below Fire 2 and who's to say they couldn't cause a few more upsets.
All I can say is good luck to the schedulers/tournament organisers and bring on Nationals!

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