York Ultimate Aim High for Italy

Ultimate Frisbee team prepare for international championships after success in UK Student Nationals

York Ultimate have capped a highly successful year by finishing 10th in the country at the Indoor Student Nationals in Sheffield, cementing their place as one of the top University sides in the country. This achievement builds on the groundwork put in earlier in the year where the team dominated opposition in the regional competition, closely losing out in the final 8-7 to Leeds, the former national champions.

The national tournament in held Yorkshire attracted teams from as far away as Aberdeen and Portsmouth.

York’s first game on the Saturday was against Exeter, seeded high in the tournament ladder. However, effective offensive play, orchestrated from the back by Peter Rouse and Richard Hall, together with some great defensive blocks by Geoff Davey saw York win convincingly 9-3. The team continued their form by beating Brunel and Glasgow, concentrating on playing safe discs in an unrushed and confident style with little loss of possession.

However, silly defensive mistakes on Sunday morning, due in no small part to the party the night before, saw York drop out of the top pool as Loughborough and then Aberdeen, who went on to beat Edinburgh in the final, capitalised on weak play to deny York the chance to win the tournament.

York’s last game against Southampton was the final in the pool. Despite awesome performances by Matt Hodgson, who was unbeatable in the air, the team let a close game slip away from them as they succumbed 8-5. Although the defeat was “undeniably disappointing”, star player Geoff Davey believed that “everyone played their hardest,” and emotionally told nouse that “I love this game so much.”

The reputation of York can only go from strength to strength in the next couple of months. Despite being one of the youngest clubs on the circuit, York already boasts several internationals as former players and coaches, and the current beginner team is improving rapidly with several players breaking into the first team squad.

During Easter the team is travelling to Italy to play in the European championships. The tournament is being held at Rimini in the northeast of the country with teams from across the continent playing on the wide beaches of the resort. The waiting list for Rimini is five years so York’s inclusion is a great opportunity for the club. Richard Hall, captain of York believes that this tournament “can only help the side, giving younger players experience playing at a high level.”

“It is important that beginners get an opportunity to see the game played at it’s best as there is only so much you can do in practice” he said. However, a gruelling training regime ensures they will all go to Italy well prepared and with high fitness levels. The image of Frisbee as a pastime for the beach is quickly dispelled by Hall, as he outlines the sprint training and endurance runs that make up an essential element of player’s routines. Together with tactical, skills and match practice he believes the team is well placed for success on tour.

In their current form it is highly likely that York Ultimate will repeat last year’s comprehensive destruction of Lancaster in The Roses next term. President Peter Rouse confidently asserted, “As things stand, we’ve got one of the strongest teams about”.

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