Ultimate Frisbee is one of the fastest growing university sports, combining speed, stamina, skill and teamwork into a game that’s like no other sport. It’s a team sport where the players aim is to score points by passing a disc to a teammate over the opposing team’s goal line, it is regularly described as an amalgamation of American Football and Netball.
The men’s indoor regionals on the first weekend of November was a weekend of firsts for the University of Bath’s Ultimate Frisbee team; not only did they host their first regional tournament, but they also secured two places at BUCS Division 1 Indoor Nationals (top 16 teams in the country) for their first and second teams respectively. This feat has never been accomplished by Bath and you have to look back a long time to find another university that has.
The event saw 20 teams comprising of 200 players travel from across the South West to the University’s Sports Training Village to compete for the title of Regional Indoor Champions. There were also five spots at the Nationals up for grabs – three for Division 1 and two for Division 2.
The Saturday consisted of pool play; four groups of five battled for a spot in the top 8 so that they could subsequently contest for the top spot and the Nationals places on Sunday. Everything went to plan for Bath 1s, topping their group with a dominant performance. Bath 2s finished second in their group, falling short only to Bristol 1s who proved too much for the second team. Bath 3s and 4s also had successful days; both finishing the group stages in a position to compete for ninth place on the following day.
Sunday was the business end of the tournament; Bath 1s first game was the semi-final against Bristol 1s. In what was the most tightly contested match of the weekend Bristol edged Bath 1s in sudden death. Despite this gutting defeat the first team managed to regroup and win their next two games against Southampton and Exeter comfortably to secure second place and a spot at Division 1 Nationals.
The real surprise package of the tournament though, were the Bath second team. The 2s went on an incredible run on the Sunday – taking down three first teams on the way and after dispatching Plymouth and Southampton 1s they found themselves with an opportunity to book their spot at the Division 1 Nationals by taking third place. The team that stood in their way was Exeter 1s.
This game with a trip to the Division 1 Nationals at stake, was an intense affair, with Bath 2s taking an early lead. However, the experienced Exeter team fought back to tie the match. The second team showed resolve and pulled one point ahead with 30 seconds to go. Exeter then tried to even it up again, but Bath managed to force a turnover in possession. After some incredible play, Bath put in one last point before the buzzer and the whole club invaded the pitch to celebrate.
The third and fourth teams, made up of mostly beginners, finished as the best third and fourth teams in the region beating some second teams along the way as well; concluding the clubs most successful tournament ever.
If this article has inspired you to pick a disc up and give it a go, be sure to check out the club’s page on bathstudent.com and get in touch with the committee. It’s never too late to start playing and the club welcome people of all abilities. The club has men’s, women’s and mixed teams and they play all year round – indoors, outdoors and sometimes even on the beach.
Photo credit: Olly Bailey