It’s going to be a busy term, but one that I am certainly relishing. It’s a great time to be a Mohawk, with lots of opportunities to play at all levels, whether just for fun or to push yourself as hard as you can. So here’s a little preview of just some of the ultimate-related events happening this term (and a bit about this summer) for you. But I couldn’t cover or predict everything – stay tuned to this website for news of extra practices/tournaments!
“Hardcore Hove” Monday practice restarts on the 7th (and then every Monday), 7pm-9pm at Hove Recreation Ground. Despite the “Hardcore” label, this practice is open to everyone and all Mohawks are encouraged to attend. It will give you the chance to get to know the players from Brighton Ultimate and meet more of the Panthers in a friendly, development-focussed environment.
The 13th is the first Longface Sundays practice. Come along to Stanmer Park to work on whatever you want to, do a couple of simple drills and then play a game. A great opportunity to get some extra training in with a top quality player/coach there to guide you.
Local open tour team Brighton are also holding trials for their open team over the weekend of the 19th and 20th. They are looking for athletic, young and talented players (Mohawks are always a good choice!) to better their 4th place finish at UK Club Nationals 2012, and 9th place in Europe. Sign up! There’s even rumours of the team being re-branded under a new name!
Meanwhile our GB U23s (Lawrence, Ashley, Kim, Emma) will be away making the Mohawks presence felt at a training camp, amongst the best young ultimate players the country has to offer.
And adding to a bumper ultimate weekend, the 19th also sees the inaugural Mohawks Campus Halls Cup, part of the student union’s multi-sport league where players from each of the halls (and off campus!) battle it out to win points for their hall. The details are just being finalised, but it may be run as a women’s event, with the aim to cast a wide net over campus and introduce more women to the sport. But watch this space – sign-ups for that event will be available in due course.
Mohawks regular Wednesday practices begin again on the 23rd January, on the clump. Keep your eyes peeled for updates to this website as there may be other informal sessions before then!
Our mixed teams are preparing for indoor nationals, with a one-day tournament in London on Sunday 27th January. The tournament is being held in an enormous sprung-wood hall, created as a training venue for the London 2012 Olympics.
The 2nd/3rd is the first GB U20s trial for both the women’s and the open teams. If you were born on or after January 1st 1994 then you should sign up! If you make the squad you will join a long history of Mohawks who have represented GB at Junior level, including Ashley Yeo and 2010/11 Grand Slam-winning Open Captain, Jack Beezer.
Two teams of Mohawks will go to university mixed indoor nationals in Wolverhampton on 9th/10th February, with a team in Division 1 and another in Division 2. As ever, updates during the weekend will be available via Twitter.
The following weekend sees the Brighton Ultimate Draft Indoor Tournament. The brain child of our coach Felix Shardlow, and follow-up to last summer’s very successful Draft League, BUDIT will begin with an exciting live draft night on Friday 15th at The Druids where captains will select their rosters from the available players. These teams will then play the tournament over the weekend. Sign-ups are open now.
If draft ultimate isn’t your thing then come down to the sea front on the morning of Sunday 16th to watch at least two Mohawks (your humble mixed captain and Helen Brunt) running in the Brighton Half Marathon. For those who fancy running it – normal entries are sold out now but you may have the chance to get a charity place. I am raising money for Sane and will be badgering you all to sponsor me soon.
Finally, on the 23rd a team of 15 open players will travel to Ireland to represent Mohawks on the international scene in a high-level open tournament. Other teams competing include Ireland’s Under 23s and Belgian Champions, Gentle. The Siege of Limerick promises to be a tough challenge for a development team keen to make the most of playing on the smooth, grippy 3G pitches out there. We’re very grateful to Sussex Sport for helping fund this trip through the Focus Sport scheme.
Perhaps our new kit (to be worn with pride) will arrive at some point during February too…
The 9th/10th sees the first of the university outdoor tournaments – open outdoor regionals. As with every year we will no doubt be looking to field several Mohawks teams so everyone gets a chance to play a competitive outdoor tournament. Sometimes it snows!
There’s no rest for the wicked, and the very next weekend (16th/17th) is university mixed outdoor nationals. Mohawks will be looking to field at least one strong team (hopefully two), and hoping to improve on last year’s 4th place finish. Selection for mixed outdoor nationals will occur in early March, and will be based on performance at practice so everyone has a chance to get on the team!
Luckily our Easter break comes around just in time to hop on a plane to Italy to play in the most prestigious club beach tournament in the world – Paganello. There are several Brighton-based teams representing across the open, mixed and junior divisions, playing against some of the best players and teams in the world. From the red wine party on the Thursday night, to Felix inevitably conducting the crowd during the finals on Sunday, ever year is filled with the promise of more epic memories and embarrassing anecdotes.
The first weekend in April (6th/7th) sees the first of the Mixed Tour events run by the UKU. Tour is a series of large national-level club tournaments bringing together the best clubs from around Britain in high-level and enjoyable competition. Mixed tour runs in the spring and Open & Women’s tour in the summer, providing crucial preparation for UKU Club Nationals in late August. There will surely be several teams entering from Brighton, so get yourself involved with Brighton Ultimate if you are interested in pushing your play to the next level, or just want to meet a bunch of new players, through playing tour. Every year there are many Mohawks and former Mohawks playing in top-teams at tour.
The end of our term dovetails nicely with the end of the university season, with Open & Women’s University Nationals on the 20th/21st April. This is the tournament we have been building towards since September. The Squaws and (subject to qualification via regionals) the open team, will both be looking to uphold the fearsome reputation of the Mohawks on the national stage. There is a fair amount of pressure on our teams, being holders of both the Women’s and Open titles for the past two years. Once again the alumni cup runs alongside the university divisions so expect some former Mohawks to grace the tournament with their presence and banter too.
The last tournament of the university season doesn’t mean it’s the end of your season, though. There is still mixed tour, open/women’s tour, hat tournaments, international tournaments, beach tournaments, UKU regionals, UKU nationals, Club Euros, the World Games, U23 Worlds, U20 Euros, and Beach Euros all to look forward to. And if you aren’t playing in all of these, many of them can be watched or followed online. You will probably be able spot at least one Mohawk, or former Mohawk playing in every one of these events. Whether you want to be on the pitch making a game-saving block on an international stage, or the life and soul of the party at a hat tournament somewhere in Asia, you will be joining a long line of Mohawks all contributing to the history, success and reputation of the name.
With such a calendar of university events, and Mohawks playing in every major competition this summer, we should be especially proud to be Mohawks this year, and can all share the successes and triumphs of every Mohawk, at every level of the sport. Every one of us should look forward to doing our bit to uphold the Mohawks’ reputation for elite performance, spirited play and all-round love for the ultimate community. See you on the field.