Kernow Ultimate Frisbee qualify for Nationals

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Hannah Davies reports from the BUCS Indoor Regionals on a historic day for Kernow Ultimate Frisbee


Kernow Ultimate Frisbee took two teams to BUCS Indoor Regionals last weekend. After a weekend of intense matches against some of the very best teams in the Southwest, Kernow Ultimate’s first team won the 3rd seed spot which landed them a place in division 2 at Nationals, which take place in Wolverhampton at the end of this month. This will be the first time that Kernow Ultimate has gone to Nationals! Kernow Ultimate Coach and Captain of the first team, Robin Ellis-Cockcroft had this to say about Kernow’s historic win: ‘To come 3rd is an amazing achievement for our small club and really shows the fighting spirit of our first team, something we are working hard to spread throughout the whole Kernow family!’.

Photo: Héloϊse Blcx. Image of Kernow Ultimate Frisbee First Team. Back row, left to right: Joseph Mines, Jolyon Blackwell, Tom Berry, Robin Ellis-Cockcroft, Arthur Holt. Front row, left to right: Alejandra Piazolla, Laura Goodhead, Hannah Davies
Photo: Héloϊse Blcx. Image of Kernow Ultimate Frisbee First Team. Back row, left to right: Joseph Mines, Jolyon Blackwell, Tom Berry, Robin Ellis-Cockcroft, Arthur Holt. Front row, left to right: Alejandra Piazolla, Laura Goodhead, Hannah Davies

First team started out in tenth seed on the first day of the tournament. However, after beating Exeter 3, Southampton 2 and UWE 1, only having lost to one team, Bristol 1, they secured their place in the top eight to compete for the four spaces for Nationals on the Sunday.

On the Sunday they came up against Bath, who have qualified for nationals the past two years. Despite Bath’s dominance in recent years, the team pulled together to secure an 8-6 win over Bath who qualified in 4th seed. Men’s Captain, Arthur Holt described the victory over Bath as his ‘favourite moment’ of the tournament and had this to say: ‘No one expected us to win, however from game start everyone had the belief. We stormed out to an early lead then held our composure and carried on our ferocious defence leading to an 8-6 victory. Next stop Wolverhampton for Nationals!’

They then faced old friends, Plymouth in the semi-finals and went on to win 7-3. This secured their position in 3rd seed and meant that they were now in contention to qualify for division 1 Nationals. In under a year Kernow Ultimate Frisbee team have gone from struggling to compete against these teams to beating them, which is a monumental change. Socials and Outreach Officer, Laura Goodhead said, ‘The whole team have worked incredibly hard, not only over the past two months but some the last three years to create a strong, competitive and close bond.’

The final was against Bristol and was a very close and intense match that left both teams breathless by the end. There were layouts galore from Alejandra Piazzolla and Arthur Holt, impressive aerial grabs from Robin Ellis-Cockcroft and Tom Berry, spicey throws from Joseph Mines and cheeky end zone scores from Laura Goodhead and Jolyon Blackwell, as well as ferocious defence from the whole team! Kernow Ultimate lost the match by only two points, but took full advantage of the opportunity to show the other teams that they are a force to be reckoned with, as they nearly knocked Bristol out of division 1. Women’s Captain, Alejandra Piazzolla said, ‘Qualifying for Nationals is an unprecedented achievement for Kernow’s Ultimate Frisbee Team. Never before have we made it so far. It’s been amazing to see how, during my three years of university, this team has grown so much and is now in a position to compete in BUCS Nationals!’.

Photo: Héloϊse Blcx. The full squad, including the first and second teams.
Photo: Héloϊse Blcx. The full squad, including the first and second teams.

The second team, captained by John Ragadio, whilst not challenging to win the tournament took the opportunity to wow those watching with some stunning throws down court and aerial grabs that even experienced players struggle to execute effectively. Despite losing a few games they kept their spirits up throughout the whole tournament, improving more after each match and fought hard to finish a valiant 19th. They were still outside practicing their throwing three hours after their final match; if that’s not dedication I don’t know what is! A member of the second team, Michelle Greensted had this to say, ‘I learned so much at regionals. Playing against teams with such high standards really helped us to learn from our mistakes and gel together as a team. The team spirit and positivity was really inspiring, and seeing our 1st team get into nationals was just a fantastic finale!’

Kernow Ultimate have smashed it so far this term and they’re not done yet! With BUCS Men’s indoor regionals 12-13th November, Women’s indoor regionals 19-20th November and of course BUCS Nationals 26-27th November, we haven’t heard the last from this team.

Keep posted for more updates.

Photo: Héloϊse Blcx
Photo: Héloϊse Blcx

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