This edition of the Bears Preview is brought to you by ‘Toxicity’, the latest fragrance by Rory Hughes.
Put down your exam revision and cast aside your triangular logos because it’s that time again – the Bearnefactor Cup finally returns to Warwick after an agonising wait that has lasted almost as long as Chris “Wrah” Wray’s last attempt at the Three Pint Challenge. During that time, Warwick Bears have welcomed a new batch of freshers, won Outdoor Regionals, and hosted some of the biggest POP circles in the club’s history. This year’s competition is wide open, with BearCode unable to make the journey to the Alan Higgs Centre after having already established a pivot elsewhere. As a result, each of the expanded roster of 16 teams will fancy their chances of taking home the prestigious trophy.
Care Bears were the runners-up in this tournament last year and will surely back themselves to go one step further in the absence of the reigning champions. Club president Hamza “Fan Speed Zero”Alawiye, who has single-handedly doubled the UK’s conditioner sales after his recent hair-based award, has treated his side to state-of-the-art training facilities inside Kasbah nightclub in preparation for this weekend. Elsewhere in the squad, handler P-Money “Alex” Porter returns from promoting his latest Country-Dubstep mixtape at Smack to offer his side some handling consistency, while Mafia “The Jamie” Barr and I-Wen Liu should provide consistent outlets for him in the absence of Care Bears ever-present Emmanuel Ingold. Still reeling from the “Prize-Gate” controversy of last year’s One World Week tournament, Care Bears will look to supplement the rapid growth of their global brand with performances to match on Saturday.
But let’s not forget the beginner’s side that succeeded them. Shakesbears ‘Throwmeo’ and ‘FSUliet’ revolves, of course, around the classic tale of two star-crossed lovers torn asunder by a series of events beyond their control. But enough about Adam Carver and Josh Blake – one year on, this year’s Shakesbears teams have transformed from plucky young prospects into the jaded cynics that we know and love today. Their squad includes up-and-coming first-year Ed “The” Fresher, Matt “How Does His Theme Tune Go” Kirk (fresh from an evening of speed-dating at his local bingo hall), and the player known simply as Steven, who remains so pivotal to his side’s endzone iso plays. As ever, Romit Patel should act as a reliable understudy to star man Zak Dunstone in a side that now possesses the experience and skill to challenge for the Bearnefactor title outright.
This weekend also offers Warwick’s youngest beginner’s team the chance to show off their progress. Barbearians – an unruly horde from the dark recesses of campus known only as “Warwick Business School” – have laughed in the face of numerical consistency and labelled their teams ‘A’, ‘1’, and ‘I’. There were concerns within the team that Andreas Vassilou would struggle to keep up with training after landing the gruelling position of Pubs & Comms officer, having recently embarked on an intensive training course to master the fine art of PowerPoint. Still, this team will benefit from the strong connection between George “Siddens” Goodquestion and Will “Bolton” Badquestion after overcoming the initial difficulties of playing man defence while simultaneously gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes. Further up the pitch, the height and pace of Jonah “and the Whale” Varney and Duncan “Mcleish the Kraken” Mcleish should provide a consistent deep threat to trouble their more experienced opponents.
Experience is something that Bounce have in abundance, having traditionally excelled at the smaller formats of the sport by offering a mixture of tactical nous and agility that can see them quickly rack up high scores. Unfortunately we are yet to hear confirmation of their final squad – Victor Tan’s commitment to Care Bears means that the side takes on a new look this year – so let’s just assume I’ve made a witty remark about Battle Tetris and move on.
Move on, that is, to what I can objectively say is the tournament’s most electrifying prospect; a side that eschews flash in favour of guile and poise, with a Primark kit that echoes the supreme grace and subtlety of a 10-yard knee slide and a name that strikes fear into Ultimate players and fans of correct capitalisation alike. I am of course referring to BUMBUNGALOW; they come into this tournament off the back of a strong display of zone defence at AWOL, where the enigmatic number 73 reportedly scored and assisted every single point for his side (rumours that his squad number is an homage to Tobias Huxol’s birth year are yet to be confirmed). The side welcomes back the handling prowess of Olly “The Arms” Whitehead after a prolonged hiatus; he’s joined by Oliver “The Waiter” Stidwell and his intern Sam “YouTube” Hawkins, who will mostly be tasked with fetching isotonic drinks for his teammates as they deal with the strains of iron-manning.
Away from campus, Coventry Firebirds and their off-shoot Justdisc League have quietly been stringing together a series of fine performances to emerge as promising prospects within the region. Amir Sudra will feel confident that he can help inspire a string of victories – assuming, of course, that he doesn’t have to catch any pulls. With confidence and creativity in spades among their ranks, could a Coventry team be the side that steps into the void left behind by BearCode?
With so many teams in this year’s contest, we now reach the portion of the preview where I make wild assumptions about teams I know nothing about. Take Dean Ultimate, who I can only assume consists of a single player named Dean who will rely entirely on Callahans to score. The tournament is rounded out by KittenZoom, Sandwedge, Team Wang, Hammered, and Crabs – a mish-mash of contenders that appears to be mostly comprised of animals and inanimate objects. Remarkably, they have each overcome this considerable obstacle to develop a more consistent backhand than Rob Terrett.
Here are the seedings:
- Team Wang
- Shakesbears Throwmeo
- Justdisc League
- Shakesbears FSUliet
- Coventry Firebirds
- Dean Ultimate
- Barbearians A
- Barbearians I
- Barbearians 1
Whatever happens, one thing is certain: Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.
And that’s it for this year’s Bearnefactor Cup; next weekend we’ll be covering the upcoming Heads Up championship.