Ultimate challenge for Buckden’s flying disc king Howard Storey as he heads out to Cananda
- Credit: Archant
HOWARD Storey will head off to Canada this month to take part in the Ultimate Under-23 flying disc World Championships – but there won’t be a Frisbee in sight, writes RICHARD HUGHES.
Of course, you and I call what the 21-year-old former Kimbolton School pupil throws a Frisbee – but ‘Frisbee’ is a brand name owned by Wham-O, and these days, at the very top of the sport, they don’t use that particular company’s flying disc.
“Ultimate is a seven-a-side sport played on grass or on a beach and sometimes indoors. The pitch is just a bit smaller than a football pitch and there are end-zones where you score your points just like in American football,” Storey explained.
“You can’t move with the disc, like in netball you have to work it up the pitch, passing it to your team-mates so that it can be caught in the end-zone.”
Is that clear? To sum up: Ultimate is a mixture of football, American football and netball played with a flying disc, which is essentially a Frisbee, but not a frisbee, that can be played indoors or outdoors, on grass or sand.
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To be fair, as Storey shows me how to grip and throw the disc, I quickly realise I am not ‘chucking’ the Frisbee of my youth – they were light and flimsy, these things are thick and heavy. My backhand is fine – that’s the way everyone grips and throws a disc when it is handed to them – but my forehand is useless and my cannon is nonexistent. Storey, on the other hand, can make the thing soar. “At school I played squash,” he told me. “No-one else at school played squash apart from some of the teachers and one, Adam Jessop, played Ultimate for Great Britain in the 1990s. He gave me a Frisbee, taught me some of the rules, and when I went to university in Norwich I joined their team.”
Storey, who lives in Buckden, has just completed an undergraduate degree at UEA and will return to Norwich take a Masters – but not before he joins up with the mixed-sex GB squad in Toronto on July 21 for the sports’ World Championships.
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“I started playing for my local team, Cambridge Ultimate, and last summer I was invited for trials for the GB Under-23 team,” he said. “That’s how I got into the squad.”
Training with his new international team-mates has been in Coventry and, as the sport is non-professional, save for a handful of administrators, the trip to Canada has to be self-financed. But, as Storey points out: “The spirit of the game is very important, hence it being self refereed.”
Half an hour of tuition at Memorial Park in Brampton on Saturday didn’t help me much. In my case, practice might not make perfect. But if you want a try, Cambridge Ultimate hold open sessions at Jesus Green in the city at 11am on Sundays. “It’s a great way to meet new people and it’s great fun,” said Storey.
You can watch the sport in all its glory at www.huntspost24/sport.co.uk