Douglas Bowl to showcase UBC, UVic ultimate rivalry

UVic’s competitive ultimate frisbee team is happy to play the victim, but in name only.

Trevor Ashwell crashes down as Ashton Pearson sails past with frisbee in hand during UVictim ultimate frisbee practice on the University of Victoria turf fields last week. UVictim is University of Victoria’s competitive sports club entry into the collegiate circuit.

UVic’s competitive ultimate frisbee team is happy to play the victim, but in name only.

The sport is plenty popular with local players but doesn’t draw the spectators other top level sports command as many of its bigger tournaments are out of town, says Kevin Underhill, captain of UVictim, the university’s men’s club team.

Victoria did host the 2012 men’s, women’s, and masters nationals, with the finals played at Royal Athletic Park in August. It was met with a great turnout, but it will be years before the nationals return.

That’s why Underhill and former UVictim player Graeme Barber came up with the plan to showcase the sport with an annual event that pits UVic’s collegiate level men’s and women’s teams versus the rival UBC Thunderbirds with the newly created Douglas Bowl.

“We named it the Douglas Bowl to tie into some historical B.C. flavour,” Underhill said. “Obviously (Sir James Douglas) is the namesake for so many natural landmarks in B.C. and we wanted to associate with them.”

This semester is Underhill’s last with UVictim. The 24-year-old has played for them since the fall of 2008 and is in his final year of history and journalism.

“Barber and I decided it would be fun to host a showcase event with friends and family. People tell us they want to watch us play but we’re usually away.”

UVictim’s respective men’s and women’s teams practise up to five days a week and travel to tournaments on the West Coast. The women scored a huge win, finishing first in the Santa Barbara (University of California) Invite in late January. UVictim’s men were ninth.

Based on those and other results on the U.S.A. collegiate circuit, both UVictim teams are ranked in the top-30 of North American universities.

The Thunderbirds are also highly ranked, and though UVictim defeated them this year, the latter have yet to qualify out of the North West conference playdowns and into the U.S.A. nationals, which UBC has done a couple of times.

“It’s a competitive rivalry, we’ve got to know UBC’s players quite well from playing them over the years and they’re very accommodating to the idea,” Underhill said.

“The plan is to make (the Douglas Bowl) an annual event, with (UBC) hosting it next year.”

The inaugural Douglas Bowl is this Saturday on UVic’s newest field, No. 7, beside the Wallace Field rugby pitch, on the north side of Mackenzie Avenue.

The men play at 1 p.m., followed by the women. Admission is free, or by donation, as the team is fundraising for this year’s regional playdowns.

sports@vicnews.com