Team of the week: Phoenix Knights (Grey Ultimate)

Our team of the week is Grey Ultimate Frisbee – they’ve got a massive claim to be the biggest ultimate club in Durham and have topped it off this year by organising a national tournament. CRAIG HAWES gives us the inside scoop…

grey hat knights phoenix Ultimate

Grey College Ultimate Frisbee Club a.k.a. Phoenix Knights. 3 teams, over 50 current active members, 2 alumni teams, 10 years, over 6 national tournaments per year and now, The Durham HAT.

I could write about the success of the teams, the spirit trophies won at national tournaments or our awesome flamey kit (yep that’s us) but none of that is what makes Phoenix Knights exceptional.


The success of the club, the reason we have the second most active members in Grey and the reason our biggest problem isn’t finding enough people- it’s finding space for them all to play – is simple.

We offer a place for people to come along, run about, laugh, joke and play in a friendly and inclusive environment.

Phoenix Knights do this by successfully adopting the ethos of Ultimate Frisbee: a game you can play at any level; high-up, athletic and competitive to completely casual just as something to get you out in the sun.

It’s a tough life…

The most important part, more-so than winning, is Spirit of the game which is loosely equivalent to sportsmanship. Ultimate is self-refereed; players keep to the rules, call their own fouls and settle disputes themselves.

In the world of competitive sports where aggressive competitiveness and pressure are the norm, Ultimate has created an environment where you must always play with good sportsmanship else the game couldn’t exist.

No matter how much a game means, fouling will never help, opponents cannot be seen as the enemy and sportsmanship must rule the day.

No refs, no fouls, no pitch

So how do we adopt this?

When the freshers arrive and ask what is Ultimate Frisbee I say “Frisbee is the sport for the un-‘Sporty’.”

There are two meanings here: firstly aimed at the athletic, sport enthusiasts that have never enjoyed the aggressively competitive nature of most mainstream sports.

The second group are those who have never been particularly sporty or competitive but equally enjoy getting outside as much as the next guy, running about as much or little as they please, and of course we have everyone in between these extremes.

Cor, what an action shot!

With this approach we have grown a club where all are welcome, tied together with an activity that we are all able to enjoy in the way that most suits us on an individual basis. This has built friendships, enthusiasm for the club and most importantly, community.

Our A-team came second in the college premiership, we regularly take teams to national tournaments holding our own against Uni and club teams bringing home spirit prizes and occasionally trophies, and we field more teams than any other college Frisbee club.

The A Team

Not only that but this year we took up the mantle of hosting the Durham HAT tournament in co-operation with DUF, a national tournament renowned within the Frisbee community for being one of the biggest and best Hat tournaments around.

We have achieved a lot over the last decade but our real achievement, which I have tried do justice to here, is the community we have built and which is now spreading to other college teams across Durham.

This isn’t even half of them

So next time you see some of us messing about in a muddy field with a piece of plastic, before you dismiss us, look at our faces, look at our smiles, ask why we think it’s worth bearing the weather, standing ankle deep in the mud or snow or puddles and then, come ask to have a go.

Team Durham: “Allowing Exceptional People to do Exceptional Things.”

Phoenix Knights:  “Allowing Normal People to do Exceptional Things.”