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Tournament Reports

University Open Indoor Nationals

23.Nov.2013 - 24.Nov.2013 - Coventry


UOIN-2013

Apologies for the length, but when it's an epic weekend, it deserves an epic report.

It was a cold Saturday morning, and the mist threaded its way through Cambridge like Lionel Messi through the Aston Villa defence. If one was to happen to make their way past Churchill College at this time, they would have come across 7 fine figures of men...and George. George had a sprained toe. It's a thing, Google says so apparently.

They were future champions, ready to fulfil their destiny.

If only the bloody bus would turn up.

Half an hour later, Dom greeted us with a cheeky smile and mumblings of sleeping through 3 alarms, but the lipstick stains said otherwise...it had clearly been another night on the drag circuit for 'Latisha*'. Soon we were on our way, Coventry and the University Indoor Open National Championships our destination. The towering structure that greeted us an hour and a half later had no idea who was about to stride through the doors (Ben coming in slightly later because he considered buying a bike from the car boot sale there). Some would say that you shouldn't be able to see your breath when playing an indoor tournament, but sometimes rules such as these don't apply, so we quickly warmed up with the help of donuts ("you're never gonna be a top tier athlete with donuts for breakfast! ... But I'm happy to join you on the second tier"- Ben Funk), looking to hit our stride early against bottom seeds in our pool, Durham.

Strange Blue 8-4 Durham

We quickly hit our stride with our offence, making the most of quick discs and handler movement, tied in with the theme of our weekend, metaphorically hard hitting D. Their Iso was soon shut down, and we had successfully navigated our first match. Up next were second seeds in our pool Disc Doctors from Imperial, who had a few very strong players, and also James Threadgill.

Strange Blue 8-5 Disc Doctors

This match sparked into life with high intensity, with a few calls early on, and neither team able to pull away. However, Strange Blue's tight Man D soon moved up a gear, and with an ever clinical offence we were able to close out the match. Final pool match would see us match up against Glasgow, who had just lost to Durham. A nice easy final game then.

Strange Blue 8-10 Glasgow

Glasgow's offence centred around an Iso very similar to that of Durham's, with the exception that this one was much more effective. Our tactics against Durham weren't as effective, and coupled with an offence making uncharacteristic errors, we were soon behind and playing catch up. As the clock ticked down, knowing we needed to get within one in order to keep playing after the buzzer, Ben 'slam dunk the' Funk made the play of the day with a huge layout D by the sideline. The crowd went wild. He then proceeded to throw the disc to two SB players, both with their backs turned, earning dick of the day in the process. With that Glasgow punched it in, and despite our best efforts, Strange Blue suffered its first loss of the season.

The group stage was over, and we still topped our pool, but would carry our loss against Glasgow into the power pools, meaning a very early start and a low seeding unless we stepped up a gear. Also in our group were number 1 seeds Dundee... And Ubu.

Strange Blue 8-6 Ubu

A sudden death win in the final of Regionals had seen us triumph over them before, but this was Nationals, and it was up to us to bounce back from the Glasgow match. It was a tight affair early on, but we soon gained a slight lead, and with some huge grabs going on from SB we held out for a convincing win. We used our downtime to run through all the possibilities about where we would end up depending on our result against Dundee, and by the end of it the camp was split in two; those that still didn't have a clue, and those that pretended they had a clue. The consensus was universal though; how about let's just win?

Strange Blue 8-6 Dundee

Dundee were a very tight unit, and it took a very good performance from us to hold them at bay. A strong first and last third helped us keep clear of them, but it was hard fought. I would add more details, but I can't really remember the match. Just that we won, and that meant not only did we avoid a pre quarter, but more importantly we got a lie in. We finished the day in 3rd place, happy in the knowledge that we had already taken down the number 1 seeds.

Sunday morning came about far too soon, as evidenced by most of the bus being asleep at some point during the journey, but soon we were once again in Coventry and preparing for our first match up, the 3 v 6 crossover against Southampton. On paper it would be a nice easy start to the morning, but why on earth would we want that?

Strange Blue 6-5 Southampton

We quickly took a 2-0 lead, hitting our stride and carrying on from where we left off against Dundee. And then they switched their force to Force Middle. Suddenly we were going nowhere, and they were making huge grabs and scoring with ease, taking the lead. With 20 seconds to go, we had possession, and in the dying seconds calmly punched it in to tie up the game. Sudden death it was...but they were on O. The pull went up, and they took the disc with an Iso set up. Much like the great Hollywood blockbusters, time seemed to slow. The Iso made the break throw catch, turned, and floated it into the end zone. The cutter ran onto it with outstretched arms and...crash! The disc hit the wall, just beyond his reach. We had a chance, and for one of the first times in the match, the O played smooth, and the disc went in for a great win. We had survived a big scare, and not only that, we soon found out we were the only team to have done so; all the other matches had gone against seed. Turns out playing a pre quarter is quite a good warm up. So who would we be up against in our semi? It was only ever going to be one team wasn't it.

Strange Blue 10-6 Ubu

Ubu it was, and in this match we took the approach of playing games to 3. And we were soon 4-0 up. This was our stand out performance of the tournament, we played hard and efficiently for the whole match, with play of the day going to a huge sky by Dom over 2 taller players. We only lost one of the games to 3 against a strong Ubu team that would end up finishing 3rd, and it was a mark of our squad that we were able to put in such a performance after the Southampton match. Both teams quickly headed over to the other pitch to watch the sudden death point between Glasgow and Urielle. Would we be up against an unknown in Exeter, or would we finally get the chance for revenge?

Strange Blue 8-7 Glasgow

Newsrooms across the country broke the news, and it even came across the tannoys at Man City v Tottenham. The University National Championship final would be Cambridge vs Glasgow. It was time for revenge. We had developed our D plan, and were confident that with our firing offence, we would be able to overpower Glasgow.
They were on O first, but within 2 passes we had caused a turn and made the first break. What followed was some of the finest ultimate this weekend had seen, with barely a turn from either team. Their offence was swift, with huge grabs from the Iso as we were unable to put enough pressure on him, and we were as patient and clinical as ever. The teams were trading; who was going to crack first?

It was Strange Blue. With 5 minutes to go a couple of mistakes had us trailing by two. It was time to find another gear. With a change of mindset, our D tightened up to put more pressure on their Iso, and despite him making multiple contenders for grab of the tournament, we were starting to cause turns, and it was clear they were feeling the pressure. The momentum had swung, but as the clock ticked down they took their opportunity and tied it up. Sudden death it was, and Cambridge were on O. The calm but fast offence continued, and we were camped outside their end zone. The opportunity to strike suddenly presented itself, and George laid out for the score! But wait. Was he in, or had he landed out of bounds first? After a discussion the disc went back and play resumed. Take 2. Some more patient play, Justin made the up the line cut and ...score! The crowd** went wild! But wait again, a pick call! A lot of debate followed this, but reluctantly the disc went back. Third time lucky? Of course. A few passes later it was done. We were Ultimate Frisbee Champions of the Nation.

Regionals saw us hack away at victory through raw talent and brute force, with 3 hours practice behind us. Nationals saw us play some mighty fine indoor ultimate at times, with just two hours practice the week before. Who needs to train aye? ***

It was a fantastic weekend, with everyone having a big impact. MVP went to Ben Funk for going huge in the endzone multiple times throughout the weekend, and just generally always being in the right place at the right time. Big thanks to Dom for driving us and not crashing, and George and James for having everything organised. But mainly James. George didn't really do anything, but on the plus side, he now has blue hair. Way to take one for the team George. The preparation for Outdoors begins now, see you on the field sports fans.

9 slightly achey and hungover men were greeted by their friends Monday morning.
"Heya, how was your weekend? Get up to much?" they were asked.
"Nah, had a quiet one," they replied.
The world, as ever, would never know.

* Certain facts and events may be embellished for dramatic effect.
** The 4 SB players off the pitch. Everyone else hated us.
*** SB do not endorse this approach. Training and working hard is what makes a team stronger. Why are you reading this? Go do some sprints!

Cambridge Ultimate
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