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Tournament Reports

Uni Womens Indoor Regionals

2.Nov.2013 - 3.Nov.2013


Team list (top left to bottom right): Aimée Hall, Megan Davies Wykes, Theresa Cloutier, Hannah Sanderson, Patricia Smith, Helen Hambling, Franziska Kundel

MUWIR got off to an excellent start when all 7 of us successfully found our way to the station in good time for the 6.08 train, with the only hiccup being some small misunderstandings with the ticket barriers. We spread out across two tables and prepped for the upcoming tournament in ways ranging from sleeping to supervision work, plus some discussion of various rules.

Upon arrival, we oh so patiently waited for the venue’s café to open so everyone could get their caffeine fix, with Fran first in line, naturally!

Our first game of the day against Jesters (Leicester) was always going to be important; it was against our old teammate Eleanor Nicholson’s sister! They also seemed to have a team bigger than UBU 2, WOW! and ours put together. The captain came over to us before the match to inform us that they were a team predominantly of freshers and to ask us to please be nice to them! We came out of that one 8-2 up having successfully worked on multiple different O and D tactics. “House”, “arrow head” and ‘forcing table or clock’ might sound funny but allowed us to put a lot of pressure on our opponents! This game was such an excellent way to start, with all the teamwork we’d seen in NBWin shining through, and everyone giving it everything right from the start. Hannah showed brilliantly quick thinking on multiple turnovers: despite not being called as a handler, she spotted beautiful opportunities to pick up the disc and gain ground to Theresa or Helen before Jesters could respond.

After that exciting start, both teams congregated in what came to be known as ‘the cake room’, as it was where we’d stored our bags and Eleanor’s homemade giant cake! We were under strict orders to share half with Jesters. She’d even kindly packed two knives in the fridge drawer she’d put the cake in (it was the only thing large enough to hold it), though neglected to think of anything to give Jesters to fit their half of the cake in. So sadly, they had to eat it there and then!

Game two was against the iron-womanning Birmingham 2. Despite being a 2nd team, we were very aware that this was likely to be a tough match based on UBU’s reputation (indeed, UBU 2 went on to come a well-deserved 6th overall). Even so, we worked hard and won a close-fought, very physical game 5-4. Credit has to go to Theresa for her absolutely massive D in this game!

We played Brookes for our third game, who had a wonderful ability to remain positive even whilst we took them to cap and won 13-1. They had some very tight marking, especially in the endzone, so we really had to focus on doing the right thing every time to get past them. Hannah picked this match to decide that overheads were fun, and it was also the first time we tried out our arrowhead zone in preparation for games against the big teams, which worked incredibly well. What really helped this game was how we made use of so many quick yet sensible throws that the opposition just couldn’t keep up with. Tricia in particular appeared to have boundless energy! And I don’t know about the rest of the team, but I think Brookes’ post-match call of team massages was a genius idea!

Next up was Warwick Bears, and what we knew to be a potentially very difficult game. We’d made sure to watch them in their earlier matches and ensure all our players knew how their standard ‘Bears weave’ worked, and just how we planned to shut it down. We went into the game wanting it so badly, and it really showed. Their main experienced handler was continually getting frustrated at her lack of options as our man marking simply didn’t give them anywhere to throw. We had planned to use the arrowhead zone here to help, but man defence worked so well that we kept it that way and took us to a very excitable win! In fact, we were so excited that we forgot to remember the result, but it was somewhere along the lines of 10-3!

After the success with Bears, we knew that if we won the next game against Nottingham (Fling), we’d have guaranteed qualification before we even left the pool games! Again, we’d been watching them and had been impressed by the team connection and how their offense flowed so well. We went into the game with even more energy than before, and surpassed all of our expectations by essentially trading points with them for ages. At one point we were 7-6 up and they said in the post-match circle that we really had them scared, but they pulled together at the end to gain what they called on twitter a ‘hard fought win’, with the final score being 9-7. We’re all agreed that this was the game we played the best, and despite the team’s relative inexperience, we gave them an intense game that both teams enjoyed immensely.

Thus, we came 2nd in our group and kept our 4th seed into the crossovers. Next stop was Haze, captained by our friend Cat Baron. Their slightly out of tune warm-up singing may have put us off as I think we all have to admit that somehow we never quite had our heads in the game. It was the first and only match with unexpected drops and missed throws, though there was a beautiful moment where Fran was marking their ISO so tightly that they simply couldn’t get the throw out and had to shout ‘it’s not on, it’s not on’. Their team really wanted it, so much so that one girl somehow managed to go flying into a wall, yet came out of that laughing. Losing this match somewhere in the region of 8-2 meant we kept 4th seed and needed to win our final game to get to nationals!

We all knew that we hadn’t managed to reach our full potential in that last match, so we really went into the 4-5 against UEA (Aye-Aye) with the aim of playing hard from the word go. We very much wanted to win this and take a spot at nationals, not least because we realised it’d be Megan’s last indoor Uni game, so we’d have to make it a good one! That’s exactly what we did, with them completely unable to break our zone or get past our man-on-the-line despite them never letting up in their attempts to do so. In addition, Hannah got two crazy left hand grabs and we had the amazing double-fresher-hammer-scores from Tricia and Theresa! After winning 12-0, we’d kept our 4th seed all day and we felt we’d shown ourselves to be worthy of that final nationals place! Yay!!

(Hazard’s note: throughout all the games, this was definitely the one, at the start, I would have predicted as the final game and the one to watch. For a team like Cambridge who start late, catching up with Haze, Fling and UBU would have been a very impressive feat. On the other side, Oxford suffered the same but injuries as well made them unable to compete. And Warwick just had no one left. This was always the game SB would have to win. And (after playing the Aye-Aye girls personally at mixed) it was not an easy one to come through on.

Throughout all that to come out hard and strong against such experienced players as UEA possess is really a strong mark of how good Cambridge may look to be this year. And trust me when I say that grudgingly. Very well done on getting to nationals, and best of luck. Honestly.)

I feel we mustn’t forget ‘The Stick’; Aimée’s muscle roller that everyone was incredibly cynical of  when on the train journey to MUWIR. On the way back however, we had a worrying amount of fun, laughter and very strange noises in reaction to trying it out post-tournament. It really does work, but, in the words of Tricia ‘It tickles!’. I don’t know what any onlookers on the train thought of us on that journey home...
 

Circle of awesomeness:

Instead of nominating any form of ‘best’ player, we chose instead to celebrate our success in how well we worked as a team. We put all the prizes we’d brought into a bag, and took one out each as the team spoke about each player in turn and all the good things they’d done that day!

Hannah: As our main ISO player, we realised that she had well over a 90% completion rate, despite struggling with being slightly unwell and out of breath a lot of the day. She ran hard in every position, from constantly chasing to helping out as a mid. Her pitch awareness is amazing, and she has an ability to find space anywhere as a cutter, no matter how tight the mark.

Megan: She’s such an excellent mid in all our zones, and never let anything through. Indeed, she’d often catch a D in the middle and immediately switch onto O, and the disc would be halfway down the pitch before the opposition could do anything about it! When on the sideline, her advice and direction was very much appreciated and really helped the team get into the game and connect. On top of that, her steady handling all weekend really was the key in so many situations. We don’t know what we’ll do without her!

Helen: Every player immediately commented on how Helen’s a player you just connect with. She seems to read your mind and know where you want her to be in every situation. She can be called as a handler, ISO or stretch it long and ‘do all 3 equally awesomely’. Her D play was amazing, her catching under pressure was faultless and her handling was super-chilly.

Tricia: Our Junior Team Member seemed to literally catch everything in the endzone- ‘She got a lot of points!’ We certainly can’t forget her part in the the two fresher-to-fresher hammer scores, once as the thrower, and once as the receiver to Theresa’s throw! She always managed to be aware of where to land to keep her feet in, despite only 4 and a half hours of sleep. Hannah commented on how every time she looks up, she sees Tricia finding space- ‘I can chuck an overhead in the corner and know you’ll be there’.

Aimée: Mistakenly described as charming (I mean, I never said anything about on pitch - Hazard) in the pre-regionals review, Aimée was certainly our most dangerous handler! No matter where we would cut to or hide in the end zone, she would get the disc to us, if need be with one of her amazing scoobers. When she wasn’t given the chance to cause trouble on O, she would put on a very strong D as our favourite mid player. When we lost our heads, she was our ‘core of calm’ swinging the disc to find the perfect opportunity to score!

Fran: Everyone said Fran’s a ‘crucial link’ in the team, as ‘everything went via her’. This is true both through her solid handling skills and the ability to cut out of a stack into space to get the disc moving- ‘As a handler, you want to see something beautifully open, and that’s Fran!’ If she’s marking someone, they simply never seemed to get free, even when as an ISO. She literally does everything!

Theresa: She scored an incredible amount of points and even got a point block, not to mention the huge D against UBU 2. As a chase, she is so strong, not least through her very vocal stalling that caused a lot of turnovers -’you really got into that!’ Our zones simply wouldn’t have worked without such excellent forcing. A personal highlight is when one of the older Bears players was heard to say ‘Make sure you take the redhead out!’’- impressive after only a month of playing! We’ll never stop being excited by her and Tricia’s overhead scores either!

 

As captains, we can’t stress just how proud we are of the whole team. Despite the very short amount of time we had between term starting and MUWIR, everyone has been amazing in their commitment, improvement and generally wonderful attitude!

Bring on Nationals!!!!!

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