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Tournament Reports

Nottingham Women's Break In (NBWin)

25.Oct.2014 - 26.Oct.2014 - Nottingham


NBWin 2014 Tournament Report

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Day 1 Team (top): Aimée Hall, Lucy Mair, Humaira Bhadelia, Yu Wei Chua, Lizzie Courtney, Tasha Smith, Lizzie Pearmain, Becca Harwin, Hannah Pullen

Day 2 Team (bottom): Lizzie Pearmain, Katie Tidd, Lizzie Courtney, Hannah Pullen, Becca Harwin, Aimée Hall, Humaira Bhadelia, Lucy Mair

 

A year after our first venture to this fab women’s beginners tournament, it was great to be back at the Wildcats arena ready to introduce more new players to women’s Ultimate! The tournament rules had changed since last year, with up to 3 experienced players allowed per line and experienced players allowed to score. Due to this, the tournament felt more like a warm up event for Women’s Indoor Regionals at the end of November and less like a beginners event. Even so, there were several beginners’ teams who, like us, hadn’t really played together before and whose beginners got plenty of pitch time throughout the weekend.

 

After a super-fast warm up, as the train times meant that half the team only arrived 45 minutes before our first game of the tournament, we were ready on pitch 1, with the fabulously cheesy TD’s music playlist keeping the mood high!

 

Our initial opponents were the lovely Sheffield ladies. Despite most of our team never having played together, there were already some great connections being made. Tasha and Lizzie P had some great movement between them, and Tasha’s excellent catch in the endzone got us on the scoreboard. Humaira seemed to be free all the time, and there was also a brilliant quick turnover play by our beginners that caught Sheffield unaware for another score. Sheffield took the win 5-3, but we left the game happy knowing that the team was already working well together.

 

Next up was the highest seeded of the three Nottingham teams. Lucy had an especially great catch and Hannah’s handling was as assured as many of the more experienced players! It was great to see our team continue to grow in confidence, even against such a well-drilled (and tall!) team. There were some really good cuts and an awareness of how to find space,

 

Our third match of the day was against Bournemouth, a team we’d played last year at NBWin when it was their first ever women’s tournament! It was great to play them again, as their team are one of our favourite teams. This was also the first time we tried an iso play, and we had many excellent iso options from our beginners. For continuation, there was Yu Wei always ready in the endzone to receive one of Lizzie C’s neat passes. Although we were ahead for most of the game, a fantastic long throw from one of Bournemouth’s experienced ladies on the hooter was caught neatly in the endzone to make it a 3-3 draw.

 

Next up was the Warwick Bears, complete with some very good experienced players. We scored the first point relatively quickly, but from then on Bears tightened up their marking and it was much harder to break free. Bears went on to win the match, with them voting Humaira MVP out of our beginners.

 

The final match on Saturday was against Leeds. We’d been watching them play all day, and noticed that the vast majority of the points were scored when an experienced player hucked the disc to a tall beginner. We didn’t want to just set an experienced player marking the tall beginner, as it was meant to be a beginners’ tournament. Instead, we chose to give our team a crash course in how to play a dice zone, so that two players (including experienced players) could always be keeping an eye on any deep threat. This was the first time most of our beginners had played a zone but after some initial confusion it was very effective in shutting down the deep options. After taking the first few points, we were very excited at the prospect of winning, but Leeds brought it back and just took the win at the end. However, it was a good, hard-fought match and showed what we can do even against a team with lots of very experienced players! Leeds voted Tasha and Hannah as the joint MVPs out of the beginners.

 

At the end of the day, the team was tired and hungry, and after dropping bags at the house where we were sleeping, we headed out almost immediately in search of food, and cheese in particular. The pub where we ate dinner had a ‘Lizzie Room’, much to the delight of Lizzie P, although sadly it was booked for the evening. There was a party held by the Nottingham teams in the evening, but in true Cambridge style, we chose an early night instead.

 

Our team changed overnight, with Tasha and Yu Wei being replaced by Katie, who fitted in well despite never having met half the team before. In our first match against Lincoln, there was some fantastic iso continuation between Humaira and Katie. However, Lincoln had played together that bit more as a team, and they used some good set plays to win 9-4.

 

Game 2 was versus Nottingham 2, including our good friend Jassy, who we have to thank for giving our newer players almost as much friendly advice as she gave her own players! As with their firsts, the Nottingham 2 women were well-drilled and we had to run hard every point. Lucy’s excellent positioning led to her scoring, and Humaira’s pivoting and patience on disc were noted by the opposition as something their beginners could learn from - she was voted MVP by them. Our team also decided to test out overheads a bit more, leading to great bids and catches even whilst being marked by the taller opposition! We lost the game, but felt like we learned a lot during what was a very enjoyable game.

 

We were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves facing Bournemouth again in the next match. Having had a brilliant close game the previous day, we were looking forward to another spirited and fiercely competitive match, and we were not disappointed! The unexpected long throw that had helped them draw our last game had become a more regular threat, though our women were ready and waiting for that with some fantastic work on defence. They were wise to our iso but Humaira still found a way to be free, with breaks from Hannah and reliable continuation from Lizzie C. Lizzie P started perfecting her hammers in this match which caught Bournemouth by surprise. Right at the end, Bournemouth took the win 5-4, but all agreed that it was an incredibly well spirited match between evenly matched teams.

 

Our last game was another rematch, this time against Bears. They’d lost most of their experienced players overnight and were a very different team to Saturday. However, that didn’t mean they wanted to win any less! We couldn’t get complacent in this match, instead relying on a mix of the Lizzies’ sweet overheads with Hannah on the receiving end, a fab score by Becca and a crucially timed runthrough D by Lucy. Our beginners really came into their own this match, with Katie’s strong forcing causing multiple turns and some beautiful flow on O from all of the players. It was great to end with not just a 4-2 win, but with a win as a team, showing just how great we can be as we all work together and play to our strengths!

 

Circle of awesomeness:

 

As everyone on the team did so well, but often don’t seem to appreciate their own individual awesomeness, we decided to sit together at the end of the day and tell each other exactly what we thought was so great about them. Here’s a summary of what was said!

 

Humaira (Most Valuable Player): Maira did a fantastic job as one of our isos, due to her speedy cutting and her willingness to do anything to make sure she got the disc - including doing the splits! She’s not afraid to bid on high discs and has even been getting compliments from opposition experienced players on the sideline, particularly for her calmness on disc and neat pivoting for someone so new to Ultimate!

 

Katie: You wouldn’t guess that Katie only joined us for the Sunday, as we all felt like she immediately slotted into the team as if she’d been there all along. Even in her first game, she was an integral part of all the points, with smart defence and quick, thoughtful offence. She gelled quickly with everyone, which was most effectively seen with her and Maira’s fabulous give-and-go moments towards the end of the tournament!

 

Lizzie C: We always knew that no matter what, Lizzie would be free when we needed her. Her handling was very assured and she was one of the team’s most successful overhead throwers! Lizzie ran hard on defence, and was rewarded with some amazing runthrough Ds!

Becca: Becca’s solid handling was invaluable throughout the tournament, as was her fantastic advice and her constantly positive attitude. She’s a real asset to the team and many of our plays simply couldn’t have happened without her quick thinking and calm patience with the disc.

 

Lizzie P: During the weekend, Lizzie’s expert reading of the disc led to some fantastic Ds! She was also one of the most enthusiastic team members, and despite being counted as an experienced player (so that we would have three experienced players if necessary), always managed to get free of players who had been playing for much longer than her.

 

Aimée: Aimée was our captain for the weekend and we couldn’t have managed without her! Her clear explanations and ability to identify which players would be best suited for particular roles really helped us to improve as a team, and on top of this, she was always really cheerful and optimistic, motivating us throughout the weekend.

 

Lucy (MIP - Most Improved Player): Lucy made some awesome catches, particularly on the Sunday, scoring several important points for the team. She also had some excellent Ds, with several crucial runthrough Ds on the second day. Lucy was voted our MIP, as her confidence and ability both improved greatly over the course of the weekend.

 

Hannah: Hannah’s catches were really reliable throughout the course of the weekend, including several nasty overhead throws. She was a solid and dependable player, playing well as both a handler and a deep threat. Her awareness of space on the pitch and her ability to read the disc both improved throughout the weekend.

 

Yu Wei: Although she only played with us for one day, and had an ankle injury for one of the matches, Yu Wei made her presence known on pitch whether on O or D. She was sure to bid on every disc possible, and was an excellent deep threat, scoring several points and acting well as an iso continuation.

 

Tasha: Her awareness of where to find space on the pitch was fantastic. Tasha has a natural knack of where to be on both O and D and she always runs hard, really wanting the disc! She did a great job as both iso and continuation, and is one of the players that is a key connection to keep the flow going.

 

And as if that wasn’t enough awesomeness for one tournament, we ended the event by finding out that we won spirit!!!

 

The majority of this team came to the tournament with very little experience of Ultimate, and it’s incredible to see how well everyone gelled and worked together to make this a really enjoyable weekend.

 

Bring on Regionals!!!!!

 
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