Strange Blue Tournament Report


19-20.February.2011 - Birmingham

Hello everyone,

As you've probably heard by now, it wasn't just the firsts at outdoor regionals. Oh no. The seconds turned up and turned it on too.

The team was, in no particular order and with no particular lines, Natman, Nimrod, Poul, Adam B(e), Chris B, Lauren, Emily S, Gareth, Nick, Tejas, Kris C, Calvin, Jon E and myself.

We were seeded 19th overall (as Mike would put it !!?), in a pool with Bears 1, UBU 1, Demons, OWL 2 and Leicester 2.

UBU 1 9 - 4 SB2

Our first match was tough and we were out of the starting blocks pretty well, getting to something like 3-2. Unfortunately I didn't quite see all the match, there may have been some idiot who left his boots at home or something, I don't quite remember the details - suffice it to say that whomever the idiot was, they paid for it both in cash and blisters on Sunday. But anyway, we lost this one 9-4.

Bears 1 11 - 0 SB2

Bears 1 then fairly convincingly beat us 11-0. I think it's safe to say they schooled us in pretty much every aspect of the game. Whatever. They lost the semis. Losers.

We knew that the rest of our pool matches would be the ones that mattered and rather than be disheartened by the Bears result, we picked ourselves up and went out with a vengeance.

SB2 9 - 6 OWL2

Our next match was against an undermanned OWL 2, seeded above us in the pool. By this time the rain had stopped and our D was dominating. layouts and huge bids were flying in all over the place and despite trading points initially our persistence and hard work ground them down and we took it away something like 9-4 in the end.

Demons 9 - 6 SB2

SB 2 vs Demons. The penultimate match of the day, this was the one match we perhaps should have won, but didn't. I think we were up slightly, maybe 5-4, with our solid D standing us in good stead and our O flowing well. I'm not sure what happened, but O broke down a bit and they ended up taking it 9-6 after a really hard fought first half.

SB2 6 -5 Leicester 2

Final match of Saturday was against Leicester 2. Now this was a really tough match, hard fought and well won by SB 2. We traded points the whole way, the D working hard on both teams. In the end I think it came down to the fact that we worked as an entire team, with each player comfortable on the disc, rather than relying on a few experienced players as they did. Our strategy of recognising the weaker players and really forcing them hard paid off, with several of them ending up looking like rabbits in the headlights and the stall count regularly going up to 8 or 9. Again I can't remember exactly how (although I think it was a OI forehand to Natman), we pulled it out at the last 6-5 (or maybe 7-6?).

With that victory we took 14th seed and the only way was up.

Our matches on Sunday were characterised by slightly fewer layouts (except perhaps in the plate final, to give away the ending), but much more effective 0.

SB2 12 - 6 BUF1

The first match of Sunday was against BUF (1!), who started the tournament in 9th seed. They brought it to us in the first point or two, converting the turn and then we traded, before they started to stretch out a small lead, going to 5-3 up I think. SB 2 collectively stepped up and showed just how much we wanted it, putting *8 straight points* on the board. Can I just emphasise that for everyone again. We dominated. We demoralised them, turning them over again and again. They didn't force hard enough and we took the IO break every chance we got, scoring frequently with sweet flow down the break side. As Lauren pointed out, they kept saying, "no breaks, no breaks" and we kept on breaking them. 12-6 was the final score. Ouch.

SB2 13 - 5 (Unknown)

Second match started similarly, trading points until we went up to about 4-2. We put our foot down again and turned up our D. With chilli O and more sweet flow we took half 7-4. The second half was nothing but a slog in horrific mud. Highlights include cuts to the wrong endzone and a certain handler, as Shannosaurus put it, "in one fluid motion" pushing a small girl out of the way whilst throwing a sweet backhand break. I think we ended 13-5 or 6 or something like that.

SB2 12 - 5 UBU2

The final. This was against UBU 2, the hosts. It was huge. I mean, like, massive. Another hard fought opening. They played out of a 3-4 and broke us early. No matter. We came back harder. Everyone was knackered and there were a lot of turns (my IO breaks going through a rough patch at one point), but we had sweet, really seriously sweeet flow down the open side, with big grabs from Nimrod and Natman off forehand hucks uphill and downhill. They kept running the same patterns with their central cutters in the 3-4 (I hope I wasn't the only marker that noticed this), and it wasn't working for them. In the end we wanted it more and we played harder and we won. 12-5 ish.

I was quite happy.

Here's what I think we learnt over the weekend:
1) Hard, hard man D *really works*.
2) Hard, hard forces *really work*.
3) Intensity wins games.
4) We can make *a lot* of noise in the huddle. And I mean a lot, I think those were the loudest huddles I've ever been in. And they really worked. Perhaps it was imitating Mike ("Who wants to boost it?") that did it.
5) We can take half *and* keep the pressure on in the second half.
6) SB 2 are awesome.

Here's what remains unresolved:
1) How many times can I say "awesome" in one weekend?
2) Who has longer hair - Nimble or Nimrod?

So thank you to all the 2nds, it was really a pleasure to play with you all. Everyone worked hard. Everyone repeatedly blew up huge over the weekend. Everyone was incredibly positive, supportive and pulled together.

See you at practice...

Chris M