Strange Blue Tournament Report

Open London Winter League 2

29-30.January.2011 - Woking and Guildford

Shout out to the Cambridge ultimate massive,

Last weekend SB undertook an Epic Journey on the M25 (roadworks tend to make every Journey on the M25 Epic) to participate in Div. 2 Uni Mixed Indoor Nationals in Woking and Guildford. Whoop.

Rocking the Y chromosome were Rob "the" G, The "Mighty" Shannonsaurus, Ruben "totally got loads of" Land, Elliott "I love playing deep more and" More, and your humble narrator.

Anchoring our mildly mad male multitude to the ocean floor of stable sanity were Lily, Kelcie, Susannah and Valentijn. (They don't get sweet nicknames because I don't want to insult them inadvertently)

Our first match on Saturday was at 1132. Then we had ~3 hour breaks between matches. You gotta love indoor tournaments.

Pool match #1: SB 10 - 3 Flatball Totally rocked their socks off basically. Flatball's got funny terms, so they were missing 5 awesome Americans. Despite this they scored the first two points and had me mildly worried, but we got going and sorta ran away with it in the end. Their "Scottish" style indoor O with a middle iso and "three pass goal or turnover" approach seemed to work around our roam zone way too easily at first, but when we dropped our mid roam onto the iso it all shut down quite nicely. Elliott started in the deep role he'd make his own all weekend, hooning around the deep space and sucking up crappy blades/hammers to the endzone stack.

Pool match #2: SB 6 - 4 Fish
Lancaster? I hear it's oop narf somewhere. Anyway, our complete lack of knowledge about their pedigree was neither hindrance nor help as they played really well. They certainly coped much better with our roam than Flatball did, and a worryingly inability to instantly convert turns we generated (which would bite us on the arse comprehensively later) meant that they were in touch all game. But we got a two point cushion, and with 3-4 minutes left on the clock it became obvious they were never gonna score twice against the roam in quick succession, but still. Nails. Bitten.

Pool match #3: SB 4 - 1 dD
Ah, the matchup of the pool. We (3 seed, 2 from 2) and dD (4 seed, also 2 from 2) battling it out for the top spot (and the late 4v13 crossover tonight and a 10:50 start!! the next day). First point: we started on D, played the roam, and the tone was pretty well set with a 10 minute point in which they would calmly work the disc upfield and then run into a lack of options as the space compressed. Lily tirelessly chased for the whole point (which got mad plaudits from the oppo after the match),and our wing roams were lunging out of the endzone well, Kelcie notably getting heaps of runthrough Ds on her wing. We could, again, generate turns, but too often our O seemed to go for a killer pass which wasn't really there, so when we finally locked the first point in with 12 minutes left on the clock it was a big relief. The next point lasted about a minute; when our roam forced a throwaway in their endzone, I picked it up and Elliott was our endzone iso. They decided to sandwich him a yard either side, so when he screamed "THROW IT TO ME NOW" I pretty much crapped my pants and push-passed it to him from about half a metre. NICE.

Call of the weekend: spooning. Shannon and their old grad player reminisced about SEUOOR (2006). Man, we felt old all weekend.

4v13 crossover: SB 7 - 6 UBU
Oh man, this match did not deserve to be the 4v13 crossover, last match of the day in an empty hall with all the lights progressively being turned off. INTENSE match, as we always get against ubu indoors, and they came out with their filthy overhead throws all game, having had all day to watch our roam and figure out how to break it. Again our D could generate a couple of turns a point (roam and playing good man) but all too often it seemed we tried too hard to score the goal: threading the needle breaks and speculative puts flying out on the full. They equalised with less than 2 minutes left, leaving me on the sideline quietly soiling. We got the last point on a sweet grab by... um, Valentijn? I think, off a put to.. Kelcie? Basically: Yeah ladies! So we scored the last point, and their despairing attempt at a buzzer beater was taken down. Wahey!

SB earns itself a late start. To celebrate some of us got Chinese takeaway on a train to Clapham. Elliott and I started the "Three Barrels Walking Club" (buy a bottle of cheap brandy, walk somewhere, drink). Lily and Kelcie claimed we'd turned right when we'd been walking dead straight for more than a mile. We turned up at the Herd start-of-season party and proceeded to get drunk. as. When the rest of the team turned up post-curry we bombed Jager and then threw out some shapes on the dance floor. I got asked by Rob Whitehouse where the Burn was. Classic. Then we stayed at Lily+Jon's place in Surbiton. They had one of those sweet massage chairs. Best 10 minutes I've ever had while off my face at 2 in the morning. SERIOUSLY.

Classic Saturday night.

4v5 quarter: SB 3 - 4 Haze
Hmm. This is where the plan went wrong, basically. A low-scoring affair, but that O came back to bite us on the ass; we could make them turn it over up to 6 times (!) a point but just couldn't buy the goal, from speculation or not quite reading the cut right. It got to 3s with less than 5 minutes on the clock, and off yet another turnover-tastic point they got the winner. Then a whistle blew and we had no idea whether the game was over or not. It was. Dammit.

5v8 semi: SB 6 - 3 Fish
To be honest with you, losing a game like that was a definite mood killer for me. But of course we had two games left and, dammit, we were gonna go out in style. Our semi was a rematch with Fish, and this time the game felt far, far more comfortable, whatever the scoreline says. Our roam was solid as ever and our O was starting to click a little bit (a game late, of course!). Rob G really started tearing it up in the roam positions, getting a load of runthrough Ds. My highlight of the weekend was getting a catch-point-block off a high release dump pass. Man, the look on that guy's face...

5v6 final: SB 7? - 2?3? UCL
So we played Tom E-W and his team in the final. Notably, he didn't travel AT ALL. Our O finally did what it had been threatening-but-not-quite-managing all weekend and clicked with one of those ominous "thuds" that worries our band of intrepid adventurers. The roam started out as awesomely as it always did and by halfway we were 5-1 up, easily the most comfortable lead we'd taken all weekend. UCL then got a load calmer on working it through the roam with no troubles, and our man D, but it was a race against the clock for them and they just couldn't get the final pass into the endzone required to score the quick points they needed.

So that was the weekend. We seriously cocked up on Sunday morning by losing the quarter-final, but a load of fun was had by all. If there's one thing I've learned from the indoors season this year: SB needs to play chillier O. Handlers! We have handlers for a reason!!!! ahem.
Props go to: - Katie, for getting us the 1130 start on Saturday (helps to know the TD) - Lily and Jon for letting us stay in their sweet suburbia pad on Saturday - Nimbs for the roam, as always - Ruben, for the glorious introduction of ultisquash to Cambridge Ulti (watch out for it in the next Varsity match near you) - the whole team, who despite the presence of 3 captains, played and partied in a harmonious and awesome fashion.

So.. roll on UMON, St Andrews!


- Mike