Strange Blue Tournament Report

Open Tour 0

30.Apr.2007 - Bristol

Tour Zero 2007 | Bristol

It takes three hours to drive to Bristol from Cambridge. So when your first game is at ten, that means getting up at ugly o'clock. Still, at least Nick and JB had to get up at ugly-1 for a 9am game : ) Anyhow, point is it was a mission. In fact on the day we came from far and wide, not just Cam, but to skip to the end of a long tedious story the following dudes turned up ready to write themselves a starring role in a particularly steamy chapter in the trashy romantic novel that is SB ultimate:

Ryan Woodard
Mark Stephens
Adam Booth
Martin Mottram
Dave Aylmer
Chris 'Magic' Rowlands
Paul 'Teabag' Robustelli
James 'Two Hands' Nicoll
Tido Eger
Jon 'Fatty' Middleton
and me, Dave 'Chavy' Taylor.

So 11 of us were ready to take on the world (well, 10 plus Mark who as usual would be ready as soon as someone hooked him up to intravenous coffee), with support from a worthy sideline orchestrator and statistician extraordinaire in Hil Woodard. This is how it happened...

SB 9 - 4 Red 1 (initial pool of 6)
First game always a potential banana skin, but we got stuck into it from the start. Apparently there's no need to go 4-0 down so I don't know what we were thinking all of last year. The bright start gave us good reward as, in the traditional windy Bristol conditions, we put a nails junk D on them to put them under constant pressure and force turnovers time after time. When we got the disc we worked hard to make our offence effective. A few errors here and there as we warmed up and got to know each other as a team, but we set the tone with our effort and started scoring well both down and, crucially, up wind. A comfortable enough win to start, then, but we also knew there was more to come.

SB 9 - 6 Abstract
Our second pool game saw us come up against Abstract, a team with plenty of experience and the ability to beat us if we weren't up for it. Another important one in the context of the group placings. We started well enough again, but a bit of edginess then let Abstract in to take the half 5-4. We just weren't sharp enough on D or aware of each other on O. But the half gave us the chance to get our heads in it and we came out to prove that we could do a lot better. And we did. Jobsagoodun. We put in a really strong second-half performance to take it away from Abstract, getting fired up on D and starting to get some flow on the O. Really solid handling from the likes of Ryan, Magic, Tido, Mark and Jon set things up for the guys downfield, and Paul, Dave, Martin, Adam and Two Hands started to give more and more options so that we broke down the defence convincingly. 9-6 the final score, and a great turnaround to keep our good start going.

SB 7 - 4 LTD Release 1
Limited Release. Always a battle. A classic foe for SB, but one significantly weakened from last year where we 'stole' the B Tour 2 title from under their noses. We knew we could win this one, but LTD were still strong enough to push us. Thankfully we decided to learn from the second half against Abstract and keep the level of our play right up. We made Matt Harwood and co work very hard, especially on their upwind points when our junk pinned them right back in their own endzone. With the callahan rule now allowing a score direct from a caught D, the pressure was really on the opposition. Mark was in benevolent mood, spanking down a D rather than claiming the callahan at one stage ; ) but the result of this one was inevitable. Still room for improvement on our O, but we put enough away to claim a good win - 3 in a row - a great start to the tournament.

SB 7 - 5 EMO
Now the toughie. Regular A-Tour team EMO, who finished 7th overall last year, faced us as top seeds in our pool. By now our mood was good and we went into this with some confidence, but did we really believe in ourselves enough to win? The improvement evident through our first 3 games kept coming, and we did well to trade points before sneaking away to take the half at 5-3. EMO were clearly not happy with that and came out really fired up for the second half. We cracked a little under the pressure and conceded to tie things up at 5-5. We'd played better than EMO so far, but were we going to fall away and lose? The answer, emphatically, was no. Everyone in the team showed real character to take it back to 6-5 us, and then, going upwind, time stood still as I floated one up to Tido in the zone. It was a cheeky disc to take advantage of his height and hung up there for 2 or 3 hours, but it still needed a good grab to take the game - and Tido obliged. A solid take under pressure and there it was, we'd won! Well deserved and an outstanding result that would make people right across the tournament take notice.

SB 9 - 4 Kent Open
One more win and we'd top our group, moving up from 11th to 4th seed in the process. No problem - by now we were playing well and knew what we were capable of. We never looked like letting Kent take this one, and upwind scores were coming thick and fast as we took it comfortably. 5 out of 5! A really fantastic effort on day 1, setting up the first crossover with the 9th seed, whoever that would be...

SB 1 - 9 Clapham 2 (first crossover)
So there we were, sitting by the pitch for our first crossover waiting for some opposition to show up. The lowly 9th seeds - surely disc fodder to the might of SB...? 'Ah look some Clapham boys are coming over for a chat - probably heard about the epic EMO win... hang on, why are they bringing all their stuff over... aw crap'. Yes that was about the thought process as Clapham 2 rocked up as 9th seeds for their first crossover against, err, us. Janitors had just beaten them in sudden death, leaving us to face the backlash. And it hurt. But not until after we made the south londoners take an age to score their first point - and downwind at that. Not only that but we actually competed well throughout the game, despite the eventual 9-1 against scoreline. We just lacked the ability to put in the goals, but this was one of our best performances against a top team for a while - and a great opportunity to learn what to do differently to turn possession into scores. We'll be back Clapham, just you wait.


SB 9 - 2 Sheffield Steal (second crossover)
The loss at the end of Saturday put us 9th, with a crossover against 16th. So bright and early (8.30) on Sunday morning we had dragged ourselves to a pitch, arriving to allow our bleary eyes to focus on a line of rather keen looking opponents. Yes the Steal boys, Jez included, were warming up and looking a lot more ready for this one. Just the kick up the butt we needed to get ourselves sorted out and up for the game - we can't afford to be ill prepared if we're going to make, and stay in, A Tour. After a great first day we couldn't face dropping down to 16th, so the motivation was there to boss this one. After we scored first, Jez put one in for Steal, but that was as good as it got for them. SB took the half at 5-1 and then the game 9-2; once again our junk D pinning the opposition in their own endzone. I nearly got myself a beating from a Steal player for calling 'callahan' almost continuously when Steal were in their own zone, but I had little else to do having strained my groin at the end of Saturday - and his real frustration was because he was going nowhere. Epic D by SB.

SB 4 - 2 Flyght Club 1 (pool of 3 with 7th, 9th and 11th seeds)
Now for the business end of the tournament. With the prospect of playoffs between 4 teams for 11th place (the final spot in A Tour) if we came bottom of this group, we really wanted to step it up and make things easy for ourselves to take either 7/8 or 9/10. The first game, against Flyght Club, would be crucial. Things weren't looking ideal - Mark and Martin had joined me with injuries, although both were able to soldier on to some degree, and we were on a crosswind pitch for the first time in the weekend. An ugly game if ever there was one. 40 minutes of graft and commitment later, and we found ourselves 2-1 down (yes a whole 3 points were scored - that's only a rapid-fire 13 minutes/point) as the hooter went and staring down the barrel if we lost the on-going point. Somehow we managed to summon up more energy than the Flyght boys could and finally, brilliantly, won the point to make it 2-2, game to 4. From there we began to play some better stuff again and carry the momentum of that point on to take the next 2 and the vital win. Massive relief all round - hard to play but hard to watch too! Hard work being on the sideline sometimes. Yeah alright not that hard. Anyhow, hats off to SB for pulling a really important game out of the bag when we could have crumbled.

SB 2 - 9 EMO
Our second and final pool game was a rematch against EMO. However, EMO had been breeding overnight and suddenly had another 4 or 5 players. This is the one game of the weekend where we didn't really compete at the level we can - the shortness of our numbers and the intensity with which we'd played the previous games took their toll and we ended up getting well beaten by EMO, who were clearly up for revenge. We just didn't have the legs for this one so had to wait and see what happened between EMO and Flyght in the last pool match.

EMO 9 - 7 Flyght Club
Okay, so this wasn't our game, but it was just about the most stressful time of the weekend. Flyght Club really went for it in this game and kept taking the advantage away from EMO, but thankfully EMO never gave up. It got tense when Flyght brought it back from 7-5 down to 7-7 with the wind advantage next point, but somehow EMO managed to find two points in a row to send the Nottingham boys packing for B Tour. High fives all round, great success. SB would be either 9 or 10...

SB 9 - 4 Blue Arse Flies (9/10 playoff)
And so it came to the final game of an epic 10-match tournament. This was different class. I was standing on the sideline, drinking my leftover cobra from the night before and not quite believing my eyes. Having been dead on their feet only two hours before, the rest of the guys found some running in their legs and started playing some really great stuff. BAF are an established A Tour team but we destroyed 'em. It was righteous dude. One particular highlight that sticks in the mind was Dave Aylmer's huge grab low at full stretch in the corner of the endzone. Perhaps not entirely graceful, but fully sick nonetheless. Oh yes.

So that's it. The story of SB coming 9th to be seeded 13 at A Tour 1. Get in. Get the hell in.

MVP was Fatty McFat for his all round game - Jon was on fire all weekend. Whether handling solidly, making long cuts, scoring points, getting Ds all over the park or just eating flapjack, the guy did us proud. Nice 1.

All that remains for me to say is it's time to GET PSYCHED FOR A TOUR!! Please please please let's continue this great start and really establish ourselves in the top 16 in the country. It's the only place to be - it was great to see the experienced guys step it up for SB this weekend (our handling in the wind was so sweet - you know who you are), but even better to see the rapid improvement of the new kidz on the block (Dave, Martin, Adam) with the challenge of consistently good opposition. We played well in Bristol, but we can do so much more...........

Tour 1 | 23-24 June
Tour 2 | 14-15 July
Tour 3 | 18-19 August

Get 'em in the diary.

'Nuff said.