Strange Blue Tournament Report

Tour 0 - SB2

25-26.Apr.2009 - Cheltenham

So SB2 rocked up to tour 0 to have some fun and try to make B tour.

We started seeded 17th, and bottom seeds in a tough looking pool, with 13th place required for B tour.

On the face of it the team was a good mix of experience, with four uni first team players plus Crow and Harry from ARU, and youth, with five guys champing at the bit to play their first open tournament. Unfortunately, a more in depth look revealed that almost all of us were receivers, which would leave Mike, C-face and Harry a big job calming down our on-disc nerves.

Day 1:

Game 1:

SB2 3 - 11 BAF (finished 5th overall)

BAF came out strongly and cruelly exploited their alertness, having not had to get up at 5am to arrive for the 9am start. We knew this one would be tough and had planned to work on our offensive structures (stack, 3-4 and German) to prep for the games ahead, but unfortunately a swirling wind meant that they came out with a very effective zone to shut us down. Luckily, their ace D was not complemented by chilly O, and we managed to force a lot of turns with some intense running. Having discussed tactics beforehand, we managed to discover a new one that would become the cornerstone of our tournament. Basically, I hucked it to Crow a lot. This accounted for two scores, with a third added by a sweet Crow double happiness point, including a block, layout catch and throw for the score. Unfortunately the arrival of Duncan for BAF was a calming influence, and they took it away a bit at the end.

Strong performance, making BAF work hard to beat us.

Game 2:

SB2 9 - 8 Trigger Happy (finished 17th)

We really wanted this one, against the third seeds in our pool, seeded 12 for the tournament. A tough, tightly contested match in quite a strong wind was notable for a number of upwind breaks for both teams, leaving us at 7-7 with a cap at 9. Their zone was effective, but really seemed to be sapping their stamina towards the end (despite their superior numbers), while our man D was awesome - Adam getting run-through D all weekend. At 8-8 we needed an upwind to win the game, and some uber-chilly handler play (plus some awesome good luck with a dropped Callahan attempt from them) made it happen.

Game 3:

SB2 1 - 11 EMO1 (finished 1st)

We were knackered. We watched EMO1 warming up, recognising a number of the better Warwick players in their 20-odd man squad. While they did a full 40-minute preparation, we warmed up with a mac-line. When the match started we played hard, it was only fair, but the crosswind pitch made it easy for a very athletic and talented team to take us apart. We did manage to score one. I don't remember how but it was probably a huck from me to Crow I would have thought. Oh yeah, it was, with Sam taking an easy 5-yard completion throw. We did have some bad luck as we had the disc to a receiver in their endzone four times (one following a sweet sidearm huck from Mike), but the result wasn't ever in doubt.

Game 4:

SB2 5 - 12 Mustard (finished 11th)

This was the one we wanted to win, to take us to 3rd in our pool. Mustard had just beaten an exhausted trigger happy and came out strong. We matched them early on, it being about 4-4 at one point. Unfortunately tired legs, arms and minds, helped by the 'support' of the first team towards the end (:P) led to a bit of a collapse. They had some strong handlers with good breaks, as well as some good athletes with big jumps and managed to take it away at the end. As Mustard correctly predicted in the talk at the end though, we were very well matched and would meet again later in the tournament.

Day 2:

Game 1:

SB2 11 - 4 BAF2 (finished 18th)

This was the big one. Win this and we were guaranteed to beat our seed. Lose it, and we'd be playing in the chump pools at the bottom. Despite my seven pints of cider the night before I felt fresh, and we were fired up and ready to go. Unfortunately disaster struck as BAF came out hard with some awesome O to take the first upwind point and leave us worried. Luckily, as it turns out, they were a bit rubbish after all and we were totally awesome. Some sweet chilly handling from Gary and some uncharacteristically accurate hucks from me were key as we surged to an 8-1 lead. They had a bit of a fightback at the end, but we took it away.

Game 2:

SB2 10 - 7 Flyght Club (finished 16th)

As we finished the last game early from reaching the cap, we went to watch the end of the Flyght Club vs Mild Mannered Janitors game. We saw Flyght push Janitors (4th seeds) hard, and we were worried. This was a proper team from a big city, a stalwart of the B tour. We resolved to have some fun and to play as well as we did against BAF 2. The wind was strong, and we lost the toss. The teams traded to 3-3 but then poor old Mikey had an unfortunate drop with the disc going almost backwards as he tried to huck from our endzone line. This was the break flyght club needed, as they got the upwind score and some confidence to start to pull away. It just seemed to be not our day, as we worked it all the way up against the wind to turn for 'that guy from the TV look at him' to huck it all the way downfield for us to start again. Notable upwind moments came from Harry (the tosser) throwing it straight at Stu's defender from the endzone line, and Stu dropping an outrageous C-face break through the cup in the zone. At 7-4 down it seemed it wasn't going to be our day, but charismatic leader Crow broke out the inspirational half time talk to give us back self belief. We came out with some truly unbelievable play. Never ever have I played in an SB team that looked as good as this, we worked it round their zone with hundreds of swings, not getting disheartened by the turns and inevitable huck and D from flyght. Everyone broke the cup. Everyone bust a gut. We took six points in a row, including three upwinds. Flyght club were obviously completely gutted (think SB1 vs flatball) while we were elated (think SB1 vs Ro Sham two years ago).

SB win. B-tour guaranteed.

Game 3:

SB2 9 - 11 The Brown 2 (finished 10th)

Again we were pretty tired. We had a huge carrot though. Beat Brown 2 and we would either play SB1 (if they won their game) or finish above them (if they lost it). Hearing this Brown 2 offered to throw the game and donate their better players to Mustard (playing SB1), they thought it would be so funny, but instead we decided to play. What a game. Tight all the way through. While we had a team of receivers, they had a team of handlers. We had the pace and brought down some swill while they had pinpoint throws. Unfortunately the game didn't start well. We started on O, but our first throw was a high floaty dump which led to me being skied by a n00b for the callaghan. Oh well, such is life. We fought hard and the game was close all the way through, upwind breaks being answered immediately. They identified my huck as the primary threat and constructed a D around stopping it. Luckily, this meant that quite a few times we swung it to Gary who put up some sweet discs. Chris. What a chump you were on Saturday. What a marvel on Sunday - brought down everything scoring about half our points. From now on always to be known as 'Transformer'. This new nickname somewhat confused the brown, who thought we meant Harry as 'he looked like a robot'. Unfortunately though, their legs got the better of us at the end (they had full O and D lines), and they ran out close winners and got to play SB1. Bah.

Game 4:

SB2 10 - 12 Mustard (finished 11th)

Mustard again. This time they seemed as tired as us, having lost a few players to the party the night before. The game started tightly, but we played some pretty sweet ultimate to take a commanding 10-7 lead (game to 11 win by 2). Notable for some sharp cuts from Max, fast D from Adam, comedy from Sam Lings and more sweet puts from Gary. Then we hit the wall. Crow injured his thigh, my knee went, and Fletcher did his ankles or something. The wind dropped and not even a sweet and hilarious mac greatest attempt from Chris could save us. I can only say that salt was rubbed in by the first team drubbing Brown 2 11-0 just in time to see us chump it at the end. They were nice about it though.

So that's it. I can't believe you bothered to read to the end. SB2 finish 12th, beating our seed by 5 and making the B tour with two games to spare. We also finished 3rd in the spirit scores with a 10.9/16 average, only 0.1 behind EMO1 in second (Brown 1 way up there with 11.9). This was great, given that I had finished the first huddle talk against Mustard with "sucks to be you", and that Flyght Club's huddle talk ended with "You bastards!"

Overall what an awesome weekend. My arm hurts like buggery as I put more hucks this weekend than every other tournament I've ever played for SB combined (and was unbelievably encouraged to keep doing so). It's impossible to overstate how much everyone on the team played their guts out for this, and how massively the new guys improved over the weekend.

MVP: The three co-captains were unanimous about this. The MVP goes to the team. It would have been impossible to pick out one person.

C-face: Now a killer handler
Harry: What a huck. £10
Max: Confident cutting
Chris: Transformer - sweet grabs
Sam: Backed up everything
Gary: Unbelievably chilly against the zone
Mike: Awesome no-look pushpass backhand dump to no-one
Adam: D-monster
Stu: Great play against the zones
Crow: Inspirational Mr Fantastic

Cool. Waffle over.

Tom Cope