Strange Blue Tournament Report

Open Tour 1

23.Jun.2007 - London

So a successful 'Tour Zero' back in the mists of time (March) meant that we were starting this year's campaign in A Tour. Sweet. But we knew it would be hard...

Here are the brave souls who put their bodies on the line for SB: Paul Robustelli, Rob Schumacher, Tido Eger, Jon Middleton, Mark Stephens (Sun only), Martin Mottram, Chris Rowlands, Jez Bird, Ryan Woodard, Matt Shannon, James Nicoll and yours truly.

First up we had Paddy Murphy. These boys come all the way over from the Emerald Isle for Tour - and they mean business. And it showed. Really tough game to get first up, and despite some good hard play from us, the Irish boys were always up and took the game convincingly. When you step it up to this level, naivety on D can really cost you. Definitely something to work on. But we did compete well for periods of the game, which shows the potential we have to get up to the level of these guys.

So roll on the second game - and another really solid A Tour team in the shape of Discuits. We managed to put in some really strong periods of play in this one, knowing it was our last chance to avoid the relegation battle between the bottom 4 of A Tour. There really was some great stuff from us - but alas not consistently enough throughout the game. Discuits took this one, and again proved to us how tough life is in the top 16. But again, we were learning.

And so to the final game of the first day, and another tussle with EMO. This one didn't really count for much as both teams were destined for the next day's round robin in the bottom 4, but we weren't going to let that make us play like fools. We came out hard and at 4-1 had them where we wanted them. However, the story of the weekend started to take hold, and another weaker period from us let the opposition back into the game. As the game started to get away from us we brought our level back up again, but too late and we lost this one narrowly. Frustrating to show how well we can do but not keep it up for a whole game, but that's the reality of 90min games. It's a really hard battle all the way through.

So not the most inspiring first day in terms of results, but it really was encouraging to see the level we could get to. One day we'll make it happen all the time. For now though, we settled for a team curry. Good compensation for a hard day's work.

Day two brought an early game (8.30am) and an early cock-up. Starting a game with 6 on the line ain't a good plan boys - largely my fault (sorry) but we've got to be so much more focussed in future. That said, we crapped all over them (Bristol) with our 6 against their 7 and scored the point : ) Not just that but a strong start to this game really put us in a good position to take the half. Again though, as the adrenaline wore off, our focus dipped and we let them back in. Bristol being the consistent A Tour team that they are, took advantage. Still, we battled really well in this one and only lost by a couple of points - it was really tight right to the end. Well played fellas.

And so to our rematch with EMO. This was where we really noticed that playing A Tour with only 11/12 guys is just not enough. Some really tired legs and a mounting injury list put us under serious pressure and we lost to EMO again. But yet again the signs were there of what we could achieve with some strong D and some really slick O - including, wait for it, a long game! Niiiiiiiice.

And now, ladles and jellyspoons, the moment you've all been waiting for. Win #1. It may have been in sudden death, but we took down The Brown. 10 hobbling SBers against the might of 22 of newcastle's finest... and we won. Given how much everyone had put in to the weekend thus far, it was incredible to see the running we still put in. We had too much quality for them and, although it should have been easier, deservedly took the game - Two Hands providing a quality double happiness finish with a point block and then the goal. Get in.

Now I realise this might not be the happiest read for a supporter of the Blue, but ignore the results. What matters is that when we got our heads (and legs) in it, we competed really well with strong A Tour teams, and could easily have won a couple more games. So looking forward, we've got a great chance to win B Tour at the next event and then really show what we're made of come Tour 3 back in the top 16. Let's do it.

Let's get keen for Tour 2 and take a big squad. If we have 16 guys at the next Tour, we can win the B Tour and take home a trophy. LET'S DO IT!!! Get excited about it and get your mates excited about it and let's take a storming team to Tour. This is the best ultimate in the country folks, and the time has come to get well and truly stuck in.

Tour 2 | 14-15 July | Mansfield

See the date. Stare at it until you still see it when you close your eyes. Think about it until you dream about, even fantasize about it. Then when your brain can think of little else, drop me an email saying you want to come and blow away the rest of B Tour with some stonkingly good ultimate. Then smile about the good thing you've just done and start preparing for the big weekend. Oh yes. More emails will follow, but the sooner you get your name on the list, the more complete you will feel as a person. 'Reply' is just up there ^

All that remains for me to say is that Martin was voted MVP - the guy embodied everything we did well at the weekend. Running like a speeding bullet stuck up the ass of a bat out of hell; making huge grabs to make the disc his; making good decisions and solid passes; and having the pitch awareness to be in the right place at the right time to make the team function. Nice 1 Martin - and an especially huge contribution given your inexperience.

A final thank you to everyone who turned out - you did yourselves proud against much bigger squads and we really improved over the weekend. We can achieve greatness over the course of the summer. I look forward to playing with you all again at Tour 2 (14-15 July) and Tour 3 (18-19 August). Get those dates in your diary.......

Over n out