Strange Blue Tournament Report

University Outdoor Nationals

03.May.2008 - York

This weekend, 15 intrepid Cambridge students travelled to York to assert their claim to the title of "Student National Ultimate Champions".
On board were:

Simon "Capt" Dathan
Jon "Fatty" Middleton
Jon "Keen" Pemberthy
Chris "Magic" Rowlands
Pedro "the one-armed bandit" Matos
Mark "the Russian" Ioffe
Matt "Shannosaurus" Shannon
Paul "Ice Cock" Robustelli

In brief - we came second to Cardiff after losing narrowly in the final. We won spirit, and everyone loved us for beating Ro Sham Bo.

In detail:

Balls Deep 11 - 6 Brunel

Our first match of the weekend was against 9th seeds Brunel. After a three hour drive and only 30 mins to get in gear, team "Balls Deep" ( the team formerly known as "Strange Blue") got off to a flying start and we firmly established our dominance over our opposition. There were a silly turns on our part, but our long game looked good, and our D did the job. We were aided after about 15 mins by drunken Rob and his team of Jesuins, and before long we had won the half. We let our lead slip a bit in the second half, but never looked like losing. A decent first game.

Balls Deep 9 - 10 Cardiff (No Frills)

This was the big game of the Saturday, playing the relatively unknown Cardiff, who were the second seeded team in our group. The game was tight from the start with points being traded until the half. Cardiff played a smooth short game with lots of great continuation and very few unforced errors, but Balls Deep whipped out a superb long game and some great play between the handlers to stay in the game. With the score tied at 8-8 after the buzzer, a strong D-line set out to force a turn and score an upwind point. We did indeed force the turn (three times in fact) and score the point, pulling away to 9-8. Unfortunately Cardiff replied with two slick points in a row to win the game.

Balls Deep 12 - 7 Newcastle (Too Many Pies)

After the disappointing loss to Cardiff, we put in a decent performance in our last group game. We always looked dominant in this match and never looked like losing. Pies managed to pull a few back after applying some zone, but Balls Deep quickly adapted and won the match.

Balls Deep 11 - 7 Loughborough (Haze)

This was the 2-3 crossover that we were forced to play due to our loss to Cardiff. Haze looked pretty tired and Balls Deep looked comfortable and were never really threatened. The highlight of the game was the politically incorrect post-match call of "Special Ultimate", which I'm sure you'll see in a college league game soon.

Balls Deep 11 - 10 Edinburgh (Ro Sham Bo)

This was the BIG match of the weekend. Having lost our place as 2nd seed, we were forced to play 1st seeds Ro Sham Bo to win a place in the last four. However, after a good night's sleep and a few too many glimpses of Pedro and Paul's balls (or was it dick - who knows?), team Balls Deep was feeling pretty confident of being able to cause an upset. The game was extremely tense with Ro Sham Bo leading throughout the first half after showing some extreme aerial dominance. However, we were still in it with the score at 7-4. In the second half we pulled out all the stops and showed the world how well Cambridge can play. Suddenly everything clicked for us. Our Defense was insanely intense, as we cut out all of Ro Sham Bo's long throws, and forced the turn on a multitude of occasions. Our Offense was slick with a great mix of short resets and audacious long throws. Fatty was huge, scoring at least 5 points or so, and Pedro was full of flair, throwing a half-pitch scoober for the score. We pulled the game back from 9-6 to 10-10, and so the match went down to a sudden-death last point. It was a moment of beauty. The handlers exchanged a few nice quick passes to each other creating space for Pedro to make a huck. Rob (now sober) peeled away from his marker and bust deep into the endzone and plucked Pedro's disc out of the air whilst under pressure from some aggressive defense. Cambridge were ecstatic, Edinburgh were devastated. As we warmed down by jogging around the pitch, we were congratulated by all the other teams who had been watching us take down the tournament favourites.

Balls Deep 12 - 9 Durham (DUF)

Our penultimate match was against DUF for a place in the final. Again points were traded for the first half, but we were confident of a victory after finding our pace against Ro Sham Bo. We took the half 7-6 and then pulled away in the second half after applying some devastating zone-D and playing some flowing stack-and-cut Offense. Durham pulled a few back, but Balls Deep kept their composure to earn a place in the top two.

Balls Deep 8 - 10 Cardiff

The final was a rematch of the game from the day before. We were full of confidence after seeing off Ro Sham Bo and DUF, and we kept in the game, which again saw points traded until the half. Cardiff continued to play a fast paced short game that was difficult to defend against, but again we looked good with our long game, with Rob proving a constant threat as a receiver. A strong D-line stepped up to the challenge of putting us ahead, and so they did, with Cambridge managing to pull the game away to 8-7 at the buzzer. Unfortunately we couldn't capitalise on our lead, and Cardiff proved unstoppable as they won three in a row to win the title.

Obviously we were devastated to get so far and then lose the final, but we all agreed that it was an amazing achievement to get so far - especially since we beat Ro Sham Bo in the process, who were considered unbeatable by many.

We also won the spirit prize (which took us a bit by surprise), and developed a great new call for the future.

As for MVP - well we didn't actually vote for one, but I would say it was definitely a team MVP vote, as everyone put in 100% and made extremely valuable contributions. Never mind, we'll win next year...

Adam Booth