Strange Blue Tournament Report

University Outdoor Nationals

14-15.Feb.2009 - Sheffield
Open Student Team 08-09 after nationals

So SB marched to nationals, seeded second, and itching to get playing to take apart the rest of the country with our awesome game. First up on Saturday was Mohawks (Sussex) playing on an upwind downwind pitch. This was all about finding our rhythm and match intensity and after a few exchanges we pulled away. With the game capped at 11, we lost a little fluency and struggled to convert the final score with Mohawks pulling it back to 10-8 before we put in the winning goal.

After an hours break and a chance to relax and focus on our game we took on Too Many Pies (Newcastle) in a much more impressive display. As in Nick's words, our O was simple and our D was simple, and the opposition had very few options especially against our devastatingly tight zone which brought a Callahan for Adam. We took the game 13-6.

The final pool game was against a well spirited Skulltimate (Cork University) on a very strong cross wind pitch. The O line scored with consistent and slick ultimate in the strong wind, and the D line made good use of hucks, and our well drilled zone to pen the opposition back in their own half. The match ended about 12-6 so we topped our group and progressed to a quarter final with Flatball (St Andrew's).

Sunday morning brought a complete turn in the weather with the sun shining and almost perfectly still conditions. Our preparations were smooth and we were feeling good as we approached the start of the game. Coming out hard against an athletic and enthusiastic Flatball team we made a big early impression of the game going 6-0 up. We played with confidence, cutters running hard and handlers playing devastatingly patient O as well putting up some money hucks for big grabs from the likes of Tom Cope. Flatball then began to work around our D strategy of concentrating on their big players, and began moving the disc more efficiently and began taking down some big discs too. Scoring 5 straight points, they were right back in it and SB had a fight on their hands. The points were hard fought and nerves began creeping in which showed in some unfortunate drops and throwaways. Flatball were tall and came away with the disc from a number of scrappy bids, but all the points were hard fought on both sides. With Flatball up 8-7 the game was capped to 10. The captains called lines, Flatball moved to match point and we pulled one back, before Flatball slotted home the winning score. It was a huge blow that our title bid had been halted, but Flatball had shown enormous belief that they really wanted it when we could have done with playing slightly more conservatively when needed.

We were determined however to now take 5th spot and with our band of newly arrived supporters headed to a match against other quarter final loser, Uriel. Geed up by some sweet chants our game clicked in this match with some big D's and intelligent cutting in the 3-4, and we took the game swiftly to the points cap, 13-5. Mention to Natman who skied Tom and a bunch of Uriel players for a great score.

The 5-6 playoff was to be a grudge match, playing old rivals RoShamBo. Having just won a sudden death match against Halcyon, RoSham were firing on all cylinders and their game was crisp and controlled. They took a lead within the first 15 minutes but as we returned to our groove, the desire could be felt among SB. We wanted to play well, to work it up the field, take big grabs, and get the D's. Most notably being Hammad's huge layout in the endzone. We brought the scores level with an upwinder, and then took the lead. Scores level, the match was capped at 10, and both teams scored one setting up a sudden death point. Everyone wanted it, and both teams had chances to score. Eventually RoSham kept their heads, after a number of well sorted out calls, and put in the score to take 5th place. Is was a game which everyone enjoyed playing and an ending that was not as bitter as might be expected, as we had ended the tournament on a high for it had been an excellently competitive, intense and spirited match.

Big thanks go out to the supporters who turned out to cheer on SB. Disappointing they didn't get to cheers us on for the title but it made a big difference all the same and made the day very enjoyable. This was capped off by watching a totally sweet display by the Bears team in the final taking apart Sublime with 13 unanswered scores.

Rob Green - Tournament MVP