Strange Blue Tournament Report

University Womens Indoor Regionals

3.11.2012 - Norwich

Hey SB,

This weekend, our ladies took second place at University Women's Indoor Regionals (UWIR).

Saturday morning of UWIR and eight fresh-faced Strange Blue ladies rocked up to the Sportspark in Norwich. With no transport-issues that morning and our nice warm beds the night before, we were ready to play hard to place in the top four and qualify for nationals.

SB 9-0 UBU2
Strange Blue take an early win against a team of mostly freshers.

SB 3-7 Bears
Bears were seeded low in our pool due to their non-attendance at last year's regionals. However, we expected them to be the well-drilled inside team that they have consistently fielded in the past, and we weren't disappointed. We tried to shut down their handler weave with tight man D, but it seemed that their core three players never tired of bouncing off the sidelines for an alternative option. On offense, a few of our players were taken out by their very physical defense. We lost our calm on O and the scoreline reflects that.

SB 6-11 Fling
Fling had a static iso play, wiith one strong receiver at the end of those high overhead throws. After starting out trading points, we were quickly punished by their two-pass scores and failed to convert on our own offense points. An ecstatic and confident Fling pulled ahead in the last part of the match and we were simply outclassed. Fling would go on to take third place, so we'll look forward to a rematch at nationals.

SB 9-3 Haze
Our final pool game was against an energetic Loughborough team. They were fielding a few freshers with great catching abilities and showed real potential. We maintained in control of the game and managed to stop them from scoring off hammers and blades from their capable handlers. Haze ended up taking the last of the four nationals spots after working their way up from 7th seed in the knockouts.

The end of pool play saw us in fifth seed. A quick check of the schedule and we predicted that our crossover to get into the top four would be against Aye-Aye. Thanks to some insider knowledge of their players, we decided on some smart match-ups, with strong defenders on their leftie handler, Becci, and their long receiver, Ellie, at all times.

There was then a large two-hour lunch break where we recognised the parts of our game that had really begun to click. For the rest of the afternoon, we would be playing in an iso formation with larger shapes from our main handlers Maggie, Susanna and Eadaoin opening up our play.

SB 10-4 Aye-Aye
The winner of this game would get the easy path to nationals (provided they avoided triple elimination), the loser would have to fight their way back into the top four. Feeling slightly jittery after the break, we tried to rekindle those moments of brilliance that had begun to show through in the Haze game. We got an early lead and pulled away as scores started coming easily. Layout catches from both teams made this game one of our most exciting all weekend.

SB 6-4 Bears
Bears had maintained first seed from their strong start that morning despite the loss of their captain to injury during the pool games. If we won this game, we would steal the first seed from them. This time round, their weave didn't work against our force-middle defense. On offense we continued to use what had worked in the past two games. In response, they threw out a three-man endzone wall. Our handlers, with help from the sideline, moved the disc around the outside of their endzone before neatly popping the disc in. Eleanor caught several precise hammers this game. Bears ended up getting triple eliminated down to fifth place in what was the surprise result of the tournament.

SB 6-7 UBU
So we made it to the final! The UBU team consisted of a large number of girls with speed on them and one Canadian handler putting up deep threats into the endzone. We were looking pretty hot at 5-4 up, when a contested out-of-bounds call on one of our scores was not helped by two UBU pricks on the sideline. UBU went on to score that point. A timeout from Eve helped our girls realise that they needed to stand their ground on calls. Despite this there were still several contested stall-outs, another disallowed score for SB, and the UBU girls were capitalising on our confusion and lack of focus. It came down to a 6-6 draw at time, next point would win. UBU shot a bullet into the endzone and it was all over much too quickly. Next time we meet UBU we have score to settle. MVP of the final was the mouthy Canadian handler, who, despite being pretty grumpy, had some incredible throws.

So that's the story of our success this weekend. Eve and I are incredibly proud of our ladies. In one day, we managed to find our strengths, play to them and really grit out the knockout stage. Winner of the D-bag was Maggie for her game-saving Ds, incredible pitch awareness, and sage advice off the pitch.

Jess and Eve xxx