London Winter League Report (2007)
Every member of the team played as well as I have seen them play... We faced some very strong opposition, in some pretty horrible conditions (windy and cold, though no rain 'til after we had finished), and we moved up from our seeding of seventh to finish sixth. Most importantly, we showed a great spirit and determination, pulling it together and working as a team.
Some highlights -
Inspired handling from Chris H (great long looks and endless running)
Chris L (an amazing return to fitness)
Matt (who played almost every point in the last game, and never looked tired)
Tim (who was solid and dependable)
Dan (who really stepped up to the conditions)
Playing out of the stack, we had relentless running and tireless D work from Jimmy, great positional awareness and hands from Rupie, lovely long cuts from Pascal, inspired popping from Nish, and impressive O cuts from Hugo.
Best layout Ds - I know I have forgotten some, so apologies, but both Chrises got huge blocks (against Fire)!
Best catch - Probably Matts incredible grab of a tumbling disc an inch off the ground after 5 people had gone up for it.
Most improved - This is shared by Nish and Hugo who got better and better throughout the tournament.
Finally, special thanks to Phil for all the advice and help from the sideline.
Through the clouds and gloom of southwest London, the mixed team went from a group of relative strangers to a team with the spirit and rapport worthy of many years of training and experience... This was truly the stuff good Disney movies ought to be made of!
It was a day all about improvement, spirit and fun for the mixed team, playing in the less than impressive conditions. Starting with a tough opening game in which we clawed back successive scores late in the game to end in close defeat, while trying to refrain Jonny from punting the 9 year old kid on the opposition line-up, and a more resounding defeat to the rather competitive Galahs in the second game (a team who seemed to have missed the memo on spirit in ultimate frisbee), we came out of the morning with two losses but chins firmly up.
Having fine-tuned zone defense and throwing in the wind throughout the morning, and worked on the tactic of “being good”, the afternoon had some truly vintage Ultimate for this fast-improving team. With Rachel and Josh providing some smooth and effortless handling from the back, and impressive work from the whole team working the upwind points, we came out of the first game in the afternoon 7-6 up. Then things really clicked for the final game, with an 8-3 victory against LSE, and a fittingly slick performance to round off a great day.
Niye's ability to jump about 10 feet in the air to make stunning end-zone grabs
Jonny's crucial catches and calmness in the 3rd game (and the spiderman gloves, of course)
John's impressive cutting from deep
Rachel's fantastic communication and leadership in getting the team to gel
All the girls for their general amazing-ness and incredible teamwork
Josh's precision and reliability with the disc (plus general ability to be the most laid-back person on the pitch)
Layout awards go to Rowan and Liana I think, though there might have been others. I, for all my enthusiasm, managed to roll around in the mud lots, without ever actually catching the disc or doing anything useful!
But most of all, a fantastic all round effort! It was a lot of fun, and great spirit throughout. This really was a memorable and classy day of Ultimate at its finest.