Outdoor Regionals Report 2008
This weekend saw OW! take 32 players, across two teams, to Cambridge for Midlands Outdoor Regionals. Below is the account of OW1's weekend, I'm sure Ed and Pascal can inform you about OW2's performance.
Saturday was pool play with OW in a group with BUF 2, UBU 2, Haze 2 and Strange Blue. Our first games against Haze 2 and BUF 2 we relatively straight forward with victories 10 - 4 (?) and 10 - 0 respectively. With strong winds these teams lack of experience made it difficult for them. It also gave us chance to practice our junk zone.
Everyone was warming up for our game against Strange Blue. This was the big game to win the pool and have a good shot at Nationals. A slow start saw Strange Blue capitalize on our turns and take a 4-1 lead. We then pulled out our killer junk zone, grit and determination. Their handlers were struggling under the pressure and this helped us claw it back to 4-4. The short 45min games saw the hooter go at 4-4, so it was sudden death game to 5. Again our zone turned them over but we were un-able to take advantage. Strange Blue won 5-4 (They subsequently went on to win regionals, again).
Again our last game against UBU 2 was a formality. We finished second in our pool. To get to nationals would now require 5 wins out of 5 on Sunday, a feat we felt capable of achieving.
10:10 Sunday morning and we have to play Demons, game 1/3 in a row. An overheard comment of “we've got to play OW, i've heard they're SHIT HOT!” gave the team great encouragement. The predicted rain was canceled and the winds died down, however this didn't stop our zone. A comfortable victory against a not very strong first team.
Game 2, UBU. This game proved to be harder than expected. A strong zone from UBU saw them take a 4-2 lead and an OW timeout. John Willan's motivating speech spurred us on to take 7 points in a row, again our zone punishing their lack of handlers. Saying that their zone at moments was strong and caused us trouble. The final 10-5 score line did not reflect how much UBU worked and fought for that game.
For our third game we expected Aye-Aye. To our surprise we faced a small Jesters side. Again the junk zone was too much for a team with only 3 handlers and 10ish players. In this game we discovered the aptly named ‘Statto paradox’:
“An infinite-length game will occur when Statto calls a great D line with not enough handlers.”
20 mins and 2 subs later we finaly score. We won 10-1, a surprisingly easy game which secured us a place a Nationals Div2.
On the pitch next door we see Haze loose in sudden death to BUF. Our next game is against Haze, who had lost two games in a row. We have a lunch break and start warming up for our game against Haze. A confident OW! side, off the back of three consecutive wins had just two more games to get to Nationals.
We start on D and throw our strong junk zone. The return of Brummie and an underestimation of their handlers see them walk straight through it. This didn't discourage us, at times they found it difficult to work it up the field. We traded for a while to 3-2. They then started to play arrow head zone and we were left struggling to find the gaps and work it up the field. They started to take a lead and our tired legs were evident. The game ended 8-4 to Haze, a deserved victory for them.
A 5th place finish felt a little disappointing, but overall a good weekend was had by all. We played good ultimate and everyone put in an amazing amount of effort. We're looking forward to winning Nationals Div 2.
A tired Statto.
In a year where OW2 have gone from strength to strength, an accomplished second team took to the field in Cambridge on Saturday morning. It was a windy day, and a tough group starting with a match against TNT. We started slowly and the wind exposed our lack of experience, causing us to lose possession as we tried to string passes together. This proved to be a frustrating game that we lost 9-0.
Our next game was against Strange Blue 2. Their zone caused us trouble and they got an early lead. But we finally got the disk moving, and started using zone defence. The team started coming together and gaining momentum in the tough conditions. As we really started to get a foothold in the game, it was only a slightly dubious call on the cap that prevented us completing a fierce come-back, ending with a 7-5 loss. Bring on Varsity!
A difficult afternoon put us up against Jesters (where a 10-3 loss didn't justify a tight game) and Bears 1. The experienced defence and fast counter-attacks of these teams proved too much for us. At the end of a tiring and difficult day, though, the team was really beginning to come together and we showed great spirit despite a run of difficult games in tricky conditions.
Day 2, and it was OW2's time to shine. First up was Bears 2, and a confidence and swagger in the OW2 attack gave us a well-earned early lead. With the almighty handling pair of Alex and Alex adapting well to the windy conditions; and a strong zone D, it was a great start to the day, even if a late burst from Bears 2 helped them steal a tight game in the cap 9-6.
But it was the last two games that were the real testament to the season's efforts, and both Strange Blue 3 and Aye-Aye 2 folded to superior and impenetrable OW2 D. The cup was an absolute brick wall; every upwind throw was blocked, while Nish roamed as Short Deep causing all sorts of trouble for the struggling opposition!
The last game saw us win 8-3 against an impressive second team, and it took real accuracy on O and lively pick-ups on the turns to make it all come together. This was the best OW2 have looked, and a fantastic end of the tournament, putting us up one place from our seed at 17th.
Special mentions go out to Alex Fox, a class act throughout the weekend and unanimous MVP for OW2, who provided the experience in handling that enabled the team to gel on the second day. Alex H also did a fantastic job of handling in the wind, and caused some serious damage to opposition cup players, so hats off to him! Hugo (aka Blazer!), you are crazy and your fantastic enthusiasm and communication on the field was pivotal in getting our D together on day 2; while John also ran the cup like a demon! Dom, Matt, Yuri and Pascal: your hard work through the weekend, safe hands on O, and tight marking on D made all the difference in raising our game on the second day... Fantastic work. I also hear that Nancy and Susan brought great composure to the team on the first day, as always!
Then, of course, lay out of the season and award for awesome D goes to Nish... your dive will go down in history... best moment of regionals '08 without a doubt!
Basically, you guys are awesome. Thanks for a great weekend, and see you out on the frisbee field soon.