Outdoor Nationals Report 2009
OW made a strong showing at NTN, finishing the 7th seed after some close battles. Saturday was cool and windy, and the pitches being cunningly aligned with the gale, the conditions had a strong effect on the games. We struggled in our first game to show our usual passion and pace, and fell to the fourth seed in our pool. In our defense, they were a very strong fourth seed. In our second game we came out a bit more fired up, after watching our opponents battle it out for 20 minutes after the cap in their previous game, struggling to score upwind (or even downwind) points. Our zone was effective at disrupting their upwind play, and after trading downwind points most of the game, solid handling, especially from Phil and Lindsey, drove the team upwind against a solid zone defense for consecutive upwind scores (I believe) and the victory.
In our bye round, most of the team watched an Italy/Wales rugby match, while I slept.
Our third game was crucial, as victory would make us at least the 2 seed from our pool, and possibly the 1 seed. The wind continued, and we fought our hardest match of the weekend, against an equally determined side from some place. The game was dominated by the wind and contested with tight upwind zone defenses. With some chilly handling from Phil, Lindsey, and Andy, and some reckless upwind huck attempts by Sandy, we came tantalizingly close to scoring the key upwind points on several occasions. Our defense was great, with some sick bids (especially from Phil, as expected). But unfortunately we never managed to put it in, and the other side capitalized on a turnover or two near the upwind end zone to win the match. Afterwards we rolled around on a hill trying to slap each other's hands.
Yet we were lucky, and came out the third seed from our pool, which gave us a spot in a 2/3 crossover game in order to qualify for the top bracket on Sunday. We faced a spirited second team (from Edinburgh), and exceptional though they were for a second team, we were never in risk of losing the game. Don't remember much of it, except for miniature tanks.
Sunday was calmer, but our first game was against Buf, and we knew it would be tough. We tried clever mental maneuvers to take Buf's stars out of the game, nonchalantly showing up at the field after the game was supposed to start. Buff proved too clever for this, however. Again, most points were scored down wind, but Buff's pace and athleticism prevented our zone from being effective, while effectively baiting and D-ing deep passes in the zone. We never lost our determination, and came close to clawing our way back, thanks in part to a sick bid for a score by Jonny. But too little too late.
Our next match I don't remember well. I think we lost. (It was Durham - Jonny)
So then we had to play for the 7/8 spot, and faced the same team we had lost to Saturday morning in our first match. But this was not the same team; they were playing their second stringers who had been managing the sideline all weekend. And so we had some fun, and won easily. We struggled, though, against their innovative "everybody fall over simultaneously" defense, which forced Nye to throw it out of bounds, while not even aiming at somebody in the end zone.
And more miniature tanks.
Many thanks to Laurie for driving and to Nye's friend, Phil G's friend, and Jonny's sister for hosting folk. It was a very fun weekend, and great preparation for varsity. I hope everybody's getting in some good playing time this vacation.