UKU Midlands Club Open Indoor Regionals Captains Report

This weekend saw Birmingham Ultimate’s first foray into the world of UKU club ultimate. With a small and relatively inexperienced team, this weekend was more about improving our play together and working hard than it was about the results.

The Team:

  • Rob Flintham
  • Dave Robertson
  • Patrick Goodall
  • Joseph Gardiner
  • James Leadbetter (Saturday Only)
  • Ibby Motosho (Sunday Only)
  • Thamid Khan (Sunday Only)


Saturday

Game 1: Lost to Frisee Rascals
In this game, we were out-talled and out-run. At times, we put some nice runs of play together and even scored a couple of points, but unfortunately we couldn’t contend with their height and speed as they threw over us and ran past us. Not the best start to the weekend!

Game 2: Lost to Lemmings
Lemmings finished in the top 8 this weekend, with the help of many of Birmingham Ultimate’s stronger players. We marked up against the likes of Mat Seabrook, Ben Kings, Carl Bullingham, James Boswell and Liam Pitt, and Lemmings showed their quality. However, we had learned some lessons from the first game, and we were starting to show some structure and put in more points than before, and against stronger opposition. We also played some tight D and forced Lemmings into some sketchy play, which we sometimes capitalised on. Lemmings ran out the winners by a clear margin, but we felt we were making progress.

Game 3: Won against Warwick Bears
Bears had brought a similarly inexperienced team to ours, and this was our closest matched game of the weekend. We knew Bears would come out and try to play a weave, and we shut this down for the majority of the game, forcing Bears into some sketchy throws which we managed to pull out of the air. It was a low scoring game at 4-3, but we were starting to use our dump and swing more, and everyone worked hard on D to make sure Bears couldn’t put the points in they wanted to. Hooray for our first competitive win!

Game 4: Lost against Danger! High Voltage
This was our best performance of the weekend so far, with everyone working their hardest and starting to find some form and work our structure. However, Danger showed their experience and punished us for our mistakes, usually scoring within 10 seconds of us turning over. Even so, the work ethic paid off and we got some good quality points on the board. It was a shame to lose this match so convincingly after seeing a quality performance from everyone on the team.

Game 5: Lost against Flyght Club
This was our last game of the day, and by now, a day playing iron-man (without subs) against high-level opposition was starting to take its toll. Flyght Club came out in an “iso” for pretty much the whole game, and knowing that none of us had the presence on D to take out the shot to the isolated player in the middle, we focussed on pinning the iso to the sideline and playing hard D on the second pass. Initially, this worked well and we got 2 good points on the board. However, our tired legs showed and Flyght Club gradually took the game away from us, eventually breaking through our D around 80% of the time. Flyght ran out the clear winners, and we took ourselves home to rest our legs!

Sunday

Game 1: Won against BUUBs
With 2 fresh players added to our ranks, the University of Birmingham’s freshers team didn’t really stand much of a chance against us. A storm of run-through D’s from Ibby and POG (among others) left the opposition a bit flat-footed, and we quickly converted each turnover to win 14-0. I wouldn’t say this was a strong performance, as we didn’t really make the most of the chance we had to run our tactics and put things from training into practice, but it was good to start the day on a comprehensive win.

Game 2: Lost against Mustard 2
At this point, we were in an 8-team playoff for 13th position. After the morning’s success, we were hoping to come out and give the opposition a run for their money, but instead, came out a bit complacent and didn’t switch on at all for the first half of the game, giving them 4 or 5 easy deep points. This was a deficit we weren’t going to recover from. On offence, we sometimes showed signs of good things with a couple of clinical points and putting our dump and swing into action. However, our D against the long shots let us down, and as the score-line climbed, so did the pressure and we ended the game feeling a tad sorry for ourselves.

Game 3: Lost against Warwick Bears
Having learned a valuable lesson about not being too complacent and keeping our structure from the last game, we were keen to come out hard and repeat our earlier win against Bears. We fought them hard on D and forced them into play they weren’t comfortable with, creating turnovers again and again. On offence, we kept our structure better and made the most of the width of the field, something we had been lacking earlier in the weekend. However, on this occasion it was thrower errors that let us down, and we failed to convert points that should have been ours. Bears ran out the eventual winners at 4-3, a reversal of the score from the day before, but we took heart from the fact that we’d stuck to our guns and played our own game. If the throws had connected, we could easily have won this game, but it wasn’t to be and we kept our heads up heading into the final game of the weekend.

Game 4: Won against BUUBs
Knowing that we were probably looking at a comfortable win, we made the most of a more relaxed game on our offence and resolved to take slow starts and set up our stack rather than just putting the disc in when we turned them over. It’s hard to judge your offence against an inexperienced line of D players, but this was possibly the most clinical we’d been all weekend. We ran cuts from the back, made the most of our dump and swing, and even took some high quality long shots when they were on – the long threat is something we’d been lacking all weekend. It was nice to end the weekend on a win, and to finish 19th overall, especially a comfortable one where we’d been able to play without stretching ourselves and really work on running our offence the way we wanted.

To sum up, despite some frustrating losses at the hands of some very athletic and/or experienced opposition, there are a lot of positives to take away. There were some great individual performances, but more importantly, by the last game we were looking much more like a team than we had at the start of the weekend. The commitment can’t be faulted, with some brilliant (and some less brilliant) layouts on show. Hopefully the players at this tournament can take these performances into training, and we can keep improving as a team.

Birmingham Ultimate