On the 17th and 18th of January we sent two teams to battle it out at the ‘Northern’ Club Open Regional tournament, the top 7 teams earning a place at Nationals in February.
Of the 19 teams attending, the two teams were seeded at opposite ends of the scale (2nd and 18th), despite having played a really tight game at our final training session before the weekend! Being seeded so low, the second teams initial pool schedule was pretty tough; in a group with three teams that would be pushing for Nationals qualification. Whereas the firsts were the top seed in their pool and would be looking to keep hold of the #2 spot on day one.
The seconds got off to a rough start, losing their first two games. The first against the vastly underseeded S&L Cartel (seeded 10th), and the second in a much tighter game with JR, finishing 7-9 to them. Things then picked up with a win, before another narrow defeat (7-9 again) in the final group game. These results gave us a 4th place finish in the group, and with it moving up from 18th to 16th overall.
That record in the first set of group games meant that Brum 2 carried a win and a loss into the power pools, so pushing up the rankings was still not out of the question! Another close loss (6-9) and a handy win (8-3) later and we had again jumped a few spaces up to 14th. The reward being a crossover with the 19th seed, which was now Birmingham FC – a development team from our friends at the University of Birmingham!
— Birmingham Ultimate (@Brumdisc) January 18, 2015
The live tweeting of this game shows it was a lot closer than the final scoreline, but a good win for Brum 2, ending up 15-2. This result meant that we had avoided the round robin at the bottom of the tournament and were now playing in the 9-16 bracket.
A tricky game against Unleashed was up first, with them taking advantage of any mis-matches to take the game away 9-4. That lead to a group game re-match against White Sheep, with this game proving to be tighter than the first game, coming down to sudden death at 9’s. A long point ended with a score by Brum 2 and advancing to the 13v14 final.
Another close game went right down to the wire, with both teams trading points. Until in the last minute Brum 2 finally got a break to go up by 2 and held on for a 9-7 win. Finishing 13th, up 5 on initial seeding, in a tough region is a big achievement!
Brum 1 started really well, beating one of the better teams in their group 12-5, before rolling onto 2 more comfortable wins 13-4 and 14-4. The final group game was the tightest of the lot, but we eventually figured out how to stop the SMOG offence and took an 8-5 win, giving us 4 wins out of 4 and retaining the 2nd seed going into power pools.
Unlike the power pools that the second team went into, the top 8 power pools didn’t carry over any results, so it was all to play for here. Brum 1 carried the momentum from the morning pools into the first game against Mustard, trading blows before squeezing out a lead at the end and managing to hold on for an 8-6 win. Coming back rested in the morning meant that we started slow and never recovered in the second pool game against Superhazy, falling to the first loss of the weekend 6-8.
Which meant that it came down to a game against JR to try and avoid a crossover and the potential to fall out of the top 8. In probably our closest game of the weekend, points were hard to come by, with every throw contested and pressured. In the end it came down to one point, 6-5 in Brum’s favour! The results in the other games in the pool meant that there was a three-way tie for the top spot, which was resolved on goal difference placing Brum second and avoiding the crossovers.
That meant that a top 8 spot was safe, with only one more win needed to make it to Nationals for the second year running.
The first game up was a pool game rematch against SMOG. They mixed things up a little from the previous game and got the rewards early on, before Brum 1 started closing them down again and making the extra legs count, eventually winning 10-6 and taking a Nationals spot in the process!
That set up a rematch with JR, who after the game earlier were probably overjoyed with having another shot at us. It was another close run game, albeit a bit more free-flowing, with both teams managing the disc better and doubling their point total from the earlier game, it finished 12-10 to Brum and we were into the final!
However, the final was a bit of a let down. We never really got going and let S&L Cartel take a decent sized lead before we started to play. The last few points were hard fought, but by that time the result wasn’t in doubt and they took it 6-12.
A disappointing way to end maybe, but still a great effort to keep the 2nd spot and qualify for Nationals again! Way to go Brum!
Now… can we match the 9th place finish from last year?