After our 2nd place finish at regionals a month earlier, we made the long trip down to Plymouth looking to keep up the momentum and improve on our 9th place finish at Indoor Nationals last year.
We came in seeded 4th, meaning that we would spend Saturday defending our seed from our pool opponents: Bristol 1, Unknown, Kernow and St. Albans.
The longer games allowed us to get into our stride early and record big wins against St. Albans and Kernow in our first two games, then leaving us with a big lunch break before the two games against Bristol and Unknown that would decide the pool.
First up: Unknown, in what turned out to be a really tight game! We got a few points ahead early and it was all looking ok until the outdoor-style cap came into play. Knowing we only needed one more goal should have allowed us to take it easy and make sure of the win, but instead it caused a few turnovers and mistakes we hadn’t been making earlier in the game. All of a sudden we had lost our lead and they had pulled it back to 7-6. They had chances to take it to sudden death, but we just managed to hold on and make that final score to finish it at 8-6.
After that nail biter we were into a game against Bristol to decide 1st place in the group and who avoided a crossover on Sunday morning. It was a suitably intense game, with layouts, big grabs and contested throws everywhere. Again, we went a few points up early on before giving them a way back into the game in the second half. And again, we struggled to put them away once we were into the cap. A mix of our mistakes and their good D on our endzone shots keeping the game alive and the crowd interested. Eventually though, one of our discs found the intended target to close out a 12-9 win and secure the 4th seed overnight.
After an evening of board games and/or Match of the Day, everyone seemed well rested and ready to go in the morning (except maybe Gus who was still distraught about the decision not to go to Toby Carvery for dinner).
Meanwhile, the crossovers had played out and meant that – in a regional rematch – we would be playing Mustard in the 4v5 quarter final. For the first few points we used a bit of zone D to slow them down and get a few turns before they figured us out and we had to revert to man to maintain the gap we had earned. In a game that felt closer than it ended we managed to hold onto that advantage all the way to a 10-6 win, and with it a place in the semi-finals of Nationals!
In our way now were last years’ winners and local heroes, FC. Who this year had gone for a choice of name that you can only get away with if you’re the defending champions… Fairly Confident.
First point we slotted in our O and put the pressure back onto them, before slowing them right down with our zone again. They eventually sorted themselves out and put it in for 1 all, much to delight of the somewhat partisan crowd.
On the following points they really worked hard to shut down our handler resets and as a result earned themselves a few turnovers. To our credit we didn’t make it easy for them either, we got numerous turnovers on their offense but just couldn’t convert them and eventually fell to our first loss of the weekend, 9-5.
That meant we were into the 3v4 game against the loser of the other semi-final – S&L Cartel, a rematch of our one-sided regionals final. With the schedule already running behind a long injury delay pushed the game back even further, to such a point that minds may have been more on the long journey home than the game at hand. When we eventually got to it, it was clear that our heads weren’t really in it to begin with and we slipped to a 4-0 deficit. At this point, in what proved to be inspired captaincy, Marius called a timeout and forced us to focus on the game with a (perfectly justified) stern word or three.
A combination of our marked improvement (particularly our man defence in our own endzone) and their tiring legs got us back into the game and eventually all the way to sudden death at 6-6. We got another turnover but couldn’t get the final point for what seemed like forever, before eventually putting it in and taking 3rd place, along with revenge for our blowout loss at regionals.
A 3rd place finish then! A great result, improving our seeding by one and only suffering one loss across the whole weekend. And for Aaron, things got even better as he was crowned our MVP and took home the remaining treat fund of 45p!
Seriously though, well played to everyone involved. A top result for the club; let’s take this momentum to Mixed Indoor Nationals and Tour after that!
Full results can be found here.