We started Open Tour 2016 as the 11th seed, having been dropped a few places by the return of the GB Teams above us and it meant that we landed in a tough looking pool with The GB Open D Line (2nd seed), KaPow (5th) and the outrageously under-seeded GB Masters (16th).
Our first game was against GB Open, and we came into it just wanting to play some nice Frisbee and get ourselves ready for the rest of the day. We definitely hit that target and started out looking pretty good, trading with them for most of the first half, even getting a break back after we lost it. After the half though they started to go through the gears and any mistakes were swiftly punished, as you’d expect from the national team. All of sudden they’d run away with it and taken a 15-8 win, but we had actually played pretty well and in the end this turned out to be their closest pool game!
After a decent gap we were up against KaPow and, as expected, their long game was in full flow. We kept things tight to begin with, but mistakes started to creep into our game; simple errors that kept giving them the disc back and they we happy to keep taking the deep shots, which despite pressure they kept coming down with. They kept the momentum going and before we knew what had hit us the game was done, 9-15. It was disappointing that we gave them so many turnovers so easily, but on the bright side it left us with simple things to work on for the later games.
Straight off the back of that defeat we were into our final pool game with GB Masters. After placing pretty highly last year we were surprised to see them as the 16th seeds, and they were clearly on a mission to move on up. As you would predict, their discs were always on the money and any opportunity was taken, we put up a bit of resistance but we never looked like shutting down their long game and fell to a convincing 8-15 loss. They went on to finish 3rd.
So with three losses, we had finished bottom of the group and would crossover against 3rd place from pool D which had turned into a real dogfight between Glasgow, Fire, Reading and Sneeekys.
After it had all worked out we got stuck with Glasgow in our crossover; whom after coming in as the 4th seed were not going to make things easy. This was a really tight game, with periods where both teams looked to have taken the advantage only to be pegged back. We did a good job of containing them for spells but they were happy to rely on their big players to get them out of trouble and keep the goals coming. In a game to 13, a crucial timeout at 11-12 allowed them to regroup and walk the disc in for the win, consigning us to the bottom four and a scrap to avoid relegation. Glasgow went on to finish 6th, which was actually the highest of anyone from the crazy Pool D after they’d come 3rd in it!
So after a rest, and safe in the knowledge we only had 2 games lined up for Sunday, we came back ready to go against LLLeeds in our semi-final. Another tight game ensued, but with the added element of a gusty wind after the calm conditions on Saturday. After a few points of matching them we switched things up and went with zone defence to use the wind to our advantage, and it paid off as we got plenty of turnovers and chances to break. The zone was working so well that we even played it a couple of times downwind and still got turns. We weren’t maybe as clinical as we could have been and they kept things tight, but we came away with our first win 12-8.
That meant we had set up a rematch with KaPow in the 13v14 game to stay in A Tour. This game threatened to follow the same pattern as the pool game on Saturday, and there were a couple of times it looked like they might start to run away with the game again. But unlike the first time round we dug deep and – despite our fewer numbers – clawed our way back into the game. It came down to some long and scrappy points at the end, particularly the 11-11 point, with multiple turnovers and it really could have gone either way. Luckily for us we managed to jam in the final point and take the game 13-12, securing our place in A Tour at OT2 (although in reality KaPow will also most likely survive because of the absent GB teams from Tour 2).
A great way to end the weekend after a tough pool and a tough crossover left us with it all to do.
To top it off, wee later found out that we had also won the Spirit trophy for the Open Division! A really good achievement, especially when involved in those close games fighting it out at the bottom of the division! Full results and spirit can be found here.