UKU Mixed 2 2019: The Grey Towers of Durham

Due to the new ranking system we came into the second Mixed event of the year seeded 9th and looking to fight our way back into the top 8 again. With no crossovers, we knew that to get back into that top bracket we needed to finish first or second in our pool on Saturday, but with a tough looking pool ahead it was not going to be easy.

We kicked things off against the top seeds in the pool; Glasgow. In some pretty greasy conditions both teams struggled with consistency to begin with, and even as they started to dial things in we were still able to force fair few turnovers. They kept their composure well though, always keeping the disc moving around the back until the downfield shots opened up for them. We ran them close, always applying pressure, but they took it 10-13 in the end.

We were right back on against Guildford, who were themselves coming off a sudden death loss. Maybe this helped us a little as we actually started well for what felt like the only time over the weekend, taking an early lead. Even with a good start though, they managed to peg us back, grinding some long points out to get the momentum and take the lead by half time. At that point though we took control of the game and went on run to take the game, 11-8, without allowing them to score another point.

After a short break our final pool game was against Thundering Herd, most likely to decide who would finish second behind Glasgow in the pool. In the worsening conditions both teams made mistakes and the game was there for the taking, neither team able to take control initially. We started to get ourselves on top though and open up a bit of a lead before the rain really started coming down. As it did, they came back into the game and we had to step up again to keep our noses in front. We managed to hold them at bay long enough to take the win 12-9, but they did not let up all the way through.  

With the result we had secured the 8th seed overnight and a Sunday morning quarter final with the 1st seed; Black Eagles.

As the game started we looked a little nervy, despite doing a lot of good things we faltered a few times with the final pass and they clinically punished our miscues. Once we scored our first point we relaxed a bit and put up a decent fight against a very composed opponent, unfortunately we didn’t score the first point until it was already 0-5 to them… Encouragingly we forced plenty of turnovers throughout the game and with a bit more composure ourselves, especially to begin with, this could have been a much tighter score line. As it was, they took a decisive 7-15 win.

That left us in the 5-8 bracket with a semi-final against the ‘MIST’ half of SMOG. In what was a very closely contested game, both teams had periods of momentum and both teams fought really hard to reign the other in time and time again. Their big game experience helped them deal with the pressure that little bit better though and they held a slender lead as time expired. We did manage to prolong the game though, and to make them work really hard to close it out – a couple of times being about as close as you can to generating turnovers without actually getting the disc back. Credit to them to handling it though, taking it 9-11.

That left us back in the 7v8 final, this time against Deep Space. Following our game at the first Mixed Ranking Event we knew what to expect from them and if anything gave them a closer game this time around. It was another back and forth game, again with periods where one team looked to be taking control, only to be brought back by the other. Unfortunately though we ended up in a similar position to the MIST game, with them holding a slight edge as time ran out. Once again we put in a massive effort, applying as much pressure as we had all game in the final points. But once again, even though you could see the effects of that pressure, they manged to cling onto the disc and put the final score in make it another 9-11 loss for us.

All that left us in 8th place again, and even though the results may have been a little disappointing on Sunday, we had shown time and time again that we can mix it with the top teams. Not to mention that it was great to see the team staying positive and then pulling together when up against it all weekend long. Both should be real positives as we continue through the Mixed season.

Bring on the third event!

Birmingham Ultimate