UKU Mixed 3 2019: Maypole Mayhem

After two really tough weekends of Tier 1 competition so far this season, our first foray into Tier 2 events started with a great weekend at Maypole Mayhem in St. Albans – playing some different teams, facing new challenges and finding plenty to take forward into what remains of our mixed season. Here’s what went on…

We started the tournament as the second seeds, facing a somewhat unknown pool ahead of us with three teams we had not played so far this season; Ireland U24s were our first opponent. Having played their senior team in Cardiff we had some idea of the style of play that may be coming our way, but the little differences took us a little time to adjust to in the early going. Their deep game was good and we couldn’t quite shut it down despite being close to a lot of their discs. On the other hand our offense was showing signs of life, but they never allowed us to settle into a rhythm and so neither team was able to fully take control of the game. Some long, grinding points followed and as time expired we came down to 11-11. So early in the weekend this may have been the moment to set the tone; at the time we needed it we found a bit of composure, managed to take the point and with it the game to get off to a winning start.

Next up was Bristol, a team we know well from the Open division, but not a familiar opponent in Mixed. From the early play, it seemed we had carried over the confidence gained from the end of the first game and we took the early lead. Despite having the lead we had to keep our foot down, as they showed a number of times that if we let them get going they were more than capable of putting points on the board. As it turned out though, we were able to extend the lead and pull away once the game opened up more, playing our way to a 15-4 win.

Finally in the group stages we matched up with Purple Cobras. Having played them indoors and Open outdoors we know that they’re a team capable of playing any number of different styles, but also a team that we always enjoy matching up against because of that variety. However this was the first time we had played them outdoors in Mixed and early on both teams took a few points to feel the game out. As is always the case against these guys, the game was tight all the way through, with big plays on both sides of the disc and intense D forcing turnovers for both teams. As the time began to run out we had a fairly sizeable looking lead, but it did not seem like that was the case on the pitch as what felt like every disc was tightly contested. Fortunately we ended up on the right side of that contest as we took a 12-6 win to keep our second seed and secure a place in the semi-finals.

The opposition for that semi-final was Cambridge 1. It was immediately clear that this was a much different game to our last meeting in Cardiff, with both teams finding the endzone regularly early on. In the middle of the game both teams tightened up on D and started to apply the pressure, and as such the points started to become harder and harder to come by. We were able to take advantage of a couple of turnovers and get ourselves a small lead heading into the last part of the game. They really cranked up the pressure in the last period and started to stall our offense at times as we looked for a way to close out the game. We managed to weather the storm though and battled through to keep the lead and take the game 15-11.

And so we were into the final against Lemmings. They won the previous event at this venue and had only suffered one defeat all season so far; it was sure to be a tough game. The first few points were a little cagey, as you may expect from a final, but they started to find their game quicker than we did and threatened to take control of the game. We battled back well enough, but were not able to take the next step and really establish ourselves in the game. Their tight zone was slowing us right down despite the relatively still conditions, and we struggled to make meaningful progress. When they had the disc we applied the pressure ourselves, and for long periods they did a great job of swinging the disc around between the handlers despite our D. The good defence being played by both teams lead to some very long points with a lot of turnovers. The game became a real grind for a while and our stalling offense had to work really hard to make any kind of headway. Somehow their handlers kept their disc movement going long enough to find the gaps in our D that appeared after such long points, and they took the half 7-8 with not long left on the clock. They started on O after half and after another long point stretched the lead to two points at the perfect time. We scored the next one to make it 8-9 and give them a chance to win it. After another hard fought battle they managed to put it in and deservedly take the game 8-10.

Not the best result to finish on, but a great weekend overall, highlighting a lot of things to work on before Regionals. As for now, we go into the Open/Women’s season with another top mixed (not) tour season in the books.

Full results from the weekend can be found here.

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