Open Tour 1 (2013) Review

OT1_2013

We’re throwing it back to 2013, with a Captains Report from our first ever Tour event…

For many of us Tour is the best part of the Frisbee calendar; a chance to play competitive ultimate at great venues with lovely summery weather. At Tour 1 we got all three in abundance.

Game 1 vs Portsmouth (Win, 15 – 3)
We arrived early for our first game and got straight to warming up and throwing around and, despite the early start, everyone seemed in good spirits.

Our first opponents had been predicted to be in the top four, although very little was known about this new team. When Portsmouth arrived, it was clear that they had opted for strength in numbers but not strength in depth.

The game started in typical day 1 fashion. Simple mistakes were made by both teams and neither team were able to capitalise, until, at 3 all, we decided that we’d had enough. We stepped up our D and turned them early in every point. Our O was much more clinical and we went on a 13 point streak wrapping up the game 20 minutes early.

Game 2 vs Lemmings (Win, 15 – 8)
For a couple of us this was a really big game. Knowing a few faces and on the back of the recent friendlies, there was lots at stake, not to mention the fact that a victory would secure the top of the group and beating seed.

We came into the game confident but tired and Lemmings’ fresh legs helped them trade points early on. Lemmings, with their knowledge of our players’ tendencies, had a few ideas of how to stop us, but we decided that we wouldn’t let that… stop us. We put some points on them and refused to let them get back into the game, shutting down their offense and keeping our own O flowing.

Finishing on top of the group meant that we stole Lemmings’ top seed and had a lovely few hours of sunbathing before:

Game 3 vs Limited Release (Win, 12-9)
Our third game was the only 60 minute game of the tournament for us, and Limited Release seemed to try to take advantage of that. They came out with an interesting offence, using a box to try to distract our attention. And for a time it worked, as we let them get open under time and time again. That was until Mat pulled out a huge layout D despite launching from at least 2 metres behind his man.

It turned out to be a game changer, as we rallied back from 8-6 down to take a hard-earned 12-9 victory. Hard work and perseverance had paid off, and we got ourselves in to the top 8 of C tour. Not a bad start to our tour story.

The evening was spent relaxing in the sun, eating all the pizza and generally ignoring the “high quality” ultimate going on in front of us. We went our separate ways after the show game, maybe some even daring to dream of promotion…

Day 2

Game 4 vs St. Albans (Win, 15-7)
The hard work on Saturday had been rewarded with beautiful sunshine and a favourable draw for the quarter final.

We were quick out the blocks and were soon a break up. St Albans occasionally showed why they were top 8 and would close the gap. We never lost our composure on O; a couple of well-placed timeouts and quick conversions ensured a healthy lead at the half.

The warm weather and slight breeze allowed our handlers to let loose and have fun with some great hucks and St Albans could not compete with the pace of our cutters. We were first to every disc on O and D. It was soon clear to our opponents that they could not beat us. They were already defeated and we were top four!!

Game 5 vs Devon 2 (Win, 15 – 9)
This was the 1st vs 4th place semi-final. We had earned two bites at the qualification cherry, but this wasn’t worth mentioning, it was clear everyone had the same unspoken goal – to reach B tour with a game to spare.

Devon had the numbers, possibly the largest squad we had faced this weekend, and they had reached the top four comfortably. However, we used this to our advantage; with so many players it was unlikely they had played many competitive points and wouldn’t be able to cope with our tight defence.

We thought that if we played D like we had all day we could force turnovers, but we didn’t play D like we had earlier…it was better! We were fantastic. I don’t know where people found the energy but Devon could not find an up-field pass. Even when they could get a dump pass out the force was there straight away and we stopped the swing.

On O we put some very slick points together and quickly had a lead of 3 or 4 points and maintained this until the half.

Their numbers started to count towards the end of the game. Their D was much tighter and we had to work a lot harder to score. We had a great get out of jail free card in Marius, who relieved the pressure with some great pitch length hucks (literally end zone to end zone), which were eagerly chased down by the likes of Hannan, Matt, Dan and Jack.

Importantly Devon still having to work hard for their O points. They managed to get a couple on the bounce but by this time it was too late. We ground out the final few points we needed (despite Marius’ attempts to hand them the disc on our end zone line) to reach the cap and secure a top 2 finish for Birmingham Ultimate!!

Game 6 vs Flump (loss, 9 – 15)
By this time most of us were done, physically and mentally. We had achieved more than we hoped for and winning the final would just be a bonus. It is also at this stage of the report that I have burnt my fajitas because I was trying to make this good! F**king reports.

Flump were good. A fairly solid zone threw us and they were the only team to have any kind of long play that came off consistently. By this time we were down to 8.5 players but still took more points off them than anyone else had all weekend. Had we played them early we could have beaten them.

For the most part, tired legs and hands struggled against their zone, though a couple of great cross field hammers showed the sort of flare you’d want from a final. When they did come man D, we took them apart scoring some very quick and delicious point (I am now eating my fajitas). It was impressive to watch.

Flump were gracious winners and deserve a lot of credit for going unbeaten all weekend. We were close to achieving the same feat but with 6 less players, not too shabby.

Everyone should be really happy with how they played. B tour will be a step up, but I think it is something we can look forward to and a level we can compete at.

The team:

Boswell – Great cutting all weekend, always seemed to be free under, and showed some great disc skills with some nice hucks.

Dan Jackman – Was often put on an opponent’s better player (handlers or cutters) on D. Always did a great job on the force or just shutting them out completely.

Hannan [MVP] – Early in the weekend he said “just put it out in front of me and I’ll get it”, and he did just that time and time again. Great positioning on D and some big layouts forced a host of turnovers.

Jack O’Mahony – Team statistician. If you wanted to know who scored the 17th point of the weekend, Jack probably couldn’t tell you, but he’d lie convincingly. Also had great grabs, particularly when it was fizzed at him.

Marius – Big ol’ hucks!! Gives a team loads of options deep or break side. Probably had the most assists (Jack?) and contributed with a few layout scores to boot.

Mat Seabrook – Huge layout D’s as I expect now. One of which arguably a game winning D. Mixed it up getting free under and deep and kept the O flowing really well.

Norris – Really solid handler. Put a lot of delightful long discs which are a joy to run onto as a cutter. Got a lot of D’s. Backed himself against taller or quicker opposition and came out on top!

POG – Showed a lot of confidence on the disc and wasn’t afraid to break the force. Got the O going really quickly, moving the disc off the line and opening up the rest of the field.

Ro Pullen – A commanding handler. Runs the dump plays really well making it so easy for us cutters to reset the offence. Has an incredible force puts a lot of pressure on even the most experienced throwers.

Ben Kings – Shouted a lot and said a lot of things. Flaked out in the final and couldn’t put his socks on the next day.

Birmingham Ultimate