Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Mixed Tour 2 - Recap

Was playing for Herd 1 again over the weekend at Mixed Tour 2. Going in, I knew we had a slightly different squad with a big addition to it. I didn't expect to be doing too much better and after the first game I thought we were in for a long weekend.

Game 1: loss vs Happy Shiny Meeple (13-11 I think)

A bad start to the weekend, going down 8-3 or 8-2 at the half due to an absolutely mental amount of drops from the Herd. We fought back in the second half, but it wasn't enough. Was pretty disappointed with the end of this game. Despite my throws being pinpoint for much of the match (I threw at least 7 assists in the game) one ill advised scoober in the wind against a zone gave Meeple the disc near our endzone and they punched it in for the win.

Game 2: win vs Scarecrew

Can't really remember this game, other than we turned ourselves over a lot again, which would be a theme for our group games. I think it was close, and certainly deserved to be considering how we played. The whole group was made up of Clapham teams and at times it felt like we weren't playing to our potential because we thought that we knew these teams well enough not to have to play our hardest. This was especially true in our third game.

Game 3: win vs Golden Ants

Again, this game felt like a struggle against ourselves more than our opponents. We ground out a win after going down, but again this was closer than it probably should have been. Considering Golden Ants dropped seeding as much as they did, we should have been in more control than we were. But a win is a win is a win.

Game 4: win vs Bear Cavalry

Thundering Herd have a habit of putting in big games versus Bear Cavalry. The bears are, without any doubt, the strongest Mixed program from the last two years. Two years ago at Mixed Tour 1 we were able to get a win against them in the groups and it was the only time they were beaten all season, and despite the loss they went on to win all the tours. Last year, they only lost once through the season and that was to Brighton at Mixed Tour 3, and again they still completed the season sweep. This year, they have players out through GB World Games and Open/Women's club commitments, and at Mixed Tour 2 they had a small squad through last minute dropouts. You could see it in their play that they weren't fully in the game against us. They had come off a tough grind of a game against DED to play us back to back and we were up for it, striking early and often. Bears made some plays and put points on the board, but as we were coming into our stride for the day, they were physically and mentally drained and made errors that no-one would expect of them. Really, it's a shame because that team at full strength is a great mixed ultimate force. In the second half we let them into it a little with some sloppy play of our own, but I think after starting strong the result was never in doubt.

At this point, I thought we were lucky to have played Bears in the crossover and that we would probably struggle on Sunday based on the other games we had played on Saturday.

Sunday:

Game 4: loss vs Royal Goaltimate Society

RGS would go on to make the final against the GB World Games squad, and so can be considered quality opponents with strong players from Open and Women's clubs, but (in what could be considered par for the course for the weekend) we didn't play well in one half of the game. We handed them the first half, and despite stepping it up in the second half, they walked away with the game. Personally, I enjoyed this game getting to match up against some quality players who I'll be hopefully matching up against during the open season as well, and I felt vindicated from Game 1 by throwing a beautiful cross pitch zone breaking scoober (and picking up a layout score that I thought I was nowhere near).

Game 5; win vs Brighton

In this game, like the Bears game, we came into it feeling like this would be the latest in a great rivalry that has spanned a couple of seasons. Again, like in the Bears game, we came out firing early and often, and also like the Bears game, we let it slip in the second half. Brighton came back to take it to sudden death, but we managed to hold on. Brighton were missing one of their bigger players from Saturday and had a small squad as well which definitely contributed to, what to me was, a pleasantly surprising victory.

Game 6: win vs DED

DED have been a rival for Ka-Pow in our inaugural seasons, and have had great matchups against the Herd in our past two seasons as well. DED have been contenders in the mixed game for a while, and going in, with both teams coming off close wins, we knew it would be a battle.
Once again, we only played one good half of ultimate. We took a good lead in the first half and managed to grind the win despite DED coming back at us. The wind made this not the prettiest game, and I got two assists by throwing upwind blade-y forehand hucks to our tall receivers, and in the end that may have decided it. Both teams scored up wind and down wind, but with the Herd on offense going down wind to close the game, though it took a couple of turnovers, we were always in the position to win and finished the game with a great layout from one of our girls.

All in all, 5th is a great result for us considering how poorly the Saturday group games went. I was pleasantly surprised with the wins against Brighton and DED and, though the quality of play at times was incredibly frustrating, I still had a good time and felt I generally played pretty well. I was especially happy to have made two backhand huck assists and was close to a third. With my backhand huck still progressing to a state where I'd be happy with it all the time I was pleased with these, especially one which was upwind. It still needs work I'd say, but I'm now happy with it as an option for me.

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