What Went Down At: EUCF (Mixed Division, from a very British perspective)

Editor/Chair: hazard (ReadingX Ultimate)
Contributors: Michelle Yang (Black Eagles), nads (ReadingX), k-j* (SMOG)
Additional Contributions: Bex Palmer (ReadingX)
*k-j sadly couldn't join us for the actual chat, but could see the whole discussion and provided her thoughts afterwards.

Ultiworld Preview Article

Eurozone podcasts Preview, Day 1 Recap, Day 2 Recap

Final Standing

1 : GRUT
2 : Gummibärchen Ultimate Karlsruhe (Colorado)
3 : Reading Ultimate
4 : Hässliche Erdferkel Marburg
5 : Terrible Monkeys
6 : VIF Ultimate
7 : Black Eagles
8 : SMOG
9 : Sesquidistus / Strasbourg / Ultimate
10 : SeE6 Ultimate Göteborg
11 : Left Overs
12 : Os Zla

Spirit Winners: Left Overs


All the medal and spirit winners from EUCF mixed. Left - Colordo (Silver). Top - GRUT (Gold). Right - ReadingX (Bronze). Bottom - Left Overs (Spirit). Photo from the EUF Facebook page.

Welcome to the Mixed EUCF chat! We’ll be discussing what just went down at a very sunny/mosquito-filled weekend in Venice.

Michelle Yang

uploaded:




hazard

We’re going to start by discussing the British teams, move on to the central region (which finished 1st/2nd/4th), and then on to any other business, like the spirit circles before games.

From my entirely neutral perspective, I think the most important game for two of the British teams was the very first one. A match up between Reading and Black Eagles. @nads or @Michelle Yang, could you talk about how either of your teams approached the game?


Michelle Yang 

Tbh we didn't really think about it that much?

I mean beyond that we should've had a more focused start, which became pretty readily apparent after going down a couple breaks right out the gate.


nads 

With qualification for WUCC already guaranteed I think we came into the game relaxed but in addition we were the underdogs with nothing to lose. We just wanted to go out and play hard and that showed.

hazard

I wouldn’t be surprised if it was actually the first time Bleagles had gone a few breaks down at the start of a game this season (well, except maybe against another Bleagles team). How did the team/captain try to respond?

Michelle Yang

uploaded:

Rough start to the day, but whatcha gonna do?

hazard

Well, it got tight at the end, but Reading managed to narrowly hold Bleagles off (13-11), although it might be fair to say it was a very tough/emotional battle from both sides during the game (more injuries than either team would have liked). 

Michelle Yang

Well, we tried to catch the disc on offence. Ngl, that helped a lot. Haha.

nads 

Black Eagles continued to apply more and more pressure, they are an incredibly strong team. I'm excited to watch them at Worlds.

We were completely surprised and then ended up with a more confident attitude. After the game at Nationals with a larger squad we weren't expecting to come out with a win. It definitely set us up for the stormer of a weekend!


hazard

Even more surprising to do it without the “talismanic” figure of Mark Bignal? (quoting Hannah Pendlebury on the Eurozone podcast)

nads 

When you lack some of the bigger names like Mark, Andy Lewis and Mitchell, it forces everyone to step up and make great plays. We did have some useful pick ups in the form of yourself and Jack Lynch.

Having said that the whole of the Reading squad are very solid players, everyone has a role and we all work very well together.

Perhaps our zone offence was the factor at getting breaks at the start of the game, we lack a little height and it seemed effective in causing turnovers and stopping Black Eagles from using their talented throwers and receivers

hazard 

Alright. Any people scouting out, that’s your hint for Worlds then.

Could I get a fast-forward summary of the rest of the group games from both of you then? Any important games, key moments, or just attitude shifts? Or was it just business as usual from there?


And to explain quickly, EUCF Mixed was set up to be two pools of six, then straight into final four match ups (no crossovers). So, winning every game was vital for both sides.


nads

Winning the Black Eagles game was catalyst we needed and due to the format the game we needed to win to finish 1st or 2nd in the pool to secure semis. The rest of the games weren't straightforward but our small squad meant we had to be efficient in our cuts and choice of throws, everyone worked incredibly hard and it paid off.

Michelle Yang

Yeah, we messed up big time, but the schedule definitely messed us up too. I actually had no idea until someone told me after we lost haha.

nads 

Agreed the schedule wasn't really fair.

hazard

Maybe a four-day tournament would have solved this problem?

Michelle Yang

Wish there was a backdoor bracket. Otherwise everyone kinda just stops caring once they realize they're in the chumpionship instead of the championship.

hazard

I think it does say a lot that both Black Eagles and SMOG finished one place away from the semis, and then lost their next game. Some real experience for both sides.

Michelle Yang 

Rematch in Cincinnati? #lehgoooooo. Jk y'all probably wanna go play some other teams. I know we do.

hazard

k-j, what happened over in the SMOG side of the bracket?

k-j 

SMOG were in the opposite side of the draw to Reading and Bleagles so played six new opponents over the weekend, which was the opportunity to test our mettle against the top mainland teams! We started strong - beat SeE6 15-5 (though admittedly half of their team was stuck in Frankfurt airport, so the result was potentially not representative!) and then beat Colorado (future finalists and silver medallists) 15-11, both of which we were very chuffed with! End of the first day we let our heads drop and never quite got going against Terrible Monkeys, who beat us 11-15. 

Day 2 was tough: we had a fantastically intense match against Sesquidistus which we won 15-14 with a looooong multi-turnover layout-D-filled universe point, but then lost to Erdferkel 15-12, setting up a quarter final against VIF which again we lost 15-12. All fairly close games with great intensity and spirit, but I think the team was disappointed not to have gotten one more pool victory which could have propelled us just that bit further away from Bleagles ;)


hazard

Alright. That final SMOG/Black Eagles game (or, as Rachel Turton called it, the people’s final). You can see it livestreamed on this group, but can I get some personal perspectives on that game? Was it easier to get motivated to win when you were playing other British teams?

k-j

It just had to happen, didn't it? After a few Tour battles, and then the finals of Regionals, then TWO matches at Nationals, it somehow seemed inevitable that our last Euros match would be facing Bleagles. And though SMOG put it in our best score against them - 15-13, after 15-6, 15-12 and 15-9 earlier in the season - we yet again lost. It was a good match with a couple of breaks to each team, live-streamed on Facebook with some fairly spectacular commentary :P
Given the teams know each other pretty well now, it was a very spirited and friendly match! But it did seem a bit flat to end Euros with a re-re-re-re-match. What are the odds of playing them at Worlds?! (Also congrats to Reading)


Michelle Yang

Err...I don't know that I can speak for anyone else on the team. I wasn't even at Nationals haha. I know I just really want to win all the time. I will say that in general, playing teams you've seen before can be kind of frustrating if you've gone to an international tournament. Like, really? We travelled to play a home game? But it's also fun heckling people you know so there's that...

hazard

So, let's now backtrack and go to the championship bracket. The 15-11 loss to GRUT by Black Eagles saw Reading go through to the semi-finals.


GRUT were a fairly good team. Photo from FOCUS Ultimate.

The top four were Reading, and three teams from EUCR-Central: GRUT, Colorado, and Hassliche Erdferkel (Ugly Aardvarks). These three teams had finished on a three-way tie at their qualifying tournament, so it was bound to be a tough time.


Given Reading weren’t even expecting to be in the semis (as the captains openly admit), how did they approach and play these games?


nads

In my opinion there was no change in approach to each game, we went out against all three teams (well all teams) with the same positive attitude and mentality. I think this is one of the reasons we did so well, we were asked to play our best no matter who our opponent was or which medal the game was for. Bex has done an incredible job captaining this year so kudos to her. And Joe of course.

hazard

Do you think having a small squad helped? Is valuing team chemistry over fitness (as in, number of people who can still run) something other teams should consider? (I know it’s an approach Ranelagh use)

nads 

Yes, the small squad meant we had to make sensible options and take the first open pass. Obviously having people who can still run and have functioning hamstrings and ankles does help but I think that a large part of tiredness is mental.

Speaking for myself, I was tired before the games on Saturday and Sunday but when you're playing every other point you don't have chance to think about being tired, or letting your legs cool down.


hazard

From my perspective, I had injured hamstrings and was only playing one point in 5/6 (but playing that point really hard). We were very close to too few people, but it (just) paid off. Losing Dan Tanner to injury at Glastonbury was particularly tough, we could have used his pace.

Alright. Final Reading question. Given they lost the semi-final in sudden death (and beat the other sudden-death-losing semi-finalist quite comfortably), do you think Reading should actually be satisfied with 3rd? Could (or even should) they have won it?


nads 

Ah, I'm incredibly happy with 3rd, I felt more emotional winning 3rd this year than 1st in 2016. We had no trainings between Nationals and Euros, no expectations to finish with a medal.

hazard

So the secret is not training between Nationals and Euros. Interesting. (This approach *did not* work for Ka-Pow! last year, just fyi)

nads 

On a very good day with the small squad we had I think we could have challenged for gold and yes perhaps we should have been in the final. But I think the lessons we learnt were more important than being there #deep

hazard 

I also reserve my right to pull a Jonny Arthur at this point.

hazard uploaded:





hazard

I think the UK can still be proud of all three teams in the top 8. It’s been a long time since we had that for Mixed, so well done everyone. 

I’m going to move to close, but I want to mention the pre-game spirit circles first.


EUF asked teams do have spirit circles before games. It was mandatory for non-pool streamed games, but everyone else was encouraged to do it. What did people think? Did you like it? Or was it just a distraction?


Michelle Yang

I honestly thought it was a complete waste of time. It just ended up being both a spirit circle at beginning and the end that both served the exact same function.

hazard

I basically view Frisbee as a distraction from chatting to people on sidelines, so I have to admit I did quite like them.

nads

I disagree, I think it was useful when playing new teams especially when the language barrier could be an issue. I think introducing captains and spirit captains was important too.

hazard 

I also enjoyed how much more tense it made the toss at the start of the game. Do you think it still has a use against teams you know? Or would it be wasted at, say, the UK Tour season?

nads 

Yes, I think it would be wasted at Tour, but I still like the focus it put on Spirit.

Michelle Yang

It honestly didn't help us at all against teams who spoke English as a second language. The same stumbling blocks occurred and we still worked our way through it the way anything else. In fact I'd say it could cause more miscues because some teams might think they were on the same page but turned out they weren't, and the subsequent feeling of betrayal would be worse than any feeling of honest miscommunication.

hazard

So, very quickly, here’s my take on how it should work (mainly because a lot of teams were actually asking us “what do we talk about”).

The pre-spirit circle works well when a) you have good spirit captains (thanks Serena (and Mark)) and b) you are open and honest about areas in which you struggle.


Reading were quite slow to the line at points, due to our small squad size. We mentioned this in subsequent circles to let teams know it was something to watch for. It meant the first circle was setting goals, and the second was saying whether you achieved them. The very first one of the tournament is a bit strange, because you’re a blank slate at that point. After that, I felt it was useful.


k-j

I think that the pre-match spirit circles are a nice idea - to discuss the expectations of each team, apologise in advance for any language difficulties, general friendliness and introduction of captains/spirit captains - but to be perfectly honest,  they didn't add much to the game. SMOG used it to excuse our inevitable lateness on the line and introduce the team; but the very nature of Spirit of the Game is that there is an expectation of sportsmanship, respect, and love of Frisbee, and the circle seemed just to reiterate what was supposed to be a given.

hazard

I’m finishing it here.  I’m going to end with a quote given to me by Bex Palmer, the Reading co-captain:

Reading is always a team that is capable of upsetting any schedule whether its our Women's team getting into the top 8 or our Open team beating Clapham and Chevron. Whilst the Mixed Division itself at Euros was incredibly tight and no one was undefeated we did our best to show that Reading is never a team that you think you can predict. I’m incredibly proud of how we performed and 3 years of Mixed with 3 Europeans medals isn’t a bad statistic for this team, can’t wait for Worlds let’s see how even more upsetting we can be :)




No comments:

Post a Comment

Friendly Arguments #2: Which non-Clapham team will do best at EUCF? + Best Coach, Best Indoors O Strat

Until I get more people volunteering to edit/run these, this is the banner I'm using. No regrets. Editor/Chair*: hazard Contribut...