The first competitive event of the season was last weekend in Cardiff. GU1 captain Simon “Tugs” Yorath gaves us a run down of the how his team did.
(TL;DR? Winning. Lots.)
Game 1: Sheffield Steal (won 15-3)
Determined to start our day well, we threw everything at Steal from the start and it quickly became clear that it was more than they could take. Our defence left them with little option but to take on risky long throws, which we came down with more often than not, and our long-practised offence cut them to ribbons. At half I asked the team to stay focussed and avoid complacency- worried that a relatively easy start could hurt us later in the tournament- and sure enough we killed off the game with time to spare.
Game 2: YCU (won 14-4)
This game felt a lot closer than the scoreline suggests, every point being tightly contested as York ran hard and really pushed us. Ultimately, though, our defence was the difference- the GU ladies in particular completely shutting down their marks and forcing scrappy offence from our opponents. We didn’t take the game to 15, but I do think we made a pretty good team look very ordinary and built some real momentum to carry into the final pool match.
Game 3: JR2 (won 10-7)
Knowing JR could be a tough team with momentum behind them, we came out all guns blazing and took an early lead. While we guys did our best to stifle their long game, the girls pushed their marks deep, confident that JR wouldn’t want to huck to their ladies. Despite success on the scoreboard, I feel we over-thought their frustrating style of play a bit and lost focus, which affected our offence and let JR back into the game. There were some long, scrappy points in the middle of the game and a couple of hotly contested calls, but I do feel a late comeback attempt flattered JR a bit as we did actually hold a three to four point lead for most of the match.
Game 4: Meeple (won 14-8)
Having topped our pool but not actually gained any seeding as yet, we knew the quarter was a pivotal game for the weekend. That being the case, we were up early for a long warm-up so we could start the game well as we had all the previous day. By contrast, Meeple barely had seven players by the hooter so we were determined to take a big lead before they woke up. Sure enough, we played our best ultimate of the weekend, every player bringing slick, easy offence and tight, physical defence that left our opponents looking pretty shell-shocked. As expected, Meeple picked up their game four or five points in but we shifted up a gear to match them, closing out the game with ruthless efficiency.
Despite benefiting from an early advantage, I believe we were the better team throughout this game, and we thoroughly deserved the win!
Game 5: Flyght Club (won 13-6?)
Flyght Club are a team that practices their zone defence relentlessly, and they rely heavily on it to win them games. It turned out that really hurt them against us, as they persisted with it long after we proved we could beat it with ease.
They really didn’t get into the game until they switched to man at the very end, but despite pulling back a couple of points against us it was far too late by then. We weren’t perfect in this game, and once again our excellent defence covered some unforced errors, but it was satisfying to prove so conclusively that the Meeple game wasn’t just a lucky break.
Game 6: Sublumni (lost 11-8)
Having finished the previous game a bit sluggishly, we missed our usual opportunity to start this game strongly and Sublumni- an all-round better team than we had played for the rest of the weekend- punished us for it. They took the early lead that we had made such good use of in earlier matches, and when we fought our way back into the game
Sublumni’s offence was good enough to keep them ahead. While it was disappointing to finish on a loss, our play in the second half was back where it should be, and I look forward to having another crack at them next time!
While all the ladies were fantastic on both sides of the disc, I feel that Laura is most deserving of the MVP award. She was the starting point for a lot of great plays throughout the weekend and her smart cutting dug us out of several tough situations. Her control of play in the Flyght Club game in particular stands out as a highlight of the weekend.
Among the guys, too, I believe we showed great depth as a squad, but I think Tiger stands out as MVP for the weekend for a great all-round performance. He was dominant in the Meeple game, terrorizing his mark all over the field and throwing some perfect long passes.
I’d also like to add a special mention for our team rookie, Genny, who visibly grew as a player in every game and made some great plays throughout the weekend.
All in all, it was a great weekend for GU1, and hopefully a springboard for a great season. There were outstanding performances across the team, and it’s been a very long time since I enjoyed a tour event so much! Not only did we win a lot of games, but we played some fantastic ultimate in the process. Bring on Tour 2!