What Went Down At: Open Tour 1

Main Editor/Discussion Chair: hazard (Reading 1, former Ka-Pow!)
Main Contributors: connormch (EMO, former Clapham), amazzon (Clapham A, former Ka-Pow!), dp (ShowGame cofounder, Fire 1*) , h.christou (Glasgow 1), jonnyarthur95 (Brighton City), tadhgb (Ireland U23s)

*dp wrote the preview** for this tournament, but couldn't actually attend. So big thanks to him for still contributing to this piece.
**Although he didn't write the predictions, because he chickened out. This is mentioned in the piece, I just wanted to abuse editor privileges and call him out twice #sorrynotsorry

Welcome to the post-Open Tour 1 chat! Here we'll be discussing what went down at OT1, and what we think it means for the rest of the season

Here are the headlines, some of which we'll be discussing:
Clapham A clean up, but Clapham 1 fall to Reading in the quarters
EMO reach their first tour final by beating Chevron and Reading
Fire 1 only win 2 games, finish 12th
Ka-Pow! and Brighton relegated from tough groups, end up in B tour final
Ireland U23s dominate their way into A tour (as does one GB U24 team)
JR manage to survive B tour with a full mixed team
Purple Cobras and Concrete both climb 20+ seeds.
Bristol 1 fall wrong end of Cobras, and finish below their second team

Some handy links:
The ShowGame preview for A tour and B tour

For ease, we've included the top 20 here:
1. Clapham A
2. EMO
3. Bad Skid
4. Reading Ultimate 1
5. Clapham 1
6. Glasgow 1
7. Chevron Action Flash
8. Devon 1
9. Ireland U23 2 (highest team to start in B tour)
10. GB U24 2
11. Ireland U23 1
12. Fire of London 1
13. Manchester 1
14. SMOG 1
15. EDI
16. Flump
17. Ka-Pow!
18. Brighton City
19. GB U24 1
20. BAF  

Other notable finishers
24. Fire of London 2 (Lowest team to start in A tour)
27. Devon 2 (Highest team to start in C tour)
29. Purple Cobras (Most seeds gained - 24)
40. Cambridge (Lowest team to start in B tour)

Full results here

*********************

hazard Let's get straight into it. EMO were 11th in tour 2012, and jumped to 3rd in 2013, the last WUCC qualification year. They then finished 7th in 2016. Now they start 2017 by making the Tour final. @connormch, a really impressive beginning, especially by beating Chevron on their way to the final. Tell us how the team is looking this year.  

connormch The team is looking great. Some of the more experienced players of the squad really believed that we could do well this year, and reaching the final this weekend has really cemented that and given the rookies an idea of what we can do and expect. Our retention from last year has been brilliant, and I definitely think that reflects on our development and performance recently.

hazard Having Joe Wynder back certainly doesn't hurt either.

connormch Yeah his set of skills would be an asset to any team, but having him be comfortable in a squad he was fairly familiar with really helped him settle straight back into things.

hazard I have to say, you guys absolutely demolished Chevy in your quarter (the final score was 15-9). Were they looking depleted, or was it just you guys coming out firing?  

connormch Well we knew they had a slightly smaller squad than usual and a tough pre-quarter vs Clapham, so I guess a bit of both. We knew if we came out strong and kept up the intensity, it would tough for them to make any kind of comeback. I think once we got the first couple of breaks, the belief really started to kick in that we could take it to them and cause an upset. The O-line were almost flawless the entire game, turning over once I believe, and the D-line just kept firing all the way through to the final minute.

hazard Speaking of final, we're lucky enough to have two people who played in the tour final this weekend (Clapham A vs EMO). @amazzon and @connormch, how did you both find it from your perspectives?  

amazzon I think it was a great way to start the year. Conditions were testing and both teams had to adapt and react to changes in tactics on both sides. I think we threw down about six different looks on defense to disrupt their flow.

hazard Classic Nottingham, giving testing conditions. I was actually there on the Friday, and, with Si Hill as my witness, I can promise there wasn't a breath of wind. One day we'll get that on the weekend too.

amazzon It'd be boring if it was that easy. The teams that did the best were the most boring in their approaches to offence and that was epitomised in the final. If you don't turn the disc over you can't lose games. The final was two teams who kept it simple.

connormch I'd probably disagree there. I think the teams that did best played the offence they drill and are confident with, without letting the conditions interfere with that too much. It just so happens CU are very good at being boring on offence and super precise.

amazzon I think you're discrediting teams who adapted to what was in front of them.

dp I can imagine simply sticking to their systems.

amazzon I saw teams who tried religiously to stick to what they drilled and it didn't work because they didn't even try to adapt.

dp But in windy conditions it's a bit of both to win. Adapting is the key.

hazard So, let's actually look at that CU reliability, because they suffered a rare tour defeat against Reading (you can catch the final point here). @amazzon, was this expected? Were the teams split equally? And how did Clapham 1 react?  
Reading setting up to take on Clapham. Photo from the fanseat.com stream

amazzon Obviously they didn't go into that game expecting to lose. The teams were split perfectly equally and by the looks of it they just had an off game and Reading capitalised. And I think they only conceded about 10 points in the other two games to take 5th.

hazard They beat Chevron 15-8, and Glasgow 15-6. Certainly good results against strong teams.

amazzon They also only had 13 players on Sunday.

hazard Reading certainly came into the game as underdogs, with the predictions not even having them in the top 10. However, they've shown in the past they are very good at playing in the wind (the first ever Reading tour victory was at the notoriously windy 2015 Mixed Tour in Cardiff). Certain players - Sam Gunbie, Andy Lewis - can just play through the wind with no issue. It's not even adapting in their cases. They can just throw through it.

amazzon I think team cohesion is a large factor in conditions like that. And that's a team that has been together for a while now.

hazard And I definitely agree. They have a strong core, and a very good O-line. When they're on form, they can take down anyone. We even took half against Bad Skid in our pool game.

Let’s focus on what I consider the final high-level success story of Tour 1 - Glasgow. Able to unseat Fire, and also to make a case that last season's Euros qualification was no fluke. @h.christou, how was it?

h.christou An incredible weekend. We truly went into it with top 8 aspirations but really didn't know what to expect. I'm sure a lot of people realised the roster was very different. At least half a dozen rookies in A tour, let alone for GU. Maybe 8 or so from last year's Euros squad. But we played really aggressively and that paid off. Defensively intense and slick on offence. We beat Ka-Pow! and Manchester pretty convincingly in pool play. Fire were really sloppy (DP, got any insights?). Looked as though they were trying out new stuff but didn't work out. And then Devon was a good win too. Our only losses were to Bad Skid and Clapham (twice), so a very good weekend overall. Plus there are so many players to return to this roster.

dp What position was this for? I imagine they will have been heads down a little and not playing properly (not due to disrespect for GU, far from it). Shorter lines than wanted and losing various games has put those guys down a little.

h.christou 5-12 crossover on Saturday.

hazard I think that was the game Harry Slinger-Thompson received an injury. We wish him all the best.

dp Oh well yeah that's lazy O from Fire perspective and not adjusting to weather (sloppy mistakes, like you mention). And yes the injury will have had its effect also.

h.christou Yes that game, horrible injury. I hope the pitches are looked at because the hole he fell into was massive. Bit of a joke to be injured that seriously by an avoidable issue.

dp But not to take away from GU, who I am sure deserved the win. Odd that no one found such a large hole already.

h.christou Fire looked very frustrated by their offence and that seemed to affect their performance. A fun quote to add in from our captain at the end of the weekend "our first training session together was against Clapham" - and yet team chemistry wasn't an issue.

hazard Mind if I ask about the Manchester/Ka-Pow! games @h.christou? Ka-Pow! made Euros last year, but seemed to have been impacted by Deep Space taking some key players. And Manchester were fighting near the top of tour all last year. It's big news if both of them aren't quite firing this year.

h.christou The Ka-Pow! game was us banging it deep to open receivers, barely turned over, and able to pressure a number of turns. They were offensively not great except when their lefty handler, Marius Hutcheson, hucked it. And for Manchester... without giving away too much, we have an approach to them that has been very effective and disrupted their game. It seemed like they may have been missing some players. Our upwind offence was also quality.

We should also mention EDI.

hazard Yeah, we played EDI (short for EDInburgh Ultimate - it isn't an acronym). They've come in sort of - but definitely not - replacing the old Sneeekys team. They actually wanted to be seeded down in B tour (but didn't tell the schedule people until after they'd released everything). They played fairly well against Reading, and showed some promise. It'll be a fight for them to stay in A tour, but the potential is there.

h.christou I think the biggest surprise is the lack of promise everyone was expecting. I was under the impression that this was going to be a rebranded, more serious, better(?) version of Sneeekys. But a lot of guys you'd expect to commit from Black Eagles aren't playing for them at tour. Understandable but much weaker than I expected.

hazard Ok, let's turn to what I believe to be one of the unluckiest teams of the weekend. Brighton found themselves in the pool of death: with Fire 1, EMO, and Chevron. They then faced a one of the very strong Ireland U23 teams in their crossover. @jonnyarthur95, how are Brighton looking to respond from this for next tour?  

jonnyarthur95 Yeah so we knew as soon as the schedule came out we were in for a seriously tough weekend. Especially as our team at this tour was pretty different to the one that was at nationals last year, losing a few players to Clapham (Hayden Slaughter, Luis Semple, Elliott Canning, Callum Ayers) and having 6 players new to A tour, we knew we had to try and come together quickly this weekend. EMO ended up being our tightest pool game with them just pulling away with a couple of upwinds at the end of the game.

jonnyarthur95 Then we crossed with one of the Ireland U23 teams and foolishly decided to give them a 5-0 headstart before we got going, including some of their dispiriting (politely put) huck and tip drill upwind points. Bringing it back to 10-9 showed we had the quality but we have still got a lot of growing to do as a squad.

hazard In which case, let's move on to that Irish team. The Irish U23s* had an amazing weekend: the only game either team lost was in their head to head. They rose high and finished solidly in A tour. @tadhgb, tell us what those players were fighting for.
*The Irish U23s and GB U24s are from the same age group. Just read them as identical for now.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, sky, outdoor and nature
The Irish U23s looked fearsome this weekend. Photo via @nobody_likes_a_bogan on instagram
tadhgb Ya, in fairness, the weekend couldn't have gone any better for us. Over the weekend we had our extended squad split into two teams for the last trial before the final cuts are made by our coach Matthew Feely and captains Dylan Ryan and Ferdia Rogers. With no Mixed team going to Perth, we've had an abundance of talent step up to the plate for the Open team. With so few places, every player was eager to show why they deserved to be on the team this weekend. As a result, both sides really came out all guns blazing from the start, with Ireland 1 taking down one of the GB teams in their first game, and Ireland 2 absolutely steamrolling their way through Saturday. Credit to the lads, we kept this focus and determination all the way through to the end of the tournament, with Ireland 1 managing to take down Fire, and Ireland 2 taking down the other GB team in their last games, placing the teams in 9th and 11th. Pressure's on the coaches and captains now to make their final cuts before Tour 2 and see how the team holds up against the rest of A tour.

hazard Given your results, how do you think you would have fared if you'd been given a chance to crack the top 8?

tadhgb Hard to tell, but I reckon at least one of us could have definitely staked a claim in there based on how other games went, and it  was certainly a weekend for upsets. We'll just have to wait and see at Tour 2.  

hazard Excellent. In which case I'm going to wrap this up now. All that's left for me to do is criticise DP for not making any predictions, and Sean Colfer for getting most of the predictions wrong (I'm aware it's a lose-lose game, I'm still criticising you both for it - it's fun being on this end for once).

Anyone with any final thoughts/predictions?

dp This weekend demonstrates why I don't make predictions.

connormch I'll be very interested to see if things go "back to normal" at Tour 2, or whether this might be a bit of a mix up compared to the last few years.

tadhgb Surely someone has to mention Hogi's stellar layout, no?

amazzon What about my incredible catch to save Hogi's layout?

connormch Bad form saved the day this time.

hazard I'll leave now by saying that you can still watch a few of the games from the weekend on fanseat (first month free, and you'll get Windmill, WCBU and OWT2 included in that month if you sign on now). Also full disclosure that I was commentating this weekend, and you'll get DP/geegee at Windmill, so no apologies for the promotion bias.

3 comments:

  1. Devon 2 were actually the highest seeded team which started in C tour. Devon 2 beat Concrete in the last game on Sunday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent spot, that has now been corrected (original article had Concrete as highest finishers from original C tour seedings).

      Delete
  2. Cobras finished 29th and not 30th

    ReplyDelete

What Went Down At: UXIN Division 1 2017/18

Chair/Editor: Alun P (Leeds) Deputy Chair/Editor: hazard (Oxford) Contributors: gyanhan (Oxford), Slender (Sheffield), Becky Greenwood (L...