Tournament roundup: and the winners are…

The games have now finished at WMUCC and the winners have all been decided. As we’ve seen a number of times, the winners all came from the USA along with several of the runners-up.

The finals that happened yesterday saw Surly win a double in the great grandmaster and grandmaster open divisions but fall short of a treble as the grandmaster mixed team lost 15-13 to compatriots Molasses Disaster. The mixed final was an extremely clean game with only one break, Molasses snatching the momentum going into half up 8-6.

In the grandmaster open division Surly won 15-3, a dominant win over Canadians FIGJAM to seal an incredibly impressive title. Surly finished with 10 games played, 149 points score and only 52 conceded, with no-one scoring in double digits against them. The great grandmasters won 15-12 against top seeds Relics in a game that saw several big lead swings; Relics scored three in a row to go up 9-10 but then conceded three Surly points in a row as the Minnesotans went up 13-10 and maintained the lead to win.

Today, the three finals were in the masters mixed, open and women’s divisions. The mixed final was more of a procession than spectators would have wished. Descent, the team from Washington DC, has seemed like the strongest team in the division all week and proved to be so with a dominant 15-6 win over Canadians Epoq, more of a surprise finalist. The Americans took half 8-1 after going up 6-0, effectively ending the contest early. Descent’s stars, like Kelly Hyland, Caleb Denecour and Brian Shoenrock, were just too much for Epoq and everyone else this week – they scored 135 points in nine games (hitting cap in every game) and conceded only 38, with no-one scoring more than eight against them.

The open final was somewhat more competitive as Boneyard defeated Volton 2020 15-10. The team from North Carolina broke on its first defensive possession but gave it right back on the next offensive possession. Boneyard went back up 6-4 and from there seemed to be able to bother Voltron’s a lot more than the team from Seattle could trouble theirs. Voltron brought it back to 6-6 but were broken going into half and then back out of it as well, going down 9-6 and never came back within sight.

The closest game of the day was in the women’s final between Reboot Squad, from Boston, and Canadians StellO. The Canadians took a shock lead early on, going up 2-5 after breaking on the first point of the game. Reboot gathered themselves from there, though, and climbed back into the lead with a four-point run to go back on serve at 6-5. Reboot was able to get another break after a StellO overthrow to go into half 8-6. StellO showed admirable mental strength though and were able to have another roll just after half, scoring two breaks and taking a 10-11 lead after a long, turn-filled point. The game was very tight at this point, with every throw contested and some great plays coming from both sides. A simple StellO drop was followed by a brilliant around backhand to put Reboot up 12-11 after they held on the previous point, and the Americans never relinquished the advantage after getting their noses in front. StellO held to take the scores to 13-13 after another long point with opportunities for both teams squandered, but Reboot held their nerve, held their serve and then broke to win the title.

Looking at UK, Irish and European results, Iznogood had the most impressive result in the three masters divisions in finishing fourth. They lost out on a medal after a 15-7 loss to Johnny Encore but making semis is an excellent achievement. Magic Toast finished seventh in the open division, making two European teams in that bracket. LMU and Masterclass both made quarters in the women’s division and met for seventh place, where Masterclass came out on top 15-12. The only European team in the top eight in mixed was Italians Beefire who finished eighth. Reading were the highest-placed UK team in 13th.

In the other divisions there were fewer teams overall but Big Fish, Little Fish finished ninth and as the highest-placed European team (Woodies from Germany finished 11th and otherwise the division was all North American teams) in grandmasters mixed. Zimmer overcame Americans Shadows in the fifth-place game in the grandmasters open division, winning 15-14 after coming from 10-3 down and winning the game on a four-point roll. Flash finished eighth in the ten-team great grandmasters division with JETS from France defeating them to take the best-in-Europe crown.

Zimmer miss out on the semis

The British grand master open team, Zimmer, had a successful run of games in Pool B. They lost only two matches and won their other five to put them third in the pool and qualify them for the quarter finals. Yesterday their hopes of making into the semi-finals, however, were ended after they lost the American team, and original top seeds, Johnny Walker.

The game started well for Zimmer. They came out on defence and, although they were unable to turn Johnny Walker in the first point, they very quickly equalised thanks to a bid from David Sealy. The next few points were quite quick, with the two teams trading until 2-2. 

Zimmer’s James Cooper managed to intercept an attempted inside forehand break, giving them an opportunity to break. A deep shot went up, with Dan Berry chasing after it and getting the score to put Zimmer ahead for the first time 2-3.

Several more points passed with both teams holding their offense points. Zimmer were disciplined in their horizontal stack, while Johnny Walker stuck to match defence. At 5-6 up, Zimmer got another opportunity to break when a Johnny Walker player dropped the pull. Zimmer’s defence line then called a timeout, which allowed them to set up an endzone play when they came back in. They isolated Dave Barnard, who received the disc from Lewis Glover to give them their second break and put them up 5-7.

Still on defence, Zimmer decided to play a zone which was unsuccessful at slowing down Johnny Walker’s offence, who put in two points with back-to-back scores from Brian Carroll, levelling the score again at 7-7. Zimmer put in the next score to take half at 7-8.

After half, Zimmer scored the next one thanks to an impressive toe-in from Thaysen, re-establishing the two-point lead at 7-9. After this, however, the tide really started to turn against Zimmer. Their zone defence seemed to be leaving too much free space in the middle and the Johnny Walker players cut through it easily to score the next three points, putting Zimmer behind, 10-9, for the first time since the first couple of points.

Zimmer had only 18 on their roster compared to the 24 Johnny Walker had brought and at this point in the tournament many were nursing injuries. This showed as it seemed the Zimmer players were running out of energy. They only scored two more points in the rest of the match, which was closed out after several more breaks, with a catch from Mitch Schminke to leave the final score 15-11 to Johnny Walker.

This left Zimmer in the 5-8 bracket, while Johnny Walker progressed to play in the semis yesterday against Surly GM.

Daily roundup: A few upsets in the day of quarters and semis

Yesterday was the first day that none of the teams had to deal with rain and this showed as several teams barely put a foot wrong. The women’s, open and mixed masters division all had their quarter finals, semi-finals were played in the grand master mixed and open divisions and the round-robin finished in the great grand master open division.

Women’s masters

The European teams still involved in bracket play, Masterclass and LMU, both lost, ending European hopes of placing a team in the top four. LMU fell to Reboot Squad, who look extremely difficult to stop, while the Irish team lost to Soar! *soar later in the day. The quarter between Canadians lowercase and Ripe from North Carolina was a nail-biter, ending 15-14 to the Canadians after a five-point run in the second half. Fellow Canadians StellO beat Denver’s Molly Grey 15-8 in something of an upset that was never that close. That means we have a Canadian and an American team in each semi-final, raising the possibility of a non-American winner. Reboot may have some words to say on that, though.

Open masters

Magic Toast lost their quarter to Denver-based Johnny Encore 15-6 in a tough game that featured several extremely physical plays and a couple of Toast injuries. However there was good news for European ultimate as Iznogood notched a huge (and unexpected) 15-7 victory over previously undefeated Americans Royal Stag. Voltron beat Still 15-11 and appear to be in great shape heading into the semis, where they will meet the French team. Still were the last Canadian team still in the draw and Boneyard, who beat compatriots King Louie, make three American teams in the final four.

QOLD cause upset in the mixed master’s quarter final

The most surpsing result yesterday in this division was Canadian QOLD beating US team Old #7. The two teams had previously played each other in the pools, where Old #7 had won 6-15. This first half was close; Old #7 were two breaks up 8-6 at half, and two of the points lasted more than 15 minutes. QOLD then turned it up a notch and Old #7 became rattled as QOLD put two points in quickly after half to level. After that, there wasn’t much stopping the Canadians who stormed to victory 12-9.

QOLD will face the other Canadian team from the quarters, Epoq, who beat Beefire yesterday 15-8. This was a big improvement for Beefire, who previously lost to Epoq 15-1 in the pool stages.

On the other half of the bracket there were four US teams. Descent, who have been looking strong throughout the tournament, had a comfortable win 15-8 over Members Only. The other quarter final was much closer. SOS and Slower were tied 14-14 after 95 minutes, with Slower on offence. SOS managed to hold their nerve and won the game with a break 15-14. This means we are set for a Canadian vs. US final tomorrow, regardless of what happens in the Semis today.

Surly GMX can’t be caught in the grand master mixed semis

Happy Campers made a good attempt at a comeback yesterday, almost levelling at 13-12 after going down 9-5 against Surly GMX. The lead was too big, however, and Surly hung on to their lead, winning 14-12.

The other semi-final was won by Molasses Disaster, who also had a triumphant first half. They went 7-0 up and took half at 8-1, making HiJinx’s task near impossible. They did turn up the intensity in the second half, but it was too late, and Molasses Disaster won 15-8.

European hopes end in the grand master open quarter final

The two European teams to make it through to the quarters, Zimmer and Silence, both lost yesterday. Zimmer put up a good fight against Johnny Walker, but the Americans stepped it up in the second half and finished the game 15-11. Surly GM beat Tombstone, meaning they went on to play Johnny Walker later that day in the semis, where they were victorious again, 15-7.

FIGJAM beat Shadows to put them through to play Black Cans and Highlands, who won against Silence, in the semis. These two teams previously had a close and heated game in the pool stages, which was won by Black Cans. It was a different story yesterday, though, with FIGJAM capitalising on every Black Cans mistake, closing out the game 15-12.

An end to the great grand master round-robin

All the expected results fell into place in the grand master division yesterday. Top seeds and expected winners, Surly GGM, beat German Alltime Ultimate Lovers. Relics beat SOUP, while TOAST beat Torontosaurus Rex, and No Country beat JETS. The only British team in the division also lost yesterday, 7-15 to Recycled. Both the semi-finals, which will be played by the four US teams, and the finals of the great grand master open division will be played today. My guess is that it will be Relics facing Surly GGM and that Surly GGM will win.

Masterclass is ended by Soar! *soar

Masterclass, the ‘home’ team here at WMUCC, had a great run to the quarterfinals of the competition. Three consecutive losses at the start of the tournament proved to be the only times they would lose in the pool as they reeled off five wins in a row to take their place in bracket play when it started today as the seventh seed.

Their opponents, the Texans Soar! *sore won pool A despite losing a game. Molly Grey defeated the Texans but lost to Canadians lowercase, who Soar then beat to complete a three-way tie. Soar came out top there and so went into quarters as the second seed.

The game started well for Masterclass with Claire Pugh catching the score for a quick break. The teams both worked their offence well for the next few points until 4-4. At that point Soar started to chip away at Masterclass’s offence and make disc movement more and more difficult. By this point the wind had started to pick up from an already breezy day to something much more challenging, and the Americans seemed more accustomed to dealing with it and were executing slightly better in the gusts.

Two assists from Brooke Woolridge gave Soar two breaks in a row, flipping the advantage from the Irish team to the Americans. Masterclass stopped the rot with a hold for 5-6, but the weather continued to deteriorate. Two long points ended in holds and the teams went into half with the score at 6-8 after another Soar hold.

Half-time saw the wind reach its apex for this game. Pulls from the left side of the pitch were lucky to reach the brick, and movement for both teams against the other zone was tough and attritional. Soar took advantage and punched in another break to extend their lead and snatch away any advantage that starting the second half on O might have provided the Irish. The teams exchanged more holds, with throws taking advantage of the wind proving successful; two loopy flicks that sailed on the breeze floated perfectly into receiving hands in the endzone. The score was now 8-10, the Americans up narrowly but seemingly playing with comfort and calmness despite the chaotic weather.

A fantastic layout catch by Krystina Morris preserved possession against the Masterclass zone and from there Soar seemed to be able to work it around well and scored for a three-point lead. The points were flying by with both teams executing impressively on most throws, but errors seemed to be made in the worst spots giving the other side a short field they could work through quickly. Soar were doing a better job of taking big chunks of yards and leaving themselves less open to those quick scores against.

Krystina Morris with a diving catch to save possession. Photo by Sam Mouat

Just as it had in the later stages of the first half, the Soar D came to the fore. A big attempted Soar block hung in the wind and was caught by Irish hands, but the turn came a few passes later and was slotted home by the Americans giving them the wind advantage. An upwind Masterclass point was stopped with a block by the cup after an attempt was made to thread a throw through and Soar worked the disc nicely to take a commanding 8-13 lead.

At this stage the work seemed done. Masterclass stuck with their zone and caused the Texans some problems but the smooth offence and all-around throwing ability of the Americans proved too much. Masterclass got a block with the score at 10-14 but turned on the first throw, and Soar didn’t look back. Final score Soar! *soar 15-10 Masterclass, and the Americans progress to play StellO who surprised Molly Grey in their quarter.

Masterclass captain Jennifer Kwan was delighted with how the week has gone despite the loss in the quarter:

“We knew it was going to be a really tough game. We were delighted to be in the top eight, just getting here is as well as an Irish team has ever done, but it was a tough game. We started out strong with a break on the first point but then they were just so clinical both upwind and downwind and it was hard for us to claw it back once they got hold of the disc but it was a great game, we loved it.

“The wind was building when we were warming up but it just picked up, it was weird because the downwind discs were floating rather than zooming so a tricky wind and I think they dealt with it a bit better than us. They had some fantastic pulls that went out on the sideline and trapped us really quickly, made it difficult to even get started.

“As a group I think we’ve had the best week we’ve ever had as a women’s team other than 2019. We’re having a great time, we came with no expectations and wanted everyone to play, play against teams we’ve never played against before and play competitively. I think we’ve done that and we’ve turned up to every game, given really good fights and won battles against teams we knew we could beat and given good battles to the top teams. This is our home ground so to speak but when we go abroad we have to deal with everyone else’s still weather and this time maybe we have some of the advantage.

“We’ve said the whole way through we’re going to have a nice time and we win and lose as a team. As long as everyone is enjoying it that’s enough for us.”

Soar! *sore player Brooke Wooldridge was equally happy, and looking forward to the next stage of the competition:

“The game was absolutely terrific. We had such a great game against the home team, we are so grateful to be here in the first place and in terms of a quarterfinal game they fought until the end and we were very happy with our performance. Obviously we still have more games ahead of us and we are looking forward to tomorrow.

“We come from Texas and the conditions there can be very windy. In preparation for the tournament we have been practising together, we played for the first time as a team last year in June for USAU masters nationals. When we learned we had gotten the bid in winter of 2021 we decided to take it very seriously and we’ve been practising together in winter and spring. We’re pleased and think it’s paying off.

“This is not an extension of an existing club team, our captains Hien [Le], V[eronica Coombs] and Maricar [Lafita Navarro] decided to put this masters team together last year. For me, a player who’s trying to get to the highest level they can, I can’t speak highly enough volumes about the work they did in getting it together in order to get us here.”

Daily roundup: an end to the pool stages

Beefire competing with the North Americans in masters mixed

All the power pool games were finished yesterday, confirming who will play in the quarter finals today. Most of the top European teams have not made it through. Epoq beat Reading 15-5 to secure their spot, putting the UK team in the 9-16 bracket. Heidees, who came third at the European championships this year, narrowly lost to Slower 14-12, and Sugar Mix lost to SOS, also meaning both of them haven’t qualified for the quarters today.

The only European team to make it through are Beefire, from Italy, who were runners up at EMUCC. They convincingly beat Pie Wagon yesterday 15-8. The remaining seven teams in the quarter final today are all from North America: Americans Old #7, Slower, Descent, SOS and Members Only, and Canadians Epoq and QOld.

LMU and Masterclass secure spots in the masters women quarter final

Yesterday also wrapped up the pools in the masters women’s division. LMU had an important win against PUMAS, breaking away later on in the game to win 15-11 after a very close first half. This secured them a spot in the quarters, despite losing to Molly Grey later in the day.

Masterclass needed to win both their matches yesterday for their place in the quarters today. They came away victorious over both Les Culottées and MaQramée; a great success for the Irish home team, who will face Soar *sore today.

Some ruthless results in the masters open knockouts

The masters open teams played pre-quarters yesterday, with some brutal results. The only British team in this division, Magic Toast, beat NSOM 15-12. They progress to the quarter finals today, where they will face Jonny Encore, who finished off Hardfisch 15-0 in just 66 minutes.

There was a tight game between Woolly Mammoth and Iznogood, which was won 10-9 by Iznogood. This makes the French team the only other non-North American team to be joining Magic Toast in the quarters, after Goldfingers Ultimate Club and Warao Ultimate Turmero were knocked out yesterday.

It goes to goal difference in the grand master open

Tombstone narrowly lost to Black Can and Highlands 14-13, putting Black Cans at the top of their pool but leaving a three-way tie between Johnny Walker, FIGJAM and Tombstone. All three qualify for the quarters today but their ranking had to be decided by goal difference.

In the other pool, NSMO lost to the British team Zimmer and Czechs Silence beat Ezperanza UP Ultimate Club. This means NSMO miss out on playing in the quarter finals, but Zimmer and Silence are going through with Surly GM and Shadows. Zimmer play Johnny Walker today.

A dramatic end to grand master mixed

Power pools finished with some unexpected results in the grand master mixed division yesterday. Max Power lost a close game to Endless Sunset 13-15, putting them tied with Happy Campers on two wins. Qualification for the semi-final then had to be determined by head-to-head between those two teams, who faced each other on Sunday in the original pools. That was also a close game; Happy Campers came through to win on universe with a break to make it 11-10. Happy Campers will play top seeds Surly GMX and HiJinx will face Molasses Disaster in the semis today.

Max Power and Endless Sunset are both going into the 5-8 playoffs today. Meanwhile, the British team Big Fish, Little Fish lost 8-15 to Southern Charm yesterday, meaning they missed out on qualification for the 5-8 bracket and are now playing for ninth in a round robin.

Lining up for an all-American semis in the great grand masters

The great grand masters open division was somewhat uneventful yesterday, with the results lining up nicely for the four US teams to progress to the semi-finals tomorrow. Flash from the UK put up a good fight against Surly GGM, who are yet to lose a game. At this point, however, regardless of what happens in the last few games tomorrow, Relics, No Country and Recycled will join Surly GGM in the semis tomorrow.

Daily roundup: pools and power pools continue

It feels like the players, organisers, volunteers, and supporters are really getting into the swing of things now. The masters open division has finished its pool stage, setting things up to start pre-quarter finals tomorrow. The rest of the divisions are still continuing either the initial pools or the power pools. We’ve usually been starting with masters, so let’s swap things around and take a look at what happened today starting with great grand master open.

No one can beat Surly GGM in great grand master open

Surly GGM won against TOAST and SOUP today to continue their undefeated streak. They are yet to play Flash, Torontosaurus Rex and German Alltime Ultimate Lovers. Given how these teams have performed so far, it is unlikely any of them will be able to displace the clear favourites from North Carolina in the great grand master division. Torontosaurus Rex beat No Country, putting them tied at four wins each. Both will be hoping to stay in the top four and progress to the semi-finals after their games on Wednesday.

Power pools in the grand master mixed begin

In the grand master mixed division, the upper power pool is made up entirely of US and Canadian teams. Surly GMX are clear favourites at the moment, having beaten Endless Sunset and Molasses Disaster today. The last few games in the power pools of the grand master mixed divisions will finish tomorrow. It’s all to play for with Max Power, Molasses Disaster, HiJinx and Happy Campers all on two wins each (out of four).

Silence hoping to qualify for the grand master open quarter final

DJ Dahlem had a very close game with SG Uncles in the grand master open division today, in which DJ Dahlem came away victorious at 15-14. The only teams not from the US or Canada that are looking likely to qualify for the quarter finals, though, are UK team and European runners-up Zimmer and European champs Silence from the Czech Republic. Silence will need to beat Colombians Esperanza UP Ultimate Club A.C. tomorrow to secure their sport.

Can the Italians disrupt the masters mixed?

The Italian team Beefire won 15-14 against Members Only and also beat Disctèrics to guarantee them a spot in the top eight, even if they lose to Pie Wagon tomorrow. This makes Beefire the only team not from the US to currently be at the top of one of the higher power pools. Beefire did, however, notch the lowest spirit score so far against Members Only with a three. Old #7 beat Slower 15-8 in a game that had a close first half, but Slower were unable to keep up in the second half. This puts Old #7 at the top of their pool. The other teams looking strong in this division are SOS and Descent, who beat Reading comfortably on the stream.

The Brits and the Irish hoping for spots in the master women’s quarter final

Masterclass had an important win against Seagulls today. It’s now looking very likely they will qualify for the quarter-final. LMU had an easy win against Samsui but lost to lowercase, who remain undefeated and at the top of their pool. LMU are currently forth in their pool and will be hoping to maintain that to secure a spot in the quarters. At the top of the other pool, Reboot Squad are also undefeated, after wins against StellO and Ripe today. The women’s pools will be finished tomorrow and the top four from each will qualify for the quarter final.

An end to the masters open pools

The Jonny Encore versus Still match was won by Jonny Encore on universe (15-14), despite them being 6-8 down at half. Meanwhile, Magic Toast did well but lost 15-10 to Voltron2020, the team from Seattle who look to be the favourites in the division. All the pool games in the masters open division have now finished and the top four in each will progress to the pre-quarters tomorrow.

Game recap: Masterclass can’t catch Status Quo after they go three points down

The home team in the masters open division, Masterclass, have had a tough time so far competing against top experienced players from all over the world. Today they headed into the day facing Status Quo from Australia. Their hopes of getting their first win were not realised, however, after they failed to fully recover from going a few points down near the start of the first half.

Status Quo started on offence and quickly made a series of short passes before putting a shot into the endzone that was unable to find the hands of a player in white. Masterclass then had the chance to secure an early break, but they lost possession. Owen Shepherd popped a scoober over the top of a Masterclass player to Adam Woods, who came down with the first score for Status Quo.

Masterclass quickly came back out with a big huck to McAlester who passed the disc on to Kelleher to equalise at 1-1. Status Quo got the disc back after a turn and put the score in which put them ahead at 2-1.

It was a game of hucks.  Masterclass came out and attempted another long one, but again there wasn’t a receiver in the right place to reel it in. Status Quo player Woods fumbled a catch, giving Masterclass another opportunity. They tried almost exactly the same shot, but the disc was once again out of the reach of Mark Earley in the endzone.

Having worked it back down to the other end of the pitch, Vidler threw a massive hammer across the endzone and into the hands of Jaric to make it 3-1. Status Quo then put in the next one too to widen the gap and make it 4-1.

Masterclass then started to switch on a bit more. Kelly read a high disc well and caught it by his fingertips just short of the endzone and dished it to McAlester to make it 4-2. In the next point Status Quo were all crowded around the endzone line, but they managed to jam one through the Masterclass defenders to give them a three-point lead once again.

Masterclass scored the next point and the two teams continued to trade over the next seven points downwind until half time with Status Quo ahead 8-5.

After half time, Status Quo came out on defence, playing match. But Daragh Kelleher escaped deep and Masterclass quickly scored to make it 8-6. Masterclass were now back on defence and set up into a transition zone that switched to match marking after five passes. Owen Shepherd managed to break free up the line which opened up the field, and a few passes later Status Quo had scored again to take it to 9-6.

Another point each and the three-point gap remained at 10-7 to Status Quo. The next point was long. Wolckenhauer from Masterclass boosted one deep, but it landed out the back of the endzone. Status Quo hucked the disc back to Jaric, who was wide open, but it hung too long in the air, giving Wolckenhauer the chance to catch up swipe the disc away. Masterclass unfortunately threw the disc away again, however, and Status Quo took the point with the next possession, extending their lead to four points.

Masterclass called a timeout and came back out with a renewed sense of purpose. They scored the next two, closing the gap to 11-9. Masterclass then had an opportunity for another break after Rob Kiely got a hand block on Status Quo’s first throw off the pull. They were unable to convert this, however, and Status Quo went on to score the next one, as well as a further break after that, re-establishing the four-point lead at 13-9.

The next three points were traded quickly, with both teams taking advantage of the conditions when they were going downwind. This put the score at 14-11 shortly before the time cap. Masterclass didn’t give up and came back out fighting on defence. After a fumbled catch from Status Quo, Masterclass used the opportunity and Pierce laid out to secure 14-12.

It was only a matter of time, however, before Status Quo were able to close out the game. Owen Shepherd managed to release a filthy inside-out forehand break, which found Anthony Dowle in the endzone to finish the match 15-12.

After the game I got the chance to speak with Status Quo’s captain, Owen Shepherd. I asked him how he was feeling after their win: “Really positive. I’m glad we could come out and play good defence and good offence. We also particularly enjoyed playing this team because we have some friends who play for Masterclass.”

Status Quo are an Australian team, mainly based in Sydney, but they also attract players from Brisbane and parts of southern Queensland. Their national series is over for this season, so these guys have already had time to gel as a team. With three wins and two losses to far, they will qualify for top 16 and head into the pre-quarters on Wednesday with hopes of doing damage in the top bracket.