An early look at Clapham.

Sion “Brummie” Scone was at T1 spectating, tweeting for tSG and tells us what he observed of Clapham in this seasons first outing.

Justin [Foord] got a little upset that Clapham seemed to have attracted some “hatred” from my tweets at the weekend.  So, in the interest of fairness, here’s some more detailed thoughts based on observations at Tour 1 while I wait for my dinner to cook:

1) This is a stacked team.  They haven’t lost many players from last year, and have picked up some speedy deep threats in Enda Naughton and Stephan Rossbauer.  Oh, and Rob Schumacher, the fastest guy in British/German ultimate. I doubt Clapham will get a tight game from any domestic matchup in 2013 (cue outrage from Chevron, Fire et al).  But this team looks like they haven’t rested on their laurels after winning EUCF, as they stormed past everyone in St Albans.

2) They are athletic – and they know it.  And this could be something that actually causes them problems. They were easily capable of out-muscling the opposition (case in point, I saw Clapham huck it to Dom Clark going deep when his defender was still deep of him, the thrower just knew that Dom would over take and score … which he did). It would be easy for Clapham to be blasé about what the other team is doing, and just run right by them as if they weren’t even there; hence my comment about making eight cuts into the same spot.  Clapham could be their own worst enemy in many respects; if no-one else is going to give them a tight game, then they need to critical of themselves if they want to improve.  They are off to Chesapeake in a few months to play the likes of Ironside and GOAT, and the worst thing they could do is get used to out-muscling teams in the UK, then come across a team that is equally or more athletic.  Splitting their lines for Tour is the right decision for them, but maybe they need a really even split to give themselves some preparation of how to play against people who are just too damned fast.

3) They’ve learned a nice poachy set to break down brick/pull play scenarios.  It was really effective.  Even better, they have been working on transitions, which were pretty slick and got numerous turns *during* the transition (particularly in the final), which is a credit to Clapham.  This is no mean feat, and shows a smart defensive team as well as one who can run with any team in the world.  They mean business, and should be in a great position to compete in the USA.
Clapham Bullfrogs: 12 times Nationals champions.
4) It is so hard to be the team that is way out in front.  If any team in the UK needs to do video analysis of their own performances, it is Clapham.  Winning shouldn’t be enough for this team, winning well should be a constant aim.  Aside from a few individual mistakes on Saturday afternoon, Clapham were never really pressured enough to cough the disc up, but it wasn’t obvious whose job it was to make things happen when the offence stalled.  Justin?  Britney?  Cian?  Schuie?  Colin?  The list of “go-to” players is much longer than this, but you can see the potential for problems when you have so many players capable of dominating the pitch all thrown in together.  And bear in mind this lot were just on one of the two teams.  As a result, when it got messy, it got *really* messy, and while they got away with occasional lapses last weekend, those same mistakes made in Chesapeake may well be more costly.  Still, first tournament of the season so there will be plenty of time to iron out these minor blips.

5) Clapham oozes confidence.  They strolled – almost literally – through the final.  They were six goals in before I heard a celebration, and offence just looked so easy for them; they weren’t pressured on the mark at all (or at least, they didn’t look like they were pressured).  I don’t even think I saw them get to full speed this weekend, which is seriously scary when you think about what they might do when they step up a gear (for example, I didn’t see a single layout block).  Considering they were playing with short lines, I suspect this team might peak at exactly the right time.  Did I mention they did all of that missing their GB U23 players?  Ha.  This team has bags of potential, and the road to Worlds looks promising.  In 2010, Clapham had one of the most stacked teams I’ve ever seen assembled from the UK, and fell far short of their target of a berth in semi finals.  Let’s hope that they have learned from the mistakes they made last time, and that they don’t get too confident too soon.

Ironside et al – beware.  The bullfrogs are coming.  My dinner’s on fire.


Comments, tweets etc are all welcome! DP @ tSG.

10 thoughts on “An early look at Clapham.”

  1. Schuie said last night he won all the races at GB training, but I don't think Colin Shaw was there, or James Freeman who won the shuttle race at Clapham trials.

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