Sean Colfer previews the second UK Open Masters team going to WUCC next week: Blue Arsed Flies.
|BAF preparing for WUCC at Tom’s Tourney this year. Photo courtesy of Get Horizontal.|
Jaume Martin Serentill
About the Team
Blue Arse Flies, a team based originally around Evesham and Cheltenham, have been around for a long, long time now. They are in fact older than some of the people who have played with them in the past, such is their longevity and commitment to bringing through young players. They have played at WUCC in three decades, at St. Andrews in 1999, Hawaii in 2002 and Prague in 2010, in the mixed division. This time around they are moving into masters play, where they finished fourth at xEUCF in 2013, going down in sudden death to Ultimate Vibration of France in the bronze medal game.
They are bringing a fairly large squad of 20 which should give them enough legs to keep their key players fresh. GB Mixed player Merrick ‘Mez’ Cardew is the standout name, an excellent athlete who is more than capable of creating the play as well as striking long for hucks from the host of vastly experienced handlers such as Chris Hughes and Adam Batchelor. Luke ‘Zulu’ Gomm is another excellent athlete who will command a lot of attention on offence. They have a number of good defensive players who have represented GB – including some who played in 1990(!) – and have played at the top level in Europe before and will be well capable of matching up with most teams in their division.
Coaching and Playing Style
Much like Zimmer, BAF have not trained a great deal specifically for WUCC. They have been playing Open Tour all season with several of the younger players on their roster and will only have their first day without them on August 3rd – the first day of play in Lecco. However that isn’t the limit of their similarities with their fellow British masters representatives; these players know each other as well as they possibly could, and so dedicated trainings aren’t as vital as they would be for a younger, less experienced team.
On offence they will almost certainly look to use big throws to their most talented receivers to make up ground in a hurry. Their game on Tour with younger players involved was to isolate talented cutters downfield and, with cutters like Mez and Voodoo in the team, will be looking to do the same in Italy. On defence, they are more than capable of playing effective zones with their know how and nous, but certainly have the legs and athleticism to grind out turns using man if needed. However, this could be where they run into difficulties in Lecco – consistently generating turns at an elite level without a deep line of players capable of getting blocks out of nothing is a challenge.
Expected Finishing Place
BAF are aiming to compete as well as they can and to enjoy their experience of playing against some of the best Masters teams on the planet. They have some outstanding talent on their team but the squad is more top-heavy than the deep Zimmer roster, which may present issues when top teams are able to match them up with their top defenders. Their pool is quite tough (including Surly of the USA, last WUCC’s silver medallists), but if they can hold seed they would go into a more favourable power pool and could be in with an outside shot at a quarterfinal place. A range of 7-16 seems like its a reasonable landing spot for them, but it’s very difficult to see them going beyond that. I’m sure they’ll do well at the parties though.