Sean Colfer previews Zimmer in the Open Masters division at WUCC 2014.
|UKU CEO Si Hill commanding Zimmer from the back at UKU Tour 3. Photo courtesy of Christine Rushworth.|
About the Team
Last time WUCC came around, Age Against the Machine were the representatives from GB. Age finished 14th in the division, winning three games over the course of the tournament. This time around, Zimmer are better equipped to make some noise in the upper end of the tournament, reflected in their top four seeding after winning the xEUCF Masters title at a canter.
Watching the Zimmer team is like watching an all-star team of UK Ultimate players from the early 2000s. There are representatives from every successful team in UK Ultimate history – Clapham, Chevron, Fire, Leeds and Brighton among them. This is a very talented, deep and (obviously) experienced team that has performed very well on Tour this season, including a 5th place finish at Tour 3 in Cardiff. Every member of the team has the fundamental skills needed to be a top level player and there are excellent athletes on show here, albeit slightly more wizened than in the Open teams from the UK.
The offence features a lot of what you would expect from a team with such experienced throwers. Their primary handlers are Ben Mitchell and Si Hill, latterly of Leeds and Clapham, with Rik Shipley, Lewis Glover and others able to play at the back as well. Their cutters on offence have a good mixture of size and speed and are all able to rotate as needed, giving the team good balance and a plethora of options.
The defence is similarly varied, with a number of players capable of playing tight man defence or applying effective zones. The ex-Chevron contingent, veterans such as Dave Sealy, Dave Barnard and Dave Grayson, feature alongside other ex-GB players to form a strong, deep defensive unit.
Coaching and Playing Style
On offence Zimmer are capable of mixing it up, as you would expect from a team that has seen everything that the game can throw at them. They have some very athletic cutters who take the top off the defence and allow players like the handlers mentioned above time and space to reset the disc and look for favourable match ups down-field. They didn’t see much zone during the Tour season, predictably so as it’s likely they would have gone through it with some ease in any conditions.
Their defence is strong as a man unit, with height and speed that is enough to generate blocks on any team in the UK. They have a zone that they like to break out as well that is big at the front and at the back with some nippy flexibility in the middle, making clever use of their personnel and causing a lot of problems around the handlers. The experience of all of these players at the very top level is evident, with everyone making smart plays to limit their opponents as much as possible.
Zimmer have not trained together a great deal but that shouldn’t hold them back. There are players who have played with each other for years – the chemistry that another team would want to work on in training is already there for Zimmer.
Expected Finishing Place
Zimmer are the best team in Europe, but USAU National champions Surly, of Blaine, Minnesota, and runners-up Boneyard, from North Carolina, will be predictably strong; those from Canada and Australia will be tough opponents as well. That said, Zimmer should have the strength in depth to get to the quarter finals. Last time around, Helsinki Ultimate managed to make semis and lost to an Eastern Greys team inspired and led by Australian World Games star Tom Rogacki. That strong performance by a European team shows that the top four isn’t as out of reach as it appears to be in the Open division. I think Zimmer will reach the quarters, and I’m looking forward to seeing if they can push it even further.
Predicted finish: 5th
BAF to come in the Masters division but ROBOT first. Best of luck to both teams from tSG!