Charlie Blair reports on a tight matchup in the Mixed division as the Wild Dogs take on the Philippines
Despite another drizzly start to the day’s play, the first game between the Philippines and South Africa brought the pitches to life. The luscious field, newly dampened with a fresh sheen of rain, invited spectacular athletic plays from both sides.
Those who braved the wet were treated to a stand out performance from South’s Africa #00 Jarrod ‘JB’ Banks, who set the team alight early on. After chasing down an overshot swing pass to score a layout callahan, he brought the Wild Dogs level 3-3. In a game that remained tight to the end, his big plays proved to be game-changing, as another huge layout block on Philippines’ own
end zone line saw South Africa take the half 9-7.
Up until this point, play had been pretty even between the two teams with both turning the disc on incomplete long shots. The Philippine handler movement was slick when patient, and scored several times with beautiful cross pitch roll curves from the likes of #10 Jom Titular.
Both teams also suffered in the slippery conditions in the first half of the game. The Philippines were completely caught off guard by a dropped pull right on their own end zone, only to breathe a sigh of relief when South Africa also fumbled the score.
Whilst the Philippines remained in the game until the end, it seemed that South Africa’s defence was beginning to overwhelm their handlers more and more. After an effective poach, South Africa regained possession with an easy catch. Immediately looking long, the disc bobbled out of the receiver’s hand only to be rescued by a full stretch dive from #28 Peter Jessop. With a calmly thrown assist, he increased the Wild Dog’s lead to 10-8.
Nevertheless, the Philippines were by no means out of the running. On numerous occasions they were able to impressively cling on to one handed grabs as their feet slid from underneath them. One such example was captain #30 Jacob De Leon. In the final moments of the game, he displayed lightning quick reactions as he charged under at speed before flinging himself backwards to save possession.
South Africa’s defence left limited options for the Philippines who repeatedly forced the long shots to cuts that were already too deep and as a result ended up competing for hanging discs. When the Philippines did attempt to play the disc under, South Africa pulled out yet another huge layout block. This time it was from #11 Nicole ‘Skinny G’ McComb, who after converting for the goal brought her team just one more score away from victory.
The final moments of the game closed just as it had begun with a mammoth ten minute point that exemplified the incredible tenacity that both sides maintained throughout the match. However, South Africa never took their foot off the pedal after the half, with the Philippines unable to take the lead again. It was a deserved win for the Wild Dogs who erupted in celebration as the game finished 13-10.
[Feature image courtesy of Andy Moss at UltiPhotos.com]