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.

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.

Childcare provision: changing the game for masters players

Walking around the pitches here at WMUCC it’s typical to see a kid on almost every sideline. Sometimes they’re wearing the kit of a parent’s team; sometimes they’re exhibiting impressive throwing skills. What happens to the kids when the parents are playing ultimate is an especially relevant issue here at WMUCC. The tournament organisers in Limerick have provided a clever way to help parents out.

In partnership with Adventure Worlds Camps the tournament organisers have arranged for a holiday camp to run from 9.30am to 3.15pm from Monday 27th June – Friday 1st July. It’s based right here at the venue in the University of Limerick Sports Arena and costs parents $115 for the week. This initiative is a great way to help parents out and increase accessibility, allowing more players to come, and bring their family with them. This got me thinking, though, how are parents coping with playing and watching the kids? Earlier today I spoke to a few people to find out.

This morning I found Evie Dirgo with her one-year-old son, Leo, supporting her husband, Andrew, who players for the Canadian masters open team Carbon. I asked her how it had been going so far having Leo at WMUCC with them. “It’s been going well so far. We’re staying in the dorms here at the venue and being so close to the fields is a big help,” said Evie. She went on to explain that she “was nervous at first about the dorms because [she] was concerned that being a non-player they wouldn’t be able to book it, but that was all fine.”  She also told me that there was another parent who has brought his child, so they weren’t the only ones on the team.

I then asked her how she thinks becoming a parent affects people playing sport. “It generally stops players continuing because sport becomes less of a priority. I also play ultimate and my first tournament back after having Leo will be Canadian nationals later this year, where both Andrew and I will be playing.” Evie also told me that she’s keen to get Leo involved with the sport as he gets older. He is currently too young for Evie and Andrew to put him in the holiday camp, but Evie told me she thinks it’s a great idea and that they would certainly make use of such an initiative in the future.

Later I spoke to Alex and John Davidge from South Africa who both play for Chilli Legends. They’ve brought three kids, aged 5, 8 and 11, with them and described the experience as “an adventure” for all of them. “The kids bring lots of spirit with them. It’s also the first time for them doing lots of things, like going on a plane,” said Alex. Their kids will all be going to the holiday camp tomorrow, which they are very excited for. John explains that having kids “makes playing sport harder not just because of the time you need to look after them but also because of other costs like babysitters.” Although they weren’t able to stay at the venue because there weren’t any family rooms, overall, John is very positive about everything the tournament organisers have done to facilitate bringing the family. “[This tournament] has a completely different feel to London 2016, where we were discouraged from bringing the children onto the pitches,” he said.

Finally, I chatted with Leila from Southern Charm, who had come with her 10-year-old daughter Zoe all the way from the US. “I have two kids and I gave them the choice of coming. The younger one chose to stay at home with her dad, but Zoe wanted to come with me” she told me, while Zoe was off playing with some other kids on the side-line. Leila also said she thinks it’s “great for her to see her mum playing, whilst spending the day outside and also meeting some other kids.” She hadn’t heard about the holiday camp but thought it was a good idea and would definitely be helpful to parents when they’re playing.

It’s clear from talking to parents here today that childcare provision is an excellent idea. The holiday camp starts tomorrow and is lined up to be a great success. It would be fantastic to see more initiatives like this at all tournaments going forward. Above all, if it allows more people to play ultimate, then it’s something we should all be supporting.

Daily roundup: better conditions as next stage of WMUCC comes into view

The pool stages are well under way now, with masters mixed and grand masters mixed finishing their initial pool stages, setting them up to go into power pools tomorrow. The other divisions will continue their pool games into tomorrow. Here’s a rundown of the highlights from day three at WMUCC.

Descent barely put a foot wrong in masters mixed

The US team Descent had two more convincing wins yesterday, beating Amsterdam Ultimate Club 15-3 and Birds of Paradise 15-1. This means they top their pool, and so far, have only conceded five points in total. The four other US teams in this division are also all winning their pools. The most promising challengers to the Americans are likely to be Reading (from the UK) and the Canadian team, Epoq.

Still and Magic Toast look to challenge the Americans in masters open

The British team Magic Toast and the Canadian team Still have both won all four of their games so far in the masters open. Today Magic toast will face their toughest competition in their pool from Iznogood and Voltron2020, who might be the favourites for the title. At the other end of the leader board, Columbian Urutau Ultimate Club and Indian Puyal have both struggled, losing all of their games so far.

LMU victorious over Berta in the masters women

A big 15-9 win from the London team, LMU, against the Canadian Berta puts them up there in competition with the likes of Molly Grey and Soar *sore in their pool. Ahead of all of them, however, are Canadians lowercase who remain undefeated after beating Molly Grey and Berta today. In the other women’s pool, Reboot Squad, StellO and Ripe all won both their games yesterday as well.

The initial pool stages in grand master mixed come to a close

Grand masters mixed is another division that will have pools followed by power pools. Canadians Grey Owl and Brits Big Fish, Little Fish miss out on places in the higher power pool, meaning they can’t be placed in the top 4. Surly GMX from Minneapolis pipped Happy Campers (CAN) 13-12 and beat Southern Charm (USA) 14-11 to make them the only undefeated grand master mixed team. Today the power pools will begin.

Can Black Cans go all the way in grand master open?

Black Cans (USA) came away with an important win over FIGJAM (CAN) in a physical game that finished 13-12. This puts them at the top of their pool for the moment. In the other pool, the two US teams, Surly GM and Shadows, comfortably continued their winning streak. These two teams will face each other today in what should be an exciting match up.

Surly GGM cling on to the top spot in great grand master open

The number three seed, Surly GGM from the US, managed to remain undefeated today after their match with Recycled, also from the US, went to universe point and finished 12-11. They’re the only undefeated team in the great grand master open division. Qualification for the semi-final is currently looking unlikely for the three teams not from North America (Flash, JETS and German Alltime Ultimate Lovers), who all had tough days yesterday.