Far too early for some, 8 of us got the train for some team bonding for the Mixed Indoor National championship last Saturday; Soni, Luke, Ant, Sean, Laura, Chihoo, Jacqui and China all appeared in a huge walk in freezer in Coventry that had been designated for ultimate that weekend.
With a group who hadn’t played together much, we knew we’d have some tough games, and so it proved. We battled bravely all day Saturday, doing everything we could to keep spirits up and it very nearly worked, going down a mere 6-5 to a strong Knotts team after a pretty dodgy travel call in the last 5 seconds to deny us the levelling score.
We went down to JR, Birmingham1, Wild Boars and Relentless, pulling together strongly but not quite enough to match the other team’s high level experience or chemistry.
Saturday night was the story of 22.25p beer, Mickey Finns and sugar for the baby Jesus.
Sunday our first game was against Reading 2- we shut down their 3-1-1 iso really well, but somehow they played through it, taking lots of short passes to work the disc. We put in a couple of sweet scores in this game, Ant scoobering to Sean and Soni taking down a few big blades. Wasn’t enough, they took the game, but we improved throughout and had lots to build on.
Sure enough, in our game against Picnic, everything started coming together, hitting those free dumps, recycling the disc cleanly, connecting on those deep shots, we put them away 6-4, our zoneD generating most of the turns.
Our last game was the highlight of the tournament- not just for us, but for everyone else in the hall too. Birmingham 2 had some great plays and slick throws, but we matched them point for point up until the buzzer went, Brixton up 6-7, in possession. We score, we win. Didn’t happen, they turned us and put some big floaty nonsense up to take it. No probs, 7-7, game to 8, we score our O point, we win. If only it were that simple.
The longest point of the weekend ensued, both teams, trying desperately to punch in the winner, neither team quite being able to do it. We had discs through hands being dropped, through legs, faceDs, the works, but still not a point had been scored.
At this stage the tournament director was already cursing us for ensuring his schedule ran over by 4 hours, and the entire rest of the hall was watching the game… mostly coz they had nothing else to do- even so, it made for an electric atmosphere, every mistake or potential score met with uummms and aaawwwws from the crowd.
Eventually, around 2am that night, the deadlock broke as Ant took a big pivot, waited until stall six, then threw his trademark IO flick break to a falling over …ahem…I mean laying out… Luke. Boom! Brixton take 21st! The Brum2 captain later commended us on our spirit, saying it was one of the most spirited games he’d ever participated in, and we all agreed.
What a way to end the tournament!
Soni- our main iso player, always looking for a big disc to the break side, took down some huge grabs as well.
Luke- Our very own Mo Farah, he must have clocked up at least 20k over the weekend with relentless cutting, and managed to impress the inlaws too.
Ant- Mr. Consistency, lots of great strike cuts, and threw most of our scores.
Chihoo- was just spectacular. Laying out all over the place, both on O and D, I can’t remember her turning once.
Laura- Some great deep cuts and very consistent in decision making on disc too.
China- grew into this tournament notably, throwing lots of resets in the Picnic game in particular, and using body positioning to block out defenders, hugely improved.
Jacqui- Our own non-elected Spirit captain, we were deprived of Jacqui’s infectious positive play just before the 2nd game of the Saturday, when she somehow fell over onto a pitch we weren’t playing on and sprained her ankle. We all thought she was joking, until she went to A&E. I’ve since been reliably informed it has swelled to the size of a water balloon. But like a true Brixton die-hard, she sidelined hard for every game and was the one urging us on when we thought our legs or lungs or both would give out, hopping up and down the line on the only ankle she had left.
And just as a finish writing this, the news has broke that the top 21 teams in the UK qualify for the International Mixed Indoor tournament!