At midlands indoor regionals this weekend just gone 8 players formed the second team: me (c), Tobias (vc), Rory, Romit, Trevor, Carter, P-money and Sean. This is how we got on.
Day 1: Group and Crossover
Group game 1: Bears 11 – 0 Oxford Brookes 2
After a disappointing seeding left us in the bottom half, we were determined to come out strong and show what we could do. Our 2-1-2 offence started off at a frantic but effective pace, scoring 4 points very quickly while our FSU kept them contained on defence. Both of these tactics were a work in progress given we hadn’t practiced them as a team too much, so it was great to see how effective they were from the off. Brookes had no answer to either and apart from a few sketchy deep shots they barely threatened.
Group game 2: Bears 11 – 4 Oxford 3
We thought this game would be a sterner test than our first game and we were not disappointed. Oxford worked the disc through our defence very well, finding the gaps we were leaving far too easily. Fortunately our offence continued to be very effective, and so the first few minutes consisted of both teams trading points. However once we switched to our classic bears hard man defence Oxford couldn’t cope, and we took it away relatively comfortably.
Group game 3: Bears 9 – 2 Fling 3
This game started with Fling scoring against our FSU frighteningly easily. Determined to maintain top seed in our group we immediately switched to man, and again found it very effective. Our offence was slicker than the last two games and we raced ahead. Equally pleasing was when, after building a lead, we tried our zone again and found it was working far better, showing we were learning from our previous mistakes. We finished the group where we started, top and seeded 17th. This meant we had a crossover against the bottom place from Bears 1’s group to decide if we would play in the top half or bottom half on Sunday.
Crossover: Bears 8 – 0 Anglia Ruskin
After a four hour break we played our most important game of the weekend. We were a bit concerned the long time off, coupled with the nerves and the fact that this would be the first time we had played a first team might cost us. However, this game was the best one we played all weekend, and the most fun I’ve ever had playing indoors. Our offence was sharp, fast and fluid, our handlers weaving superbly and our endzone players timing their cuts perfectly to catch the scoring pass. Our defence shut them down completely, so that despite their significant height advantage we never felt threatened. Our second ‘bagel’, beating a first team so convincingly and securing the top half finish we felt we deserved meant we ended the Saturday on an incredible high.
Sunday: Fighting to finish as high as possible
15-10 seed game: Bears 7 – 5 Lincoln 1
Winning this game would guarantee us a top 12 finish and give us a shot at being the best second team in the region. Having seen Lincoln play yesterday, it seemed like it would be a very tough test. However, for the first half of the game we continued on from the last game of Saturday, completely dominating a skilled, athletic side and taking a 6 – 1 lead. Unfortunately we all suddenly realised we were beating a good first team and forgot how to play. Our offence got a bit rushed, putting a lot of pressure on a defence, which fortunately just managed to hold out for long enough, assisted by a late goal to secure the victory.
10-7 seed game: Bears 2 – 7 Oxford 1
In order to keep the highly ambitious dream of reaching nationals alive, this was a must win game. However, playing against one of the traditional seven powerhouses of our region, we knew it would be very tough and were more concerned with how we played than the result. Oxford were significantly better than any team we’d played, and immediately shut down our offence almost completely. They really tested our handlers, causing a lot of turnovers early in the game, which they then capitalised on. Unfortunately we realised too late a way of using our iso more to get past their defence, but despite this I was still very happy with our performance. Oxford are a great team and we battled hard both with and without the disc to show we could mix it with the bigger teams and still perform well.
10-11 seed game: Bears 6 – 2 Oxford 2
No longer in the running for nationals, our goal now was to finish as high as possible. We were guaranteed 12 and could reach 9, with top 10 a realistic aim. On top of that, the winner of this game would have the honour of being the highest ranked second team in the region, as all others were already guaranteed to be lower. So again we had a high pressure game, and again we were playing an Oxford team. We came out quickly to get to 3-0, with some lovely flowing offence. However Oxford scored to bring it to 3-1 and it felt like we could lose momentum again like in the Lincoln game. But showing how much we had grown over the weekend, we dug in and battled to an important victory. It was a fairly scrappy game and certainly wasn’t the best we’d played, but the way we fought so hard to get the win rather than crumble was great to be a part of.
9-10 final: Bears 4 – 10 UEA
Having guaranteed 10th place and ensured we were the best second team in the midlands, we were really happy with the weekend’s work. Also carrying a few knocks, and knowing UEA were a strong side we were again concerned with performance above results, aiming to finish on a high. This we did, trading points for the first half of the game with some excellent chilly offence and aggressive defence. Unfortunately UEA moved up a gear here and, possibly partly because it was the last game of the weekend, we couldn’t keep up. However this was still a nice, competitive game to finish on and a good performance to wrap up an outstanding weekend for us.
So in one of the hardest regions containing at least 7 excellent first teams, Bears 2 finished 10th, the highest ranked second team. We only lost two games all weekend to very capable, experienced first teams. Every single member of the team not only put all their effort into every point but also played at an incredibly high standard. Special mention to Romit who was our MVP despite only joining the club this year, but every player contributed equally and hugely to our performance, showing the midlands what strength in depth Warwick have. A truly top drawer weekend.