Written by Chris Wray (club treasurer 2015-16), which captained Bears 2 at UXIR 2016.
Bears 2 [15 – 0] Swansea 2 / Bears 2 [15-0] Coventry 2 / Bears 2 [15-1] Aberystwyth 1
I’ve decided to group our first 3 games together as they were all very similar. All three of these teams were much less experienced than us so there was little competition. Our main strengths were resided in our ability to remain calm on disc, which allowed us to move through their defences with ease. That being said, the ease with which we were able to play and succeed against these teams lead us to becoming complacent and lazy on both offence and defence.
Bears 2 [3 – 11] Birmingham 1
Our final game on Saturday was against national champions Birmingham 1, and we went into the game hopeful for an early upset. As I mentioned before, our previous games did not particularly stretch our offence which meant that we went into this game slightly cold and with untested tactics. We made far too many handling and catching errors on offence and uBu fully capitalised on our mistakes to build a big lead. We also developed bad habits on man defence and were not playing intelligently, leading to us becoming victim to their well-known set plays. On the bright side, we stayed competitive until the very end, and were able to increase our efforts by the end (although by this point it was too late for any chance of a comeback).
Bears 2 [12-2] Worcester 1
We didn’t know what to expect from our 8v9 cross on the Sunday morning as it was against the fairly new Worcester team. Our focus was on taking simple options on offence and keeping the disc which worked well. On defence we mainly played man but, we did use our zone more towards the end of the game.
Bears 2 [10-9] Cardiff 1
We started out very strong against Cardiff and were able to build a fairly large lead. Unfortunately, we then slipped back into lazy habits and started to mis-throw and take options which were not on. Cardiff made the most of this and managed to pull the game back to 8-9. Starting on offence with 30s to go, all we had to do was keep the disc but a miscommunication lead to a throw going to nobody right in front of our endzone, giving Cardiff the possession they needed to level at 9s. Universe point was nerve racking and both teams made a lot of mistakes. Owen made a great D in the end zone to stop Cardiff winning and we gave it everything on that point – we showed composure which we had been lacking in the rest of the game and managed to get the score to win the game.
Bears 2 [5-8] Keele 1
This was a game we knew we would have to be at our best to win. Keele had very quick handler movement and good deep shots. On the whole, our D managed to cope fairly well with this pressure and the team’s mentality was much better than it had been previously. Although the team worked hard on D our O let us down somewhat and a few too many turns gave Keele the breaks they needed to take the game. Although we lost this game it was one of the more positive performances from the weekend: a closely fought battle which we lost out narrowly to Keele’s physical and slick offence.
Bears 2 [9-6] Cardiff 1
Our final game of the weekend was a rematch against Cardiff. Before the game we discussed tactics to try and shut down their ISO play that we had seen earlier and also spoke about clinical offence. I believe this game was by far the best game of the weekend as our defence worked very well and stopped the options which hurt us most before. On offence we were very chilly and took very safe options to work the disc up the pitch with relative ease. At the end of the game we were a few breaks up and took the victory, securing the final place at division 2 nationals! A first for bears 2 at UMIR (in my memory anyway).
On the whole team played well and I think suffered from having no closely fought games on Saturday in our group, which meant it took us longer click and play as team. By the end of the weekend we were working very well and looked like a team which deserved their spot at nationals.