What a weekend!

The past weekend featured one of the busiest tournament weekends of the year.  With three major tournaments almost equidistant from here I decided to travel to none of them.  Fortunately I was able to keep in touch via scores and have spoken with plenty of folks that were there.  Firstly, a big congratulations to the World Games team for winning Poultry Days by the tightest of margins:  Universe point win.  Quite a turnaround from their earlier showcase game vs the US World Games team which ended 15-7 for the US.  I think it goes without saying that the World Games will be incredibly exciting but it bears mentioning that it will be.  There will be plenty of chatter about that later, firstly, let’s talk about the tournaments and the teams that we have our eyes on in each.

The three major tournaments were:  Northern Flights 25th Anniversary Edition (North Bay), Comedy of Errors (Montréal), and Poultry Days (Versailles, Ohio).  Ontario teams were split across all three while Québec teams played at Comedy of Errors which makes my job at predicting Regionals results tougher.  Why tough?  If I am looking at the schedule correctly then Regionals appears to be the next major tournament.  Aside from TUF which was a tryout tournament we have not seen Ontario teams play many comparison games.  Regardless, let’s look at the results for Northern Flights.

Thank you to the organizers for sending the following results:

  1. The Professionals
  2. Muskies
  3. Whiplash
  4. Smoke
  5. Niagara Hydra
  6. Legen-Dairy
  7. Hot n Ready
  8. TWO
  9. Bulldogs
  10. North Bay Juniors
  11. Team Green/Hat Team
  12. Hat Team/Team Green
  13. Huck My Disc
  14. Blazing Saddles

Liqu…I mean, The Professionals winning vs the local Muskies.  Of the teams listed above the ones in bold are registered for Regionals.  Whiplash comes out on top with indications that the team is starting to gel and develop chemistry with the rookies.  Unfortunately the schedule conflict with the other tournaments as drawn quite a bit of talent out east to Montreal, let’s take a look at part of the final results from there:

  1. Odyssée
  2. Gecko
  3. Glide
  4. Bytown Flatball Club
  5. Surge
  6. The Rooster Project
  7. Wreckhouse
  8. YARR

A third place finish for Glide is a big improvement over their sixth place finish last year.  The 13-10 win over BFC for third also enforces their position as Ottawa’s A team but also points to huge strides by BFC.  At TUF BFC had many inconsistencies with both O and D that didn’t quite connect.  More recently they appear to have taken great strides forward and are in a position to make a strong showing at Regionals.  Yarr finishing 8th is a bit of a surprise as I expected them to finish a bit higher.  Given the schedule of the tournament they faced, almost exclusively, Ontario teams, Gecko, and Wreckhouse.  Yarr has become the most dangerous team in Ontario to teams intending to head to CUC.  They can be inconsistent but always take advantage of errors.  We’ve seen them upset previously and in pool play they upset Gecko 10-9, defeated Glide in crossover re-ranking, and then lost to BFC in the morning quarters.  This is why 8th is a surprise as they beat both the second place and third place teams before losing to BFC whom they had lost to in pool play as well.  Yarr’s one point loss to Wreckhouse is another indication of their strength and should be a warning to teams at Regionals:  Don’t mess with the pirates.

While Zen finished 14th they did beat Wannabago 12-6 in pool play.  Those familiar with CUC history know that Wannabago is a Québec team that heads to CUC quite often and has been a thorn in the side of many competitors that underestimate them.  In this case it appears that Zen showed their potential and had a great game.  Having played against them earlier this season (TUF) I can attest to them having great players that are developing the chemistry needed to grind out higher level games.  It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out for them in the next month.

BigFish finished 24th on a tough weekend with close games.  As they’re a development team the lower ranking is not a surprise but the close scores in their games point towards great possibility.  Development teams are learning many fundamentals and mechanics; by adjusting a few small things they can jump up one or two levels very quickly and surprise opponents in games they otherwise expected to win easily.  Small fundamentals such as focusing on a catch in the end-zone or simple open field drops tend to be the areas where they can improve the most and suddenly turn the tide of the game with a few good connections.

Odyssée continues to be strong and did not face too many challenges.  While they beat Glide 15-3 in the semis their 15-8 pool play win is probably closer to the truth.  Glide had played a tough 11-10 match against Wreckhouse in the quarters which could have left them a little gassed going into the semis.  Wreckhouse is a team that can grind you down easily.  In Victoria it was interesting watching them play against top seeds and how much energy they forced their opponents to put in.  St. John’s has improved considerably over the last few years with their handling getting noticeably better. If I could offer a bit of advice:  avoid zone against Wreckhouse; go out and get the turn with strong one on one play.

Finally we look at Poultry Days and the results of one very important team:  Union.  While TC was there a good writeup of their play is available from Keith of Ultiworld and you can read his perspective here .

Poultry Days is a deceptively tough tournament.  Everybody is there to party and enjoy the festivities but the level of play can be very high even against weaker teams.  Union finishing at the top of their pool is a good start and measure of their capabilities.  There is no doubt that they are stronger, faster, and smarter compared to last year.  What remains to be seen is how they will face up against the other top tier teams in Canada at CUC.  Our first measure of their maturity will be at No Borders in just over a month.

With the results from the tournaments it’s now possible to make some predictions about how Ontario Regionals will play out.  If I’m reading the bid allocation rules correctly then Ontario will have four (4) bids to CUC.  Here are my rankings:

  1. Union – Toronto
  2. GLIDE – Ottawa
  3. NoBS (they are thinking about practicing) – Toronto
  4. BLeD – Hamilton
  5. Whiplash – Kitchener/Waterloo
  6. Smoke – Peterborough
  7. Bytown Flatball Club – Ottawa
  8. YARR (be careful with these folks) – Oshawa
  9. Quick & Dirty (a bit of a rebuilding year but still dangerous) – GTA
  10. Legen-Dairy – Port Perry
  11. Zen (bit of a surprise, they should be better by the time Regionals rolls around) – Toronto
  12. TWO – Kitchener/Waterloo
  13. Surge (this is a guess, once I know the roster I can make a better presumption) – Kingston
  14. BULLDOGS (if they come to Regionals) – Toronto
  15. BigFish – Ottawa
  16. Default (this is a guess) – Waterloo

Whiplash through to Quick & Dirty are well poised to upset the top four and snatch a bid to CUC.  In the top four the least vulnerable team, aside from Union, is GLIDE and I expect them to be even stronger by the time Regionals rolls around.  The key for the middle teams is to have consistent games to keep them in contention for their big games.  By all means they should try and upset the top seed in their pool on day 1 as it’ll lead to their game to go coming mid-day on Sunday rather than first game.  They can also avoid two game to go situations if played correctly.  With just under one month to go teams have plenty to think about.

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