Last year the 4v4 Championships were held in Ottawa with three, of the eight teams Ontario teams, calling the region home. With that significant of a contribution the section received four bids to Ontario Championships (OC) this year. However, it appears that Ontario Ultimate (OU) was generous as six teams, from the east, registered for sectionals. The ratio of four bids for six teams provides the best opportunity to make the championships.
Read on to find out a bit more about each team as well as their chances of making Ontario Championships.
The schedule is split between two days with Saturday games from 1100 to 1415 (2:15 pm) and the Sunday games from 1500 (3:00 pm) to 1725 (5:25pm). Players have expressed some dissatisfaction with the timing while the tournament directors have explained that it is difficult to find indoor facilities when team numbers are uncertain.
All six teams will start in one pool and will play five games each in a round robin format. The last game of the round robin will be the first game on Sunday after which the teams will be reseeded and immediately play in a two round elimination bracket. The bracket culminates in the game to go on Field 2 at 1640 (4:40 pm).
Given the schedule the following list is presented without seeding.
- Waitlisted (Kingston)
- Dynamite (Ottawa)
- Errant Scoobers (Ottawa)
- Six Thirteen (Kingston)
- TBD (Ottawa)
- sQUad (Kingston)
Starting off is Waitlisted with players, it appears, from everywhere except Kingston (currently). With players from the top Women’s and Open programs from Toronto and Ottawa who have Team Canada experience on grass and beach they are the current favorites to take the first bid. Where they may be vulnerable is team chemistry but within the team pockets of synergy which should allow them to overcome difficult points.
A decade from, if they stick together, Waitlisted will become the team Dynamite is: older, wiser, and mostly indestructible. They too feature TC players with experience on grass and beach. Where they may lose a step on top speed will be counterbalanced by the small field that favors acceleration. Their creativity with throws should allow them to move comfortably into the top four while their combined century of experience should keep the level-headed.
Also from Ottawa are Errant Scoobers; a mix of players pulling heavily from Raft. This is a team strongly tied to local development in the capital region. Their tough and grindy style will cause headaches for teams and their fitness will allow them to quickly convert on breaks. In comparison to other teams they may appear to lack star power but that is negated by their substantial 4v4 experience. They should make it to OC without much trouble and should challenge teams farther up this list.
My Dark Horse pick is Six Thirteen from Kingston. A spin-off from 7v7 touring team Local 613 (six, one, three), who surged onto the scene in 2014, this 4v4 team features their top line. With significant chemistry and players known for making ludicrous plays they are looking to spoil the party for Waitlisted, Dynamite, and Errant Scoobers. The question is whether they will be focused enough to actually play hard or will be looking to cruise through the tournament.
TBD has the smallest and youngest roster. With players coming out of the Ottawa youth programs, and TC Juniors experience, this is a team that will, someday, be a powerhouse if they can add to their roster. This may also be the only year the team participates as many of the players may no longer be in the region next year or, the more likely scenario, may be picked up onto other teams. Nevertheless, this will be hard running team that is still working on finding its footing in the world of adult Ultimate. Expect them to challenge for the fourth bid.
Finally, sQUad from Kingston, highlights the composition of the team in the name. With most of the players from Queen’s University this young team also has some touring experience. But the lack of experience may not be negative as we saw with Ray’s Balls from West Sectionals where the Western players were not intimidated against the top teams. Furthermore, the path to fourth bid takes them through TBD, who have to travel and have a short roster, as well as Six Thirteen who may not be as motivated as sQUad. There is an outside chance of this team taking the fourth bid.
As with all of these posts a prediction of the results as well as how the teams may arrive at the outcome presented (bold indicating bid to OC):
- Errant Scoobers
- Six Thirteen
In this scenario Waitlisted maintains stop spot. Dynamite plays Errant Scoobers in the 2/3 game with Scoobers coming out on top. Six Thirteen lose to Errant Scoobers in the 3/4 elimination bracket and then beat the other local sQUad. TBD, hampered by a short roster, have a narrow loss to sQUAD in the 5/6 game.
Now, if the Dark Horse team, Six Thirteen, actually tries then I predict the following:
- Six Thirteen
- Errant Scoobers
Yes, it could happen. Do not underestimate them. The top four is somewhat of a tossup at this time but given the four bids and the margin between the top four and the bottom two their may not be much motivation to push to the limit.
As a twist, it is quite possible that Six Thirteen gets the fourth bid and then declines to attend Ontario Championships which would give sQUad, should they be there, the final bid to OC.