On Monday night, Bread took on The Clap for the second time in the Advanced League 2011. This time it wasn’t a combined team, as The Clap had enough players on their own (although they were still missing a few of their big-names). The noteworthy feature of this match were the conditions. It was about 4 degrees, rain varied from “sleet” to “misty”, and the wind was very gusty. This made the disc slippery, the ground sodden, the players wet and the game very, very fun.
It was a game dominated by zone-defence. Even when the offence was heading downwind, zone-defence was still effective since hucks were hard when the wind was so gusty. I was incredibly impressed at Bread’s defensive zone, as we shut down many plays and pressured many throws. We haven’t played zone much as a team, so it was really well done.
I was also really impressed with Bread’s offense against a zone. This was a weakness of ours last season, and lots of people stepped up and demonstrated more understanding of their role after various regionals and nationals campaigns. Our Poppers popped brilliantly, our wings were threatening and dangerous, and our dumps were (nearly) always in the correct position. The first four points were traded with downwind dominating the offence. At 2-2 something started to click and we got the upwind. Awesome popping by Grady and Maz, and Aung was a very threatening wing. The Clap kept on coming at us and nearly scored the next upwind, but made a few unlucky errors of which we took advantage. The rest of the half continued with us making consistently good offence and we ended up taking half 8-3. This is a credit to all our players, with our poppers and wings continuing to work hard. I was also impressed with our handlers making sensible, rational decisions and reliable throws in VERY trying conditions.
The second half started a little less reliably. The Clap started playing a man-defence and (unfortunately) it was quite effective. Bread had real problems coordinating the cuts off the stack after playing Zone-O so much. The cuts were mistimed, the defence was tough. Our dumps were difficult and always under-pressure. There were a couple of really long points, which is always tough in cold conditions. Those on the sideline cool down, those on the field get exhausted, the stack gets shorter, it gets harder to make space, the cutters have to work harder, getting more exhausted. It was a tough second half and showed us some weaknesses in our standard stack-offence. In the end, a few points were traded after half and we won the game 11-5.
Generally speaking, everyone played well. I was really impressed with everyone’s toughness on D and decision-making under pressure. There were very few “silly” turnovers, which is astounding given the conditions. People’s decision-making when they had the disc was calm and rational. I’d like to thank Claudia for picking up for us in pretty miserable conditions, and I sure hope she sticks around. Her reliable catches and hard cuts were an asset.
Next week we’re playing Twig, who managed to defeat us last time. It will be interesting to see what we do differently, and how the game shapes out. Twig is a fast team with reliable handlers, so maybe our Zone won’t quite cut it against them. I look forward to seeing what happens.