Bread victorious over The Clap in trying conditions

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.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Week 2!

Monday night saw Bread rocking up to a well-lit, but very cold field. Upon arrival a bit of a warm-up exercise was run by Joe whilst the opposition gained some numbers and the field was set up. Before long the game was underway.

True to form Bread played some good points early but Twig were able to pull ahead to a lead of 5-2. Twig put on some zone defense which worked effectively and resulted in turnovers which were then capitalised upon. Bread has a bit of work to do when it comes to zone offense. There’s a bit of a lack of experience and it’s very important that everyone works together in a patient manner in order to be successful.

A timeout was called and then the game recommenced. Bread staged a bit of a comeback with the scoreline changing in a similar manner to the first week’s game. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to watch the rest of the game but upon returning to the fields the game had just finished and the score was 12-9 to Twig. The Bread team all seemed in good spirits and were happy with their performance.

The colder and slightly damp conditions did make for some impressive play. Whilst handling Joe did a great one-handed layout to catch an overhead swing-pass. Some successful poaching also saw Joe get a successful layout D from an attempted pass upfield by Twig. Felix also did a very horizontal catch in the end zone but unfortunately landed out of the field.

Although I didn’t catch the whole game Twig were definitely playing a solid offense and were maximising their speed on the ground. We’ll be looking forward to another challenging match next time we meet during the league.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Bread is Back!

Despite a fairly lengthy hiatus due to the lack of a league to play in Bread is back and better than ever! The TUA has kickstarted a teams-based Advanced League and our team has entered.

The lineup has changed slightly since our last league. Due to injury or other commitments myself, Steve Joyce and Ian Tait have all committed to play on an ad-hoc basis. To fill the gaps and continue our growth we have welcome Grady Cowley back onto Bread (where he should have been the whole time!). We’ve also had some great additions in two new players to Bread, Amy Bennett and Aung Zaw. Welcome aboard guys!

The total team list looks like this:

Females:

Maz Bennett
Amy Bennett
Jessie Bresnehan

Males:

Steve Wright (captain)
Tim Stoneman
Tarik Stoneman
Joe Boyer
Elvin Lea
Ken Suber
Grady Cowley (spirit captain)
Aung Zaw

Pickup Options:

Steve Joyce
Ian Tait
Jason de Puit

We kicked off the new season with a bit of a social get together. Firstly we spent a bit of time discussing the league and what our aims were for participating in the league. Unsurprisingly everyone wants different things from the experience so we’re hoping we can accommodate the variety of aims! We discussed appetite for training sessions and it was encouraging to hear that everyone was keen on some level, although we’ll be scheduling week-by-week depending on availability. The Advanced League is a 3-team league which means we get a guaranteed training every third week in the bye.

After getting the official stuff out of the way we got Grady into the kitchen along with a plethora of supplies to start ripping out some fantastic cocktails. Whilst that was going on there was some fierce Frisbee Golf competition happening on on the PS3. It was a fun night!

Cocktails

Cocktails made by Grady! What a great team mate!

Last night we had our first game. After a warm up together in the dark it was necessary to quickly change locations to a free field at the uni due to a lack of lights on our booked field. There are some good things about living in Hobart with the field available 5 minutes away (or maybe 10 by bike for Ken and Taiters!).

Our opponent, The Clap, were just able to field a team with 4 males and 1 female turning up. Avoiding a forfeit, The Clap made good use of a solid representation from Twig, the team with the bye. Matching our available 10 players we kicked off a good game.

Bread took the first point with a quick flowing point up the field which we reminiscent of the way we love to play. Some points were traded and The Clap (+pickups) played strongly and took a commanding lead of 5-2. Captain Steve was watching from the sidelines and decided to take a well-time break with a timeout. It was evident that people were still finding their “Advanced Level” feet with some tired players however the timeout did wonders. Bread bought it back to 7 all and then The Clap took half late in the game.

After half time the game was close. At time cap scores were at 9 all resulting in a game to 11. The Clap came out strong on offense using a well played Iso to score a quick point. Bread got their chance on offense and The Clap attempted a zone in order to foil an attempt at a point to draw even at 10 all. Bread seamlessly transitioned to Zone offense and pushed through the zone to score!

Working on universe point Bread used some tight defence to force a turnover. Some quick action by Tim saw the disc right up at the end zone and a quick dishy to score. Well done Bread!

Overall the performance was impressive. Every player stood out with some commendable contributions to the game. Coming back from a reasonable deficit and then maintaining the intensity was rewarding and it was a huge relief to win. The game could easily have gone either way.

That said, our structure was lacking and we’ve got a number things to work on. We wouldn’t have it any other way though. Everyone is keen to learn and our first training session should occur this weekend as a result. The encouraging thing is that the base skills were impressive. It was great to watch!

Special mention to our new team members. Grady seamlessly fitted back into the team and provided some much needed skills. Some improvement in skills was evident since he’d last played and very much appreciated. Aung worked hard and somehow managed to find space consistently providing much needed options long. Amy really raised the intensity level and scored 3 goals when we needed them most.

Posted in General | 2 Comments

Season Wrap Up

So we’ve come to the end of our first season as our official Bread team. Strictly speaking this wasn’t the first league we had come together in some form but it was definitely the first time we had the drive and focus to officially call ourselves a team and put the groundwork in to something that we hope continues for some time.

We set out with several aims:

  • Provide a mechanism for individuals to take a greater interest in their Ultimate
  • Subsequently, improve skills as individuals and also as part of a team
  • Set up a team that has some longevity, hopefully lasting for many season

To meet the first two aims we put in place weekly training sessions. Throughout the league these weren’t necessarily as well attended as originally hoped but I believe everyone turned up to one at some stage and came away with something new to consider about their game.

To achieve the third aim we came up with an identity. Everyone contributed to our team name, shirt design and also the individual team nicknames and numbers that ended up on the shirts. We’re hoping this identity stays around for a while.

The season seemed to pass extremely quickly. It was a shortish league but seemingly, when you’re really into something, it can whip by in a flash. Whilst we were heavily involved and focused during each game the weeks seemed to disappear faster than we could reflect on our progress, adjust, and return the next week.

That said, we definitely improved in leaps and bounds. Individually, everyone developed. As a team, we all progressed and became more effective and efficient.

Part of our training tactic was to collect individual feedback from each player on areas in which they would like to improve. The first half of training was then dedicated to supporting that player and everyone taking a turn to think about the challenges the individual had raised. The second half was run by Steve and we trained on some great basic tactics early on that really helped us throughout the rest of the league.

In our second last training session the finals were preying on my mind. However, as we continued on our various drills and practices it occurred to me that the aims listed above had already been met. I made the comment to the team that I didn’t really mind what the outcome was in the finals, in my opinion our season had been a success – we had achieved what we were hoping to.

Being a rather competitive person these words ate at me a little bit as we played through the finals. These were tough games and we were challenged in both those games.

However, as those challenges arose I realized that we had achieved more than I was expecting from the league. Without taking credit for things we weren’t directly responsible for it was hard to ignore that our actions as a team were also having affect on others in league. Creating our identity had an effect of setting ourselves up as the team to beat. Other teams started paying more attention to their own games and really brought it to us as a result.

To be honest this was a welcome surprise. It resulted in some anguish during our finals but it was great to see the Ultimate community developing and pushing the envelope, striving for more skills. It’s worth pointing out that the UTAS team were doing this in parallel with us.

Again – I don’t want to take credit for it. Sure, we implemented some changes for ourselves, but without drive from other players on other teams the shift in focus wouldn’t have occurred. It was great to see this happening on a fairly widespread basis.

So overall I dub the league a great success for Bread. Even more inspiring was full commitment from the whole team to play again together in the next season. I was extremely pleased to see everyone’s hands in the air!

So now we start looking forward to the next stage. I’ve got a bunch of ideas, as do many others. I’ll write a blog post soon about looking forward to our next season and the plans we are laying to keep the ball rolling.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Finals Wrap Up

The last two weeks of Ultimate have seen Bread playing in the two finals rounds for Spring League.  Despite making it through the league unbeaten at the top of the table we ended up finishing third overall.  Here’s how it happened:

Finals Week 1 – Bread Vs Gringo

For a good 10 minutes Bread were under the impression that they would breeze through the semi-final into the grand final playoff due to the forfeit rule.  Leading up to the start of the game it appeared that Gringo weren’t going to be able to field the appropriate number of players to avoid a forfeit.

However, as the announcements commenced a few late-comers rocked up and Gringo ended up with the right numbers to get on with the game.  Mostly we were pleased to be playing however I think many of us wouldn’t have minded a sneaky forfeit victory to get us into the grand final game.

Prior to the game Gringo got into a huddle and seemed to be talking tactics.  Whatever was said seemed to work as an epic game commenced.   Typical of Bread we started slowly with Gringo taking the first few points unanswered.  On defence Gringo offered up an effective zone which Bread were not entirely expecting.  Jason Wong was particularly effective in the fence, getting in front of some of swing throws across the field.

We managed to pull it together and started trading points with Gringo.  Also true to form we had a surge through the middle of the game and managed to pull back some of the points that we had lots early on.  For the most part the score line was incredibly close and towards the end of the game it was locked at 11 all.

Gringo managed to pull away again by a point (or two?) and we ran out of time to gain the lead and get in front.  The game was intense but also a lot of fun, played in great spirit.  There were a few calls here and there, myself included, but overall it was a fair result.

Bread left the field disappointed at not making the grand final playoff but it was hard to ignore that Gringo really pulled together and deserved the win.  On their part there was some great offense from Joe and Felix, including a long throw threat most of the time.  Upon trying a zone against Gringo they effortlessly used overheads to bypass our fence.

Finals Week 2 – Bread Vs Song 3

Due to our loss against Gringo we ended up playing for 3rd place.  Once again it was a hard-fought game and very close!

Learning from last week’s mistakes Bread made an early surge and seemed to be cruising at 6-1.  The score then went to 7-2 before Song 3 scored 6 points in a row and gained the upper hand at 7-8.  In the end we managed to score the last two points to take the game at 9-8.

To be honest I’m not sure what happened through the middle there.  It certainly felt like Song 3 picked it up a notch and really brought on some good challenges.  They used their Feldrunner offense very effectively and switched it up where necessary to get the disc up the field.  Consistent use of safe options and some really good defensive coverage also made things difficult for us.

In the end it could have gone either way.  Due to the pressure of the game Bread felt like they had to pull out all the stops to keep up.  Whilst this resulted in a few turnovers there were also some pretty brilliant moments.  Tim was horizontal and vertical all over the place!

Overall it was another challenging game and we were lucky to come away with the win.  Given the score was tied on the siren it was necessary to play out the point.  As usual the post-siren decider point was long and tense however Bread managed to keep their heads and score in the end, despite a few turnovers both ways.

Given I wasn’t playing due to injury there are some photos of the finals which I will post to the blog in the next few days.  There’s also some plans bubbling in my brain for a season wrap up post and also one looking to the future for Bread.

Posted in General | Tagged | 2 Comments

Week 6 Game Wrap Up

Week 6 saw us playing against Song 3 in conditions that were pretty much perfect for a game of Ultimate. The evening was very warm and still with the game kicking off just as the sun was setting over the field.

Bread had a good turnout with almost all of our players available for the game. Elvin was on board but unable to play due to injury. As a result he took over the role of statistician for our team during the match. You can see the resulting statistics by clicking here!

Throughout the game Bread performed with a level of cohesion that hadn’t been achieved up until this point. It was great to see that our training and mindset were beginning to have a positive effect. In a few short weeks we’ve come a long way as a team.

This resulted in some very strong defense and, more notably, some excellent patient flow up the field on offense. We took an early lead at 3-0 (I think) and were able to maintain our momentum throughout the game. The final score was 16-9.

Song 3 mixed things up and primarily played a Feldrunnur offense. They used this setup to good effect and really utilised the space on the field that this particular play allows. The experience of the handlers was evident with accurate leading throws into space along with a very effective default to give-and-gos up the field when the focus was shutdown effectively.

Bread made some adjustments to combat this offense however we never really shut it down completely. Later in the game we experimented with some zone defense which, despite the lack of wind, still managed to result in turnovers.

Bread also played a few points of horizontal offense. We had never played this setup before and set it up off the fly without any prior warning. Using the knowledge of our well rounded players (Steve, Tim and Joe) we seemed to get it right and were able to score off this offense well.

A notable improvement was made by Taiters who managed to hang on to some particularly difficult catches. It was great to see his hands turn to frisbee magnets!

Steve was particularly useful in the end zone and his height came into play nicely allowing us to score some useful points.

Overall everyone was pleased with the game and it is my hope that we can contine this form into the two weeks of upcoming finals. Well played everyone!

Posted in General | Leave a comment

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

In the middle of the game, surrounded by talk of tactics and how to lift our game, our team mate Steve (aka Monster, Big Steve, Focaccia) commented on how well he thought the other team was playing. He did this genuinely and generously. At the time, I was struck by how kind this was.

Personally, although I try to be nice on the field and genuine with my compliments, I still find it hard to not get caught up in the competition and think more about my team and how we are playing and enjoying the game, more than how the opposition (as an aside, perhaps the name “opposition” is already in opposition with how I could be thinking!).

Thinking about it more, I think it is about showing true respect for the other team. It is being grateful for the game we are playing, for the other players making it happen, for the fun evening of ultimate, for the ongoing enjoyment of being able to play ultimate in our little community. After all, in Tasmania, the other teams are made up of friends, and former and future team-mates.

I have been thinking about Spirit a lot lately. I had recently come to the conclusion that, at its core, Spirit is about upholding the rules of ultimate—that you couldn’t be a truly spirited player unless you knew the rules and upheld them. I still think that is true, but I’m also now wondering whether I missed something, because Spirit seems to require an element of something else, something more human, something of the heart and soul.

Now I wonder whether there might be twin pillars to upholding Spirit: rules and respect.

So that’s my ponderance for the moment. I guess maybe it might seem obvious—what do you think?

– Maz, aka Crumb

Posted in General | Tagged | 2 Comments