Windmill 2019: Day 1 Recap (Men’s)

GB and Condors in the lead so far. Ireland and Austria are close behind.

Justin Foord lays out for a goal for GB. Photo by Klára Matejková

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The first day of Windmill 2019, the fifteenth edition of this showpiece European event, didn’t tell us too much we didn’t know in the men’s division. The teams we expected to be good were good, the teams we expected to struggle did so. What’s most interesting is the mini-battles within those games, the margins between those at the top and those in the middle, and the way this sets us up for tomorrow.

Predicted final on track

Coming into this tournament, I predicted that the likely final was Condors against Great Britain.1 Those teams didn’t disappoint today, both going unbeaten during the Swiss draw.2  That did, though, include a tie, as the two played each other in the last game slot. GB took half 8-6 but Condors fought back to take a 14-13 lead as the cap went on. That meant finish the point and the game would be over; GB came out on offense. They slotted in a point without turning, tying the game up at 14s and leaving both teams with something of a sour taste. “I definitely feel like it was unfinished business,” said Condors captain Tyler Bacon. “From what we’ve seen so far, they’re the team to beat. We enjoyed a lot of competitive, well-spirited games against teams that made us reach higher than before. But we have unfinished business there for sure.” Bacon did say that the Californians would be enjoying themselves on Friday night3 but that with a 10:15 start tomorrow, they are confident they will be ready for their game against the upstart Austrians in the final round of Swiss draw. The game against Austria will be livestreamed at 10:15 Central European Time.

GB felt similarly, but were happy to get reps in such competitive games. Captain Josh Briggs was happy with the day overall: wins against Ireland and France giving the team a solid foundation ahead of the tie. He said that the team was about 80 to 85% of the way there.

“Today was the first time we’ve had a chance to play opposition all day long that put us under at least as much pressure as we put on ourselves at training,” said Briggs.  “The chance to play the national squads we’ll see in two and a half weeks is really valuable. We’re still building, there’s a temptation to feel like this is an all-or-nothing tournament but, in reality, it’s one game at a time and then EUC is separate.”

The game between GB and Ireland was a stormer, with the Irish putting everything they had into it. Impressive performances from young Irish players like Ferdia Rogers, Tadhg Deevy and Andrew Cleary kept the O line going, with central handler Padraig Sweeney seemingly unstoppable at times. Ireland got the first break of the game at 9-9, punishing the first turn from the GB O-line all game to take a 10-9 lead. From there, though, the British showed their ability to turn the screw and scored four in a row to win the game.

Austria: the potential spoiler

Austria were mentioned as a team with the ability to make quarters in the preview but the way they’ve performed so far suggests that they could be better than that. They are the only team with four wins after topping the Irish 10-8 in their last game of the day and defeating the Philadelphia Eagels earlier in the day.4 They play Condors in the last round of Swiss draw, with a chance to prove they’re a legit threat at this tournament.

Quarters contenders

Denmark beat Colombians Raza in the first game of the day and sit in eighth after four rounds of the Swiss draw. They play against Czech Republic first thing on Saturday. France, meanwhile, plays Raza. Those four teams are the next-best here and represent those likely to fill the last two quarterfinal spots behind GB, Condors, Ireland, Italy, Philly and Austria.

Game to watch

The game to watch tomorrow morning will be the match between Philly and Ireland, with the loser likely to slip in the rankings. Ireland won only one game against three losses today, but due to the fact that all three of those were BCS-style ‘quality losses’ against the other teams in the top four here they maintain a high ranking. Speaking to many players here there’s a degree of bafflement about how the draw works – one player on a top-eight ranked team expressed frustration that “at some point wins and losses just need to matter” – but the algorithm has no favorites and, with the way they’ve competed against the elites here, Ireland are clearly among the best sides here.

There’s all to play for as we approach the second day of Windmill, with at least five teams still feasibly in the running to bring the Golden Elephant home with them.

Current Standings (After four rounds of Swiss draw)

Swiss points are predictive of the score between the teams so far. For example a team with ten points is predicted to beat a team with eight points by two.

RankTeamSwiss Points
1Great Britain9.71
2Condors8.84
3Ireland6.55
4Austria6.33
5Italy4.46
6Philadelphia Eagels4.08
7Czech Republic2.75
8Denmark2.36
9France1.84
10Raza0.90
11Spain0.62
12Russia0.54
13Belgium-0.05
14Devon-0.82
15New Age-1.63
16Frank N-3.34
17Mojra-4.70
18East Midlands Open-5.49
19Rampage-6.45
20Heidees-7.80
21Dublin Gravity-8.08
22Slovakia-10.63

  1. EuroZone picked the same finalists 

  2. Which is now reasonably controversial – more on that later. 

  3. they have come a long way after all, as he mischievously pointed out 

  4. They’re seeded fourth though, thanks Swiss draw. 

  1. Sean Colfer
    Sean Colfer

    Sean Colfer has been based in London since 2015. He’s played for teams across the UK since 2006 and has been writing about UK Ultimate since 2010. Follow him on Twitter @seancolfer, or follow @TheShowGame for more on UK Ultimate.

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