The mixed trophy leaves the Netherlands for the first time since 2016!
June 18, 2019 by Ráchel Tošnerová in Recap with 0 comments
Ultiworld’s coverage of Windmill is presented by VC Lookfly; all opinions are those of the author. Please support the brands that make Ultiworld possible and shop at VC Lookfly!
On the last day of Windmill the teams woke up to a sunny morning and the anticipation of great finals. All mixed teams played out their last games in the morning and had plenty of time to settle in the stadium for the battle of superstars. The two time reigning champions Grut from the Netherlands took on France in the final game of the tournament.
The Dutch started the final on offense but a deep shot to Anniek Leinenga was defended and led to an early break by the French. Up until 3-0 it looked like Grut were not too bothered about being behind and tried to stick to their traditional connections and deep looks. They then took a timeout to reset and get Benjamin Oort’s view from the sideline.1 The French said they knew Grut were likely to throw 50/50 hucks, and if they managed to block the first ones, they would get under their skin. This game plan worked and unfortunately for Grut, it became the story of the first half. The French mercilessly punished every error of their opponents with aggressive D-line offense regardless of the direction of play. “Each upwind point would put their heads down and ours up” adds Gaël Ancelin.
Grut lost the disc three times close to their own endzone and France went up 5-0. With an unfortunate drop in the next point, the French found themselves halfway to the next break and took a timeout. It took another six turnovers for Lucie Ruffié to finally take the French to 6-0. A missed swing pass and a precise deep shot, 7-0. Long story short, the French took the half 8-1.
The wind has picked up even more during the second half. For a brief moment, it seemed like it blew some fresh energy into the veins of Grut, who came out strong after the break playing unbelievable shutdown defense. Two quick points both scored by the legendary Lola Dam were giving all Grut fans hope for a huge comeback. But a series of unfortunate drops helped the French to regain their focus and they did not allow for any surprises. Even though Grut added a couple more goals to their side of the scoreboard, the game finished at 15-7 for the French.
As Grut handler, Lawko van der Weiden, summarized: “I think the combination of some sloppy mistakes, a decent amount of wind and a really strong French team was just a bit too much today, especially in the first half. And although we definitely did not play our best ultimate, I don’t want to take anything away from the French who played really well in both directions of the wind.”
The French celebrate gold at Windmill for the first time after several past appearances in the final: “We are just so so happy to bring it home. We couldn’t get our hands around the title and now we almost can’t believe it” says Ancelin.
Grut will take the lessons learned from Windmill to EUCS, which they missed last year due to EUCR overlap with WJUC2 and a decision to take the fall off after an intense run at WUCC. For the French now is the time to celebrate and enjoy. With EUC in Györ coming up two weeks, however, there is no time to waste. At the last European championships in 2015, France got third and since then developed an appetite for shiny medals. They say they want to go for it all… but with no test matches against GB, Sweden, and Russia, it will not be easy to get there.
Benjamin Oort has been relegated to a coach for Grut as he tore his ACL earlier this season ↩
Many of the women on Grut were playing for the Dutch U20 team last year ↩