Phenomenal finish to the EUC!
July 9, 2019 by Ravi Vasudevan in News with 0 comments
The dust has settled and the three champions have been crowned at the European Ultimate Championships 2019. Great Britain Men won 15-14 over Germany, Ireland Women won 15-8 over Switzerland, and Great Britain Mixed won 13-12 over France. Here is a brief story on each of those finals.
Clash of the Titans in Men’s
The Men’s Division was essentially two tournaments. There was the race for third place and then there was the final. Germany and Great Britain were simply dominant over their competition. The closest either of them were pressured was when Italy scored 11 on Germany in the quarterfinal.
So we were prepared for a clash of the titans and boy did they deliver. GB started on offense and Germany broke first to make it 3-2. GB retook the lead with a break for half at 8-7. The teams exchanged a few breaks but things looked inevitable when GB took a two point lead at 13-11. However, Germany had other ideas and broke back to tie things up at 13-13. In this point, Germany had the disc in hand and a huck went up to 2018 European Player of the Year Holger Beutenmüller who went up strong but couldn’t hold on to it. After that teams traded out until GB won the game 15-14 with both teams notching three breaks throughout the match.
The game was intense as it was spirited. Respect from each team oozed out of every play, call, and discussion. This was the game both the fans and players were waiting for, and the teams were very happy with the result. Britain won on the back of carving throws by Josh Briggs and the intense cutting of Robbie Haines. Hayden Slaughter was the defensive standout for the British, notching two blocks and two out of the three scores for breaks. On the German side, Nico Müller was unstoppable and perfect in the handler space while Steffen Döscher was making huge contributions on offense and defense. Conrad Schlör made some heroic plays on defense including a big D against Justin Foord in the deep space. Germany will feel sour about the loss but they were dead even with the British throughout.
Ireland Women Make History
Ireland defeated Switzerland 15-8 in a dominant performance in the Women’s Division. The Irish were relentless in this game on the backs of EuroStar Sarah Melvin as well as key handler Áine Gilheany. Their offensive line turned the disc over twice in the entire game and both times were able to get the disc back and avoid giving up a break. Their zone defense gave the Swiss a lot of trouble and they were able to force frequent turnovers. To their credit, the Swiss played right with the Irish up until 10-7 but then the Irish went on a four point run to make it 14-7 and the two teams traded out to 15-8.
This was a historic moment for the Irish women. Ireland has never won a European championship before. Their mixed team came close, claiming silver in 2015. The President of Ireland even took notice and congratulated the team on Twitter.
“My warmest congratulations to the Irish women's ultimate frisbee team on winning gold at the European championships – a wonderful milestone in the history of this fast-growing sport.”
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) July 8, 2019
Though the Irish did suffer some losses earlier in the tournament, they came out strong in bracket play. They took down the undefeated Russians in semifinals with confident play and that would go down as their toughest match as their final was relatively easy against a weaker Swiss side.
Dramatic (and Weird) Mixed Double Game Point
Just as with the Men’s Division, there were two clear favorites in mixed. Though Germany managed to push France in power pools, both France and Great Britain dominated their semifinal matchups. GB looked to be in control in the first half as they made it 8-5. The teams more or less traded until 12-9, and it looked like Great Britain were going to win with a decent margin. However, France surged back late and tied things up at 12, forcing game point. France took a timeout to rest their players in order to put in a DGP line. France came out with a zone that did provide pressure on the Brits, but when France switched to person to person defense, something very odd happened. As a British female receiver caught the disc with a gender mismatch, all of a sudden Great Britain realized that there were no other mismatches in the rest of the field. Coming out of the timeout with the intensity from the crowd, France had not realized that Great Britain had called for four women in the final point and they went out with four men.
The WFDF rules appendix states that if a team puts out the wrong gender matchup in a point, the team with the correct gender matchup (Great Britain, in this case) has two options. They can ask for a re-pull, or they can keep the disc in the current field position when the error was noticed and set the play as if it was a timeout. Since Great Britain had already gone past half field before the error was noticed, they opted for the latter.
Eventually, Great Britain were able to hold as a high pass went to the endzone for Rachel Turton. Turton caught the disc high in the air but landed on the wrist of her non-catching hand and broke her arm on the way down. She did keep possession to win the game, but was taken to the hospital in an ambulance before she could collect her medal in the ceremony at the end of the tournament.
With this win, Great Britain Mixed continue their streak of winning every EUC ever played.
With that all medalists have been crowned at the EUC. Here is the final table for each division:
|Gold||Great Britain||Ireland||Great Britain|