Great Britain led for much of the game, but couldn't close it out.
July 14, 2022 by Edward Stephens in News, Recap with 0 comments
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BIRMINGHAM, AL — A close Day 3 match between Pool A’s two European sides ended prematurely due to heavy rain and some thunderstorms that settled over the Birmingham area. Germany had just taken a 10-8 lead over Great Britain when the game was delayed for lightning, and that became the official final score. It was an unfortunate end for the British, who had led for most of the first half and looked like they could have retaken the advantage.
Having already clinched an outright Pool A victory and place in the tournament semifinals by defeating the United States on Day 2, Germany were playing more for form’s and practice’s sake than to win. Great Britain, meanwhile, had relatively strong performances against both the United States and Canada without a win to show for their effort, and they were hungry to come away with a pudding that could prove the strength of the team. The two sides’ levels of energy to start the match reflected that difference in circumstances. On the opening point, Great Britain charged hard after Germany’s handlers in the reset space and in the front of the stack. Germany withstood the pressure for a hold, but there was no mistaking the tenor of each side.
Great Britain opened their offensive game with a weapon they had but seldom used in their first two games: Ellie Taylor. Taylor waited at the back of the stack until she saw Abrams catch a short pass with his mark out of position. She immediately left her defender behind her to haul in the goal. It would be the first of three goals for Taylor. Regardless of this week’s results, it bodes well for the future of the British national program for one of their youngest players to erupt.1
Two points into the match, Germany started making mistakes. Levke Walczak threw an errant reset pass to give Great Britain the disc inside the attacking brick. Alex Lakes was only too happy to pick up and throw a goal to Ashley Yeo toward the back flick-side cone. Marvin Waldvogel and Nico Müller threw careless passes to poaching defenders – or, actually, a single poaching defender on two occasions: Molly Wedge. Karen Kwok and Ben Burak joined in on Wedge’s block party on ensuing points, and Great Britain were sitting pretty with a 6-4, two-break lead.
Anna Gerner had been solid in Germany’s backfield throughout the early games of the tournament. It was not until today, however, that she truly took a turn in the spotlight. With Müller having something like an off-game – although his work to keep breakside reset looks available remained a central pillar of the German offense – it fell to Gerner to steady the team. She was indefatigable in the reset space, saved a couple of possessions with layout grabs, and, crucially, reined in her throws when rain began to fall on the fields later in the game. She guided Germany to a hold to keep Great Britain from breaking for half.
Unfortunately for Great Britain, they failed twice to take half on offense. A dropped pull set up Germany to tie the game at 6-6. Conrad Schlör blocked a deep throw – not a rare sight at the 2022 World Games – and sprinted 70 yards for a bookends score. That score sent the game to halftime and put it back on serve.
The rain picked up considerably at the start of the second half. The two teams responded predictably: with sloppy play. It was hard to see the disc, let alone get a sure release on a forehand. Chaos favored Germany, if only because, as the receiving team, Great Britain had trouble moving the disc beyond their half of the field, whereas Germany’s turnovers all occurred much closer to the attacking end zone. That break would make the difference. Lakes made a nice throw to Wedge to keep the score close at 9-8, but with rain pelting the ground like a million marbles it was only a matter of time before WFDF officials would have to yield to the weather.
A swing pass from Müller to Walczak ended up being the nail in the coffin for Great Britain. They will undoubtedly feel frustrated by the lack of a real ending today. They had a genuine chance to win the game and for much of it looked like the stronger unit. But even though they could not come away with a victory in the tournament proper, Great Britain can hang their hats on solid outings against three of the world’s best sides.
The British may have shown that they can hang with the sport’s elite. Germany, meanwhile, have already vaulted decisively into their ranks. The contest against Great Britain, though incomplete, will have to do as a last tune-up before tomorrow’s semifinal.
Taylor is 26, two months older than teammate Bex Palmer. ↩