EUCF 2022: Thunderbolts and Lightning (Day One Recap)

Shortened games caused some surprising results today!

Robyn Fennig attempts a block against Heidees. Photo by Maruša Lešnik.

Another international ultimate tournament, another inclement weather incident. Day one of EUCF 2022 was interrupted just over halfway through the second round of games by a lightning break due to a weather front around 20 kilometres away. After a half hour break, teams were told to go and warm up but the weather returned and just before play resumed the rest of the day’s schedule was cancelled. Due to the short games, there were some interesting upsets, and the games earlier in the day had offered some intrigue too.

Short round produces intrigue in mixed

In the mixed division, GRUT (Amsterdam) got off to winning ways in a game against Reading Ultimate (Reading) that was cancelled with the score at 9-6. The Amsterdammers got off to a lightning start by going up 4-0, but the Reading offense was eventually able to find its feet and the Brits started coming back into the game slowly but surely. The Reading deep game began to fire, and the team was especially good on transitions, almost always looking to break up the field at pace. For its part, GRUT’s offense wasn’t firing on all cylinders, although it was missing some key players. While GRUT did put the disc into the end zone with consistency, the Dutch did not look quite as clinical as we’re used to seeing and their play lacked a bit of its trademark high-octane style. This is a matchup that we may see again on Sunday.

Elsewhere in Group A, Prague Devils (Prague) put Leamington Lemmings (Leamington) to the sword with a 15-11 win, and PUC (Paris) bested Mosquitos (Klosterneuburg) 15-10.

In the shortened round for Group B, Deep Space (London) surprised SMOG (Manchester) 7-6. Both teams lamented the shortened game with Deep Space captain Matt Hodgson feeling that the team had what it took to go the distance. On the other side, SMOG player Ava Grossman said the team felt like it was finding its feet in the first half, but that they were confident they would have been able to pull themselves into a winning position had the game been played in full.

In a game played simultaneously, Disconnection (Freiburg) beat GOLD (Ghent) convincingly, coming out 12-1 winners. That scoreline may flatter the Germans a bit, as GOLD were able to walk the disc up to the end zone a number of times, despite being unable to score. The Germans looked confident with the disc in their hands, but they’ll face tougher tests tomorrow to see where they really stand in the group.

In the early game, Left Overs (Brno) took down Catchup (Graz) 15-7.

By the end of the day tomorrow, we should have a much better idea of where each team belongs in its group.

Women’s sticks to seed

Most of the first-round games in the women’s division proceeded as would be expected, other than the fact that many were cut short. YAKA (Noisy-le-Sec) and CUSB Shout (Bologna) convincingly beat Heidees (Heidelberg) and Panthers (Wroclaw), respectively. Meanwhile, Synthesis (London), having never played together as a team, struggled against 3SB (České Budějovice), losing 15-4. JinX (Berlin) beat the young French team Freezgo (Blois) 15-5 and FABulous (Bern) came away with a strong 15-6 win against Mantis (Vienna).

Three of the games that were cut short included Iceni (London) vs. Swing to Hell (Bratislava), Gravity (Dublin) vs. CUS Padova (Padua) and Troubles (Warsaw) vs. CUSB Cheetahs (Bologna). It’s unlikely that any of these games would have seen a different outcome if full time had been played, with Iceni, Gravity and Troubles all convincingly ahead in their respective matches when play was stopped.

East Block (Prague) might be disappointed with its loss against Bristol Women (Bristol) in a game that was cut short. The young Czechs put in a strong performance, showcasing some emerging talent such as Kristýna Tlustá, and traded with no turns for five points in a row. Unfortunately for East Block, the game was stopped after it had just gone two breaks down, leaving Bristol with an 8-5 win.

By far the closest games of the day, however, were a surprise as Valkyria (Stockholm), which came second at Elite Invite earlier this year and is top seed in the pool, only just beat DiscoBolo (Bologna) on universe, 15-14 and followed it up with a second universe point win over Box (Vienna), 14-13. 3SB closed out its pool play by winning 15-11 against Seagulls (Hamburg), a result that confirms the Czechs as contenders and means Seagulls may have a tougher route to the quarter-finals.

A favorite falters

In the open division, two of the favorites had no issues at all today. Clapham (London) eased to a 15-7 win over Panthers (Wroclaw) in a game that was over in the first five or six points, and Mooncatchers (Brussels) defeated Freespeed (Basel) 12-4 in a shortened game in the next time slot. The other team tipped for the top three, CUSB La Fotta (Bologna) had a rockier start, losing its first game for the second year in a row. This time around the Italians fell to Ranelagh (Dublin) which broke twice to take half 8-7 just before the game was stopped. It’s a great start for the Irishmen, surprise semi-finalists last time around and potentially a threat again here in Caorle if they can maintain this momentum.

3SB (České Budějovice) was tipped by many to compete at the top of the tournament but lost a close game to 2021 bronze medalist Gentle (Ghent), finishing out 15-13 with the Czechs unable to capitalise on a turn to force a universe point. Most other games went roughly as expected, although Uprising (Warsaw) beating MUC (Munich), Heidees (Eppelheim) beating Cotarica Grandes (Rimini) on universe and KFK (Copenhagen) beating PirU (Pirkanmaa) probably qualify as mild surprises. Iznogood (Noisy-le-Sec) might have been considered a competitor for medals based on early season results, but a universe point win against Devon (Bristol) might indicate it might struggle in pre-quarters. It is early, though, to be making such definitive calls.

Tomorrow will be an intriguing day as the bracket gets finalised, with some big teams having a lot on the line. CUSB will need to win twice and wait to see if Ranelagh slips up, and if not they face a potential pre-quarter against Bad Skid (Heilbronn) and a quarter against Mooncatchers. That’s a nightmare scenario for everyone involved. Even if CUSB comes through those tests, their semi would be even worse: Clapham. CUSB has beaten Clapham in huge European games before, but you know what they say about lightning striking twice.

  1. Sean Colfer
    Sean Colfer

    Sean Colfer is based in London. He’s played for teams across the UK since 2006 and has been writing about and commentating on ultimate since 2010. Follow him on Twitter @seancolfer, or follow @ShowGameUlti on Instagram for more on UK and Irish ultimate.

  2. Marina Symington
    Marina Symington

    Marina, from Hertfordshire in the UK, started playing ultimate in 2019 at the University of Nottingham. She has since played for the university and for club teams in the Midlands alongside her studies.

  3. Ned Garvey
    Ned Garvey

    Ned Garvey is a member of the European staff. He lives in Riga, Latvia, where he works for Meduza Project. You can find him on Twitter @subwayicon

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