Game started today, and so did the wind!
July 2, 2023 by Grace Sisel in Recap with 0 comments
Today marked the opening of the WFDF U24 2023 Championship in Nottingham, United Kingdom. Following the opening parade and festivities, each of the 45 teams started the tournament with at least one game, and for most, it took quite some time to get used to the British wind. After only a handful of games, there are a few things worth noting:
The women’s division battled it out this afternoon, with the USA team, unsurprisingly, taking no prisoners. Their day featured a comfortable win over Australia accompanied by a dominating game against Ireland. In each of these games, both teams struggled in the wind, bobbling catches and looking for chances to huck and hope for the best. However, Australia put up a valiant effort, earning most of their points from out-reading floaty, overhead discs. Though the USA team took the games, they had quite a few unforced errors. Hopefully as the week progresses, the teams adjust and fall into their usual, smooth offensive structures.
With wind comes zone defense, and the women’s teams demonstrated a variety of ways to try and get past it. Canada were successful in exploiting gaps in the New Zealand zone, patiently awaiting opportunities to weave the disc down the middle of the pitch with some tight inside shots. Yet despite a fair few breakthroughs from the Northern American team, New Zealand’s zone was able to contain Canada as the game progressed, encouraging several cold drops from countless swing passes which ultimately led to marathon points. With time, Canada ran with it and finished on top.
The Canada/New Zealand game and the USA/Australia games were played simultaneously and to the casual eye, seemed identical with Canadian and American teams as counterparts. Conversely, their competitors seem to be evenly matched despite not yet having played the other at this tournament. These teams are looking to make up an interesting, competitive pool. It will be interesting to see how the two North American teams fare against each other throughout the week, and how New Zealand and Australia play through their seemingly similar game structures.
Many of the games in the women’s division were not considered contested, with the only close game being between Singapore and Italy. However, as mentioned, this bodes well for the games to come as the dominating teams will have to fight it out in the coming days in order to secure top spots in bracket play.
The showcase game between Great Britain and the United States was tight throughout the whole first half with moments of doubt coming from the visitor’s sideline. With GB leading at one point, this game was looking to be an upset until the American team went on to take half, and ultimately, the second half of the game. The US team ended the day with two six-point-difference wins. Seeing the US’ star players wrapped up and resting on the sideline, the team seems comfortable and confident going into the week despite numerous unforced errors throughout their games.
Other than Canada’s huge defeat over Ireland, the open games were close and contested. Australia and the Netherlands were trading points throughout the entire game, and so were Japan and New Zealand who are in the same pool. Belgium and Canada, on the other hand, took easy wins against China and Ireland, respectively. Similar to women’s, the pool games are expected to be contested and tight; exciting games across the pools are surely on the horizon.
Home team GBX took on Japan, securing a win after learning to holster the Japanese team’s signature inside shots and rapid offense. After a slow start, Great Britain brought it back to a relatively even game, mostly trading points in the second half and taking it with a break to spare. The hosting team is looking strong going into the tournament but that is not to say that Japan should be written off completely. Both teams are playing with aggressive defense and showcasing their hucking ability.
Overall, the mixed teams seemed to be decently evenly matched today, other than the North American outliers, as each of the games were within a few points of each other.
As the first day closes, this tournament is looking like it will produce some exciting games. Canada and the United States have started strong, but that was expected. As for the other teams, they will have to keep their foot on the gas, as the pools are set up for some intrigue.