Windmill 2024: Day One Recap

The first round-by-round overview of the biggest and most hotly contested Windmill ever

Australia Mixed try to progress the disc against the Tokay SuperTeam. Photo by John Kofi.

Hallo and Welkom to Windmill 2024! With teams spanning from down under to the far-east, we knew we were in for a treat at the outset of this epic three-day tournament and it delivered. Big games between the best teams in each division delivered huge highlights and some nail-biting finishes, with some upsets sprinkled in along the way. Here’s what happened on day one, a full day of Swiss draw action ahead of the start of bracket play on Saturday afternoon.

Round 1

Great Britain Women faced off against CLYD Barcelona in what was certainly a closer affair than anyone predicted. The score was 6-5 to GB before they began to pull away to a more comfortable win of 13-8. GB players talked after the game about struggles to click on offense, with turfed throws and unforced errors. On defense, CLYD, for the most part, ran the unders well and capitalized on some GB turns. The second half was a much better showing from GB when they started looking deep more and clamping down on defense. 

We also got a first look at the USA Open team in full form in round 1 as they faced off against the Austrian Open team. The US looked confident despite sorting out some chemistry issues. The Austrians managed to put a few points on the board with some big grabs but couldn’t maintain possession under the intense pressure from the US defense. US player Nathan Champoux said that this was the team’s first time playing against international competition and. although it took a second to warm up against the Austrians, players found their flow pretty quickly. He said the players on the US “like knowing their roles [and] seeing where our position is in the team [but] it’s all been moveable at the moment.” Champoux expressed the team’s excitement for future games and the rest of the tournament. 

Over on field 1, GB Mixed took on North Americans Montreya’ll (Montreal and Texas) in what turned out to be a very interesting game with the Canadians starting the game with a break, going up 2-0 on GB. GB, however, found its feet and started controlling the game a little more, breaking back several times towards the end of the first half. GB’s Helen Thompson spoke about Montreya’ll being a pickup team that will likely get better throughout the tournament, so they might be looking at a quarterfinals berth if they can keep the momentum going. Thompson mentioned that GB tightened things up early and managed to keep the lead through the rest of the game, winning 13-11.

Everyone at the tournament wanted a first glance at the Tokay SuperTeam. As a reminder, the Tokay SuperTeam is a team put together by Stef Rappazzo, Tom “Cupcake” Tulett, and Levke Walczak to prove that a pick-up team can still win Windmill. Most teams wouldn’t know what it feels like to play against the best 18 players in the world first thing on a Friday morning at 8:30 AM. Well, PELT, the SuperTeam’s first contender, found out. Despite the obvious challenge, PELT really brought it and didn’t play scared. The Irish team scored its fifth point with a mega-hammer and another with an incredible callahan. The Tokay SuperTeam took the game away, however, winning 15-6. The team gelled together almost instantly with fluid game play and pinpoint execution. 

Quick hits

  • Glasgow Mixed was upset by Tiki Taka (Dubai), 15-8. Glasgow have seen a dip in results since winning a Spring Tour event and it will be interesting to see if the Scots can bounce back. 
  • 3SB Women (České Budějovice) beat Jetset (Leuven) on universe point, 12-11. 
  • Bristol Open, which has picked up longtime Team Canada player, Morgan Hibbert, tied with Genset, a blend of Gentle and Jetset players, 12-12. 

Round 2

Canada Open and Mooncatchers (Brussels) matched up on a in the second round, the first matchup between elite teams. Mooncatchers broke to take a 2-0 lead and looked confident early on. They clamped down on Canada’s endzone set effectively and knew what cuts the Canadians were looking for. At 7-5, however, Canada flipped the momentum in its favor with a gigantic layout D by Marty Gallant that would have given Mooncatchers a three-point lead going into half. From there, Canada went on a four-break run to take the lead to 10-7. Mooncatchers got two breaks back to tie it up with some excellent, athletic bids on defense and smart poaches baiting Canada’s centering shots. The game ended 12-12 — games can draw at Windmill in the Swiss Draw format — with both sides looking hungry for more. 

On pitch 1, we had ourselves a European derby with France Mixed and Italy Mixed facing up. Both teams played similar styles, often utilizing a horizontal stack and isolating female cutters. Both teams also opted for zone defenses and, given the rain and wind, both worked through them pretty confidently. With flying bids, especially from France’s Chloe Ollivier, and big looping throws, the game was certainly exciting but France just had the edge for the entire game as Italy could not capitalize on break opportunities. A 13-11 French victory was the final score but we’ll see how it plays out at worlds if they face off again. 

In the women’s division, there were no major upsets in this round. Grut Women (Amsterdam) convincingly beat Box (Vienna) 15–7. Grut seemed to be missing key player Aurora Lešnik but nevertheless looked on top form. JinX Midnight (Berlin) beat 3SB Women in a relatively tight game which ended 12-9. 

Quick hits

  • GB Mixed lost to Poland 11-10 in an incredibly tight matchup. A disappointing loss for GB, which finished three positions above Poland at EUC. Note: Poland won’t be making it to Australia for WUC this summer.
  • Frizzly Bears (Aachen) managed to squeak out a universe point win over Black Widows (Pan-Asia) in a cross-continental match up.
  • Austin Disco Club, a pickup team composed of a core group of Doublewide players, beat France Open 15-10 in a strong showing. The North Americans looked like they were having a good time with high spirits and fun, athletic play. We’ll see how they look tomorrow after the effects of the party tonight.
Great Britain’s Tom Abrams catches a disc under pressure from the US Open team. Photo by John Kofi.

Round 3

In round 3, we watched the scores tighten across the table as Swiss Draw’s algorithm came into play. In one of the most exciting matchups of the day, Clapham (London) faced USA Open as the crowds rolled in soon after the game began. Clapham started the game off with a break chance after Charlie Butt got a massive handblock on the endzone line. Still, Clapham experienced some early turns, which would foreshadow later points in the game. Both teams were utilizing the newly popular outside-inside-out (or OIO) flicks to aggressively break the mark and continue flow and there were some clutch blocks from Connor McHale and Conrad Wilson to prevent American scores. Clapham, however, suffered from some unforced errors, including drops and some rushed endzone shots, that cost them critical scores and breaks. Clapham has changed up its lines this year, so perhaps there are some chemistry wrinkles that need ironing out. The Bullfrogs only lost against the US 12-10 and it’s a more than impressive showing against such a strong national side. 

In women’s, we saw jinX take it to Dublin Gravity. These two teams play very different styles with Gravity preferring a long shot with a sky in the end zone and jinX loving some quick-running small ball. The Germans prevailed 15-7. 

We watched the Tokay SuperTeam trump Australia Mixed 15-4. SuperTeam captain Tom Tullet said this morning: “The cool thing about getting a group of players together of this sort of calibre is that the chemistry doesn’t take too long to build.” That’s exactly what we saw in this game. In the Barramundi’s defense, it didn’t look like the team was playing to its full potential. Nerves might have contributed to the slower-than-usual start, whereas the SuperTeam seemed to always have a player free in the back corner of the end zone, ready to catch a perfect throw from Jimmy Mickle.

Quick Hits

  • XIST (New York) lost heavily to France Mixed, 12-5. The power of Jolie Krebs and Ella Juengst among a talented squad couldn’t hang with the French today.
  • Box and MUC (Munich) went toe-to-toe but ultimately the Austrians took the win 9-7.
  • Germany Women Masters and CLYD Barcelona finished tied at 10s.
Great Britain’s Ellie Payne extends for a block against JetSet Luv. Photo by John Kofi.

Round 4

If we thought the last round couldn’t get more exciting, we couldn’t have been more wrong. We were blessed with a plethora of thrilling games, all of which showcased some phenomenal highlights. Starting off with an upset, we saw Grut beat GB 15-9 in the women’s division. Anne Minnaard’s long game and Lola Dam’s skying catches drove Grut to a huge win. Both teams went on a number of runs to recover from offensive errors, but it felt as though Grut’s confidence and positivity pushed them through to the end here, and enabled them to take a point or two more on each run. On the parallel pitch, Box and 3SB played an extremely tight fought game, which Box narrowly won 13-12. 

Clapham and Canada Open clashed in a very physical game that ended 11-10 to the Canadians. Clapham, finishing 2-2 today, have to sift out some flaws as they suffered from more unforced errors and miscommunications than we’re used to seeing. A dropped pull late in the game summarized the offensive struggles and they gifted Canada an easy break. Clapham’s two losses come via a combined three points and this is the first time we’re seeing the full squad in international competition. Tomorrow may well prove a more fruitful day for the Bullfrogs. 

Tiki Taka managed to claw out a universe point win over Yellowstone Saloon (Montana, USA). TikiTaka had a three-point lead early in the game before the North Americans pulled it back to bring it to universe.  Yellowstone Saloon has a strong Montana Moondog core that have been to USAU Nationals in the past while Tiki Taka don’t hold the same name recognition, but the team from UAE leant on its lightning quick speed and big hucks against a taller team. 

Quick Hits

  • USA Open beat Mooncatchers 15-11 in a battle that left Mooncatchers in a lower seed than Clapham, which lost against the US by two points. 
  • Tokay SuperTeam beat Italy 14-12, giving the SuperTeam its biggest test of the day. Italy played a similar style of ultimate to the SuperTeam, with fast offense and big plays to stay hyped. 
  • The Legends1 (Pan-USA) defeated Austria 15-7 in mixed.
  • Black Widows beat Flame (Dublin) 12-11 in a hard-fought last game of the day. 

Champagne Moments

Felix: I would have to say the Callahan from PELT against Tokay SuperTeam in the first round that got the crowd fired up. Everyone had gathered to come get a first glimpse of the SuperTeam and I don’t think anyone expected a callahan from PELT.

Maya: For me, it would have to be Gasperini’s double layout to stop Tokay SuperTeam’s score against Italy in the fourth round. Gasperini laid out for the first D, and when it looked like the D was catchable, he laid out again!

  1. Technically The Legends (Of Chang Chi), but that’s a log of brackets to fit in. 

  1. Maya Israel

    Maya is based in Manchester. She's played ultimate since 2014, and has been writing since 2019 (intermittently). On pitch, she plays for SMOG Women and off pitch, she's a paralegal.

  2. Felix Soedira
    Felix Soedira

    Felix Soedira is based in Manchester, UK. He has been playing ultimate since 2014 and has been writing since 2021. He has played for the University of Manchester, Manchester Ultimate and currently plays for SMOG Open. Off pitch, he is a struggling graduate. You can follow him on Instagram (@felixsoedira).

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