Fire won the first Hamburg Rumble, tournament report by Stu. Nice work boys! The first of many.
So 15 legends (Rob S, Lewis, Stu, Brickers, Freddie, Lee B, Luke H (Woody), Luke R, Luke T, Magic, Parslow, Sarje, Stephan, Tim Burton, Willis) rocked up for Fire's first warm up tournament of 2011. We were welcomed with glorious sunshine and a very handy lift from the airport from Capt Schuie! (which really was handy as we'd all be up since 4am getting the dirty cheap Ryanair flight at stupid O'clock and our first game was in 90 minutes)
First group game: Poland 1 aka Girls Stay Home
A nice and easy first game to start the day. The Poles were without superstar fellow national Luke T (now better known as Toby) but put up a good fight. They were fairly inexperienced and the pressure started to tell after the first few points as throws went wayward and catches were missed. The D was intense (a word I'll be using a lot in the report) and we soon found our rhythm on the offence. One of our goals at the start of the season was to kill off weaker teams and we certainly did that although 3 scores was probably generous even so.
Second group game: Fruhsport (Germany)
Again we steamrollered them. They looked like they had a few decent players but we soon identified them and took them out of the game. A bit of infighting on their part hindered them further and it was over within the first 6-7 points. For some reason they persisted in playing an awful zone all game which I can't remember us turning over against once. Again we kept up the intensity and took them down. A few great blocks from Stu and Brickers were awesome and Sarje brought the house down with a lush high grab. Parslow also took his travelling to a new level but calling it on himself and travelling back to where he came, total bamboozling the Germans (has to be said- he also dropped a clanger. Why? Because he'd already stuck his thumbs up in celebration before the catch... smooth!)
Third group game: Czech 1 aka Silence (Czech Republic)
The Czech national squad had split their team fairly evenly so they were fairly handy but certainly not the full Silence team that we know and have had some difficult battles with last year. We'd had lunch and a fairly long break by this point and given the early start to the day we'd had, the intensity had dropped somewhat before the game. We made a huge effort to get it back up to what it should be in the warm up and boy did it make a difference! We hit them hard with some really strong defence and moved the disc around really well on O. Again we had loud sidelines, noisy celebrations and everyone contributed to what ended up being a comfortable victory.
Fourth and final group game: Heidees (Germany)
This was the game to go, Heidees had beaten all the other teams and so as only the top team was guaranteed a semi final spot, it was a must win game. By now we'd been up for 14 hours and out in hot sunshine. The games were only an hour long but this still took its toll. It was also the first time we'd faced a team who gave us an top of the A tour level game. They had plenty of talent including a few German national team players. They swung the disc to great effect and really made us work for every yard. I think we might have been up at one point but found ourselves 6-7 down and on D. We had a chance to level the scores after a turnover but failed to convert meaning that it was a game to 9. Unfortunately we couldn't force another turnover despite the O line sticking their score in. We also lost Woody who got broken during the game when he tried to mess with Brickers and some German - he couldn't play the rest of the tournament and we wish him all a full recovery soon. Big shout out also to Sarje and Toby who played well and got a big block / nearly got a great grab respectively.
So that meant we were out effectively, or wait did it?? There were 3 groups, 3 winners but 4 semi final spots. It was all going down to the best runner up... Chevy lost their last game too but had also had more difficulty seeing off the weaker teams so they were out of it. The show game decided the third group and the results there went in our favour meaning Fire were the tournaments lucky losers! After some quality inner ring banter in the showers, we headed off to make our beds in the gym provided for us, eat food and went to sleep - a very long day!
Semi Final: 7 Schwaben (Germany)
Where to begin... It poured down during the warm up so the pitchers turned to mud. We warmed up loud and proud with a number of drills and running. It felt good, we were back in the game and pumped to the max. The game started well with a D and a score and our O team putting the disc in to make it 2-0. Then 7 Schwaben upped their game and score a number of O points with ease, really making the most of their Euro blades to frustrate our D. However we adjusted our D to take this out and it left them with very little else. We took a few D points to take the score to something like 7-4 and had a least 3 or 4 chances to get more scores on D but a few errors meant that 7 Schwaben got back in with a sniff. A couple of Fire O points didn't go as planned and suddenly we found ourselves at 8-8 on O in sudden death. The crowd were loving it, the players were caked in mud, the pull was perfect, right in the back corner (after going around and not touching several out of bounds trees!). Magic was a cool as ever though and despite being on stall count 8 without even a first pass, managed to finally get the disc out and to the safe hands of Capt Schuie. Then to Parslow who spotted Freddie going deep. His huck floated a bit too long but Freddie managed to get some incredible air time to snatch it from the defenders grasp. That only got us just outside the endzone so more work was needed and Parlsow thought he'd scored but for a pick. Fire worked it round calmly and when Lewis got the dump, he threw probably his worst disc of the day to the break side of the endzone, floating it high and leaving it open to a D... However, "Super Freddie" wasn't going to let that happen and lept salmon like into the air to take the victory and send Fire into the Final!
The Final: Bad Skids (Germany) Score: 9-8
So the scene was set, a big pitch, a big crowd and a massive game. Schuie won the toss and put us on D in a game with no half-time (brave or genius?). Both teams were pumped and the D was intense! Bad Skids played a zone on us which frustrated our O line leading to the first turnovers of the game when we rushed it and threw hammers that got D'ed. That gave Bad Skids a break and our D line was finding it hard to shut them down, Lewis getting o-so close with a giant layout block over the offensive players shoulder which was fairly called a foul - bugger! Tired legs began to show half way through the game when a great pull went up and only Sarje chased it down, needless to say Bad Skids scored that one but the lesson was learnt - Woody started bollocking everyone and no one likes Woody shouting at them so it got us mad. We started chasing the pull down with renewed vigour and it paid dividends. We cut out their long shots and made them do a lot of work. Then the D's started coming, first from Lewis, although we failed to score that one and then from a rushed long shot which we put in. Our O-line had been working hard too and had tightened up since the early hammers and were scoring more regularly. Freddie even decided it was time to pull out the spinals which worked to great effect, twice! Although I'm sure the only reason the second wasn't D'ed was because the defender wasn't looking the right way as Luke Ryan catch the disc right over his shoulder! (Please note: a spinal in a game that doesn't work will result in 100 push ups...no stopping!). The hard work of our D-line and the consistency of our O-line meant that we'd clawed the game, that should have been lost, back to sudden death. However Fire were on D and Rob's call to take D at the toss was looking a bit shakey. The final point was probably the best team D Fire has ever played. The pull went into their endzone and everyone was down there. The down field cuts were all marked up and no one were getting free. This meant that their 2 handlers had to make at least 6 passes in their endzone until they tried to throw to their big cutter coming under who slipped (probably because he was so tired) and the disc went to ground 5 metres outside the endzone. Lewis took his chance, picking it up and throwing it to Harry for the score, to win the Championship!! It felt so good to have put in all that hard work for the sweetest of victories.
Fire of London - Hamburg Rumble Champions 2011!
However the winning was not over...
Fire also won Spirit!!
Well done to all those players who reacted in the right way, were polite and respectful to the opposition and were generally really well spirited. Its a fantastic achievement to be the best and win spirit and it shows how far the club has come from being the most hated team in European Ultimate just 3 years ago. Special mention to Rob for being an inspirational captain, Lewis for being just inspirational and Stefan for some good warmups and some great warm downs. Well done Fire, the first of many.