Saturday the 5th of December 2015 was a day to be remembered in Gauteng Frisbee. Bright and early the Ultitude crew and friends made the 40 minute drive from Parkhurst to Benoni to partake in the inaugural Flying Disc League King’s Cup sponsored by KIA.
Prestige and glory was at stake, as well as the illustrious Kings Cup Trophy and R3000 prize money, so a feeling of trepidation was in the air. Ultitude and friends were split into 2 teams, set to face the unknown talent of Benoni’s Flying Disc League, who were split into 3 teams.
The tournament was structured as a round robin, with each team playing each other in 40 minute games, with breaks and side changes at half time.
The Flying Disc League plays by different rules than traditional Ultimate. Fields are 50 meters long, with endzones of about 2 meters. There is no pull, but instead the disc starts at half-field with a pass backwards to start the point. Teams do not switch sides after each point, but only do at half-time. The stall count is to five and travels result in turnovers. A referee watches the game and occasionally makes calls if the players are unable to determine what happened.
The first game was an all-Ultitude event. Che’s Zulu-looloos faced Jedd’s Mojos in what proved to be a very one sided contest, despite pundits early predictions of it being a tight affair.
Zulu-Looloos suffered a setback before the first disc was thrown, when National team superstar and all-round good bloke, Sean, on loan from Skyveld, was reduced to a role as token old person, due to a back injury sustained at his desk midweek.
Mojos got away to a good start courtesy to good connection between the Jay and Robin Willis, linking well early on to give Mojo the lead. There was brief fightback from the Zulu-looloos, with Grandpa Sean who showed mobility was not everything, by throwing a cross-field hammer to Fergus, you completed the score. Celebrations were soon to be muted though as Jedd and Hayden showed great understanding, and put away 3 quick scores in reply to take the teams to an almost insurmountable halftime lead.
After the break Mojo showed no remorse and opened an unassailable gap again through tight play amongst their experienced handlers and safe hands in the end zone from their cutters. Dan stomped his mark on the tournament, scoring almost at will in the second-half and Hayden picking up where he left off in the first half, linking well with the Hart brothers to score several more points. It was a valiant effort from the Zulu-looloos but the result was never in question for Jedd and his Mojos, finishing (Helluva lot) Mojo – (Not-even-half-as-much) Zulu-looloos.
The next encounters for both teams would be against the unknown quantities of the Flying Disc League and their 3 teams. The results of these fixtures would dictate if the final was to be an all Ultitude encounter, although this was by no means a certainty. With memories of Potchefstroom still fresh in several experienced heads, complacency was not on the agenda.
Both teams employed clinical defensive strategies against the far less experienced teams from the Flying Disc League, to ensure their road to the final was secured. It wasn’t a giveaway for either of the Ultitude teams, made all the more difficult due to the intense heat of the East Rand. But in the end, experience prevailed, with both Zulu-looloos and Mojos winning all their games by lots vs not as many.
Despite the results not going their way, the Flying Disc League showed great promise of things to come. Fearless leader Tim H showed off skills that left several Ultitude players with their mouths hanging open, including a cross-field flick almost the full length of the field, unfortunately only to be dropped by the receiver. No stranger to tough competition, Tim showed on several occasions he was not intimidated and made several assists against both Ultitude teams, keeping hope alive for an FDL team to reach the final until late in the day.
Henry F, not a complete unknown to Ultitude, made his presence known to the tournament too. With unwavering energy and accurate passing, he gave his team a dynamic option both in attack and defence. His linkage with Frans-Louis in midfield had been dominant, particularly against the zone defence employed by the Zulu-looloos, who had to resort to a tight man defence to break up play.
Frans-Louis also had stormer of a tournament, exhibiting an aggressive lust for success and competitive spirit, not frequently seen on the Ultimate field. If passion and wanting to win counted towards the score, Frans-Louis is a one-man team.
Other memorable performances came from Martin and son, Dean, who linked well in possession to often put their team on the front foot and Nicole, Cheryl and Gillian who once again proved how lethal women can be if not picked up properly in the end zone.
The final seemed a predetermined event if the record books were anything to go by, especially as several of the Zulu-looloos had seemingly contracted the same ailments as Sean. Fergus and Che both had seemingly aged years and several players reduced to playing in takkies – things were not looking good. The day had not been any easier on Mojo though, with Alicia and Devin doing particularly impressive lobster impressions just before the game started and Jay struggling to put his boots back on after a mild bout of trench-foot.
The match got underway with Zulu-looloos getting on the score sheet early but were unable to resist against the Mojo force. The match was not as one-sided as the first encounter, with Werner and Sipho particularly impressing late in the day, to keep the score to a modest 4-2 lead for Mojo at half-time.
As fatigue set in in the second half though, Mojo built on their first half lead, with Hayden running amok in the end zone, asserting Mojos dominance on the tournament and easily winning the final. The final score ending (Loads) Mojo vs. (Not-that-many) Zulu-looloos.
Mojos claimed their title as the first FDL King’s Cup winners, taking home the King’s Cup trophy and prize money, with Hayden also taking the top goal scorer prize. Other prize winners included Sipho for best overall defender and Frans-Louis for most assists. Special mention also Robin H and all of the FDL players who successfully completed their first of hopefully many Frisbee tournaments.