Dear Sean and NWU Vaal,
A huge thank you from Jarrod, Mike and JP for the financial contribution you made. The donation covered kit for all of us which was a big relief to our pockets.
We are very excited about NWU Ultimate and we would love to come back for a further training camp and potentially provide coaching on a more regular basis. If you’re able to organise further camps we would be the first to arrive!
The World’s experience was a fantastic one for all 3 of us. The 2 teams we were a part of each had there ups and downs. The highlights of the tournaments came down to being able to play against and compete with the best in the world. In many instances we found ourselves pleasantly surprised by our results.
Mamba’s Highlights (from Jarrod)
One of the things I am most proud of about the Mamba’s is the way we played against the USA. We were able to take 4 points off the US team (who won the entire tournament fairly comfortably) but more importantly we played hard and for each other. We were able to keep pace with many of the teams we encountered and had a number of very close games that were only determined by our own occasional mental lapses. We had 2 games that were very winnable to take us into the top 16 but we were unable to convert. Namely against the Czech Republic (a very good team with a history of high level play) and Denmark (a tall physical team with excellent throwers). The Czech team beat us with good defensive sets and an unwillingness to give up the disc on offense. The Denmark team was able to frustrate our offense by playing a switching defense that was able to limit our offensive structure. Personally I had a few highlights; there was a specific passage of play against the US team in which I played a large part in and ended with me throwing a big hammer for 1 of our 4 scores. I also threw my first completed Worlds Greatest against the Denmark team.
Scorpion Highlights (from JP)
The opportunity to represent South Africa at the 2016 World Ultimate and Guts Championship was an honor. I’m very thankful to NWU for supporting a few of us. Hopefully NWU will be sending some of their own Ultimate talents to the next world championships in four years time!
The Scorpions team competed in the men’s masters division (minimum age of 33), and found ourselves starting in “the pool of death” playing against highly experienced teams from Canada (finished 2nd), Great Britain (3rd) and Germany (9th). While the start was tough, the team rebounded with more wins (4) than losses (3) and finished joint 11th. Sadly due to the weather, the crossover matches and 9-12 position playoffs were canceled, so we had no opportunity to break into the top 8 or 10. Overall, 17 teams competed in our division.
While we weren’t able to win any initial pool games, we played competitively against Germany (9-15) in our first game and our zone defense managed to cause several turnovers, even against Britain and Canada in the following matches. However, our offensive plays struggled to flow, which could be put down to being a mix of different players from clubs all over the country. Given only three training sessions together before the tournament, it took a some time to get used to a unified offensive strategy. So the tough pool draw and 3 losses placed us last in our first pool.
Onwards from the middle stage of the tournament, the team progressed to win every game in the second tier pool stages upsetting Spain (who came 2nd in their first pool), and also taking the games versus India and Singapore. We’d settled on the Mexican offense (also called the hexagon) and later on, the flow improved to the point where we received compliments from teams like India who recognized the offensive structure and tried to counter it. Every game was hotly contested, but the Scorpions handled the pressure of universal points.
We were scheduled to play Japan in a crossover game and still had a wild outside chance to break out into the knockout quarterfinals stage. Japan are renowned for their quick, agile and precise style of play while South Africa’s Scorpions fielded one of the tallest (if not the tallest team). It would’ve been a “big in Japan” theme where we’d try leverage height and Japan would try carve through our Zone defense with death by a thousand cuts… Sadly, unusually heavy amounts of rainfall caused water logged fields and the team was prematurely placed based on pool game results instead, leading to the tied 11th place standing. Our 4th win was against Belgium as a friendly after the weather cleared.
WUGC was an unforgettable experience shared with well over 2,000 other ultimate athletes across multiple divisions and awe inspiring teams who take it to the next level. In the US, Canada, and Britain teams, nearly every player was an “airbender” with jaw dropping throws and so quick afoot such that nothing short of supreme effort was needed when cutting to break into space for a pass making offense very challenging. I hope to see SA Ultimate get up to that level someday soon, and to do so, we need more talent to develop feed in from places like NWU!
Thanks again, and we look forward to playing with you again in the future !
Jarrod, JP & Mike