Long Donkeys’ Rocktober Rollercoaster

by Barry Strydom (Long Donkeys)

Rocktober 2016 can only be described as a roller coaster ride. First there was the anticipation and then the initial low when we heard the tournament was probably off followed by the high when we heard that the TOC had pulled a rabbit out of the hat and that Rocktober was happening after all.

We arrived at the grounds on Saturday looking forward to a great day of Ultimate and excited to expose some of our new young players to the joys of tournament play. First up was Polokwane, a team we’ve missed playing against for a while so it was great to face them again. As always we enjoyed the energy Polokwane brings and were happy to get off to a winning start to the tournament. Next up was Wits Voodoo Kudus. Given the circumstances surrounding the tournament it was fantastic to see them participating and with their normal infectious enthusiasm undiminished.

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It was exciting to see the growth in their depth especially with some new ladies making their mark. Having got past Wits we continued our Gauteng matchups playing Skyveld in the final game of the day. We survived some scares when Sean pulled out his monster hammers into the end-zone and came out on top in a thoroughly enjoyable game in which the final score didn’t reflect how competitive Skyveld had been. We look forward to seeing them challenging for higher honours in the future.

Sunday morning had a bit of a shaky start with the news that changes had been made to the schedule but the end result was that we got to continue our Gauteng streak facing Ultitude in the quarter final. As usual Ultitude came out hard Jedd Hart kicking off with an amazing end-zone play to start the scoring. Not to be out done Jay also pulled off a couple of unbelievable lay-outs. Despite their athleticism and commitment Ultitude weren’t able to sustain that physical intensity and we were able to pull away for the win but again the score doesn’t reflect how competitive they were.

That left us with the unenviable task of facing UCT in the semi-finals. We hadn’t seen much of their games and so we weren’t prepared for what hit us as they came out with an amazing fast-paced attack with slick inter-passing mixed with some pin-point hammers over our zone. Their man-marking was relentless and forced repeated errors. We managed a late rally to give the score-line some respectability but it was too little too late. UCT ran out comfortable and well-deserved winners after giving us a bit of a Frisbee lesson. Losing is never pleasant but it is easier to accept when you know that you have been outplayed by a superior team on the day. UCT’s performance was something special and it was no surprise when they went on to win the final as well. They have clearly taken their game to another level and laid down a marker for other teams to follow. Well done to them on cracking their first tournament win and doing it in such commanding style.

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From having made it to the semi-finals having only conceded 8 points the loss to UCT brought us down to earth with a major bump. To make it harder next up was our old friends and foes Chilli in the 3rd -place play off, the game no-one wants to have to play. From the low of the semi-final loss we were able to finish on a high note with a really pleasing performance against Chilli for a solid win to finish 3rd . Despite the disappointment of the loss to UCT the way we picked ourselves up for the last game was a highlight as was the performance of our newbies, especially Kirsten and Bianca (one’s to watch for the future), Kyle’s nail polish and Rob’s socks. As always spending a weekend with friends from across the country playing the sport we love was a blast.

Thanks to everyone who, under extremely difficult circumstances made it possible. Can’t wait for the next one.

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