by Simon Fishley (Catch-22)
Rocktober! Definitely one of our favourite tournaments over the past few years.
As is probably the norm these days, it meant another WhatsApp group on my phone. Or rather last years’ group, rising from the ashes like a phoenix. The group was busy. It was grand central for all things Rocktober, including training plans, practice times, ewok surprise butts*x frisbees (it’s a thing, google it), announcements about a German measles infection (which spurred hasty research into incubation periods and transmission methods), flight and travel logistics and specials on jelly babies at Makro.
All of this meant that most of the 18 of us arrived in bits and pieces in Jozi on Friday, 17 from Cape Town, and 1 stalwart sometime-player, supporter, photographer, team mom and general all-round legend swooping in from Harrismith.
Sandy-Lynn Steenhuisen, superfan.
Captain Kenni: ”Ok everyone, warmup starts at 7.20 tomorrow morning!”
Someone else: “Holy #$%& balls, I’m already knackered thinking about it”.
The majority of the team seemed to have arranged to crash at Issie’s parents place. General consensus being that this is arguably the best place an ultimate player could end up. Not only do they feed and water those players (generously), they also send along cooler boxes filled with ice and Energade on match days. Thanks for the support!
The warmup started a bit late, but it started. Everyone was in great spirits, the weather was fine, the fields were green and the muscles were fresh and ready to go. First up was Wits Voodoo Kudus. The score was a bit one-sided at 11-0 (Catch 22’s first bagel) but we had a great game with a fantastic bunch of people. After finishing the match quite quickly we had a (probably less than ideal) bye, which meant it was over two hours until our next game, against Donkeys from my old stomping ground of Pietermaritzburg. While this meant we probably lost a bit of momentum from our recent
win, it did give us a chance to watch the Donkeys face off against one of the visiting side from Paris, AOP Bagetelle. The French, it turned out, are very adept at breaking zones, so much so that the Donkeys resorted to playing a person defence, which has not happened since Neal ‘Lazer’ Lazarus was in his early 30s. We had the Donkeys up next and they were looking as challenging as always…
Post-match fun and games with the Kudus.
We warmed up again and took to the field against our up-country nemesis. The Donkeys were their usual selves, cool and calm under pressure (although the pressure is probably different up at Darren’s altitude), capitalising on our mistakes. They took the half and then the game 11-3 but were very complimentary towards us on how much our style had evolved since we last met.
And just like that, it was lunch time. A bit of time for a wors roll or a Balkan burger and then back to the fields to get ready for Dream! The combination of Soweto and Orange Farm produced a team who love running, moving the disc as quickly as possible and hucking like it’s hot. It was an incredibly fun match with some excellent plays on both sides. Catch’s familiarity with each other and our well-drilled defence meant
we took the game in the end, 11-4.
No time for dawdling though, grab the bags, refill the water bottles and away to field 7 for the hotly anticipated match against AOP Bagatelle. From watching them play earlier we were sure we could give them a run for their money, just as they had given the Donkeys earlier in the day. It was an epic game, 6-4 to the French at half, with them taking the game 11-8 in the end. There were some truly spectacular plays
from both sides.
Hard-fought loss against AOP Bagatelle.
The loss to the French meant we went straight to a crossover game against our old friends Skyveld. We rode the high of the French game and raced to a first half lead of 6-2 in 20 minutes which gave us some time for a dance-off [photos redacted].
The second half saw a much more competitive Skyveld bring it late in the day, with at least one 13-minute point in the mix. Our high-pressure zones and patient offense meant that Catch eventually took the match 11-4, giving us 3 wins and 2 losses for the day. Which meant, back to the fields at 7AM the next day to warm up for our quarter final match against UCT Flying Tigers.
Zone working hard against Skyveld in the fading light.
UCT: our friends and – quite often – neighbours, as we often borrow their fields. We believed we had it in us to beat this team and we were fired up. We traded points until 6-6 when UCT got a break and took the half 8-6. A hugely competitive half which was basically Nick ‘Zoomy’ Zaloumis vs UCT, with 4 scores and 2 assists in the first half as well as a layout D and a footblock.
Nick Zaloumis, one-man army.
UCT came out firing in the second half, with 3 unanswered points to take the game to 11-6, but at 12-7, we woke up again and went on the rampage, scoring a 4-point run and putting a lot of pressure on UCT. They won out in the end but it really was an excellent quarterfinal.
That loss to UCT mean we now came up against more old friends, in the form of Chilli Heat, 13 minutes later. Chilli had just come off a long game which meant a bit of a late start. Both teams caught their breath, and then went back in to battle. We came out strong from the first pull and got an early break which we hung onto, to take the half 8-7. There was some back and forth about a penalty point for a late start but this was resolved in a brief spirit timeout. The second half was fierce but Catch punched in a history-making first win against Chilli, 15-11.
Which meant that our second day turned into a completely Cape Town v Cape Town day as we matched up against Ghost for the 5/6 playoff. Tired bodies and minds by this stage but then the same was true for Ghost. They got away to a quick start with a few breaks and walked away as well deserved 15-10 winners
in a very well-spirited match.
We left Rocktober with our heads held high. We played awesome ultimate, we placed 6th against very ferocious competition and we had a ball at the same time. Thank you to the RockTOC for another well organised event, we will see you next year!