by Stéphanie Bertet (Ah Ouh Puc – Bagatelle)
To explain the context… Some crazy guys (Loki and Fresh to keep their names secret) decided to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Ah Ouh Puc by attending a tournament with the “oldies” and “newbies” (well, not so new) of the club. A number of us have left the club and left France to live across the globe over the course of the past 10 years, therefore we needed to choose a destination suitable to the majority, hence South Africa!
Thank you Ellie for welcoming us!!
So here we come! With 24 players, 9 girls, 15 guys, 2 coaches (players who got injured before coming ☹), 2 teams : Bagatelle and Invalides – related to the places the ooold team (before it was named Ah Ouh Puc and changed training location!) used to train in Paris.
After our trip to Kruger, we were ready(-ish!) to play some ultimate. Arriving late on Friday night, we finalised the roster of the 2 teams, trying to balance them out. Announcement of the 2 teams to the group before going to bed for a good night of sleep before the early start at 7am!
Ah Ouh Puc Bagatelle starts at 8:30 against The Long Donkeys. The team arrives, warms up and is ready for 8 (got the time wrong… Well, I suppose it is better that way around). Anja had the good idea to ask what tactic we should play! Good point! Haude, our beloved coach for the weekend, exposed 2-3 tactical offensive/defensive plays. We’ll start from there (and we stuck to it throughout the tournament). The game starts; well. We are leading by 2 points but the Long Donkeys changed their defence (from zone to man), managed to score their offensive points. Final score 6 – 11. It was a good game but we need to shake the tree to get some results.
The second game is against the Dream Team. We played some of them the previous Monday, so we expected a good fight. Luckily, we took the lead in the first half because they come back strong in the second half, fighting for every disc and giving nothing away! We finally win 11-8.
The break is much needed to get some energy back and think about what happened.
The third game is against a young team – the Voodoo Kudus (our average team age is close to twice their average team age!!). We didn’t have any expectations going into the game and decided to play it point by point. The game goes well; we manage to find our feet and build into a united team. The final score is 11 – 1. Although the score is harsh it was a pleasant game. It is the game we needed to get the team working together and we’re finally in it for the whole game rather than losing our nerve halfway through.
We then play Catch 22. Very good game, very close. We take this game with the same spirit as the previous one. Point by point. Haude is doing a very good job at setting up strategies for us. Our zone worked quite well during this game.
The last game of the day is against Rangers. Both teams have some experienced players. We take the lead in the first half but start to make more mistakes at the end of the game. We are tired (both teams are!). Luckily we scrape a win and the Rangers wake us up with some tequila in the spirit circle!!
End of the day, we are happy after a great day of ultimate. Tomorrow we are competing in the Top 8!
Back to the lodge, we have a nice shower, waiting for the other team to arrive. Then dinner and a chilled out evening. Some of us wanted to go to the party (we had our costumes… and beers!!) but Caz, a player from the other French team got injured and spent some time at the hospital with Fresh and Andrew plus the storm and the tiredness got hold of us. And after all, a good night’s sleep is needed.
Sunday, first game: Chili Heat. Tough but good game. Both teams are trading points.
We finally win it but the game could have gone either way. We still have (only) 4 girls, holding on tight! But we loose one of our precious cutters, Mr 2.
We then play UCT in the semi-final. Young (in age), skilled team. They have very good players and are a very enthusiastic team! We tried different defensive strategies, but we just couldn’t stop their flow. We expected zone, as they played against our other team, but no, no zone, and our individual mistakes are capitalised on by their skilled handlers, who are fast and fit! We loose 10 – 15. But it was an enjoyable game!
Last game but not least, against Chili Legends. Both teams seem to have the same profile: experienced, not so young players, so tired after 7 games! They have good handlers who know how to play against a zone. But we kept our lead anyway. Another disputed and enjoyable game which we managed to win to snatch 3rd place.
We really enjoyed! Thank you!
Overall we are all very happy about the weekend and our results! Thank you Gauteng Ultimate for letting us take part in this great competition. We enjoyed every bit of it! The great location, the amazing positive atmosphere, the way you give time to each team to talk about the spirit during the game before the huddle, the food trucks (although the queue was a bit longer on Sunday…). One regret: we would have loved to join the party (maybe 4 games on Saturday?)… Thank you for giving us such a good reason to come back one day! 😉 In the meantime, this tournament will definitely stay in our memory!!!