Charlotte Duffield Ultimate Frisbee Last weekend saw the women’s ultimate Frisbee indoor regional tournament held in Sheffield. 13 teams fought it out to win one of the top four spots guaranteeing entry to nationals held in Cardiff, in which the northern teams compete against squads from Ireland, Scotland, the Midlands, South East and South West to become women’s indoor champions.
Leeds entered a first and second team of athletic and competitive ladies, hoping to build upon last year’s success, improve their seeding and qualify for regionals. The first team, captained by ex-GB junior Katie Lear, were seeded fourth at the start of the tournament and faced stiff competition from squads from Bangor, Sheffield, Manchester and Newcastle. The second team, captained by Rachel Sanig, were made up of a mixture of experienced and unexperienced players, all hoping to improve on their 12th position ranking, develop their skills and cheer their first team to victory.
After a tricky start playing some intimidating first teams who whipped out a zone and performed some fantastic grabs, the players bolstered together and massively improved their performance and team dynamic, in spite of a twisted ankle and frisbee to the mouth.
Sunday’s games brought a mixture of results; after a disappointing loss Leeds went on to thrash their final opponents, scoring a goal a minute in the first three minutes of the game. They were ranked 10th in the tournament and succeeded in becoming the top women’s second team in the North, a huge achievement considering the girls had never played together as team. The first team played some fantastic frisbee yet were up against stiff competition from the start.
On the final day of the tournament they faced Newcastle’s ‘Too Many Pies’ who entered bedecked in red and blue war paint to try and out-psych their Leeds opponents. They proved just as feisty on the court as in their fashion sense, combining stamina, speed and a frustrating awareness of the rules of the game which meant play was stopped frequently to contest various team members’ moves.
In a second encounter with the ‘Pies’ Leeds upped their game and earned a place in the final, having already qualified for nationals. In the final match of the tournament, Leeds faced Sheffield’s ‘Phat Eds’ for the ultimate glory of being crowned regional champions. In a nail-biting final, Leeds managed to keep their cool and all players performed sublimely; Ruth ‘bad boy’ Lowe with a face of steely concentration dodged in and out of centre court and defended her opponent like a boss. Zoe Taylor’s dizzyingly speedy cuts and Marianne Shewell’s grabs and defences amongst others helped prevent Sheffield from securing a lead. With seconds to spare and the score line even, Rachel Douglas hammered the disc to the end zone where Rachel Finch beat a throng of Sheffield hands to grab it mid-air just before the line. The bell sounded and Leeds women were officially regional champions; a resounding and well-deserved victory which will set the girls in good stead for their upcoming national competition.
Author: Charlotte Duffield