In the Mixed Masters division, Germany coasted into the Finals with a 13-4 win over their smaller neighbor, Austria; and Great Britain rebounded from their first-game jitters against France, to beat them 11-8 for the other Finals slot. In front of a full crowd at the arena, both Germany and Great Britain came out nervous in the Finals, with plenty of unforced errors by each team. Great Britain managed to take better care of the disc at the beginning, going up 4-1. Instead of opting for the time-out when faced with a dangerous 3-point deficit, Germany pulled it together on the line, scoring three in a row, and making it a tight game again. GB pulled out ahead after the half, and the crowd may have written the game off as belonging to GB with the score at 10-7, game to 11. But the jitters and unforced errors returned and Germany used the excitement from the crowd, generated by two separate double-happiness points by Annekatrin Holtkemeier and strong play all around to bring it to universe point. The crowd was on their feet as turns on both sides pushed the players to the point of exhaustion, and Thomas Moreau finally pulled off the cross-field, outside-in flick to the back-corner of the endzone, where it was brought down with the sweet layout grab by Micky Attenburg.
In the Open Masters semis, France shook off the Netherlands’ early lead and earned their Finals berth handedly, 12-7. Great Britain never let up on Finland, winning 13-4, and coasting undefeated into their Finals match on Saturday. France’s Cyril Cayla admitted in a livestream interview that his team would need to pull out a perfect game to beat GB, who they have a history of losing to on grass.
The Women’s Masters Division had the unusual situation of having two round-robin games in the morning played between the exact same teams that would be meeting for the 1-2 and 3-4 games later that evening. In the first Germany – Great Britain match of the day, Germany coasted to a relatively easy 11-5 win. But Finals jitters got the best of them in the first few points, as they had a few more unforced errors than Great Britain, who built a 5-2 lead. Germany took a smart time out, where they discussed taking their heads out of their hinderlands and getting back to the basics. It worked, and they cruised through the next 3 points, tying it at 5s. The game was tight until the end, but Germany took better care of the disc and capitalized on the speed of Meike Harms to seal the deal and bring home the gold.
As in other small divisions, the two Grand Masters teams in the finals had faced off twice before. Austria and France split their round robin games, and Austria had one more win than France, but France had won their second game 12-7, while Austria had only bested them by one point, leaving no clear favorite for this Final. The game featured more turns than one would expect from these experienced players, with Finals jitters contributing to the turn-fest. By the time the play shaped up, France had built up a strong enough lead to win the gold with an 11-7 victory.
Header image by Ruggero Vaio: Valeska Schacht getting ho on the main stage with a layout save.