Skyd Magazine’s coverage Windmill Windup is brought to you by Five Ultimate.
After watching the three Swiss draw rounds in the Mixed division at Windmill today, one thing is clear: the level of play at Windmill is on the rise. One need only look at last year’s defending champions, Mubidisk, to verify that; with an arguably stronger roster than that of their championship run last year, they went 1-2 on the day, with losses to Israel Mix and Stockholm Syndromes.
The day started out as the first-round of a Swiss draw tends to: blowouts everywhere. The top seeds generally got things done, with most teams winning their games handily. The lone outset, however, stood out in a big way: the Prague Devils, proving themselves vastly underseeded, demolished the Kentucky-based (yes, seriously, more on them later) Star Spangled Hammers. I had chosen the Devils as one of our teams to feature in our pre-Windmill team preview series, and it turns out my suspicion was correct: they’re here to compete. They currently sit on top of the Swiss draw ranking after an undefeated day.
Round two saw the average game score rise as teams started to figure out where they sat in the rankings. The Prague Devils dispatched Thundering Herd 15-7 (the Herd have a gigantic roster of 21, but have integrated several players from their second team), and Israel Mix pulled off the aforementioned Mubidisk upset. Watching the game, I was surprised to see an unexpected face on Israel’s roster: they’ve somehow managed to pick up World Champion and Revolver standout Sam Kanner. I suppose they hadn’t the heart to let me in on that secret when I did their team preview.
The third and final round of the day showed the beauty of the Swiss draw format as a number of teams found themselves in tight battles against evenly-matched opponents. I was lucky enough to witness one of the games of the tournament so far: Ireland’s Rebel Ultimate and Sweden’s Stockholm Syndromes had been trading points all game until Rebel found themselves down 13-14 in a game to 15. Rebel promptly marched it down the field, where Luke Hyland found Edel Cormac in the endzone to secure universe point. You could cut the tension in the air with the knife as Rebel pulled off to the Syndromes, hoping for a break. Both sidelines were pacing up and down, encouraging their players on the field. Sean O’Mahony absolutely took over in the final point. After the Syndromes turned the disc on a miscommunication, he skied two opponents on a huck from Mark Fanning that was called back on a contested foul. Surprisingly, Fanning hucked the disc to the exact same spot right as play restart in and O’Mahony again repeated with a spectacular sky, this time sans foul. Rebel patiently worked it down and O’Mahony was able to catch the game-winning score on a pass from Liam Grant and secure the victory from Rebel, 15-14.
In some of the other close Round 3 games, the Star Spangled Hammers took down Thundering Herd 15-14 and Outernationals outlasted PUF 13-11. Don’t count out the Madrid-based Quijotes+Dulcineas, either. They defeated Wombat Ultimate Willisau 15-9 to quietly win all three of their Friday games, although they finished 12th in the Swiss draw rankings due to a low strength of schedule. Their real test will come tomorow when they start to face some of the stronger teams in the division.
Not only has the overall quality of play risen, the parity at the top so far is also surprising: looking down the top five teams ranked by Swiss points, I can’t point any of them out as having a clear shot at the finals:
1. Prague Devils
2. UFO (Utrecht)
3. Good Lord!
4. Rebel Ultimate
5. Stockholm Syndromes
Looking at ranks 6-10, the level falls off a bit, but these teams should still make for some competitive games amongst themselves tomorrow as they attempt to secure spots in quarterfinals.
6. Star Spangled Hammers
7. Thundering Herd
8. Mubidisk Lanzarote
9. Ireland Under 23 Mixed
10. Israel Mix
The full standings after three rounds for all 24 teams can be found on Leaguevine.