10 teams rocked up to Beaumont School in St Albans, The Midlands ... well that was a hotly debated fact ... nevertheless they came and we got started on time at 9:30am. The first round of games went to see with St Albans 1 & Flyght Club holing 7th & 8th seed beating St Albans 2 & Strange Blue 2 respectively. Next the Quarter Finals with EMO 1, Strange Blue 1 & BAF cruising dashing EMO 2, St Albans 1 & Flyght Clubs Nationals dream. The 3 v 6 game between Jest Ridiculous and Lemmings reversed that trend with Lemmings annihilating JR 13-1 to kick off their campaign to qualify in style!
After that round the teams vying for qualification took a break and the bottom 6 had a quick cross over to then split into 5-7 & 8-10 round Robin pools to play out the rest of the afternoon. In the Semi Finals EMO 1 matched up against BAF, while Strange Blue 1 drew Lemmings. The games started with teams trading points and sounding each other out. EMO 1 got the break to take the half 7-5, meanwhile I didn't watch both games but saw strange blue pull away with a 1 or 2 point lead a couple of times. In the 2nd half EMO 1 pulled away finishing the game 13-6 and leaving BAF on the hard route to try to qualify for Nationals. The other semi-final stayed very tight and I think saw both teams taking small leads but finally hitting 12-12 & Sudden Death! After a couple of tough drops in the endzone by both teams Lemmings pulled out the stops and scored that vital point to put themselves back in again EMO 1 in the final, straight away! However the Lemmings train was rolling and it hit EMO hard with Lemmings taking the first 3 points! EMO took a time out regrouped and brought it back to 3-3, then 6-3 ... however Lemmings came back strong taking another 3 points in a row to make it 6-6. With the momentum swinging wildly from one team to another it was EMO's turn for a roll and they took the half 7-6. After the half EMO came out strong again to make it 8-6, 9-6 & at 10-6 it looked as though EMO had taken the wind from Lemmings sails ... but once again the pendulum swung back into Lemmings favour and they fought back with some big point blocks & layout D's to bring the game level and to time at 10-10 ... another Sudden Death game ... exciting stuff. EMO put their heads in gear and showed why the finished Tour as the 7th seeded club team in the UK and scored with a 2 pass play into the endzone to clinch the win.
Meanwhile in the 3v4 game Strange Blue got back on the horse, and singing all the while (!?) took a bigger and bigger lead against BAF to win the game 13-7. The Game to Go to Nationals was shaping up to be a tough grudge match with Strange Blue looking to retake the 2nd seed they had come into the tournament with. And that's exactly what they did winning 13-7 with some very patient handling and defence that adapted to counter a very smooth Lemmings offence in the game before. Perhaps next year is the Year of the Lemming, this year they were just 1 point away from a meteoric rise :-)
Thank you to all for a great day & putting up with a lack of onsite catering (still not returning my calls ... grrr). Turns out I know exactly how much fruit to buy for 150 people. The local paper came down to take a gander and plenty of family and friends were seen wandering around looking intrigued, having finally found out where their Son, Daughter, Grandchild, <fill in relation here> disappear off to most weekends of the year :-)
Looking forward to the next time :-)