MIXED TOUR 3

2nd – 3rd June 2007 Report by Tom Howard After events earlier in the season saw the original dates for MT2 scrapped, and after the subsequent realignment of the later Tours, Mixed Tour Three was eventually held in Nottingham on the 2nd and 3rd of June under the directorial supervision of Steve Giguere and with substantial help from local team, Flyght Club. What was to have been Mixed Nationals in the original plan hosted twenty eight teams for the final event of the three league encounters, and results here would decide the title of Tour Champion 2007. A substantial slice of the profits from the tournament also went to funding the efforts of the GB Juniors this year; a very welcome and refreshing change, that was gratefully recieved!

Of the regulars at the top of the victory statistics, some were conspicuously missing. IF and Ping Dynasty had been wrong-footed by the date changes in the season schedule, and, combined with prior GB commitments for many of the women from their would be squads, were unable to field teams to challenge for the top spots. Indeed, the dearth of women was felt throughout the event, with several teams need special dispensation from the Mixed Coordinator and the D.O.C. to field players who may otherwise have been ineligible to play through complications in the guesting/rostering rules. BOOM, now hot favourites to win the title, were themselves short of women until the eleventh hour, eventually benefiting from two fully-eligible last-minute pick ups, one of whom ahd never played before.

Nothing short of a complete collapse on their part could make BOOM lose the overall victory now, and it all looked academic, though Tour Three title was very much up for the taking.

 

Chevron and Brighton were gunning for their first event-win of the season, Chevron with their now usual complement of Juniors in the ranks, and Brighton fielding a true out-and-out first team for the first time this year.

With the usual aplomb, BOOM worked their way through the pool, facing only one close game against a determined Leeds Locomotive, taking that 15-12. They met Brighton in the semis, squeezing through on sudden death, and met Chevron in the final. Chevron had eased through their group, and had the easier semi final game against, perhaps at least to everyone else if not themselves, surprise package Thundering Herd who had scalped Leeds by a couple of points in pools the day before. Leeds, indeed, were having a bad weekend. Buoyant from their unbeaten run in Birmingham, they suffered the aforementioned defeats to BOOM and the Herd, and only just squeaked past the truthfully-selected Brighton 2 in sudden death. A loss to a resurgent Ltd Release the next day indicated a free-fall, only stemmed by a victory against BAF and then up-and-comers ABH. BAF were in similar dilemmas, on a run of bad form for the tournament. BAF went on to finish an unaccustomed 11th, while Ltd climb to the dizzy heights of 5th, the highest they could ever have achieved due to the tiered schedule.

 

Again, as has been the norm for the season so far, places in the lower tiers proved changeable. Discuits, having dropped last time around, were back up to 7th by the end of the weekend, and Strange Blue continued their consistent trend to rise to 6th. On the team tracker from previous reports, Flaming Galahs ended 15th, Sheffield Steal regained a few spots in the lower reaches, and BPF took not only the Plate but also the Spirit of the Game trophy for the second event in row.

After another tumultuous battle for lower placings, and the usual steady run to the final for the top teams, despite the best efforts of a full strength Brighton, BOOM took the final against Chevron. Two wins out of three, and overall champions to boot, they managed a near-clean sweep of the mixed prizes this year, thwarted only by IF. As a conglomerate team from several different open and women’s squads, if they exist next year, they are obviously going to be the team to beat, but were undeniably aided in this campaign by the problems with dates and venues that have marked an unfortunately disturbed season.

If Mixed Nationals occurs, which is as yet uncertain and maybe increasingly unlikely, then perhaps that is the time for IF to triumph, as long as they hold of challenges from the other big teams who are, presumably, all just as frustrated at the lack of silverware on the mantelpiece for their efforts.

 

And so, at the end of a hard fought season, it seems that the gaps are narrowing across the mixed division. Games are tighter, and often mean more than they have done in past seasons, as the overall rankings would be simultaneously affected. The rankings this year have turned up some interesting end-of-season standings, with Leeds sneaking 4th over BAF by a single point, and several teams ending higher than expected due to the MT3 drop-outs. Positions were ever changeable throughout the year.


When all is said and done, to some minds, it seems that prospectively the best thing to come out of this season is the fact that next year’s will be closer than ever. Mixed is starting to get up some momentum, as more teams start to take it seriously and new teams join in. Where perhaps the Open tour is merely in need of fine tuning, hence Tour Zero, Mixed is burgeoning on the UK scene. A healthy and extremely competitive future for Mixed should definitely be anticipated.