A Pool Champions: Shanghai Huwa
A Pool Runner-Up: Chairman Xiongmao
B Pool Champions: Dalian
C Pool Champions: HeNan
Finals MVPs:Â Nicholas Schott (Huwa)Â and Yue HaoÂ (Chairman Xiongmao)
Party Winners: Jiangnan
Huwa Protects Their House, Wins Shanghai Open 2014
2014 â€“Â The After SHO by Dax Haas
Each year the Shanghai ultimate community attempts to build on past years success and host a fun, competitive, and memorable Shanghai Open.Â 2014 was no exception, as over 25 teams descended onto Shanghai for the 16th running of the SHO.Â Here is a look at some of the stories surrounding this yearâ€™s tournament.
The week leading up to any big tournament is always filled with carb-loading, excitement, and watching ultimate videos at work.Â We decided to channel this enthusiasm into a WeChat party group, and invite 2-3 â€œparty repsâ€ from each team for some pre-gaming.
The result was magical.
Wellâ€¦to be honest, it started with a few porn gifs and trash talking.Â One person quit and one person was removed from the chat.Â However, the rough start was definitely worth the photo exchange that took place on Thursday and Friday.
At the same time as some of the above photos were being taken, 100 high-schoolers were descending on to the SRFC playing fields for the June 6th juniors tournament. Â Kickstarting the SHO with fun and spirited competition, kids from all over Shanghai and a few surrounding cities battled it out on the pitch. Â There was a great mix of skill levels, and there were definitely some nextgen China stars wreaking havoc during the Friday games.
Friday night featured a registration party at the JinQiao Big Bamboo.
Saturdayâ€™s pools were set.
Saturday arrived and with it came a new haircut for Brad, 350 ultimate players, and ideal ultimate weather conditions. Â Pool A proved to be a rather easy road for HuWa as they rolled to a 3-0 Saturday. Â The chemistry and depth that the team had been building since the fall of 2013 was paying its dividends early. Â The other teams in Pool A all held seed so things were rather calm on our side. Â Pool B turned out to be much more competitive, with a lot of close games and upsets from the get-go. Â HK Junk, the surprise team of the tournament, upset BJ in round 1 on universe point. Â A tired and hurting Beijing (get better soon NiTai) would then lose to Jiangnan and last yearâ€™s runner up Chairman XiongMao. Â After the universe win to BJ, Junk lost their second round game to CXM but proved that they could hang with the big boys as they managed to rattle off 4 straight points to tie it at 7â€²s. Â CXM would break away and ultimately win the game, but not after being tested by the team from HK. Â CXM finished first in the pool, Junk came in 2nd, Â and Jiangnan (who were beating BJ 7-2 and held on to win by one) finished one spot ahead of a fading Beijing team.
[Edit: After pool play there were two crossover games played. BJ Bang sent Blaze down to the lower bracket in one game. In the other, Dalian Smurfs put up a great fight against Big Brother, going down something like 11-6]
After a rather interesting round of pool play on Saturday, the ultimate games finished up and the party games ensued. Â Kegs, cups, home made slip-n-slides, and costume prepping kept players busy until dinner time. Â When nightfall came and the scrumptious dinner came to an end, players from all over began unveiling their party app costumes as the SRFC club house turned into party central. Â Check out some of the photos below. Â Some of the costumes included Words with Pirates, Draw Something, Tinder, Nike Fit (kudos to Beijing for a fun and interactive costume idea), and Andry Birds.
As Saturday nightâ€™s action spilled over into the Sunday morning, the stage was set for an intense round of knock-out games.Â Quarters match-ups were set. Â SH vs BJ. Â JK vs TJ. Â Laohu vs JN. Â and CXM vs BJ Bang (who jumped up from the Competitive Division).
Having lost all of their Day 1 games, BJ limped into a quarterfinals match-up with Huwa.Â These two teams were used to meeting in the semiâ€™s or finals of tournaments, so a morning quarters match-up with Big Brother was rather unusual.Â From the first pull, HuWa looked a bit nervous and a bit out-of-sync.Â Beijing took control of the first half, and if it wasnâ€™t for 3 big end-zone grabs by Kate Chen to start the game, HuWa would have been in an even bigger hole.Â Beijing would steal a few breaks and take half 7-5.
Pause. Breathe Shanghai.Â Okay.
With the first half out of the way, Shanghai calmed down and got back to basics against their rival from the north.Â Chilly offense and hard man-to-man D proved too much for Beijing in the end.Â Shanghai would grab the lead and never look back, winning 13-9.Â Sunday morningâ€™s other games would go as follows:Â CXM would defeat Bang to set-up a semi-finals with Laoho (who beat JN handily). Junk would defeat TJ to move on to face Shanghai HuWa.
Our semiâ€™s against HK was a great game.Â With back and forth action, both teams would hold serve as each tried to figure out how to get the elusive break point.Â SH threw a lot of different D looks at HK to grab the early break, but all would prove unsuccessful early on.Â This new HK team was athletic as usual, but it was their decision making that kept them in the game and vying for the championship.Â SH would go on to win a hard capped game at 11-9, finally getting the elusive up-win break at just the right time.Â Kudos to Junk for making it that far, it will be exciting to see how much noise they make at WUCC in Italy this summer.Â (Oh and nice pick-up with adding Willie, he should help a bit)
On the other side, Xiong Mao proved to be the stronger team as their male and female talent combined to overwhelm a solid LaoHu team.Â It was great to see two, count them, TWO shanghai teams reach the semi-finals of this yearâ€™s Shanghai Open.
With the finals set and the kegs flowing again, spectators lined the sides of field 1 to view the rematch of last yearâ€™s shanghai open finals.
Shanghai, adorned in their new blues, stepped on the field to defend their home-turf and 2013 championship against a Chairman Xiongmao team in red.Â CXM, led by the infamous Willie and Zach (broken hand) combo, had re-tooled in the off-season and added a lot of new faces.Â With the likes of Sunny/Tom of Ningbo, Kwong of GZ, Khuoshan of Whisby Nation, and a bunch of stud women from Singapore, this was going to be much more difficult than last year.Â Especially considering that last year HuWa had Matt/Miranda, Greenberg, and KCho to help carry them to the â€™13 SHO title.
The first point was epic, and set the stage for the rest of the game.Â HuWaâ€™s O-line would eventually score, but not after lots of pressure from the CXM d-line.Â An east to west wind that got stronger as the game went on, made up-wind breaks that much more valuable.Â HuWaâ€™s D line would cause lots of forced and unforced errors, but they were having real trouble converting these chances into breaks.Â The game would continue like this for the first few points, as HuWaâ€™s D-line were unable to capitalize on their many break point opportunities.Â HuWa would finally grab a few breaks to go up 6-4, but strong play from CXM tied it back up at 7â€²s.Â After an O point from Huwa the teams would go into half with HuWa up 8-7.
All of that madness just to hold serve.
The second half looked a lot like the first.Â Shanghaiâ€™s D line was starting to convert breaks and causing real pressure for the CXM offense.Â Despite big plays on O and D from CXM, HuWa slowly started to take control of the second half because of their offensive patience (swings galore) and their defensive tenacity (hot team D).Â As the soft cap hit, Huwa found themselves up 13-10 in a game to 14.Â Huwa looked confident, and ready to take the championship, but CXM was determined not to let us have it that easily.Â XM would proceed to get their next O point, and the following two breaks to tie the game up at 13-13 with universe point ahead.
Whaaaaaaat!Â I personally nearly shat myself on the side-line as we sent our O-line out there one more time to go down-wind and score.Â HuWa received the pull and proceeded to calmly work the disc down the field.Â As they approached the endzone, the handlers swung the disc as they had done all day until they found their moment.Â Setting up a deep cut with a well-timed in cut, Jabe (aka Gay-C) would streak deep and Drunk Ian would find him with a well placed flick put.Â Jabe secured the catch and just like that, Huwa would take the â€™14 SHO.
Thanks to all of the players, families, and friends that came out to this yearâ€™s installment of The SHO.Â A special thanks to tournament directs Geoff, Glenn, Ryan, and Jen for helping things run smoothly.Â We also want to thank the SRFC for all the beer and all of our sponsors for their support.