Congratulations to Big Brother, winners of Tianjin Open 2010

Tianjin Open 2010

Big Brother finally made it over the hump. After years of near-wins and bad losses — too many to list here — Beijing’s top club team overcame a slow start at the Tianjin tournament this past weekend and eked out two-point wins in both the semis and finals to earn the “Novo Nordisk” Cup.

Full disclosure: I played on Big Brother.

In the semifinals, Shanghai Huwa scored the first point on a trademark huck from Alec to Nads and added an early break to make it 3-1. Beijing scored four of the next five, including a quick Zone O score coming out of halftime to make it 7-4. Shanghai, as Shanghai does, earned two of those points back before a pivotal huck from Tao to Shan — a diving O-I flick with Alec in hot pursuit, set up by a forehand break from Kevin — would give Big Brother some breathing room. The teams traded points the rest of the way, from 8-7 to 11-9. On the final point, Kevin contested a Judd stall count, then dumped to Tao, who found Pat Li hanging out in the end zone on the force side.

The finals was a rematch of a Saturday group game in which Tianjin Speed shocked everyone with an 11-9 upset of Big Brother. From the onset, Speed, which beat Beijing Bang 11-3 in the semis, came with their attacking, blitzkrieg offense for a quick and easy score. The crowd went wild. Big Brother fought back and tied the game but soon found themselves huffing for air against the younger, more athletic Speed. The hosts soon made it 5-3 after a nasty collision that left one of Big Brother’s better defenders, Caleb Heine, bleeding from his right ear and incapacitated for the rest of the game (“I know now what the saying ‘getting the snot knocked out of you means,'” he would say afterwards).

Somehow, this would key Big Brother’s rally. The team scored three straight, anchored by a zone D. On one point, Alicia Lui, playing strong wing, stepped in front of a guy and caught a D before quickly throwing the score to Shan Wu. Tianjin surged back for two straight to take half 7-6.

Big Brother received to open the second half and scored to tie it at 7. Speed would go up 8-7, scoring after the game got testy near the end zone with two near-Ds that were nulled by contested calls. Then Tao kicked into gear, with a catch-score of a huck from Kevin to tie the game, then another catch off a transition D — again from a Kevin huck, this time backhand — to make it 9-8.

Soft cap would go on, making it a game to 11. Speed drove the length of the field with their patented offense before putting up a swilly, hospital pass on which one of their women called a foul. When the disc went back, the thrower called a timeout, a violation and, according to the rules, a turnover because cap had been called.

Off this opportunity, Kevin threw a backhand break to Tao, who broke the mark with a high-release that Sandy brought down to make it 10-8.

Speed quickly came back and broke Beijing’s zone, scoring on the weak side to make it 10-9. “They’re here to win it,” someone remarked. But so was Beijing. After a few turnovers from both sides — Big Brother’s Shan got a monster D of a hammer in the end zone, with a guy bearing down on her — Kevin forehand-hucked to Tao for the game-winning point.

The tournament awarded Sandy Wang the team MVP, though this could have gone to any of Big Brother’s females. Below, pictures of the other team MVPs, presented by tournament director Edward Wang:

It should also be noted that Big Brother, thanks in large to co-captain Gareth Marshall (who re-aggravated a hamstring injury on the first point on the first day and did not play the rest of the weekend), Baby Girl and Matt Mueller.

More pictures and a video to come.


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