Congratulations to Tianjin Speed Yellow, winners of China Open!

It’s possible China Nationals 2010 will be remembered as a tournament of firsts: the first time observers were used in China Ultimate (and maybe all of Asia Ultimate, excluding Japan), the first time a World Cup-style draw was used to determine pools on the day before games, and importantly, the first time team from Tianjin — Speed Yellow — two-time bridesmaids but never the bride, won. They did so in convincing fashion.

Drawn into the toughest pool — with No. 3 overall seed Graduates, Air Woo and CUG Prospectors — Speed won their first two pool games 11-2 and 10-6. Then in an epic game for Saturday standards vs. Graduates, Speed prevailed 11-8 to secure the No. 3 seed going into Sunday.

Speed ran through Ningbo, then obliterated 2009 runner-up Beijing Bang 13-4 in the semifinals. They would go up 10-2 vs. Hong Kong in the finals before Junk went on a 5-1 run to make it 11-7. Tianjin used a timeout to regroup, then traded scores with Hong Kong and would score another — the final point — on a simple 15-yard pass. In a game that had its share of highlights, this was quite the conventional ending — final score: 13-8.

Afterwards Edward Wang, one of the original Tianjin Speed players who was present when the team lost in the finals against Air Kazak in both 2007 and 2008, nearly got emotional celebrating the victory. He was hoisted into the air by teammates, as were others, including the only foreigner on the team, Jeff. There was no doubt who was the best team at the end of the day, and the scary part for the rest of the country: they’re only getting better. Watch out.

Congratulations should also go out to Michael Hsu’s Hong Kong Junk, which defended its 2009 championship valiantly and refused to roll over in the finals. No doubt they’ll be back next year.

On Sunday:

Crossovers:

Tianjin Speed Red 8, Air Woo 5
Graduates 11, Yangtze Dragons 6
Hangtime 9, Dalian Smurfs 5
Ningbo 11, Changsha City Storm 5

Quarterfinals:

(1) Hong Kong 11, (8) TJ Speed Red 3
(5) Graduates 11, (4) Air Kazak 2
(3) TJ Speed Yellow 11, (6) Ningbo UFO 6
(2) Beijing Bang 11, (7) Hangtime 2

Semifinals:

(1) Hong Kong 11, (5) Graduates 9
(3) TJ Speed Yellow 13, (2) Bang 4

Finals:

TJ Speed Yellow 13, Hong Kong 8

13th place bracket:

CUG Prospectors 11, Tangshan 1
Beijing Bang Bang 9, Tongzhou 7-Up 4

CUG 9, Bang Bang 5

Picture by Dean of CUG Prospectors

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