We start this week’s update with some great news: Ustinov has climbed to second to last place on the College Points Table! Last week’s results show who we have to thank for this success:
Well done to all Ustinov teams who played last week, in particular to Badminton, Men’s Hockey, Women’s Hockey, Volleyball, and Pool A! I went to watch the Men’s Basketball match on Wednesday, so you will find photos from that game in this week’s post. Further down, you will find photos from our featured match of the week, Ultimate Frisbee Ustinov vs Castle!
Let’s dive straight into our first match report of the week! Usually, I request these from team captains, but this week the Men’s Hockey team spontaneously decided to write one following their defeat of Collingwood:
Hockey Men – Ustinov A vs Collingwood B
An exciting tie was in prospect between mid-table Collingwood B and Ustinov, who were hoping to remain off the bottom of the table. After a hard-to-swallow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Hatfield B in mid-week, Ustinov were hoping to bounce back in style; they did just that!
Ustinov were well equipped to deal with the threat of a goalkeeperless Collingwood, with twelve of the finest college players available. Ustinov started with a 4-4-2 formation, hoping that the two banks of four would be enough to hold back the threat of Collingwood’s pacey youth. It worked, to an extent, but the keen eye and strong tactical knowledge of Ustinov’s captain, Amrit Lotay, meant that the team quickly changed to a 3-5-2 formation in order to bolster the midfield and strengthen the attack. It worked like a charm.
Collingwood B were unable to properly deal with the heavily packed midfield, which contained a healthy mix of steadiness, pace, power, and intelligence. The first goal came in the first half from a well worked short corner routine. Ustinov stalwart, Miles Hudson, provided the crisp injection to captain, Amrit, who alone stopped and struck the ball finely; the defenders could only watch as it zoomed in between their feet and sticks, all of them wondering what they had just witnessed.
Collingwood were forced to go for it, and that they did, piling men up the pitch to try and overwhelm the defence. They almost had a bit of luck if it wasn’t for the strong defending of Sean, Ulrike, and Galen. There was a close call when the defence was broken through: a shot was struck in the Ustinov D and deflected unconvincingly by Sean onto the post past a diving Mark in goal. The ball then awkwardly bounced towards sliding midfielder, Reece, hitting his back stick (unnoticed by the umpires) before being desperately put out deliberately behind the back line for a short corner; a close call for the team in white.
The first half came to a close. It had been a tight affair so far but Amrit’s short corner effort was enough to separate the two teams. A happy and inspiring team talk came next, before the two teams prepared to face each other once again. It was Collingwood who set off the second half and they were immediately on the front foot. However, Ustinov were well focused and quickly cut out any chance of an early second half goal for the men in red.
Some nice work on the left wing between midfielders Ed, Nathan, and Reece led to a good chance for striker Jonathan, who was tackled just in time before his strike. This did nothing to deter Ustinov’s effort. Despite being in the lead, they continued to push people up the pitch in what was an end-to-end second half. Some dribbles in the midfield by Ed, Reece, and Josh allowed winger Laura to apply a lot of pressure on Collingwood’s left side – this saw great success as it was Laura who doubled Ustinov’s lead after some great work between the midfield, herself, and Miles. Laura had been on fine form recently, having scored a double hattrick for the Ustinov Ladies in a thumping victory on Saturday.
Collingwood once again tried to react, pushing people up the pitch and getting success with a couple of short corners and a few close chances going begging. A strong performance by goalkeeper Mark was important in keeping Ustinov two ahead and he constantly made himself big which was effective in putting off the opposition strikers. But it was an attacking chance for Collingwood that killed off the game for them. They had broken through the midfield and found themselves with a free hit in Ustinov’s defensive third. They tried to find the key pass to a striker, but it was cut out well by defender Galen with the ball finding itself an under-pressure Reece. He was able to work his way out of the sticky situation and saw the open space at the top of the pitch. A strong push, followed by him falling over for probably the twentieth time in the game, meant the ball found its way to a wide-open Jonathan. Cool under pressure, the bearded powerhouse controlled the ball and played a nice pass to the incoming Laura. The ball glided quickly on the slick pitch and it looked like the chance had gone, well that’s what Collingwood thought at least. Laura was able to bring the fast-moving ball under control at a wide angle in the opposition’s D, and without a second glance to get her bearings she took a clinical strike at Collingwood’s goal – of course it went in. A great move finished off by a great strike. Collingwood’s day was ruined.
The opposition only had eight minutes to find three goals and Ustinov were determined to make sure this was not their Istanbul moment. They played out the rest of the fixture with an abundance of energy and determination, with the whole team putting in a strong shift. The final whistle came with the ball in the middle of the pitch and that meant Ustinov had secured a good three points. It was an exciting game, with a lot of end to end action, but the best team came out on top. Up the mighty Ustinov.
Final result: Ustinov 3 : 0 Collingwood
Thank you so much for the report, guys! It was probably one of the longest we have had so far, but a very enjoyable read.
At the exact same time as the match described above, another match with Ustinov involvement was taking place on the American Football pitch just a few hundred metres away. Let’s hear about it from frisbee captains Tom Pitts:
Ultimate Frisbee – Ustinov A (Spin Doctors) vs Castle A
Team: Tom Pitts – Alastair Stewart – Tom Lennie – Kat Berg – Vera Bieber – Jake Brooker – Teddy Eley – Colby Cox – Wen-Ning Liang
Ustinov’s Spin Doctors arrived at the match on Sunday knowing that it would be a tough match, not only were castle the only team that disrupted Ustinov’s unbeaten run last season and were promoted along with Ustinov to the highest division of college Ultimate Frisbee, but the Ustinov team had played a match only the day before and for some our legs were already tired before we started the game.
Once the team lined up on the pitch though the fatigue was quickly forgotten and Ustinov got straight into a competitive first point. Castle began the game with a solid zone defence, which challenged the Spin Doctors to work the frisbee up the pitch with short passes looking for an opportunity to break out from the back. The Spin Doctors quickly settled down into patient play, walking the disk up the pitch and through the gaps in the zone, Ustinov were able to capitalise against the zone play, scoring several points and forcing Castle to switch to a man defence to contain Ustinov’s handlers.
However it was not all one sided and Castle proved fierce on offence with some points scored with huge throws picking out some excellent deeps cuts and beating Ustinov’s defence and earning castle several points in return.
Unfortunately the Castle team had brought a horde of substitutes meaning every point was played against a fresh line, later in the game this allowed them to punish Ustinov who only had a single substitute for their men and women.
Despite Castle edging out a lead towards the end of the game Ustinov continued to play some fantastic well spirited frisbee right up until the final point and despite the final score the team really came together and played like a well seasoned team, despite several members being fresh recruits that were playing their first competitive match.
Final Score: Castle 9 : 5 Ustinov (scorers: Tom Pitts, Tom Lennie x2, Kat Berg x2)
Team awards (voted on by the team):
- Most Valuable Player: Teddy Eley
- Best Offensive Player: Alastair Stewart
- Best Defensive Player: Tom Pitts
- Most Improved Player: Colby Cox
Well fought, Spin Doctors! Having played in the game myself, I completely agree that we showed some great teamwork. We may not have the points, but at least we have great spirit!
And now, let’s see which of the Ustinov teams have matches in the upcoming week:
This Sunday (24th February) the Durham vs York Varsity takes place at Maiden Castle all day. Durham is represented by different college teams, a total of 29 who compete against teams from York University in about a dozen different sports, some in mixed teams, some in separate gender teams. From Ustinov, our Volleyball team has been selected to represent Durham! If you manage to wake up early enough on Sunday, join me at Maiden Castle to cheer for our team that is still unbeaten in their league!
After watching Volleyball, I will probably stay at Maiden Castle to finally see our Hockey teams. And YOU can also watch numerous different Ustinov teams this week! If you take photos at any of the matches, please don’t hesitate to send them to me (email@example.com), I can always use material for these blog posts!
And that’s it for this week. As usual, please don’t forget to give the Team Ustinov Facebook and Instagram (@team_ustinov) a like and show our teams some support!
~ Vera, Clubs & Socs Officer