Jess Mumford and Dan Rule cycled their bikes 3,912km into Darwin from Creswick (near Ballarat) and thought “right, let’s run a frisbee tournament” a week later, this is how it unfolded.
After playing a game of pick up in Darwin, Dan asked around to find out if any players had played a tournament in or outside of the territory before and… only two had! So Dan and Jess decided to take matters into their own hands and arranged a tournament for seven days time.
After a week of preparation the inaugural Top Hat took off on Sunday 3rd November in the Darwin suburb of Alawa. Local player and organiser Stewart Litster had arranged a radio interview with ABC Darwin two days out from the tournament to boost interest in the event. And it seemed to work, as one by one they trickled in to the regular Frisbee pick up field on Lakeside Drive next to Charles Darwin University. Registrations closed at twenty, which included sixteen brand spanking new AFDA members. Speaking of the AFDA, upon recieving a request from Dan no more than four business days out from this “spur of the moment” tournament, the magnificent John Hempel had twenty frisbees and 16 cones in the post in no time and they were picked up at the post office 24 hours out from the tournament.
Teams of five with a gender split of 1:4, thirty-minute games and timeouts every three points for drinks breaks got everyone through the day (the temperature hovered around 35 degrees and 60% humidity – as it does every day).
As is always the case with a new frisbee group, it was anticipated that there would be a lack of ‘light and dark’ tops and this was addressed with 4 colours of zinc to distinguish the teams.
KG’s Pink team took on Korin Eringa’s Yellow team and on field 2 it was Coope’s Blue versus Kaitlyn Andrews’ Green team to start the day. In the first game, Pink’s Dale McKellar and Matt Fagg turned out to be two of the athletic stars of the day as pink crushed blue 8-2 (oops, might have mucked up the teams a little!). On the other field, nine-year-old Henry Carter took to the field for his first ever game for the Blues and took an impressive lay out grab on the goal line, after green got up 4-1, it ended all tied up at 6-6 at games end.
Round 2 saw Blue v Pink in game that see sawed but neither team was ever able to get out to a two point buffer. The notable play of the game was Luke Witham’s long chase down of a huck and he sealed it with a layout goal on his first day at the frisbee. He got up beaming (hooked, I hope!). The game ended a 10-10 draw. On the other field Green took down Yellow 12-3.
The final round saw two pretty one sided games, despite yellow soldiering on and taking a three point run – they lost 7-3 to blue with the Avi Clarke to Catherine Coope combination proving too strong. Pink took down Green 7-2 and as the sun set the final was locked in with a Pink v Blue rematch of their 10-10 draw in the second round.
The heat and sprinting finally broke Blue’s Luke Witham, twanging a hamstring mid final, with no subs, he was replaced by a member of the sideline crowd selected by the other team.
Pink’s Callum Robinson made a big defensive play making two efforts and beating Blue’s Dan Rule in the air to prevent a goal that would have seen Blue up by 2.
Pink’s Dale McKellar continued to sprint around the field and was rewarded with a disc that sat up just long enough to stick a layout goal. However it wasn’t to be for Pink on this day and Blue sealed it with a great contested grab by Avi Clarke, taking the final out 8-6.
Smiles beamed all around and there is now great enthusiasm to send a crew to the Broome Hat in 2014 and other tournaments into the future. The diehards ventured on to the Beachfront Hotel to tell tales of how they had received their war wounds.
Not just a great day out, participants at the Top Hat helped to raise over $150 for Ultimate Peace. Ultimate Peace use the message of spirit of the game and the self-refereeing system as a means of conflict resolution and building bridges in the Middle East. You may have heard of Jess Mumford and Dan Rule’s cycle journey Creswick to London for Ultimate Peace – and if you would like to donate to the Ultimate Peace cause, you can do so through their website: www.creswicktolondon.com
Dan and Jess will attend the 2014 Ultimate Peace camp in Israel and are aiming to raise $100,000 for the cause through their cycle. Please help them to reach the target if you are in a position to do so!
At the end of the day, receiving their first glittery top hats were:
Champions – Blue
Spirit Champions – Yellow
Male MVP – Joel Cuthbert
Female MVP – Kathryn ‘KG’ Gant
I hope this is the start of many great things for Ultimate Frisbee Darwin. Go get ’em!
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