By Tatenda Mombo
19th Seeded Sussex Mohawks, Storm Scotland, come home with the Gold!
Who are the Sussex Mohawks you ask? Only one of the most successful sports societies on campus and historically one of the best University Ultimate Frisbee teams in the country! Who on the weekend of Feb 15/16 2020, added yet another trophy to their cabinet, a Men’s Division One Indoor championship. That’s top of the food chain!
If you are just hearing about Ultimate Frisbee for the first time, avoid the temptation to just write it off as ‘something you do in the park with your dog’. It is a lot closer to your typical high action, fast paced team sports like football, basketball, or netball than it is to your dog’s exercise routine, it just happens to be a sport played with a flying disc rather than a ball, but make no mistake, you will see bodies flying through the air, throws that you didn’t even think were possible and catches that will leave you in awe at the wonders of the human body.
Now that we are all up to speed, let me tell you about the season Sussex had, that culminated in winning it all! The indoor season started in October with regionals, where the top two teams from the South East qualify for Division One Nationals, the teams placed third to fifth, qualify for Division Two Nationals, and every other team ends their season there with nothing but what if’s and ah wells to show for it. Sussex, having dominated the region for the best part of 2 decades, are always heavy favourites to qualify and win the region. This year was no different, beating Oxford 6-2 in a pretty routine final game. Oxford then went on to lose again to Surrey in a 2 v 3 game meaning it was Sussex and Surrey representing the South East in Division One nationals. The seedings for Nationals are determined by your region’s final placings at last year’s competition, where Sussex finished 19th out of a possible 20th. The general consensus within the Ultimate community was this was too low for Sussex, but predictions had the Mohawks placing no higher than 14th this year.
Fast forward to Friday, February 14, the eve of the big tournament, the Sussex Mohawks have arrived at their air BnB in droves, some by car, some by plane some by train. The hair clippers buzz into life, and the final tournament preparations begin. Shaving mohawks into our hair has a multitude of purposes. Primarily it is a show of unity and solidarity, and secondly it provides an intimidating aura for the opposition we are about to go to war with! We have one final strategic conversation and an early night, for the games are about to begin tomorrow.
We made our way to the venue, the Orian sport centre, and started the day with a comfortable 6-4 win over Warwick. The 2nd game of the day was a disappointing 5-4 loss to Edinburgh, followed by a shock 10-7 loss to Liverpool John Moore’s. After disappointing results in the pools, we were left knowing that a defeat to Loughborough in the following game would spell the end of our title contentions. Halfway through the game we found ourselves 7-3 down, and in a come to Jesus moment, the defence rallied to generate turnovers and convert those into scores 4 times in a row, to finish the game 7-7 and most importantly, a chance to still win it all. The rest of the Saturday consisted of comfortable wins over Swansea and UWE, 9-3 and 9-4 respectively.
On Sunday, the first game of the day was a quarter final, and a rematch against Loughborough, which Sussex won 6-5, the semi-final was an 8-6 victory against UCL to set up a Final against Durham. A closely contested game, until 2nd year standout Jack Halkyard, made a goal saving play, getting a fully horizontal layout block and erasing what would otherwise have been a guaranteed goal for Durham, Sussex rode that momentum to a 7-4 victory!
The boys, celebrated with their patented “boys, boys, boys” chant, collected the trophy and medals, and made their way to spoons to celebrate in a big way!