University of Sunderland’s ultimate frisbee team extended their winning run in the league on Wednesday thanks to a dominating away performance as they beat Teesside University 1sts 15-5 at Saltersgill Playing Fields.
The Spinners came into this match off the back of a drubbing at the hands of Keele University in the cup, and were keen to bounce back in the league and build on their 15-0 thrashing of York St John 2nds.
And the team experimented with a change of tactics to help them with this – captain Kieran Thirlwell employed cutter Harry Hughan in a deep handling role and this extra option in attack seemed to come up trumps for the Red and Whites. Hughan combined well with fellow handler Teo Nistri, building the base of most of Sunderland’s attacks, as well as grabbing two points and MVP.
The extra option also meant that handler Dean Lenker could break further forward and try some cuts of his own without leaving either of the other two isolated. This worked to devastating effect with the Spinners transitioning from defence to attack efficiently on many occasions throughout the game, with Lenker even scoring three points of his own.
Sunderland started the game well as they scored on their first drive after winning the toss, with Thirwell running long to grab a long backhand huck from Nistri, before quickly building on their lead to race into a 5-0 lead. The highlight of the points was a lovely forehand swing pass into the left side of endzone from Hughan to the returning Roger Wei Fang, who had missed the previous game with injury.
However, Teesside had other ideas, threatening a comeback as they pulled two back with consecutive points from some quick pass and move frisbee which left the Sunderland’s defence in shock before they quickly bounced back to go into halftime 8-2 up.
The Spinners did not start the second half as well, with some complacent defending allowing Teesside to counter well after withstanding pressure around their own endzone, scoring three unanswered points and yet again threatening a comeback. But this only shocked Sunderland back into life who responded with seven back-to-back points, though not without Teesside’s chances, to wrap up a dominating away victory.
Pick of the points included a curving forehand pass from Nistri to top scorer Ben Ballantyne, who managed to escape his man after a lovely run and grab in the endzone, as well as a flowing pass and move drive up the field which saw Hughan, James Davison, Aidan Kenny, Jack Hellier and Ballantyne combine before Wei Fang finished the move after Hellier’s dummy run dragged away two defenders.
After the game, captain Kieran Thirwell was upbeat about his team’s performance, hoping they could continue their momentum into Wednesday’s game against Hull.
“I’m really proud of how we played on Wednesday,” he said. “We finally showed some of the quality we actually have and it’s all about making sure we build on this performance going forward to Hull next week.”