The 2011 Open Championship was the one everybody wanted to see: undefeated Ironside against the reigning champion, Revolver.
I’m going to start this blog by breaking that game down, point by point, to try and look at how each team planned and executed their strategies in the biggest game of them all.
Before I begin, I’d like to thank NGN for doing a superb job covering this game, and all the others they’ve covered. They’ve really raised the bar for ultimate coverage, and what I’m doing here wouldn’t be possible without them. So please, go buy some video from them so they keep doing what they’re doing.
Revolver 1 - 0 Ironside
In the screenshots I’ll be using, it is sometimes difficult to see the disc. In every screenshot, I try to show the location of the disc with a red dot.
Hopefully everything else should be self-explanatory; please leave me comments if I’ve confused anything.
Revolver receives the first pull and sets up in a very short horizontal stack. The weak side cutters start out nearly even with the first thrower, and the strong side cutters run a simple route across each other.
Notice the large amount of space the Boston cutter defenders are leaving the Revolver cutters. The thrower is double-teamed, but he’s able to flip the disc to Bart Watson on the interior, thanks to that space. Once Watson has the disc, the true nature of the play reveals itself.
The play has gotten the disc to Bart Watson, the hub of Revolver’s O, and set up Beau Kittredge, one of the best deep cutters in the game, with a huge amount of space.
At this point a Boston defender finally challenges a Revolver cutter; Colin Mahoney is set up in the perfect angle to defend Beau. Beau tries to go deep, pushes Mahoney back 10 yards, and settles for a 15-yard in-cut.
That’s not a bad result for Ironside; the book on Beau is that you want to make him hurt you with his throws. Although they’ve gotten much better than they used to be, he’s still not a premier thrower. Considering that Mahoney was on an island against him, Ironside should be happy with where they’re at so far.
Once Beau receives, he immediately looks for a dish, and we can see the thing I love so much about Revolver’s offense; the spacing. There’s a huge lane open for an isolated cutter, another lane open for a handler to help from the back, and two guys taking up very little space but available for an emergency play.
Cahill receives the disc, and Revolver again has one of the game’s best throwers with the disc and huge amounts of space. This time, there are two cuts; one from Bart, cutting out from behind the disc, and a big in cut from one of the “release” cutters I highlighted in the last image.
Teddy, guarding Bart, hasn’t kept his body in the way of Bart’s out cut, and this small mistake is enough to cost Ironside the final throw for a goal. Cahill jacks it perfectly to the space in front of Bart, whose one-step advantage on Teddy is enough.
One thing to notice is the Ironside defender floating in the middle of the field; he does a good job recognizing that his mark has moved into inactive space, and so he doesn’t follow him. He doesn’t, however, notice that Bart is cutting deep and/or that Cahill is in the process of throwing it deep. He was in the perfect spot to help stop the fatal cut, but he was unable to do so.
We’ll see later in the game that Revolver consistently handles this last-back responsibility better than Ironside, and earns several Ds for its efforts.
To score the first point, Revolver has executed their offense perfectly. Though Boston managed to stop the play’s first option, Revolver was never forced into a difficult throw until Cahill’s put to Watson, which is exactly the type of risk Revolver wants to take.
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