Round 2 of the WFDF 2019 World Team Disc Golf Championships started with all four top performing teams taking on the third placed teams in the new four-pool structure. The target for all the lower teams was to avoid a whitewash – which they all failed to do. Estonia, Czech Republic, Finland and Austria all handed out an 8-0 thrashing to Great Britain, Spain, Canada and Lithuania respectively – not a good start to their day!
With the changed format to an 18 hole Best Shot Doubles Matchplay alongside the Singles Matchplay for Round 2 some teams took an early bath while others held out for a while longer but there was no denying the power and accuracy of those pool leaders.
Meanwhile – in Pool J, where 5 teams are scrapping for places 13-17, the prospect of showing what they could do over 18 holes clearly energised the teams after their disappointing performances in Round 1. Latvia, after finishing bottom of their Pool yesterday, beat Croatia in all their matches in the morning round and have given themselves the chance of avoiding the wooden spoon.
Usually a match in any sport between USA and Russia would attract a lot of attention as the old Cold War sparring partners took to the course – but times have changed and entente cordial is the spirit of the day! Not that the USA were in a generous frame of mind after their disappointing day yesterday – so any opponent was going to have to cope with a resurgent USA. Russia lost both doubles matches and only managed to take one point off Josh Birmingham in the Singles.
In the afternoon Pool J games the USA came up against a Croatian Team that was smarting from their defeat to Latvia in the morning. But the USA still managed to win three of their matches and now lead their pool.
Meanwhile in the main draw the second and third placed teams in each pool came up against each other. This was make or break for all of them as a loss would inevitably condemn them to dropping out of the top eight and missing out on a chance at medal glory. It certainly wasn’t to be for Lithuania who were soundly beaten by Germany in all matches. This puts Germany and Austria equal on 8 points each and is the only Pool that is wide open – and they play each other tomorrow morning as do all the first and second seeded teams. What it does is guarantee Germany a top 8 place whatever the result but a win against their neighbors would give them a significant advantage going into the Quarter finals.
The only upset in the afternoon games as that Canada beat New Zealand and moved into second place. New Zealand have to take 4 points from Finland tomorrow morning to move up – but since Finland have not yet dropped a point that is a tall order. What it does though is give Canada a good chance of making the semi finals – depending on who they are matched against tomorrow afternoon.
Of the other teams Spain lost all their matches to France who now also sit in second tied with Czech Republic in Pool F. Their match in the morning will decide who gets advantage in the quarter finals and it will be close. The French are very well prepared and cam out of the toughest first round pool hardened for the games ahead. It is likely that they will have too much firepower and consistency for the Czechs but they are not to be underestimated themselves.
Great Britain and Slovakia fought out a tough match. At one time the Brits looked like they would be leading going into the final holes but a loss to the pairing of Robins and Lee and final hole heartbreak for new Junior Smithson let the Slovaks off the hook. A win for Blount and a tie for Luton and Tweed gave GBR an advantage over all other bottom placed teams in the pools and they lead the charge for 9th going into the Quarter finals.
The top four teams took the afternoon off – had a nice rest at the Spa; took in some sightseeing, did a bit of practice – so they will come out refreshed, cleanly laundered and smart of mind and spirit when play resumes in the morning.
Meantime, the Captain of Finland appeared to be measuring every angle of every hole on the course as everyone left tonight – no stone unturned for the meticulous Finns. And it is not surprising – because this Championships has a unique way of deciding quarter final opponents after Round 2 finishes at lunchtime tomorrow. The three teams with the highest number of points against their opponents in their pools will decide who they play in the next round. They can’t pick a team they have played already but that still gives the first team a pick of five to choose from!
Watch out for the reveal at around 13.30 tomorrow – it will be live streamed from the course!