Raiders reach for glory
Over the 12-13 August weekend, the Rhodes Raiders Ultimate Frisbee team took part in the South African Flying Disc Association (SAFDA) Opens Nationals in Port Elizabeth. The team, which is made up largely of Rhodes students and a few Grahamstown locals, wanted to participate in their first competitive tournament since their formation last year.
An Ultimate match is scheduled for 90 minutes, with the object of the game being able to each 13 goals within that time.
If a team secures 13 goals before the end of 90 minutes, they are declared the winner, and the match ends, regardless of how many minutes have been played. If, after the time limit, the scores are tied, a universal point is played and the first to score wins the match.
The Rhodes Raiders were in a difficult pool on Saturday, as they faced off against one of the tournament favourites Home Bru, from Cape Town, as well as Lions River, Rex and the energetic start-up team, Wild Coast. The Raiders were unable to secure a win in their pool, as they were dispatched 13-0 after a long match by the eventual third-place Home Bru. Rhodes were more competitive in their next two games, ultimately losing 10-4 and 13-2 against Lions River and Rex respectively.
The highlight of Rhodes’s Saturday came in their last match of the day against the equally inexperienced Wild Coast.
Despite the superior fitness and speed of the Wild Coast team, Rhodes managed to use their composed attack and defence to drag the match out to a universal point. Plagued by injuries and poor lighting, Rhodes ultimately conceded the final point, going down 11-10 on universal point.
Sunday was slightly more profitable for the Rhodes Raiders, as they were matched against teams with similar results from the Saturday. In their first match of the day, the Raiders were clearly tired from the previous day, as they went down 13-2 against Ma- ties, one of only two other university teams at the tournament. Their following match, however, was much better for the Grahamstown side, as they easily dispatched the hosts of the tournament, Gale Force, by 13-6.
The last match of the weekend for Rhodes saw them take on Soweto in another energetic and close fought battle. In the last few minutes of the match, the Soweto energy won out and they ultimately triumphed by 13-11.
Rhodes finished the weekend in 12th place overall, one place above last placed Gale Force. Captain and society chairperson, Jason Wehmeyer, was happy with the growth of the team.
“There were ups and downs, but we expected that. Rhodes Ultimate is growing fast, in the space of 18 months we have developed into a serious team and look to continue doing so,” Wehmeyer said. “Most of our players were beginners, and showed that it didn’t affect us in big games. Yes we lost, but we pushed every team we played to the limit.”