Debut sport spins into contention for future

By Zac Yates

Ultimate Frisbee made its NZ Masters Games debut in the form of an exhibition series set up and run by Sport Wanganui.

Sport Wanganui staff member Nicole Dryden said the event on Tuesday was to demonstrate the game to the public.

"We don't have a league in Wanganui yet, but we wanted to set up the game in the Masters to show it off to the public, so we can have more participants in the future."

In the game teams of seven people - including two women who must be on the field at all times - pass a frisbee between themselves to someone in the goal-scoring endzone. As in netball, players can't move when they're holding the disc, and can try to block a prospective pass.

Unlike other Games sports, there are no referees. Instead, the players are expected to be self-regulating as the rules state "highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect, adherence to the rules or the basic joy of the game".

Four teams from Wanganui and Palmerston North competed in the high speed exhibition matches, which were supposed to be held on the grass at Springvale Park but had to be moved to Jubilee Stadium because of the weather.

As the sport was purely an exhibition series, the teams played for a trophy rather than Masters Games medals.

Wanganui woman Marie Kinloch said she first played the game in Palmerston North.

"I haven't actually been playing for that long. I was down playing in a Sport Manawatu challenge event last year and it was there, so I gave it a go.

"That's when we first got the idea of putting it in the Masters," she said.

As a fill-in for the WHS Old Boys team Kinloch put in a top effort, and despite the sport being non-contact she did suffer a few bumps and inadvertent shoves, and one of her male teammates took a couple of spectacular tumbles.

One of the other Wanganui teams, the grandly titled Masters of the Revolving Plastic Disc, showed great teamwork during their games with clever feints and sharp passes. Their co-operation even extended to forming an impromptu human ladder to retrieve their disc when it fell on to a wall.

The high energy in the game was evident as not only frisbees but also players bounced off the walls and into door frames during the course of the afternoon.

When each game was over the teams shook hands and hugged one another, and cheered for the opposition before getting ready for the next match. After the first match there was chatter among the players about starting a summer league in Wanganui, so Ultimate Frisbee may appear at future Masters Games.

RESULTS: Palmernui 1; Masters of the Revolving Plastic Disc 2; Slipped Disc 3; WHS Old Boys 3.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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