World Cup Day Two: Hammer of the Scots

The second day of the Blood and Thunder World Cup began with the second half of the pool placement rounds. As Team Scotland were arriving on multiple flights, they couldn’t play any bouts on Day One, so both of their pool bouts were held today.

After fighting New Zealand in a close bout (thanks, in particular to sterling jamming by Marshall Lawless, with a 30 pt jam in the first period, and a 12 point jam, while visibly exhausted, in the very last jam of the bout) only to lose 124:111.

The bout against the USA went as predicted; despite some individually good performances, Team Scotland was as (happily, from their faces) outclassed as most of the teams in this tournament would be. The crowd was clearly with the Scottish team, however, with a huge cheer when Wild Oates scored Scotland’s one and only point. (This seems to have made Oates something of a minor celebrity, considering the number of later namechecks by commentators. In fact, DNN took the time to interview her after the bout, and stuck it up here: http://www.derbynewsnetwork.com/2011/12/world_cup_interviews_wild_oates_juke_boxx)

Unfortunately, due to the use of a win/loss, points bracket scheme for seeding, the seeding placements for many of the teams were not reflective of their true skill (New Zealand and Scotland both ranked lowest in their win/loss ratio bracket, putting NZ 9th and TS 13th, just because they lost overwhelmingly to the best team in the world, while some other teams seem to have been seeded higher than I would have expected based on their performance.)

Seeding 13th set up Team Scotland for their 3rd bout of the day, their first in the elimination tournament proper, against 4th seed, Australia (who hadn’t played a bout in the day). While the first 5 or so jams were actually fairly close, an clearly tired Team Scotland kept making mistakes and picking up penalties; the final score of  251:48 to Australia reflects a multitude of factors other than the skill of the players (Australia would probably have won the bout with a fresh Scotland, but not by such a landslide.)

Scotland will now play Argentina (who were seeded 12th, after a drubbing by England in their final pool bout, and then defeated by an tired Sweden (like Scotland, playing their 3rd bout of the day) in their first elimination bracket). Depending on how well Brazil and Ireland do, a win in the consolation bracket could potentially place the Scottish team as high as 9th.

If there was a consistent theme to all three bouts, it was the same weakness that was evident in Team Scotland from their exhibition bouts: that is, a particular fondness for the sin-bin. In all three bouts, Team Scotland played very well when all of their skaters were on the track, and exploited power-jams themselves exceptionally; but there were far too many times when there were only 3 or 2 blockers to hold back the opposing team.

The other events in the day were: England methodically dissecting All-Ireland and Argentina and Canada steamrollering Sweden and Brazil (bouts which, like the USA matchups, Ireland, Argentina, Brazil and Sweden were never going to win, but fought hard on nonetheless), Germany ekeing out a win against a very determined Finland (in a bout where the lead changed multiple times, but a serious Second Half strategy by Germany ensured the win), France trouncing Brazil (rather like Scotland, Brazil have problems with keeping all their skaters on the track, but France outplayed them as well),  and, finally France being generally outplayed in a low-scoring bout against Sweden.

This set the seeding for the elimination tournament as shown here: http://www.derbynewsnetwork.com/2011/12/world_cup_elimination_round_set

Other than the Scotland/Australia and Sweden/Argentina bouts mentioned above, the other two elimination bouts played were:

France facing off against Brazil (again!), in a much closer bout than before, but still easily leaving France the victors.

All-Ireland facing off against Finland; in the first upset of the tournament, #7 seeded Ireland was defeated in a close 148:134 by #10 seed Finland.

The next bout of interest to Team Scotland supporters is the play-off against Argentina, at 3pm GMT.

The other bouts are:

Germany v New Zealand

Australia v Sweden

and then the rest of the brackets to be determined by the results of the games to be played.

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