Millennium Series Round 1 – A Harsh Reality…
This season marks the 15th anniversary of the Millennium European Paintball Series, and is also the very first time that London Samurai Topcats will be completing the full season of Millennium events. Last season we competed in Campaign Cup to get a taster of what we were in for this year, where we surpassed our own expectations and made it to the quarter-finals, only to be knocked out by the eventual winners – Lethal Bizzle.
For this event, 2 of the team drove and brought the kit with them while the rest of us flew out and met them on site on the Friday, where we collected our player cards. I have to extend a massive thank you to Ainsley and the CPPS, as by paying upfront for our CPPS season payment meant we secured 5 free player cards, saving us a considerable amount. We stayed on site until the late afternoon, which gave us plenty of time to watch some games, check out a lot of the new gear from the vendors, and most importantly it gave us the opportunity to walk the field at the end of the day. This weekend fell over one of the team’s 30th birthday, and what he had asked for from his other half was a GSL. It is a well-known fact that she is possibly the worst liar going, she had managed to convince him that she was unable to get her hands on one as there weren’t any available in the UK. So you can imagine the surprise when on the table in front of him, a rather familiar shaped box appeared. Full credit to Ellie, she is definitely a keeper! Anyway, after checking off our lanes and shots from different bunkers, we loaded the cars and headed off to the apartment.
Saturday was where it would all begin…
Now being a paintball player, early starts are a common occurrence, but they don’t get any easier! We woke at 05.00 and then loaded up the cars and the van and hit the road. The apartment was a good 40 minutes’ drive from the site but we were the first to arrive on the site. We were the first group to play in our division, so went straight into the pits and set up in preparation for our first game. Our group and schedule for this event was:
1. 08.30 – Westside Bern
2. 09.15 – London Shock Kids
3. 09.45 – Sneaky Snorkels Tamworth
4. 10.30 – Assala Libreville
1. 12.45 – Kristianstad Slamdancers
Game 1: Westside Bern
We came into this game feeling organised, confident, and pumped. We were first in the pits that morning, and the usual rush and madness was vacant that morning, so we came onto the field with a calm and clear mind-set. At the start-gate, we confirmed that everyone knew their jobs and where they were going, and waited for the countdown. 10 seconds…
We broke clean from the gate, and managed to get wide on the dorito side, and gained dominance which stopped them from pushing up the field. This meant we could get the shots cross-field and take out their 2 snake players. Soon after making the 50 we got the final 3 eliminations and took the first point quite convincingly. The team were looking strong and feeling confident. So we stepped off the field to get ready for the second point.
We started the second point in the same way as the first, but Westside had planned for this and countered it. They were putting their lanes down and holding us in our bunkers, allowing them to push up the field and pick us off, taking the game to a draw. And unfortunately, they had found their zone. The next point was a similar story. They took all the aggression, and managed to come down the field at us, taking the final point which meant we had our first loss, 1-2.
Game 2: London Shock Kids
The weekend before this event, we trained with Shock at our home ground Bricket Wood. We spent the day running points, which were going back and forth between both teams. We were getting kills on the break and this helped us to take the aggression to them. However, this did not turn out to be the case on the day. They were delaying their runs on the snake side, which put us off our game, and put their lanes down to stop us getting out wide. Getting a 2-4-1 in one of the points didn’t help us either, and unfortunately we lost this game 0-2.
Game 3: Sneaky Snorkels Tamworth
Coming off of our second loss of the day, we really wanted to come out and win this next game. We took this game to 1-1, after losing the first point and bringing it back to a tie, but they were able to adapt better than we were and stopped us playing our game, meaning we lost again 1-2.
Game 4: Assala Libreville
This was our final game of the day, and knew it would be a tough one as Assala hadn’t lost a game yet. Again, we took this game to 1-1 as well, and the point we took was very well worked and finished with a few bodies alive, but again it was all to play for in the final point.
In the final point, both teams lost bodies early on, and it was going to come down to getting the better field position. In the end it came down to 3-on-1 in our favour, after pushing into the 50 snake. We lost the 3-on-1 due to silly mistakes and this was hard to take, we lost the game 2-1.
We just weren’t able to finish out our games and already knew at this stage that we would not be progressing into Sunday club. In our eyes, we had failed and may as well be dead last in our division. We cleared out of the pits and went back to the vehicles to get changed, cool off, and discuss what happened and what we can change.
We stayed on site for remainder of the day to watch some more games and also the preliminary rounds of the one-on-one championship. Tomorrow would give us the chance to take a win away from the event, so we got focused ready for the next day.
We were playing the last game that day so we had a lot more time to sort ourselves out, or so we thought. After getting into the main pitting area, we found out our groups games had already begun, so we had a bit of rush to move into the pits on our field and get sorted all within the space of 3 games. Our game soon came around, and we stepped onto the field for our final game of the tournament.
Game 5: Kristianstad Slamdancers
We decided to change it up slightly for this game and went to play aggressive down the dorito side. Our snake insert shot the cross-field lane to try and get their corner runner, and also have the dorito insert player shooting that side as well. We must have had our lanes slightly off as they managed to get wide, and stop us making any ground and we lost bodies all around until it ended up being a four-on-one in their favour. Remarkably, the birthday boy managed to pull off some spectacular paintball to take it down to a one-on-one. With our last man in their dorito 1, and their last man in the 50 snake, Alex made a mad dash for the buzzer after realising he only had a few balls left. I think there may have been a bit of birthday luck involved as he managed to make it to the buzzer, and also clip the loader of their last player whilst doing so! 1-0 up, and we felt we deserved this win, so got ready to come out for the second point.
In typical fashion for us at this event, they took the next point to take it to a tie game, 1-1. We didn’t change our break outso they knew where we going and they stopped us getting the width and pushed hard against us. So we wiped down, aired up, got paint and stepped back onto the field for our last point.
This time we went wide off the break, however we still lost bodies early on and they had the advantage. However, we managed to lock down the field, and eventually the game came down to a 1-on-1. Alas, this time it was not to be, with our last man alive getting lipped on the very edge of his goggles, which meant we finished our final game with another 1-2 loss, putting us 0 and 5 for the tournament.
We really felt we deserved this last win; we looked much stronger this game, even though it may not sound that way. But Slamdancers played a great game, and this showed in their results as they managed to make it through to the semi-finals.
To say we were disappointed with our results would be an understatement. We know we are better than how we played, and ultimately it came down to small and silly mistakes that let us down in some points. All credit to the other teams though, they were shooting better lanes and were able to adjust better than we were and we didn’t have an answer for that. We feel we were a bit unlucky, taking 4 of the games to 1-1 and losing the final point each time, but that was just how it panned out for us. As a team now, we will be looking to go back to basics and polish off our individual skills, to enable us to come back to Bitburg as a stronger, slicker, and better team, and hopefully make Sunday club and the finals.
Overall, I don’t think any of us can say that we didn’t enjoy the weekend. Playing a big tournament is something special, and although we would have enjoyed it more if we were winning, we still had an amazing time out in France, and are looking forward to the next event in Germany!
Finally, there a few words of thanks which need to be said. A huge thank you to our coach, Bonar, and also to our pit crew, Laura and Ellie. Having that second pair of eyes off the field and his cool, level-head brought a lot of composure and solid thinking to the team, and the girls proved invaluable in the pits and were extremely efficient – we’ll be looking to get them onto the field soon! And finally, a massive thanks to our sponsors:
• Planet Eclipse – for the impeccable markers and superb playing gear. The Geo 3.1’s, Ego LV1’s, and now GSL shot flawlessly all weekend and without a single issue.
• Empire Paintball – the evil paint proved to the best on the market, shot beautifully straight and we didn’t have a single break all weekend!
• HK Army – the jerseys stood up the abuse we constantly throw at them, and are easily the best-looking jerseys we have seen!
• LiPS – you provide us with everything else we could possibly need, and all the support to keep us going.
• Bricket Wood Paintball – thank you for providing the best training facility in the South, allowing us to get as much practice on the new layouts as possible.
• Virtue – true to its word, the spire never jammed and kept going strong without a single problem.
#planeteclipse #empirepaintball #virtuepb #hkarmy