CPPS Round 2 is the books and what great day it was.
Coming hot off a less than perfect start in Round 1 we were keen to prove ourselves this round and get out to a strong start.
Initially all went to plan as we jumped out to a 3-0 lead in our first prelim game against Manchester Firm. However, Firm were not going to roll over easy for us and put up a scrappy 2 points to bring the game to 3-2 with 1:23 on the clock and no overtime in the prelims at CPPS, we knew this was a must win point if we wanted to take the game. With some strong break shooting we were left uncontested in the snake, which we pushed and took the point and the game 4-2.
Our second prelim game saw us face off against London Attrition. This game started off very tight as close points were traded back and forth, but as the match developed, Attrition managed to inch out a 3-1 lead. With just 2:38 left we knew time was against us, and we needed to get some points on the board quickly to stay in the game. After a strong 5 alive break we were able push as team and find the first point in good time, leaving ourselves 1:27 to find another. We were 01 off the break, but managed to get ourselves into the snake where James Green (#42) got to Attrition’s side taking 3 and sacrificing his body in the process. This left the rest of the team in a 2 on 2 with 40 seconds to play where Mason Hinds (#3) was able to push the middle and get the final two kills to tie the game up with 3 seconds to go ending the game in a tie.
A tie is not the result we ever want; however, we were happy with the comeback against such a testing team. To come back under time pressure certainly gave the team a lot of confidence and put the team in high spirits for the next game against London Tigers which after a 5-minute battle of a first point we were able to put up some solid points and take a 2-1 win. This left us sitting on 2 wins and 1 draw heading into our final prelim game against Stoke Quest, where a solid 5-1 win put us through to the knockouts as top seed.
As top seed we had secured the bye straight to the semis. While a guaranteed top 4 spot is not something to be scoffed at, there’s mixed feelings in the Elite division around ‘the curse of the bye’. Only one team has ever won an event after securing the bye out of the prelims (coincidently us a few years ago). Teams often go cold or miss out on valuable lessons from the extra game and end up losing their semi final game to a team they should, on paper, beat. We were well aware of this ‘curse’ and were determined to break the trend.
For the second time we found ourselves faced up against Firm, but this time for a spot in the finals. Much like our prelim match up we leapt out to a 3-0 lead with Firm scrapping back to make the game 3-2. Again, this was a must win point and we found ourselves in a long 4 on 4 with both teams mostly spread along the back line. Determined not to repeat the mistakes of the Tigers point, we methodically pushed as a team to take the point to go up 4-2, wrapping up a 5-2 win in the next point.
With the win against Firm, we were through to our second consecutive final, and again we were matched up against Operation Sandbaggers. With some former horses on their team, they are a team we are very familiar with, and we expected a battle. What we did not expect was to get absolutely obliterated off the break in the first few points and find ourselves down 0-2 in under 3 minutes of play. We needed to adjust, and we needed to do it fast! After some solid team play, using the whole field we managed to claw our way back into the match finding ourselves down just one point (2-3) with 2:33 on the clock.
In the pits we all knew this was the make it or break it point. A strong break from both teams left us in a gruelling 5 on 5 where we came together as a team, dinking the Sandbaggers out of their spots and convert a 5 on 2 to tie the game with 21 seconds to go. After both teams trying to push for the win, we found ourselves in overtime, just one more strong point away from the Valken Cup and our second consecutive win of 2022.
Again, Baggers pulled out some excelling break shooting, taking out our whole snake side off the break. But this time we were able to match it with two kills on the break of our own, and third soon after. The overtime point quickly turned into a slow 3 on 2 which Clint Moore (#29), Thomas Carrol (#26) and Mason Hinds (#3) were able to close out to win the point, game, and tournament!
We could not be more ecstatic to step up onto the top of that podium as a team for the second time this year and would like to thank all our sponsors (GI Sportz, Planet Eclipse, Jersey Clinic, JT Paintball, Carbon Paintball, Paintball.de, BeyondNRG), CPPS and their amazing crew and all our fellow Elite teams for a stellar tournament. We are already looking forward to being back for Round 3.