Millennium Cup Paris
July 2009 saw the re-introduction of Open division in the Millennium Series, as the Millennium Cup was a self seed event, where teams would play teams from different divisions in the preliminary round, and progress to Pro, Amateur or Novice, according to their results in the prelims.
We went to Paris with both our teams: Ugly Ducklings, who were seeded 2 in their group, and Ugly Ducklings 2, who were seeded 3 in theirs.
The first team, got what was arguably the toughest draw of any team at the event, as our group was comprised of:
SK Moscow (current CPl leaders)
Influence Montpellier (SPL team only 1 rank below us in the series)
Vision Klub (second team to CPL team Vision)
Based on our results so far this year, we were a bit apprehensive.
Our second team were facing:
B4 (ranked 6th in the SPL)
Xtreme Allstars (ranked 5th in the SPL)
Cyclone (ranked 23rd in Division 1)
We spent the day walking the fields, and in the evening had a long team meeting with our new mental coach, Magued Idris, owner and coach of Joy Division, where we spent a lot of time discussing the fears, hopes and aspirations of the team members, and got some issues squared away.
The first team was playing first, facing CPL leaders SK Moscow on the CPL field.
We had decided beforehand, that the only way for the team to start fulfilling its promise, was to start playing faster and with a more positive attitude, and that is exactly what we did.
The match went back and forth, and ended up with Moscow taking the deciding point with 1 player left stading, and us losing the match 4-3.
However, we were quite positive about the match, as we played really well, and were really close to winning.
Next, the first team played Vision Klub on field 3, where we kept playing fast and aggressive paintball, and beat them quickly 4-0.
It was now time to focus on the 2nd team, who were facing off against divisional rivals Cyclone in their first match.
Unfortunately, the team went into the match poorly focused and quickly dropped 2 points.
We then took a time out, and got peoples heads in the game, and they won the next 2 out of 3 points, to put the score to 2-3 in Cyclones favour.
The last point of the match was marred by a couple of unfortunate reffing hicups, and a point we should have clearly won, instead went to Cyclone, who took the match 4-2.
The 2nd team then faced B4, top SPL team and home team at the event, and now things started to click. The Match went the distance, and only in the dieing seconds of the match, did B4 clinch the victory by 4-3, with 1 players left on the field.
Being a bottom seeded Division 1 team, the 2nd team did really well against the top seed, and left for the hotel Friday night with their heads held high.
The first team now faced SPL rivals Montpellier Influence, and the pressure was on - we knew we had to win this match, to have a chance to qualify for the Pro finals.
Fortunately, we continued our playing style from Friday, and despite dropping a couple of points where we got a little too complacent, and started playing a little too fast, we won the match comfortably 4-2, and qualified for the Pro finals in 23rd spot, as the 2nd best Semi-Pro team overall.
The 2nd team played a really close match against top SPL team Xtreme Allstars, but lost in overtime 4-3.
The 2nd team thus qualified for the Millennium Shield finals (Novice), which was quite ok, considering the pool they had in the prelims, and could face their next matches with a very positive attitude, having taken 2 top SPL teams to the brink of defeat.
The first team faced Syndicate, who had only 2 days before won the Malaga CPL finals (which had been scheduled for Paris, after the wind destroyed the Malaga event), so we knew we were facing an in form top CPL team.
We shook hands on really taking it to them, before the match, and really did that, with numerous off the break moves during the match, that saw us keep them under maximum pressure and keeping them playing defensive.
We won the match in short order 4-1, and were now in the top 16.
The second team was already qualified for the 1/8 finals, having a bye in the first round, due to a good ranking after the prelims, so they faced fellow Scandinavians Poison Ivy.
Taking the lead from the first team, they played fast, aggressive paintball, and won the match 4-1 without much trouble.
The first team now faced another CPL team, London Shock, to make it into the top 8:
We started off well, taking the first point in 15 seconds, and thought we were on a roll. But Shock came back, and the second point went to them just as quickly, and we knew we were in a fight.
The next point we started out well, and quickly took them down to 2 against 4 players.... but unfortunately we simultaneourly got a stupid penalty on the snake side, while the refs missed a very dirty run though on the dorito side, and Shock took the point with 1 guy left alive.
We then turned it back on, and tied the match at 2-2, and the 5th point ended up in a very long 4,5 minute 1-1, where Daniel bounced the Shock player twice, before unfortunately loosing the point - bad luck.
Our back was now against the wall, with 45 seconds on the clock, down 2-3, we had to go at them, even if we were stating with only 4 players.
We did extremely well, made it into snake 2 and dorito 2, and our players were shooting Shock players all over the place..... but unfortunately those players were then allowed to play on, without incurring any penalties, and Shock ended up actually winning the point, and the match 4-2.
Still, we were happy about our result, we ended up in 10th place over all in the Pro division, which was definitely a result we could be proud off, coming into the competition as 42nd seed.
The second team faced Sus Scrofa in the 1/4 final, ranked 8 spots above them in Division 1. - However, they really played an awesome and fast match, and won 4-0 in one of the fastest matches of the weekend.
They then faced CPL team Ignition in the semifinal, and despite making a valiant effort, a Pro team ranked 50 places above them proved too much, and the team lost the match, and finished the event as 4th in the Millennium Shield competition.
We look back at Paris with a lot of positivity, and now look forward to proving the rest of the year, that it was no fluke, and that both teams have now found their true form, and are ready to realise their potentials.