Already weeks before this tournament everything was going horribly wrong. Our training wasn’t going as planned since way too many players were having their vacation mixed just so that we didn’t get even one session with everybody on board. Also many players were unable to participate in the tournament because of one reason or another and top of that, as the icing to our misfortune cake Olli Kemppi injured his tailbone in a forest paintball game and Kim Vainionpää his knee in training. The tournament was closing fast and we literally had no players for our teams… But as it sometimes turns out, our greatest fears turned out to be just that, fears, and the tournament turned out to be one hell of a ride.
The third leg of the Finnish Championship league would be held in Äänekoski. A small dot on the Finnish map in the middle of nowhere. It’s a small city of 20 thousand people about 50 kilometers from Jyväskylä in the center part of Finland. Normally this place is really calm and peaceful with virtually no tourists or travelers. This changes once a year, the time of the Neste Rally Finland in Jyväskylä. The rally is a huge event and it gathers people all around the world to see the rally and get waist…. I mean party in the nightless night of Finnish summer. Of course this weekend is the same weekend of the tournament… We actually asked about this from the organizers, we questioned a bit about the timing of it all since it is a bit of a problem with all the hotels fully booked and a million cars on the highway. Their answer was “Is that now? Oh dear, it seems we completely forgot about that”. Well yes… I guess there’s also some bloke in London right about now wondering why is there so many people there.
As always most of us arrived at our stay in Summassaari already on Friday. This time we didn’t have a hotel booking but some cabins in sort of spa resort. The place was kind of cool with it’s 70’s design green wooden cabins but the so called spa was actually a swimming pool and a small gym. No matter, we wouldn’t have had time for it anyway.
The weather and the site
It seems that the weather gods have completely abandoned the Finns this summer. We seen only a couple of days with the temperature over 25 degrees Celsius and more rain than the last two summers combined. This weekend was no exception. On Saturday the sky kept greyish with only a couple of glimpses of sun here and there. It kept pretty warm with some drops of rain and a 30 minute thunderstorm smack in the middle of the day. On Sunday we saw the sun clearly and it was quite warm actually. This would have been great but every hour or so the sky would darken in an instant and pour down some rain just to keep us on our toes.
If the weather was rubbish the sight was the complete opposite. The field is normally used for soccer so you can probably imagine this perfect tough grass with laser flat surface and drains running under to take care of any rain in an instant. I’ve only rarely played in such a perfect field even touring the millennium. The site had showers which we could use, the netting was a good 6 meters, enough to keep all the paint in the inside and there were real toilets with porcelain and everything. The organizers also had an av-system top make announcements during the day as an extra treat. The only thing I could nag about if I was really pushed to nag about something was the food. I really don’t get why in every Paintball event in Finland the only food you can get is mixed sausages and potatoes (usually eaten at 4 am when coming home from a bar) or just plain sausages. How ’bout some veggies guys. Were supposed to be athletes here?
I hoping you already know this but in case you didn’t happen to check the site on Saturday, the LiveFeed was up as usual. This time we had some problems though. We tested a set of three cameras and live audio commentary. Everything worked perfectly at home but as it turned out the long wire didn’t work as well as the short ones. So this time we had to get by with two cameras and the LiveBlog. They say you can’t win all the time and we still managed to get good stuff to the site. The thanks of course goes to our main tech guy Antti Syvänne.
Alex’s bar was also closed this time since Alex’s himself was in a wedding spreading his knowledge to some other enthusiastic listeners. Still we managed to take some footage for your delight.
This year the Sunday games schedule, meaning the 1.division and the 2.division, has been too tight. In Piikkiö the games could not be all played because the Marshalls had to leave for their boat. To tighten the schedule the games in Äänekoski were played in pairs. The other pair would play while the other had their two minutes. This was tested already in Kirkkonummi and it worked quite well. The only drawbacks are that it’s hard to keep track on who’s playing as a spectator and that the teams time on the pit varies greatly during games.
As earlier in noted, we were really scared for the 1.div team. There were only five players on the team including Kim Vainionpää with his injured knee and the plus one player was Olli Kemppi with his injured tailbone. On top of that they didn’t manage to get enough training as a team (or training at all) before the tournament. Straight from their vacations with only a couple training sessions came Jaakko Tusa and Jani Kalasniemi. As a positive note they did have Pekka Roininen who had been in almost all sessions and Antti Syvänne who’s also put in good work this season. So there we had it, a real black sheep of a team, coached by Toni Sireni strategic mind.
Game 1: Cyclone VDO vs. Trivoga GO 3 – 1
Traditionally Cyclone first games have been horrid for us but for this game, the first point, I think we made some sort of record. The whole team was geared up and ready, the pit crew was ready, the coaches were ready… Everything was as it should be, but the problem is that nobody went to the field. The bell signalled the game to start but still our guys stood in the pit… First point to Trivoga GO it is then. Luckily we’re not playing 7man anymore and we had the chance to make a comeback. Three points in a row with especially Kim on fire in the Dorito side.
Game 2: Cyclone VDO vs. PPW Croc 3 – 1
Time to see what really is possible on this field. Tonis plan was to mix our field up so badly that PPW doesn’t have any clue on what’s going on. Why? Because they hate it and we know that. Also we saw the most spectacular run through for the weekend performed by Antti Syvänne. Straight from the break a snake side run through taking out 4 PPW players.
Game 3: Cyclone VDO vs. Räyhä 2 – 3
We’re not quite sure what happened here. Räyhä just played us out with good basic line playing. We decided that this would be the only screw-up of the day. And so it was
Game 4: Cyclone VDO vs. Trivoga GO 3 – 0
Another game against Trivoga GO and this time we actually had players on the field straight from the start. This time it was Jaakkos and Janis time to shine. 2 vs. 5 turned to a 2 vs. 0 and a victory with these guys hugging their bunkers, keeping their lines and talking to each other.
Semifinal: Cyclone VDO vs. Creditor 3 – 1
At this point we started to have a bit of a problem with our cripples. Olli was completely out, even he admitted he couldn’t play anymore and Kims knee started causing problems as well. It was time to dig out the old guns and Jarmo Nieminen went to the field. Jarmo is of course a good player, he was in the championship team 2010 but he hasn’t shot anything all year except his mouth since he was concentrating on his Masters thesis… We had five players on the field and that was quite enough since it seemed that Creditor had literally no antidote on the superfast paintballer eating virus called Home Dog aka Pekka Roininen on the snake side
Final: Cyclone VDO vs. PPW Croc 3 – 1
It was time to fight for the Gold. We had won PPW once already and we knew exactly how it could be done again. Our guys had played a brilliant day especially on our breaks and they continued the same way. Simple basic chillaxed game plans and the victory was ours.
The shiniest bucket of the day was ours and because of that we moved to the second spot on the ranking. All we need now is to play a good tournament in Tallinn to take the Gold in the 1. division.
On this tournament the order of games was changed. 3.division would play first and the league would start after them. This meant of course a treat for all of us. We rolled to the site after a good night sleep and nice breakfast. The team this time comprised of Wilhe Knaapi and Tomi Lindholm representing the young’un squad Sami Turunen and Sampo Kokkonen representing the old farts squad and Pertti Berg making a comeback to the league field. We also had Toni Sireni as a +1 player to be used in special circumstances and of course Sam Stark making the tough Coaching decisions.
Game 1: Helsinki Cyclone vs. Urho 3 – 4
It seems that we really can’t shake our first game curse no matter how hard we try. Urho played pretty good paintball but nothing special as the score shows but our total screw up with penalties caused us this game. Five 1-4-1 penalties in one game is way too many. We even managed to lose a point after we shot two players out from the break and a third just after that. The field tends to tie up when you take two penalties in one point. This was a real shame for us, since as you’ll see later, this was the game we should have won.
Game 2: Helsinki Cyclone vs. Trivoga 3 – 2
Trivoga was and still is the one to beat. The last years champions play the same sort of fast tactical game as we do which makes these matches always epic. This time was no exception. The first point went to Trivoga but if our snake coach would have known how many Cyclone guys were left he wouldn’t have fed me to the lions, as the blog says, as in tried to bunker the last guy of Trivoga so eagerly. After a 1 vs. 1 Trivoga took it. The second point also went to the Trivoga guys and it didn’t look good. Neither did the weather, as flashes of lightning and explosion like thunder with pouring rain stopped the game right then and there… After the rain we changed some tactics and tried something new. It worked and we won the next two point tying the game. The last point started with just over a minute on the clock and t seemed that we were going towards overtime, but no, we managed to hang the flag 1 second on the clock and take the game. The game was better but we were still getting a lot of penalties
Game 3: Helsinki Cyclone vs. Dream Team 4 – 1
This really hasn’t been DT:s year. They always seem to screw up the first couple of games and they don’t seem to have any antidotes to our speed. The only point worth mentioning is the point we lost where one DT player on the snake dropped two of our guys both going for the buzzer. Two lessons to be learned here. 1. If you’re one meter away from the buzzer just push it, don’t start playing the last guy and 2. If your mate walks away from the buzzer with his hand on his head, it means there’s someone from the other team still left. Nuf said
Game 4: Helsinki Cyclone vs. Takeover 3 – 4
To be honest this was by far the hardest game of the day. TO kept taking the snake and it seemed there was nothing we could do about it. They ran through our lines like they weren’t there and popped our guys out while we were shooting. In no time was the game under our control even when we were winning points. I don’t know how they do it but big ups for these guys for doing it.
Game 5: Helsinki Cyclone vs. Field Fighter 2 – 4
To get Cyclone to the final against Urho we needed to win this game by three points. A win would also push FF:s claim to the title to the last tournament in Tallinn. We were the only team who could stop the FF:s rain of power. The first points were as always unbelievably tight. After more than 8 minutes of playing the game was 2 – 1 and the cards were on our hands… but no. The paintball gods didn’t favor us this time. FF tied the game to 2 – 2 and dropped our hopes of beating them to the title. The next points didn’t really matter to either of us so we tried to make some quick points with little success. You don’t make quick points against these guys.
Bronze game: Helsinki Cyclone vs. Trivoga 4 – 2
The bronze game is usually the game where you measure how much heart you have for the sport. Both teams have already lost the gold and they have to battle out which of them still has some steam to puff. This time was no different and the team with the more heart was us. We felt that it was a different Trivoga against us then before. I won’t say the game was easy, but in my opinion Trivoga just didn’t want to win as much as we did.
So there you have it folks. A second bronze for this season and FF lifting the Championship title just barely out of our grasp. The fight for the silver continues in Tallinn. We’ll see all you guys there.