Offenburg Comin’ At Ya’s Dario Berndtson – London Wrap Up
My name is Dario Berndtson, I’m 23 years old. I started playing paintball with my brother back in 2004, we have both been playing for Comin at Ya for 4 years now.
Our London event started with a 1.30am alarm on Thursday morning to drive to England, I was really looking forward to this event, because we have changed a few things in the team during the past couple of weeks and now it was time to see if it worked out for us. After the long drive, we finally arrived in Basildon. The weather was perfect, not just by English standards, the Millennium had done a really good job to build up a nice event on the grass in Basildon. We had arranged a final practice with the guys from Silent Moscow. Our friend Greg Siewers was playing with us this event, so it gave him a chance to get his eye in before the games started. I have to say thanks to our Russian friends for a good practise session, we played a lot of points to get Greg confident with the team and the field layout and things came together quite fast.
Ok then, the tournament was on. We had to play Hellwood Paris, FiveStar Leida and Grafitti Bruessels in the Prelims. Hellwood took 3rd place in St Tropez and Bitburg. So they were far ahead of us in rankings. But our approach to tournaments now is to only focus on the next step, the next game, the next point we have to take to go any further, no matter what happened before or will happen next.
We win 4:2 against Hellwood and with one win in our pocket we would need to win one more to get into the ‘Sunday club’. Next up were FiveStar Leida who played really well and edged us out for a 4:3 win. Aggghh! So we go into Saturdays final pre-lim game with 1 win and 1 loss. We’ve done this almost every event for the last 2 years. From now on we had to win every game and no room for mistakes.
Our next opponents Graffiti Brussels had Damian Ryan and Jerry Devareaux on their team, we knew we had to watch for those guys and that it would be a really tough match. Greg was playing wide on the dorito side for us and they were focussing more guns on him too. After a few points Greg and I switched, so that he could play the support role. They shot me the next 2 points in a row, trying to go wide, but while we got blocked on the dorito side, our Snake side with Alex and Steigi were doing a great job closing out points to help us win 4:1.
In the last 2 events that we made Sunday, we lost the first knockout game. It sucks really bad. So the biggest aim now was to get through that first last 16 knockout round in which we played Amsterdam Heat 2. We practiced with their Big Brothers Amsterdam Heat, Nexus and Breakout in Belgium the weekend before London, so we kind of thought we knew how their second team would play. But Heat 2 played quite different. We traded points in a back and forth game, but we always were ahead of them. We had broken the curse and finally won our first game on Sunday 4:2!!!
Our quater finals opponents, London Tigers were having a really good event so far, winning ALL of their games 4:0. And when they won the first point against us, it looked as though they would keep on winning. I think the Tigers never had to adapt their game plan so far in the tournament. So when we made some changes they didn’t really have a plan B to switch to. We closed the game out 4:1. onto the Semi-finals then! Ronins Hagenau had knocked us out in Bitburg, so we knew we had a tough game ahead of us and wanted some payback. They were playing very strong as usual, but they were picking up a lot of penalties. In one point, one of us started early, 2 got shot on the break, and a 4th player died as soon as he got to his spot, o it was 5 Ronins against Stegi in the backcenter. Annoyed we hadn’t shot any of them on the break, I was about to throw the towel, but then I saw the marshals calling two 1-4-1’s at the same time! So it was 1-0n-1 after 15 seconds! Steigi had lost his last 1-on-1 against the Ronins, so now it was his time to show what he can do. And he won! Ronins kept drawing more penalties in the next points, so they beat themselves and lost 4:2
The Final was definitely the toughest game we had to play and it’s no surprise as we were playing Polar Bears who had a roster full of old school Russion Legion plpayers. We traded points back and forth, with the Russians showing some great shooting skills, eliminating our back centre off the break running and shooting, and shooting our point players too. The Russians showed how good they are with their strategy and planning. They were adapting to our play after each point, sending someone up to the middle to shoot our guys running wide, edging ahead 3:2.
We made a big play with 5 guns up to square the match at 3:3. In the deciding point we shoot 2 guys off the Break on the snake side. But we could not get wide and capitalise. On the dorito side they had taken a good position and I got shot. Now it was 3 Russians against 4 Comin at Ya players. Still unable to push the Snake side, the game was stuck for quite a while. We lost 2 bodies on the snake side in quick succession, and despite Greg going down the dorito side shooting one guy and trading with another, he got a 1-4-1 which meant they pulled out our last player and we lost the game 4:3.
Congratulations to the Polar Bears winning their 2nd Event in a row! They are a great Team. Despite our disappointment at not taking the win, we knew we had played well and could be proud of our performance. This has been the best event for us this season, not just because of the result but because we tried new things in the team, and this lead us to success, so now have to try to keep that level up and stick to our new strategy.
The 2012 European Championships were played on the same weekend and on Friday afternoon I was lucky to be nominated to play for Team Germany! Twenty one Nations from across Europe would compete to be European Champion! We had players from Syndicate, Instinct and Comin’ At Ya, so even though we all had played the layout, we hadn’t been able to practice together as a team. Our first game was against Denmark. With some of the Ugly Ducklings on the team, I knew that they would be difficult to play, because they are so unpredictable. It took a few points to gel as a team. The points we won were not very dominant but our individual skill was getting us through. It was a close game, but we won 4:3 and went through to the next round on Saturday. We improved a lot in our next game against Austria. Whoever we out on the field played well. We won this game 4:0. Now we were in the Semi Finals and had to play against the Russian team. With some of the best players in the World on their squad, they were the favourites for the tournament. We had nothing to lose, so we were going at them as we would go on any other team. Coach Pat did his best, and we found ourselves tied up at 3:3. The Russians came out in the final point and dominated us, they won the game 4:3. A very tough game.
We still had to pick ourselves up to play for 3rd place. I think by now the event was taking its toll on the players – we had all played 6 matches by now. I think we ran out of energy and gave the game away to France 4:1.
Russia went on to beat last years Champions, Great Britain in the final, so congratulations to The Russians for taking 1st Place!