Ash Chaplen of London Nexus Recaps about 2013 Millennium Event #1
by Ash Chaplen
“Last season Nexus sucked. It’s not something I particularly enjoy admitting but it’s true. We had a young and fragile team, we didn’t win anything and we finished with our lowest ranking ever in the Millennium Series. There are plenty of things we can blame this on or use to justify this, some quite valid ones too, but at the end of the day London Nexus is about winning and as Captain it is my job to make that happen.
With only myself, George Bruton and Shaun Hasell returning for the 2013 season our off-season was busier than normal. We had to find a winning formula, and for us that was to ‘put the old band back together’. Having played with his friends on Consilium Dei, Neil Campbell was keen to get back to the business end of tournament paintball, and after succeeding in his personal mission to return Marseille Vision to the Pro division, Clint Moore couldn’t resist taking on another challenge – putting Nexus back on the podium. We have also picked up Mike Bath, a local ‘paintball kid’ who showed good promise over several practises last season and is continuing to develop within the squad.
Finally we had to add a spark, a proven talent with the engine and desire to drive us all on. After exploring a few ideas we contacted Ironmen captain Marcello Margott, he was really keen to get onboard and shortly after it was all signed and official. Now, in past years we have avoided taking non-UK based players as we have tried to focus on local talent. However the unfortunate truth is that there are not enough UK players who are consistently out there letting their ability do the talking at the deep end of tournaments right now. There are players out there who are earning their stripes in the divisional ranks though, and we know who they are and we monitor their progress more closely than you might think.
So, with our old-look team re-assembled we headed to the south of France for the first Millennium event of the season. I had a good feeling about the team, but with all the changes in the Pro division over the off-season it was more difficult than ever to predict how things would shake down come Sunday afternoon.
Marcello flew in a day early so he could join us for a Wednesday practise with Vision and TonTon, it gave us the chance to try some rotations with him and other players in different spots. By the end of the afternoon it felt like Marcello had played with the team for ages, our styles fitted well and the mutual understanding between players was getting better with every point. Taking a lot of positives from the day we headed to the event to get down to business.
We started our prelim games well. Welcoming Marseille Vision back to the pro ranks with a dominant 5-1 win, then following that up with an even more commanding 5-0 victory over Rammstein Instinct. Our final prelim game was against Outrage Valence, where again we took no prisoners and posted a solid 5-0 win. I’ve never seen another team look genuinely shell-shocked after a defeat before, but the Outrage guys admitted that they had no answer for our attacking play and were just blown away. Finishing up the prelims we were top of our group and had the highest points difference of all the CPL teams.
Sunday is a whole new tournament. It’s a total cliche but its true. You have to forget the other games and find that extra something, and then find even more if you make finals. We had drawn a tough game against Polar Bears Tarko Sale, a strong Russian team just promoted from the semi pro division but loaded with talent. We knew it would be a good test for us and one we would have to overcome if we wanted to progress. Polar Bears took an early 2-0 lead, punishing us for penalties and some lazy play. It was a wake up call, this wasn’t going to be an easy cruise to 5 points. We regrouped and dug a point back, then traded points back and forth until the score was 4-2 Polar Bears. A long 3on3 followed in the next point which we were able to grind out to win, then we took advantage of a penalty on Polar Bears to tie up the match at 4-4. Everyone had dug deep and we had put ourselves right back in this match. We had the momentum and started the next point solidly, only to get a penalty and lose our whole dorito side. Although there was little time left on the clock, Polar Bears put our remaining players to the sword and closed the game out.
We were out. Penalties will hurt you at any level in paintball but against a top level team they are almost impossible to recover from. Our dominance in the prelims counted for nothing, we’d be watching finals with everyone else.
I don’t think I’ve ever been congratulated so much after losing. Its quite surreal, I hate losing so much and unless you can stand on the podium and shove that trophy in the air and thank your sponsors it doesn’t feel like a good weekend. Yet people tell me “you guys played great, very strong, like the old Nexus” but obviously we have some kinks to iron out still. What I am really excited about is that the chemistry in the team is awesome, and we will only grow stronger on and off the field. So this is no flash in the pan, we are going to be right there in the mix all season.
Congratulations to our fellow DYE team, Toulouse TonTon, for taking first place on home turf. As they showed, the DM13s and CG paint are unparalleled in their fields.
For us we go back and work even harder in preparation for the next round of the Millennium Series, in Bitburg Germany. You’ll also be able to catch us at the next round of the CPPS in May, as well as the NvS UK Big Game where we will be playing along side Pete Mr U Utschig for the southern team.”
London Nexus – Facebook.com/LondonNexus