Monday, October 7th, 2013
The final event of the season is where all the story lines are concluded. Each teams year-long adventure draws to a close, and for a lucky few, there is a sweet reward at the end of it all; a podium finish, a promotion to the next division, a series title, maybe even a big fat check.
by Ash Chaplen
photos by: Erik Chateau & Ole Kroger
For London Nexus, our season finished exactly as it began in St Tropez back in April – with a win over Marseille Vision. Those victories book-ending a season of ups, downs and near misses. After failing to make the top 4 in St Tropez by the smallest of margins, we came back stronger in Germany and put ourselves on the podium, only a narrow defeat in the semi finals at the hands of Houston Heat denying us the chance to play for the win. Then after the disappointment of not even playing on Sunday in London we regrouped in Paris to take a strong 3rd place finish, stealing 4th place in the series standings from LA Infamous in the process. On the home front we dominated the the UK National league – losing only 2 matches all season on our way to the National Championship.
Despite the beginning and end of the season having a familiar ring to it, Marseille Visions season was its own roller coaster. The 2012 Semi-Pro champions played some great paintball all season, but just couldn’t turn good points into match wins. After 3 events and no Sunday appearances they were flirting with relegation back to SPL. It was not until the final event of the season that they found the consistency needed to be a contender at the pro level. With their captain and talisman Lyonnel Parra dominating off the break and Damien Grauvogel constantly closing out the close points, Vision marched into the top 4 like they had been there all season.
The real success story of the season belongs to Toulouse TonTon. They made big plans for 2013, committing to both the Millennium Series and the PSP – the only European team to do so. And boy did they step up to the challenge, after winning the 1st event almost at a canter, they were on the top step of the podium again in Germany, after one of the most entertaining, if not controversial, finals seen in Europe for a long time. A minor blip in London meant they were noticeable only by their absence from the podium, before returning to the finals in Paris, wrapping up the European series title in the process. Add in the French National Championship, and them being one of the favourites to take the Challengers title at the PSP World Cup and you have a season most teams and players can only dream of.
Meanwhile, in the Semi Pro division, Offenberg Comin at Ya were securing their place among Europes elite for 2014. With consistent performances all year long they were sat in 3rd place gong into Paris. With only two teams gaining automatic promotion they needed a strong finish in Paris and a little fortune too. They were handed a gift when one of their main rivals failed to reach the ‘Sunday Club’ but they still had to work their way in to the finals to be certain of the promotion. Taking 3rd place in Paris they were able to edge out Hellwood Paris for the promotion spot and they will return to pro division for the first time since 2010.
The DYE Teams were rampant in the Semi Pro division, with so many teams trying to maximise their season standings. GK Boost Air Rennes, RMG Bratislava, Falkoping Mashive and Ugly Ducklings Odense all secured a place in the seasons top 10.
In Division 1 Scorpions Milano took their year long fight for the series title to the very last game of the season. After battling it out with London Defiance at every event the two teams were almost inseparable all year long. After trading the lead in the series standings the same two teams found themselves facing each other again in Paris. With both the event and series titles there for the taking in the same game, its the type of situation you want to be in as a paintballer. On this occasion Scorpions had to settle for 2nd place, but they will be promoted to the Semi Pro division for 2014, and the boys from Milan will be back even stronger next year.
As the finals were being played out, the success stories were coming in from all divisions. In Division 2 Durham DV8 secured their promotion to D1 with a 6th place finish – having never even made it through to Sunday before the start of this season, the lads from the North of England teamed up with DYE for the 2013 season and employed the coaching expertise of London Nexus’ Clint Moore and his Art of Winning pro-school. The combination was met with instant success – making Sunday at the first event was followed by a win in Germany. A podium finish at their home event in London put them on course for a top 3 finish and the secured their position in Paris. They also picked up the UK Masters series title along the way and are already working hard for 2014.
In one of the most unfortunate near misses of the season, all-girl team Poison Ivy narrowly missed out on promotion to D1. The girls from Norway have put in some serious practise time this year and it was paying huge dividends on the field. Taking no prisoners with their sharp break-shooting and methodical play they finished in the top 10 at every event, with a fine 2nd place to Durham DV8 in Germany being the highlight of the season. However with only 3 teams earning promotion to D1 and despite finishing on the same points as eventual 3rd place team Diasporia Vilnius the girls were denied 3rd place on the basis of pre-season ranking. Despite the disappointment, the girls are still celebrating their best season ever, and they know what they need to do to take the next step in 2014.
Congratulations to all the DYE teams, who made a combined total of over 20 podium appearances, 4 event wins and 3 promotions in 2013. Also a huge congratulations to the CPL series champion – the Toulouse TonTons.