This Saturday, May 5th RC Red Star road tripped out to Coldstream, Victoria for PAVS round 3. We were worried that we wouldn’t be able to field a team for this one as the trip out alone is 10 hours. The tournament itself is on Sunday, which means we’d have to compete then drive 10 hours home through the night when we all had to work the next day. Luckily, Troy, Ed, Scout and Rob were crazy enough to join me for the journey. We’d all played at PAVS round 1 except Rob, this was to be his biggest paintball tournament as he’s only been playing a short while. The trip went on as many paintball trips do; energy drinks, innuendo and general shenanigans. And as many paintball trips go, we arrived at our hotel to find a shortage of beds. Somehow the senior most members of the team, Ed and myself, were given the honor of sharing. I’m not sure how that works. We spent the early evening watching paintball vids, organizing gear and planning our breaks for the next day. After a night of little sleep, the alarm went off and a big day started.
Established in 1988, Coldstream is the oldest Paintball field in Victoria. The facilities are quite nice, with a small pro shop and modern facilities for making and serving food. We were even able to take advantage of their on scene showers! Admiteddly, there was a short hike to get to the tournament field, but our gear was carried down for us by truck which was nice.
Our first game, and first game of the tournament was against Tension. Everyone got to their primaries, but Tension put a great deal of pressure on us with their aggressive taking of real estate combined with a high rate of fire. Slowly our numbers dropped to just Troy on our right tape. Troy shot out two players before he went down. We were a bit disappointed, but held onto the fact that we made them work and that Troy had earned 2 G’s himself.
Game two was against Melbourne Reign Blue. We were able to take out one of their players, but we weren’t really sure how. Once again, we were disappointed with the result and were hoping to get a win quick to help us lift our game.
Game three was against SnG. We all took our primaries and kept in the game, making it hard for SnG to move up the field. When I dove into the snake I inadvertently took a ‘core sample’ causing the next few shots to go a bit squirrely. I got low and proceeded to clean my barrel as best I could. In the time it took me to clean out my barrel, people must have forgotten about me because when I popped back up there was a ‘target rich environment’. I was able to pick off a few players and then realized I had Troy opposite me on the ‘dorito’ side of the field. He and I worked together to push players out of their bunkers. We eventually worked it down to the two of us vs one player in back left. The SnG player shot Troy and popped out the other side of his bunker just as I shot his gun. It was our first win of the day and it did a great deal for our confidence.
Game four was against Melbourne Reign Grey. This was another drawn out battle with Ed falling first from his back left position. A short while later Rob was shot out of back right. At this point Troy spread the field, Scout bumped up the middle and I kept pushing up the snake. Slowly, we pushed up on the final player until Troy made the shot from the Dorito side, allowing Scout to hang the flag.
Game five was against South East Syndicate. We were gutted by this game, and the pain would continue into the long drive home. I was shot out almost immediately, but was able to watch with pride as the remaining 4 players really gave the opposition a hard time. One by one, I was joined by my teammates in the dead box. Late in the game, Ed went on an inspired rampage and began calling out their players. It came down to Ed and Scout who were spread out in the corners. Ed got shot on his hopper but didn’t see it. He stopped playing as he knew he might have a hit somewhere, and a sideline ref slid into his bunker to check him out. From the dead box Troy and I could see an enourmous hit on the front of Ed’s hopper. We were quietly begging the ref to pull Ed before he could start shooting again, but somehow neither Ed nor the Ref saw the enourmous hit on the front of his hopper. Eventually, the Ref stepped away from the bunker allowing Ed to continue playing. As soon as he started shooting he was pulled out and we were handed a one for one penalty. At the very moment this happened, Scout had shot out their snake player, but in conjunction with the penalty the snake player was allowed to play on. Were it not for the penalty, it would have been Scout vs their last player (if he was even still in) which is as good as a flag hang in my book. We were pretty devastated, but understand that paintball is paintball and reffs have a hard job and have to make snap decisions in a heartbeat. That’s just how it goes.
Game six was against Bass coast Raiders. This was a stint in the middle of the day where I was experimenting with getting shot out really early, so I had a great deal of time to watch the game play out from the dead box. Troy, Ed, Scout and Rob all got to their primaries plus and were engaging in some smart paintball. Unfortunately, Ed’s gun went down immediately after the break. He spent a few brief seconds trying to fix his gun but quickly realized it was a write off. He gathered his gear and slid to the back left corner and worked to maintain communication. After a while even Ed couldn’t control himself and started bumping up the field aggressively even though he didn’t have a marker to shoot. Troy, Ed, Scout and Rob finished of the other team and hung the flag.
Game seven was verses Apparition Enigma. I have absolutely no recollection of how this game went down, but on my schedule I wrote a big ‘L’ next to it… so there it is.
Game eight was against H2O Blue. RC made their primaries, communicated well, bumped to their secondaries and continued calling out the days of the week (the G count). The next thing you know it’s Friday and we’ve got 5 alive. This is when I took the opportunity to teach Rob some more paintball vocabulary, “Rob, what we just did is called ‘maxing’.”
Round nine was a rematch against Tension with the exact same result. At this point in the day we were 4 wins and 4 losses and really wanted to win this game to guarantee that we’d win at least as many as we lost. We played hard and got 2 G’s, (Tuesday) but lost the game soundly.
Earlier in the day, we spoke with Troy (a different Troy) from Melbourne Reign. They had a quick turn around in one round and heard we were anxious to get on the road as soon as we could after the tournament. He offered us a deal to trade the quick turn around round for a last round bye, giving us about an hours head start on the long drive home. This was a very helpful swap, but we weren’t going to do them any favors during the game as a result. We’d won 4 and lost 5 and were going to take every opportunity to even up. We took our primaries and settled in for a battle of attrition. We played tight and conservatively, forcing the H20 to make their move. Many times in the snake I thought I might be able to pull a cheeky wrap around a bunker for a shot, but luckily I kept my head in the game and just played patiently. Bunker by bunker, I saw Troy gaining ground on the far side as I pushed past the 50 snake. After an eternity of pushing myself into the mud I heard Troy shout, “Clear, clear, clear.” Scout was already on the ball and running the flag in for the hang. We finished with 3 bodies left, winning the game to break even. Fist bumps and back slaps abound, we walked off the field when Fuzzy, the ref keeping time, said simply, “Three seconds.” Three seconds were left on the clock when Scout got the hang.
We didn’t get to stick around for the usual fun and games that were to follow the tournament as we needed to pack up, shower and hit the road for a 10 hour journey back home. We left the field around 5:45 and I didn’t make it back to my bed until 4 am. We were in good spirits on the trip as we were full of adrenaline, and some sort of Red Bull Syrup that Ed secured. About 2 hours into the trip we got a text from the Jillie, the head ref, saying that at the end of the tourney we were tied for 4th with 5 other teams. To tease the teams apart it went to body differential. This differential bumped us from 4th place, to last place. Gutted… If it weren’t for that one game when Ed was allowed to play on, then given the penalty… we would have taken 4th place with pump guns. Gutted… but that’s paintball, and we knew we bested more than half the teams on the day with our pump guns. The team is very proud of their work and we will continue making an effort to maintain a presence at the PAVS series as well as continuing to develop our skills here in our own SAPPA series.
Much love to the RC ballers who travelled 10 hours to sleep in a weird hotel in close quarters, play an open tourney with pump guns, and drive through the night home when we all had to be at work the next day. Dead set legends.