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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Second Season of Xball for the Tippinators

The Tippinators kicked off their sophomore season of Atlantic Xtreme Paintball League (AXBL) competition Saturday May 23 at Mersey Road Paintball, in East River Nova Scotia. With dry land training throughout the winter and intense weekly practices running up to event day, the Tippinators were confident they can compete head to head against any team in the league.

The first match of the season against Moncton Disturbed did not go according to plan. Though playing hard all day the team fell 16-4 to Moncton. Team Captain Bruce Johnston coached, rather than played for the weekend, due to injury, had a great view of the team’s collapse from the pit area.

“The first two points Saturday I was excited at what I saw.” Johnston said, “The guys did everything we practiced, and it was working. We won a point and lost a point but our system was working.” Johnston continued, “Then for some inexplicable reason we reverted back to how we played last season. Sitting back, trading paint, not moving, just waiting for them to come in and run us down.”

The one sided loss in the first game of the season was a surprise to the team. Chris Landry analyzed the team’s performance, “We failed to adjust to the way the game was being played, each point we got behind we seemed to play more conservative, when what was needed was blinding aggression.” Landry continued, “I think everyone had all night with their thoughts and told themselves what they needed to do better.”

The team was battered and disappointed, but not broken after Saturday’s loss. Landry summed the team’s attitude, “Saturday was a gut check, and wake up call, that will make us play better for the rest of the season.”

Sunday the Tippinators matched up against an experience Northport Warriors team, who were hungry for victory after a heart breaking tie against the Halifax Mercs on Saturday. The Tipps came out with guns rolling and feet moving to dominate the Warriors 13-6.

Chris Mullins, voted one of the Sunday’s three stars, was pleased with the overnight turnaround, “We learned from the mistakes we made on Saturday and came out Sunday determined not to sit back and gunfight. We took key bunkers and push up the field with more aggression.” Mullins was aware of what a second straight loss would mean to the team, “I think everyone knew that another loss would put us in a really bad spot, so we all stepped up our game and played our hearts out.”

Johnston was relieved to see the team that turned out to play on Sunday, “The team that showed up Sunday was the team I knew I would see this season, and saw a glimpse of on Saturday. They fired, moved, chewed up the field, took it to Northport and were successful. It was truly a thing of beauty to watch.”

Johnston mused at the team’s turnaround, “At one point Saturday I wanted to bust through the netting, grab a marker and run up the field myself. Sunday, I just sat back and enjoyed the show, and what a show it was.”

The Tippinators will continue to practice hard, and keep the momentum going for June’s AXBL event #2 in Moncton, New Brunswick

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