ZOO Compete at PALS Thailand

ZOO team PALS Thailand

In our first season competing in Division 2, we have decided more effort this year trying to play more PALS tournaments, rather than the usual MPOC series in which we finished second place overall last year. PALS Thailand was our first tournament outside of Singapore and Malaysia, held in Bangkok Thailand 28/29 May 2011.

It was a little bit of a struggle finding enough  players from our usual squad to play so we imported some new players including Moya (Dark Knights - Malaysia) and Matt Boynes (Tension - Australia). Also playing for the team for the fist time was Moon from our sister Malaysian team SiR. Also playing for ZOO were myself, Abdullah, Boy (SiR) and Nick (Ronin). Unfortunately many of our regular players couldn't get time off for PALS Thailand or were competing with SiR at the Malaysian ISSC event which was held on the same weekend in KL.

Competing at international paintball events is a logistics nightmare and our weekend didn't start well with no less than 4 players missed their flights to Bangkok - luckily they managed to get on other flights and made it to Bangkok. In Division 2 we were competing against teams from Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Russia, France, Thailand, Japan and the United Arab Emirates and with very little information on the form of these teams, we had to treat everyone with respect.

Our first game was against Xtioneers 2 from Malaysia. We started strong and made all our primary bunkers and managed to win in 2 points and take the match. Our next game was against Al Emarat from Malaysia. We were drawn 1 point all and had to play a 3rd game decider. Unfortunately for ZOO our inexperience in D2 and with no coach, we didn't make it out on the field in time with 2 of us failing to make it to the starting gate. We had a chance to win this game but with only 3 players starting, the team were quickly over-run.

Our 3rd match was against CMX from Malaysia who we knew were much more experienced than ZOO. In the first game we were competitive but a penalty 1 for 1 against us was a game changer and we lost the first point. In the second point we lost both our snake side players and CMX made easy work of finishing us off.

In our 4th match we played Do Do Flingueurs from France who are Millennium regulars and have been playing paintball for many years. In our first match both teams had good breakouts but the French proved too strong for us and took the first point. In our second game, the Do DO Flingueurs snake player completely destroyed our snake side and in one of the few games where we were completely outplayed, we lost the point in under a minute and the match.

The 5th game of the day was against Russian team Headshots. More 1 for 1 penalties cost us opportunities to take points. We were 1 point all but failed to keep our composure, losing the 3rd point and the match to our disgust.

Determined to end day one with a win, we knuckled down against Hitballerz from Malaysia. We finished the first point fairly quickly and managed to take the second point and the match ending our day with 2 wins and 4 losses. Our 2 last prelim games on Sunday would determine whether we made the quarter finals or not.

On Sunday out first game was against Infinate Delusion (Americans living in the UAE). After watching their breakouts in previous games we were determined to do some heavy laning to get an early advantage. In the first point we laned on player off the break and had the second player walking within seconds. In the second game things were a little closer but we managed to contain the opposition. Out Aussie import Matt Boynes was the star of the match inserting from the back into the dorito side and bunkering the remaining Infinite Delusion player to take the 2nd point and the match.

Game 8 was against Lakehill Arowana from Thailand. Although ZOO had beaten them at the 2010 World Cup, their form in Bangkok was much better and they were winning many of their matches. Even though we had studied their breakouts, we failed to lane anyone off the break and their consistent pushed from both the snake and dorito sides saw us losing the 1st point. In the second point we again failed to lane anyone off the break and they pushed into the dorito side fairly easily. Unfortunately a 1 for 1 penalty against yours truly meant that we were left trying to play defense. The second point was close and we had a chance to win it but a combination of bad luck and slow reffing meant our players couldn't contain the oppositions push.

Our quarter finals chances came down to who won the remaining matches for the day. Unfortunately for us, we missed out on the top 8 by 1 point and had to settle with 9th place out of 14 teams. Considering the strength and experience of many of the international teams it could be considered a decent effort but the team all knew that had it not been for so many penalties, we may have had a chance to gain a better ranking. With no coach and no crew I was proud of what we did manage, given that half the team had never competed in Division 2 before. We learned some valuable lessons and I'm sure at our next tournament we'll keep on improving.

I big thanks to all the international teams and our friends who assisted us with sideline coaching and in the pits in many of matches. It was great to see such sportsmanship between competing teams and we made a lot of new friends at this event. Until the next one ZOO out!!!

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