Nice Touch 7 – Black Stabbath 0
We’d never played Nice Touch before this, although I remember Josh and Cam running wild over ROE at Griefmasters. We made a couple of defensive errors and then started chasing the game, which left us more open at the back. I think they missed about 2 shots! We hadn’t played together since our last tournament in Bristol, and crashed into each other a few times… The 10 minute games were a blessing though.
Black Stabbath 5 – Commies 0
We warned ourselves against complacency, and played a sensible game. I applaud these guys’ spirit, but they could do with brushing up on the rules a bit. Some dirty play, particularly mallet on body. They’re really good considering how they’ve only started coming to tournaments this year. It took us ages to even win one game.
Black Stabbath 2 – Dinos 1
We knew this one would be close, and I’d played a few throw-ins with Aidan at Bristol, so I knew he was their main threat. I told Fin and Andy to focus on him and not leave any space, which worked quite well (at one point he rumbled us and commented on it). We couldn’t tell whether Prav’s insistence on flipping for the choice of ends was serious or bush-league psyche-out shit. Either way it was amusing, and he rolled on to the next game with the same wise-ass request! This game was our first chance to deploy our ‘Fuck The Goalies’ strategy, and it is probably what gave us the edge.
Black Stabbath 3 – Get.In.Wild 1
We had no expectations for this one, but maybe that is why we won. Either that, or the court was too grippy for them… (wink wink). From the charge and Andy’s early goal we had them under pressure. It felt like we kept them away from our goal, and Josh’s longshots and Hayden’s lefty bullshit just didn’t work for them. I think we each got one goal, which was the icing on our ‘best ever result’ cake.
After the game, it was satisfying to overhear people saying ‘Stabbath just dominated Get.In.Wild’! Happy as we were though, this result piled on the pressure, as we knew it should push us into our best ever tournament result. From here on in, we could only fail, and it got to me in particular, as I got increasingly rabid in my ‘advice’ to my teammates: ‘Don’t shoot!’, ‘Fuck them Uuuuuuup!’, ‘Stop fucking abooooouuuut!’
Black Stabbath 4 – Bubonic Plays 2
They were without their strongest player, and our goalie-fucking ruthlessness paid off again. Ste in particular got notably pissed off with it, but we have a lot more speed than them, and needed to force them to play our game. I think they took the lead initially, so I was happy that we were able to fight back and not lose our heads. It took more composure to win this one than the last game.
Black Stabbath 2 – Passed It 0
First game of Sunday morning, and after numerous pints I was worried I was going to poo my pants mid-game. It was nervy and not particularly pretty, as we had so much to lose, but we ground out the result.
Spring Break 5 – Black Stabbath 1
We talked before the game and couldn’t quite decide on whether to try to come out fast or slow, but in the end Spring Break decided for us. Ryan’s one of the few players taller than me, and I lost out to him a couple of times when shit got physical. We kept an eye on their rotating goalie and kept them out better than the scoreline suggests, but like the Nice Touch game, we were keen to get a consolation goal and hence took the game to them. We were racing around at crazy speeds trying to exploit their hangovers and I remember being out of the saddle with 10 seconds left to play. Great game and nice to receive compliments from my new favourite team to watch.
Black Stabbath 2 – Tornadoes 0
I’ve never played these guys before, but other Birmingham teams have had some close and controversial games with them. Boagey was subbing in, so I thought they may be a bit more dangerous than in the past, too. Me and Andy started out as usual, but couldn’t get a goal in for several minutes. It felt like we had the run of them, but couldn’t break down the defence. It took some ugly-ass goalie fucking to get us off the mark (the first time against Boagey was pretty useless, but the second time worked a treat and opened them right up). It wasn’t a pretty game, but we got the result we deserved. Our new discipline seemed to be paying off.
Be.Right.On 3 – Black Stabbath 2 (GG)
This was an almost inevitable match-up at some point during the weekend. I feel we’re on almost exactly the same level as these guys. Their 5-1 whooping of us at Bristol I’d like to think was an abberation. I don’t remember much, but I think we had the lead for most of the game, and then lost it on golden goal after I gave away possession and set up a break. I was annoyed with myself because that’s exactly what we’d succesfully avoided all weekend. We could’ve been more clever in letting them bring the game to us, as I felt we had a bit more pace, but maybe our focus had drifted by this point. We’d never played so many games at a tournament!
We packed our bags satisfied with our days’ work. We could maybe have taken it one game further with a bit more effort and intelligence, but we also took advantage of several other close situations. All in all, it was a huge boost to our confidence and our new refusal to let double goalies fuck us up. Everyone who played us at our own fast, flowing game left the court with smiles and compliments, whether they beat us or not. The teams who tried to slow us down and shut us out all got beaten, and probably didn’t have much fun in the process.
I think it will be hard for us to emulate this result, but we’ve consolidated our status as a top-ten team who can threaten everyone outside the big four. In the future we’re going to have to focus on staying on the right side of close games with our peers, and figuring out how not to get whooped by those fast, experienced and skilfull Big Four.
Fuck, Fuck, Fuck the Goalies!