Our first ever tourney is done and dusted, and what an amazing day it was. It was a steep learning curve for sure, but we managed to fumble our way through it somehow.
Following much pimping of the tourney on national polo forums and a flyering trip to the London Open, teams from Bristol, Cardiff, London, Sheffield and Oxford participated. Due to a few last-minute dropouts and entries, we ended up with exactly 16 teams - if we'd thought things through we might have limited entries to this amount to start with, as it makes formatting the tourney so much easier.
The barriers for the main court arrived bang on time, and the Cardiff crew gave us a welcome hand to set them up. After further agonising over the format we decided to seed the teams, with out-of-towners playing local sides. The first round was drawn and we were off!
In the meantime some of the unicycle hockey club Severn Wheelers showed up to spice up the random friendly games taking place on the second court. A unicycles versus bicycles showdown resulted in a whitewash (unicycles have more manouverability, but can't get round the court as quickly or get as physical with the opposition). A mix of wheel numbers within the teams definitely added something fresh to the game, and is something we'd like to explore further in the future.
Both sides from Sheffield played solidly, while the Toffees from Oxford displayed a take-no-prisoners attitude. Although lots of the visiting teams showed awesome levels of skill and/or willingness to play to the death, it quickly became apparent that the two London teams were the favourites. The final was a convincing win by The Whisperers over their metropolitan peers London Pride, with Sheffield's Imperial in third place.
Then it was over to the prizegiving. Sponsors Crumpler, Chunk Clothing and Taylored Cycles ensured that we had several hundred quid's worth of goodies to dish out, and the court was wetted with Asda's finest fizz. Overall the day ran relatively smoothly, thanks to help from loads of people. In particular our gratitude goes out to:
- Bristol Cycle Festival, whose small grants scheme enabled us to hold the tourney in the first place.
- Dial-A-Geek for making up our budget shortfall.
- SAS Barriers for saving us a world of hassle by agreeing to deliver and collect on the day.
- Rich, Reg, Tabs and the other regulars.
- Gary and Jo for looking after everyone so well.
- Posh (Taylored Cycles) for fixing everyone's bikes (including a load of Deaner hood rats who had nothing to do with the tourney)
- The random bloke with the leaf blower for cleaning up the court.
- Ceels for amazing cakes.
- Severn Wheelers for adding some unicycle hockey madness to the mix.
- Cardiff, Sheffield and London for stepping in on refereeing duties and giving us an insight into the brain-aching world of tourney formats.
There are some photos on our Flickr site - feel free to add yours to the group we've set up.
We're already thinking about next year.