Making Moves #01 - featuring Stoke Quest

Eclipse Factory, Team Stoke Quest, are a young and progressive team run by the experienced Andy Gill, who knows his stuff; he's been running Stoke Quest teams for many years. His latest Quest team have been smashing their way through the Divisions and really found their form in D2 last year. Their performance in D2 and their subsequent title gave them the belief that they really could make a move for that Elite spot in 2021.

Their jump up to D1 for the 2020 season has been an odd one, due to the Covid-19 situation, but it's worked out well for them. The shorter season (3 events) means they can train hard, attack each event hard and ready themselves for a potential Elite Debut in 2021.

So what's it like being a paintball team working your way through the CPPS divisional ranks with your hearts set on the Elite Division? We asked them to document their 2020 season, starting at the beginning. Event 1.

So here's #1 of our Making Moves blog series - featuring Stoke Quest.

Round 1 of CPPS 2020 would see Stoke Quest debut in division 1 fresh off their division 2 title win in 2019. With 2 new pickups in the form of Guy Wakefield and Henry Johnson, both formally of SAD as well as getting Lucky 15s pro player James Green on board to coach and steady the ship to help quest make that jump to elite. As well as extra fire power on the roster Stoke Quest also signed an official Planet Eclipse sponsorship deal to shoot Team Custom CS2 Pro markers, as well as the already existing GI sports kit deal. 

© Matt Gee

The day started against with an unknown entity to Quest, London Thunderducks, who have been on the cusp of promotion into elite for at least 3 years, so if anyone was going to stop Quest in their path to Elite for 2021 it was going to be them. The first point started quickly with Ducks forcing a penalty upon Quest pulling the bag side. The next point was much the same with another major penalty causing Ducks to take another point and go 2-0 up against Quest. This isn’t how Quest wanted to spend their first game in division 1. But Quest then finally found some energy and scored 3 unanswered points taking the score to 3-2, but could they hold out? The next point saw Ducks take the point... almost. Ducks had been pulled for a dirty hang pulling the rest of the players alive and causing a no point, fate was in the favour of Quest as the next point saw Ducks get a major penalty within the last minute awarding Quest a point, ending the game 4-2.

© Matt Gee

After a shaky start and some harsh words from the coach the next game saw Quest take on Ironwolf (formally Cardinals) another top tier division 1 team who have also played a few rounds in elite to add to their extensive paintball experience. Once again Quest started slow, dropping 2 players off the break and Ironwolf quickly pushed on the snake side to score the first couple of points. Nevertheless, the solid break shooting of Quest would eliminate this aggressive snake presence for the rest of the game and see quest take the win 5-4. 

So far so good with 2 wins out of 2 and yet a few more harsh words from the coach the next game would see Quest play Underdogs who placed 2nd in division 2 just behind Quest at the end of the 2019 season. The rivalry between Quest and Underdogs spanned throughout the 2019 season and saw a final match up for 1st and 2nd place at the final event of the 2019 season the win was for both the event and for the division 2 series title. Was 2020 going to be different? The points were much slower this game, but the solid lanes, dominant gunfighting and consistent communication allowed Quest to take the win 3-2. 

© Matt Gee

Defeating Underdogs saw Quest go 3 for 3. And the introduction of the 4th game of the day against Sandstorm, another well experienced squad with a handful of GB Veterans players who’s experience would test the freshly promoted Quest team. Quest, however dominated the game and managed a mercy of 4-0.

Final game of the day would see Quest up against NPF Raiders, another team full of experience in every aspect of the game but due to losing a few key players in the off-season it saw a significantly weaker Raiders side to step up and fill the boots of the previous 2019 team. Once again Quest started strong and finished strong with a second mercy rule victory of the day taking the game 4-0 and also taking their record to 5 wins out of 5 games. 

© Matt Gee

© Matt Gee

Even walking away with 5 wins out of 5 and sitting at the top of division 1 after just the first round Quest did not make it an easy start to the day for themselves. However Quest will take this in their stride and take the experiences away to better themselves as a team; a team talk at the end of the day summarised what work needed to be done and what needed to be stepped up for round 2. It wasn’t over yet and hard work still needed to be done if Quest were going to win the division 1 title as well as that UK Elite spot at CPPS for 2021.

Stoke Quest are proud to be sponsored by Planet Eclipse and GI Sports. As always they would like to thank them for their support and the gear that they provide in order for Quest to make it to the highest level of UK paintball.

Tune in next time as Stoke Quest continue their push for Elite Division promotion.

Thanks again to the team and players at Stoke Quest for taking the time to write and document their events.

All photos supplied by Matt Gee.