Making Moves #02 - featuring Stoke Quest

After a kick ass start to their 2020 campaign in D1, Stoke Quest were coming in to Round 2 as the in-form team with one goal. Victory and promotion to the Elite Division for 2021.

Let's follow their story.

Making Moves #02 - Featuring Stoke Quest.

After a successful Round 1 at the CPPS going 5-0, Stoke Quest would now embark on the next stage of their journey to Elite. CPPS Round 2, Sunday 20th September 2020. An initial hurdle was a smaller squad size due to some player's other life commitments. Chris Milne, Tom Davies, Chris Parsons, Callum Howe, Henry Johnson and Guy Wakefield made the team's full roster of 6. Jim Williams and Andy Gill in a joint effort took on the role of 'Coach'. Finally, not leaving out Caitlin Cross, supporting with pit duties.

Round 2 would see Quest face up against 2 different teams for this event in the Form of SAD U.K. and Sandbaggers Black, as well as 3 teams who they have played previously at Round 1 being Thunderducks, Sandstorm and Underdogz.

The day started off early for Quest in the first set of the event against the highly experienced Sandstorm. Quest started off well with some aggressive bag play from Henry Johnson taking the first point. Quest then kept the momentum going by taking the next point leading to a 2-0 lead however, the old timers experience helped them pull back a point making it 2-1. Quest then responded scoring another 3 unanswered points ending the game 5 - 1 with a mercy victory. Callum Howe showed from the off, today was going to be a good day for him, making several calculated moves to swing 50/50 situations, into Quest's favour.Fresh off their first win, the next match-up would see Quest face against the Planet Eclipse factory team Sandbaggers Black. Sandbaggers also had a few big names in their roster for this event. Tommy Webb of the well established elite team ONE41 Jaguars and Andrew Steele formally of the Lucky 15s who’s Millennium series SPL experience would surely be an issue for Quest. The first 2 points played out equally similar, long and hard fought, yet both won by Quest. 2-0 up and not a mass of time left on the clock, Quest sat back to try and secure the win with lockdown play. However a mix of very well worked, and somewhat unorthodox plays managed to unravel Quest, a few points in a row. Suddenly Stoke were 3-2 down, with not enough time to fight back for the win. A first loss in Division 1, but Quest were not put down, knowing this was a well built team across the field.

With their first loss of the tournament, Quest decided that certain aspects of their game plan needed to be changed in order to go forward and to recover from the clash of which they came out on the wrong side of. With this in mind Quest's next game would be against Thunderducks, the side that made Quest start with early morning jitters at round 1. The main game plan was to get either Chris Parsons or Guy Wakefield into the snake, as from there we felt the game was half won. A few back and forth points earn't a comfortable win for Quest. Commendations to the captain, Chris Milne for some solid decision making, and all-round good communications.

After a long rest and some lunch between their win over Thunderducks and the next bracket, Quest once again would look at game plans and see what needed to be changed for their next match facing SAD UK. Started in 1993 by Mark Blakemore, the Stafford and District Paintball Club has at least 1 team in every division apart from Elite and Division 2 and is a breeding ground for developing top UK players throughout their various divisional teams. From which Stoke Quest's 2020 pickups; Henry Johnson and Guy Wakefield, transferred from. Playing their former team was always bound to bring out the best from each player, which it did. Paired with solid plays and good off the break shooting from Tom Davies, Quest managed to mercy SAD U.K. 4-0, even with SAD UKs heavy snake presence. 

The final match of the day for Quest would be against their old rivals Underdogz, Quest took the victory at Round 1, however, could Underdogz, who currently sit in 2nd place behind Quest, use this as their motivation to force a victory over Quest? Stoke took the lead with a convincing first point but Underdogz soon responded drawing the game 1 - 1. Quest then responded with good off the break shooting and a good snake play by Chris Parsons leading to Underdogz throwing in the towel. Quest lead 2-1 going into the 4th point however, a good play by Guy Wakefield managed to see him take out 2 Underdogz players before being eliminated himself making it easier for the remaining Quest players to hold out and run the clock down in order to give Quest the 2-1 win. 

Finishing the day with 4 wins out of 5 and an overall total of 9 wins out of 10, Quest would once again see themselves at the top of the Division 1 standings and 7 points clear of 2nd placed Underdogz. The defeat against Sandbaggers Black was some extra experience and knowledge gained and a small look of what an elite standard side would have to offer in terms of player quality and tactical game plays. It has also kept Quest on their toes preventing them from becoming over confident of the critical position they are in heading into round 3 and possibly Elite for the 2021 season. 

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.

Thanks again to Stoke Quest for taking the time to send us their 2020 event journal.

All photos taken by Matt Gee.

Good luck in Round 3!