Making Moves #3 - featuring Stoke Quest

The final instalment of our Making Moves series brings Stoke Quest's 2020 CPPS season to a close.

Did they manage to win Division 1 and earn promotion to Elite for 2021?

Read on friends, read on.

All good things must come to an end at some point even paintball; after a hectic year for UK paintball CPPS Round 3 would see the final event of the year for Quest. Going into the final event Quest currently sit 7 points clear at the top of Division 1 and would need to win just 2 of their games to be out of sight and win promotion to Elite for the 2021 season. The final event would only be 4 games for Quest due to the nature of the double round robin format, which had been introduced this season. That’s 4 chances to get their hands on the Golden Chalice / Holy Grail / Bleeding Goblets... etc. 

The first game of the day saw Quest matchup against the only team that have managed to stop the momentum of Quest so far, the Planet Eclipse factory team Sandbaggers Black. Going into the day, it was clear that if any team could cause havoc amongst the ranks, it was them and their experience. The first point was a dominating performance by Quest, particularly from Guy Wakefield down the snake side. However it was Baggers that pulled the 2nd point of the game, a consolation only since Quest went on the run, taking the game to a mercy victory, 5-1 win. After a convincing and well fought victory from Quest it would now put them significantly closer to promotion. Just one game to be won, and on paper, some easier games to come.

NPF Raiders whose latest roster featured a few guest players from Lionesses were the next team to face Quest. The game began with very aggressive, and quite unexpected plays from NPF, who managed to take both the 50 snake and 50 bag with speed on the 1st point. Unfortunately for them, Quest playing tight and surviving well behind their guns was enough to counter-punch any offense shown by Raiders. During this game, Captain Chris Milne decided he hadn’t shot enough players as of that point in the day, hence thought Tom Davies of his own team would be a good target, shooting him on 2 separate points. Henry Johnson must have gotten the common phenomenon of ‘FOMO’, as he too decided to shoot Tom at the end of the 3rd point. Regardless of the team's self-killing situation, Quest played well and generally commanded the game. Hats off to NPF Raiders though, who played aggressively, particularly through their two wide players. A 5-2 win to Quest.

Achieving the second victory of the day saw Quest uncatchable in the overall standings and guaranteed them Elite paintball for 2021. Celebrations began in the pits with emotions overflowing. Chris Milne, Tom Davies, Ed Bates and Chris Parsons had seen the team grow from Division 4 back in 2016. Callum Howe, Jim Williams, Henry Johnson, Guy Wakefield and Andy Leach have boarded the Stoke Quest train and the 'quest' for Elite, each playing a pivotal role on the path. 

It was at this point, Quest was informed unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances Ironwolf were to forfeit their game handing Quest a 4-0 mercy rule victory. This was unfortunate for Quest as the Ironwolf game would have tested Quest and given some extra experience and game time.

Quest would now be playing for pride to keep their win streak alive. The next and final game would see them stand against SAD UK of whom they won a 4-0 mercy rule victory over at the last event. Theoretically an easy game to finish the season, however it didn’t turn out that way. SAD UK took the first point rather quickly, supported by some more friendly fire, this time Andy Leach onto the back of Chris Parsons’ head as he dove into the snake. Now panicked, Quest thought about playing with a bit more urgency, as it would be hugely disappointing to go out of 2020 with anything but a win. Back to back, long points then held the game tight at 2-2 with just over a minute on the clock. Point 5 Quest broke out as usual but lost a couple of players very early on. It then became apparent that the best thing would be to play for a draw. SAD picked up on the quick kills and began advancing losing a couple of their players, but crucially shooting more of Quest. About 30 seconds left on the clock, Tom Davies was facing a 2v1. Purely going for the draw he fought both players managing to clip the SAD bag player, leaving a 1v1 which was quickly capitalised on. Tom pressed the buzzer with 1 second left on the clock. A 3-2 win, and arguably the closest of the season.

Quest had done it, Quest had made UK Paintball history for being the only team to consecutively win each CPPS Division Series title on the path to Elite. It was also a first for Quest as the new young hungry breed of players had given Quest its first taste of Elite paintball. With the off season rapidly approaching Quest will use this to work on their core skills as well as on-field partnerships to enable them to get the best start in the 2021 season. The Quest continues.

2020 CPPS Division 1 Overall Standings:

1st - Stoke Quest A.D
2nd - Underdogz
3rd - Sandbaggers Black

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 provided in order for Quest to have made it to the highest level of UK paintball.

Roll on 2021.


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